Search icon


17th Jan 2023

IMAGES: Inside this 89-year-old former woodcutter’s off-grid hobbit house

Emily Mullen

‘Before me there were cows, calves and chickens living in here, and a donkey’

A woodcutter who built his own Hobbit House revealed he has never watched Lord of the Rings – and lives almost off-grid despite being nearly 90.

Great-grandad Stuart Grant moved into the cottage he bought as a wreck with no roof and no doors in 1984, while he was renovating a house.

But the 89-year-old found it so satisfying doing DIY on the quirky outbuilding which dated back 200 years, that he decided to make it his home.

Dad-of-two Stuart trained as a joiner but suffered from ME for 46 years so said he worked “in slow motion” on the three-bedroom rustic pad.

He has been inundated with visitors to his home in Tomich, near Inverness, after his house was posted on a French tourist board’s recommendations for north Scotland.

Hobbit House - Interior

He doesn’t have a mobile phone or use the internet and no longer drives due to his age, but he loves getting out and meeting people.

Despite the obvious comparisons to the Lord of the Rings, Stuart says he’s never watched the blockbuster series.

“It’s just a coincidence that my front door is almost the same shape and same kind of wood, oak.

“There are stained glass windows on each side of it.

“I didn’t know about them and they didn’t know about me.”

Before Stuart moved in the former tenants were “cows, calves and chickens living in here, and a donkey”.

He explained that the property used to be a shoemakers’ cottage and a croft, “there was no roof, just four walls which are 200 years old”.

Hobbit House - Interior

“It is not a fancy house, it is made from other people’s left overs.

“I was always a glutton for scenic beauty, beautiful houses, and thatched cottages in England.

“This has a concrete roof but it looks like a thatched roof.”

After starting work on it, Stuart moved to Australia for a year. Altogether he lived in Australia for 14 years and travelled back to the UK overland, via Afghanistan.

He had bought land and planned to renovate a larger house.

Stuart explained: “I moved in in 1984 but it wasn’t done up, I was living with concrete mixers then went out to Australia for a year.

“I was just doing it in slow-motion.

“I put on a roof and doors, there were just doorways. There was two windows. I was going to do up the house and I was living in the shed, it is very little.

“I thought I would make it comfortable while I’m doing up the house.”

Hobbit House - Interior

As to the cost, Stuart has no idea. He cut the wood himself from fallen trees, and collected stones from the river for the stonework. And he put the stairs in.

“It took quite a few years, I never counted it,” Stuart said.

“I just enjoyed doing it so much. I got carried away.”

He said that doing creative projects has kept him young: “You get a real buzz out of doing interesting stuff.

“I have just always been an inventor and a designer. My mum said ‘you’re always scribbling’ when I was a little boy.

“People think I’m clever because I do original things, but they’ve not tried.”

Despite turned 90 in less than a fortnight, Stuart says he still feels “like a teenager. People can’t believe I’m 90.”

“I’ve travelled the world, it is all just a great adventure.

“I could start with a seed and end up with a house.

“Work is the greatest therapy.”

This article originally appeared on 

READ ON: Brad Pitt reveals he’d love to own a home in Ireland

No posts have been found