PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANNE AND RUBEN EIKEBLAD
Grow a garden and care for the environment
Let trees grow majestic and tall! Let pieces of the wild have a place in your garden—wildflowers, ferns, birds, fairies, and elves. Look into permaculture and gardening without pesticides, try to work with nature and not against it. Make small magical places with lanterns, banner garlands, fairy string lights. Make your own campfire place if you can. Tolkien’s elves love the night and the stars, so adorn a place with small enchanting solar lights and pillows and spend some late hours outside. I’ve also made several woodland paths in my garden and created curved bridges over a stream—like my own little enchanting forest. Additionally I made a pond close to a natural spring, with a simple lighted fountain.
A natural house
Look into the amazing and low-cost ways to build a hobbit house out of straw bales or cob, which offer almost endless sculptural and creative possibilities. Or look into ways to make your house more environmentally friendly and inspiring. Incorporate more rustic wood, organic shapes, plants, and rocks. Try to make it blend into the landscape and have a low impact.
Thrifting and upcycling
I have never in my life bought a new piece of furniture. Almost every single thing and item of clothing I own is thrifted, which is good for the planet and your economy and makes for the most unique pieces. I am very skilled at making the most of a budget. But for this to work you have to be patient. My wardrobe and home have been in the making for most of my life. Often you have to upcycle or redesign a piece to fit your needs or aesthetic. I always look for pieces that feel old, antique, with natural colors as well as bronze, and I have a particular love for Art Nouveau, woodcarvings, anything Celtic, and things from a wide range of older time periods. I also have an affinity for certain exotic Eastern elements.
Inspiring, healthy, and cozy meals
Let the food be based on local produce and learn to make a lot of things from scratch. It does not have to be time-consuming or expensive. Get inspired by medieval recipes, the beauty of raw food, or find a hobbit cookbook. Incorporate lots of greens, mushrooms, berries, wild edible plants, and flowers. If you eat meat or dairy, try to get it as cruelty-free as possible.
Those magical lights
Lights totally set the atmosphere of your home. Essentially you want to go for dim, warm, and inviting lamps. I have a wide range of flower lamps and antique lamps, as well as numerous lanterns, fairy lights, and candle lights.
More is more—just say no to minimalism
I guess I am rebelling a bit against this past decade’s obsession with minimalism by adorning my house with an abundance of whimsical decorations. Let your surroundings feel meaningful and pleasing, but also practical and useful. Today’s overconsumption is not to be taken lightly, but I feel it is something else to truly love your things and take care of them and cherish them for the rest of your life.
It’s all in the details
Another thing I do to make my home feel more Tolkienesque is to put on music that sounds like it could be straight from a faraway elven land. I have many paintings on the walls as well as the obligatory big map of Middle-earth and various replicas from the movies. I prefer to do my own interpretations of elven dwellings, and I’m also quite influenced by everything fairy, so I don’t really try to copy things from the movies.
I find having lots of books, musical instruments, and art in general makes the look. A lot of pillows, tapestries, and draped curtains are crucial. Try to avoid or cover up anything too modern looking and technological. Fill your home with glass jars and bottles in all shapes and colors to replace the use of plastic. Most of my tableware is basically shaped as leaves or flowers. I work a lot with herbs and go foraging, and I love the look of dried bundles of hanging herbs. Go wild decorating with branches, vines, and ivy.
Any respectable Tolkienesque elvish household has its own symbol, and that is why we designed our own personal elven banner, which is based on the elven star (a septagram with an ancient sevenfold symbolism of unity, often associated with what is elusive, hidden, and mystical in this world). I’m even lucky enough to have a boyfriend who made his own elven language and an elven calendar, if you want to take the lifestyle.
Learn A Woodland Home Inspired By Tolkien’s Middle Earth in the Tolkien Issue. Print // Digital
Such a beautiful article, thanks! I do a lot of these things too.. so great confirmation I’m on my Tokienesque way ? Janne’s home is just unique though 🙂
What a lovely home!
I particularly liked the idea of abandoning total minimalism- it becomes more of a burden than actually having some nice things that inspire you! I work in a factory around machines and vulgar people all day. When I get home I do not want a sterile, white and chrome kind of home. How does that refresh me and get me ready for another day working in Saruman’s arms factory? No, I want it to feel like me and I enjoy a certain amount of warm, inticing clutter of my favorite stuff. Perhaps it is because I have lost all I owned several times and, like a Hobbit, enjoy it because I know I can do without it when I must.
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