"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." This is how J.R.R. Tolkien describes Bag End, the home of Bilbo Baggins, the hero of his beloved children's book The Hobbit and thereby of the upcoming Peter Jackson extravaganza The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
While plenty of fans of Tolkien, and Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy are pumped for the upcoming adventure across Middle Earth, there may be none so pumped as Jeremy Telford of Pleasant Grove, Utah, who constructed a life-sized Bag End of his own with 2,600 balloons as his building blocks. You can get a glimpse of his incredible creation below, thanks to Orange (via Digital Spy).
Telford has been a Tolkien fan since her first read The Hobbit in junior high, and as a professional balloon sculptor decided to celebrate the book's renewed relevance and upcoming movie release by transforming his family's living room into a cozy hobbit hole, complete with fireplace, furniture and even a bowl of apples! With the help of his three children (ages seven, five and two), Telford constructed the balloon structure over three days in about 40 hours of work, using a hand pump to inflate the 2,600 balloons.
To capture his progress and process, Telford set up a camera that took a snapshot every 18 seconds to create a stop-motion animation of his astounding construction. You can check out the Balloon Bag End's building below:
As you might expect, there was a fair amount of planning beforehand. Telford researched 18th century English furniture to get a feel for the aesthetic he'd aim for, then worked out a layout to estimate how many balloons his hobbit hole would require. Ultimately, Telford says the completed construction lasted three days before it began to deflate and droop, confessing,
"After three days we let the kids demolish it for another two. They were sad when it was finally time to reclaim the living room for living."
Really, who could blame them. This puts every kiddie fort or playhouse I've ever seen to shame.