Bainbridge Island man building his own 'Hobbit house'

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- After months of excitement and hype, "The Hobbit" is finally arriving in theaters.

The "Lord of the Rings" prequel opens Friday at Midnight, but one Bainbridge Island man doesn't have to leave home to see a Hobbit house.

The home that has Tolkien fans crowing began years ago with a modest little hen house.

A construction worker by trade, Chris Whited liked the shape of a garden shed he'd spotted in Oregon and decided to duplicate its fairy tale feel.

"I made a little dip in the ridge and sloped the walls out a little bit," he said.

Whited's sister suggested he sell the hen house, but those who nibbled at buying wanted the storybook structure supersized.

"People said if I made it bigger it would make a great play house, so I gave that a try," Whited said.

Without blueprints to draw from, Whited used his own imagination to build his very own Hobbit house.

He's watched every "Lord of the Rings" film, but it wasn't until neighbors began calling his new project the "Hobbit house" that he realized his cottage resembled a Hobbit habitat in middle earth.

There's a sweetness to the home's slopes, a charm in the calculated imperfections.

"I figure if people are driving by and smile than it's doing its job," Whited said.

The home looks downright conventional from the inside, save for the one thing: The windows tilt out, reminding you how unique it is on the outside.

Whited hopes to finish his Hobbit house by summer, but at the rate he's going it might not be complete until the next installment of "The Hobbit" films.