Earth-bermed architecture isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve dreamed of your own hobbit hidey-hole, check out this affordable two-bedroom, two-bath house on 3.4 acres of forest in River Falls, Wisconsin. When we originally reported on the listing in mid-January, it was asking $275,000. A recent price drop now has the bermed house at $190,000, making it a value for an “adventurous buyer.”
Designed and built in 1972 by architect Mike McGuire, the exterior of the home features two arched glass openings set into the rolling countryside. McGuire constructed the 2,236-square-foot home as an energy-efficient type of “sod house” that uses arching steel culverts as its structural system.
The two culverts are side by side—linked by a laundry and mechanical area—and the home also boasts masonry brick fireplaces in each room. Because brick heats up quickly and retains heat for long periods of time, the fireplaces keep the structure warm and disperse the heat thanks to pipes under the terrazzo floors.
Because the home is built into the earth, the surrounding soil helps to maintain a stable moderate temperature and saves on heating and cooling costs. Numerous skylights bring in light, and long built-in benches provide seating in many of the rooms.
If this looks like the hobbit home of your dreams, N8064 975th Street is on the market now for $190,000.