Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) has become a much-beloved classic everywhere, enjoyed both as books and as films.
It also serves as great inspiration for many LOTR-themed things, as seen in cosplays, weddings, and this little hobbit-themed Airbnb home in Kundasang, Sabah.
Aptly called the Humble Hobbit Home (HHH), the lodging’s design and architecture are based off Bag End, Bilbo Baggin’s (and later Frodo’s) cosy home in the Shire.
B-Inspired Abode, the Kundasang-based homestay responsible for the creation of HHH, has also built several other homestays in the same area, but the hobbit home is the first fictional-themed one they’ve done.
“We don’t specialise in building themed homes, but rather our initial aim is to provide clean, reasonable and accessible accommodation for all, and to welcome guests with great service,” said Kang, who constructed the HHH.
B-Inspired Abode is run by Kang’s sister’s family and his parents, and the previous accommodations were built around the abode’s concept: unity in diversity.
The existing accommodations had always been built with the guests’ budget and needs in mind, equipped with different features and named after a virtue, such as Glory, Charm, and Servitude.
The HHH was the first accommodation not to follow the tradition.
Ironically, Kang neither got the idea directly from LOTR, nor did he consider himself an avid fan of the series.
Instead, he’d gotten inspiration from a TED Talk by Jon Jandai, a famous earthen builder from Thailand.
“The part that struck me the most is him comparing himself with a colleague from university who would have to work for 30 years to own a house, while Jon jokingly said that he had a problem of choosing which of the many houses he built to go to sleep in that night,” Kang said.
In love with the idea of building a home out of natural resources, he’d started to look into houses built from cobs, log cabins, and other natural building materials.
From these frequent Pinterest excursions, the HHH slowly took shape. Upon completion, it fits 5 people and costs RM217/night.
They Used No Blueprint
Kang was lucky, as the perfect spot to build a hobbit-themed house was right under his nose—or rather, in front of his parents’ house in the form of a little slope.
Building it, however, was a whole other issue.
“To be frank, I’ve no experience or background in civil engineering or architecture,” Kang admitted.
He’d been taught about basic house building before and enjoyed carpentry, so he believed that building a home wouldn’t be that hard. He was wrong.
“I made several mistakes, some costly, so at the end of the project, I couldn’t muster any more motivation to recalculate the exact cost it required to build the hobbit home,” Kang said, further adding that the estimated cost was around RM30,000.
The construction of the HHH was quite piecemeal—Kang described it like an art project, where colours and textures were added according to their emotions and inspirations.
“We never started the build with a definite blueprint, just some sketches and a vision,” he explained.
“Most of the ideas came along the way and we implemented them. This isn’t a very efficient way in construction, so to build more than one unit would be quite a challenge.”
It Was A Hit Before It Even Launched
The HHH was such a hit, it got its first guest before its intended soft launch in March 2019.
“The opening date I remember quite clearly: February 26, 2019,” said Kang.
The guest had seen the HHH and insisted that she try it out during her stay, and promptly changed the booking from her previous unit to it.
However, the homestay wasn’t finished yet so they had to rush their work. Eventually, they succeeded with the help of the entire family and staff.
HHH then picked up tremendous speed that June, attracting both LOTR fans and regular guests.
Since then, Kang has lost count of the total number of guests they’ve hosted.
“There were a few guests who asked us about the One Ring, and there were also guests who didn’t know what LOTR was,” Kang revealed.
“I believe what most of our guests enjoy is the cute, unique design and the feeling of living in a natural space, not to forget the majestic view of Mount Kinabalu and its surroundings.”
Channelling Wanderlust Towards Local Destinations
Most of B-Inspired Abode’s guests are Malaysians, and with the announcement of the RMCO, they’ve been flooded by inquiries for stays, especially during the weekends and public holidays.
“I feel that people have been confined for quite some time in their homes and are now longing to travel again,” said Kang.
As overseas travel is still risky, local tourism is seeing a huge boost.
Knowing this, B-Inspired Abode set up a reopening promotion for the whole homestay and is currently enjoying a busy period, especially during the weekends.
“As for the HHH, we have been receiving guests on a daily basis before the pandemic, and now it seems business is back as usual,” said Kang.
He expects to see a profit of RM3,000 monthly from the hobbit home itself, and is spreading awareness through social media and word of mouth.
Kang also expressed interest in expanding the Humble Hobbit Home into an entire Hobbit village, with each home designed uniquely.
“I’m very much into creative, natural and minimalist designs and am always on the lookout for unique ideas to home building,” he said.
However, he has to factor in not only the cost of time but also the space they’ll need to build more.
Thus Kang said, “We are considering expanding our options to build more homes on other properties whose owners are open to collaborate.”
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Featured Image Credit: B-Inspired Abode