treehouse by blue trees


Tree houses are fertile ground for folly builders and Blue Forest makes some gorgeous examples, as you can see in these pictures.




But while the setting and the materials may be all about getting back to the nature, inside they tell a different story.


blue forest interior            Tree_House_Office_4_gallery-image-600x364


Outside all is rural charm, inside the owner is ensconced in a cosy stylish wooden room with a flat screen television and a wine fridge. All this and peace and quiet too, what more could a discerning owner want?


Blue Forest’s founders Andy and Simon Payne grew up in East Africa where they spent their childhood enjoying the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors. According to their website their UK based company’s treehouses were born from these experiences and from a desire to bring other people closer to the natural world. Read more at www.blueforest.com




It’s quite surprising how many people harbour a design to build an upside house. Sometimes it’s a statement on modern life and the builder even puts in the furniture upside down: visitors frequently report feeling seasick. But some topsy-turvy builders just want to turn their life on its head and even live in their creations.




Here is a selection of upside down houses, if you recognise one and even better have visited one, let us know what it is called and what it was like inside.












Meanwhile here is a video of the interior of an upside down house in Poland, its business man owner apparently built it as  his personal take on modern values. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CrLXEE_y_Y



Hobbit Home by Peter Archer (for private client)


Dear Folly Fanciers

I only just came across this, although it was built 4 or 5 years ago, but I just had to share it with you. It is a miniature Hobbit Home built to house a Tolkien collector’s Collection and was designed by architect Peter Archer based on information from the Tolkien novels. Even the site was carefully selected, it is built into an 18th century dry stone wall which runs through the owner’s property.



There is enormous attention to detail, for example the 3inch thick circular front door (although there is another more conventional door around the back). And  there is also a circular “butterfly” window, so-called because the centre hinged panes look like an insect’s wings when open.




Read more about it at




The original Bag End cottage built for the films, has been reconstructed  at the home of director Peter Jackson in New Zealand, where it is used as guest accommodation. 


Jonathan Denby, owner of the Newby Bridge hotel in the English Lake District, has built a classical style folly in the grounds of his hotel. Here it is. It is intended for weddings and even has a secret wedding night bridal suite with  a hidden bed, which comes down from a wall; a secret door to a concealed bathroom and a TV which drops down from the ceiling. You can lie on the bed and look at the stars through the glass domed roof.

On his website


Jonathan describes how he was inspired  to build the folly by a Victorian gentleman, Alexander Brogden, the owner of Holme Island in Grange (also in the North West corner of England) who, when he had finished building the Furness railway, built a circular Temple of Vesta in his garden.

Jonathan explains: “ I came across a photo of the temple while I was doing some research on Grange in the Barrow Records Office and was immediately captivated by it. You get a good view of Holme Island from the Prospect Tower in my garden, and you can see that unfortunately it’s now a ruin. It’s also completely inaccessible on private land.

When I first saw the photo of the temple I thought how wonderful it would be to create something as beautiful. The idea stayed with me, and when I had the chance to buy the land behind the Newby Bridge Hotel, I thought that would be an ideal spot for it. The land, which had at one time been part of the ornamental gardens for Newby Bridge Mansion (as the hotel was formerly), had become completely overgrown, but it was in a commanding position overlooking both the lake and the hotel.

I was told that there was no possible chance of the National Park planners giving me permission to build a modern folly, but, with the thought that the Victorians wouldn’t have been daunted by such a detail, I drew up some plans and put them in. The doubters were wrong and the plans were passed, albeit with the unnecessarily sarcastic comment that it was “more Las Vegas than Lake District”.

It has taken several years, but the building is now finished. I think it’s rather lovely. I’ve called it The Rotunda. It isn’t a folly as such but has a practical, and of course commercial, purpose as a wedding chapel. A licence has been granted for couples to get married in the chapel, but they can also spend their wedding night there, as it can be magically transformed into a bridal suite.  Perhaps the planners did have a point after all when they mentioned Las Vegas.”




Just put up for sale is a very modern prehistoric monument. Carhenge in Nebraska, according to a recent report by Reuters. In the shape of Stonehenge in England, this one is a tribute to the automobile.

Carhenge near Alliance in Western Nebraska contains 38 vintage automobiles and can be yours for just $300,000.

The Carhenge autos mimic the Stonehenge stones in size, dimension and northeast orientation to the sunrise. The attraction consists of 38 gray-painted autos in a 96-foot circle. Some are buried five feet deep, trunk end down. Some jut from the ground at odd angles. Nine vehicles welded atop some of the half-buried autos form the arches.

Vehicles include a 1943 Plymouth Savoy, 1945 Jeep Willys, 1956 Buick Roadmaster Deluxe, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado, 1965 Ford Thunderbird, 1971 Chevrolet Nova, and a 1976 American Motors Gremlin.

A 1962 Cadillac depicts the Stonehenge heel stone, which is outside the main entrance and leans inward toward the circle.

Carhenge was built by Jim Reinders in 1987 as a tribute to his late father, who farmed the site two miles north of Alliance, a city of 8,600 people on the western Nebraska plains.

Reinders worked in England for a time and visited Stonehenge. More than 80,000 tourists from around the world have visited the site annually. It is a stop for tour buses and some visitors come before dawn to experience the sunrise. Admission to the 10-acre grounds is free.



A new folly in London popped up, literally, in London, this summer, under a freeway flyover.   Originally planned to last for six weeks from June 2011, Folly for a Flyover  under a busy freeway junction in North London,  turned out to be so popular that its life was extended to the end of August and it  won the Bank of America Merrill-Lynch 2011  Create Art Award.

And here it is.

Folly for a  Flyover was built in under four weeks, at a cost of  £20,000. The location was pretty unprepossessing  –  under two concrete road bridges, carrying the eastbound and westbound A12  traffic in London over the  Hackney Cut. This is a man-made addition to the River Lea which flows nearby. The location is in  Hackney Wick, east London, a dreary urban wasterland on the northern fringe of the 2012 Olympic site.  It was designed as a temporary structure, a “pop-up” folly with a life expectancy of six weeks as a venue for films, concerts, boat rides and cheap coffee.

The folly was conceived by the same group of architecture students and others, now calling themselves Assemble,  who created last year’s Cineroleum, a cinema temporarily made out of a disused petrol station.

The structure consisted of a sloping bank of seats for watching films and events, which then turned to form a café in the shape of a house. The house resembled something out of a child’s drawing or a fairytale, standing improbably in the forgotten concrete world beneath the flyover. The structure was scaffolding holding up some wobbly-looking bricks, which turn out to be made of reclaimed timber – oak, pine, yellowish opepe and reddish jarrah from railway sleepers. Each of the 10,000 bricks has been sawn from longer lengths by volunteers, and drilled with holes so they could be strung together by wires. The wall was in fact not masonry, but woven, and its elements can be reused.

One critic commented admiringly: ” The place is powerful, under the roads, with Piranesian columns, the water of the Hackney Cut and a slot of clear air, like an elongated oculus, between the two Roman-scaled bridges. Usually, it is also desolate and possibly scary, but by putting stuff and events there with a certain wit and spirit, Assemble have revealed its weird beauty. By having daytime events, boat rides and a cheap café, the Folly is also reaching a wider catchment than the largely twentysomething crowd who patronised Cineroleum.”

Here is a link to its website: http://www.follyforaflyover where you can find more images and what they got up to there.

Visit wondrous and curious places on Obscura Day – 9 April 2011. Lots of unusual,hidden and intriguing places to visit worldwide. Check it out at http://obscuraday.com