By Victoria Gaither
A Rutland grandfather has turned his backyard into a scene from the famous Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie based on the novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien.
“I’ve always been intrigued with hobbit houses, and I was building a road outback, and when the excavator came up, I said, ‘I want to build a hobbit house.’ I don’t know why it came to mind, but it did,” said Randy Pratico.
The house has all the tale-tell signs based on scenes at the Shire village in the movie. There’s a round door built on the side of the mountain on a steep hill, there’s stone masonry, a lantern and furnishing that only a faithful Lord of the Rings fan would understand.
Pratico, a retired pharmacist, said the location was important.
“I had a beautiful location because it opens up to the mountain and it’s steep and declines. The position was perfect for it,” he said.
He started building in May of 2021 and finished in September 2021. The summer heat and humidity slowed him down some.
Pratico built the life-sized house for his grandaughter, who comes to visit him and his wife, Linda.
“It had to be right because I built it for my granddaughter, Harper,” Pratico said. “I was going to build a treehouse, but I’m too old for that hanging from trees, so I did a hobbit house.”
Harper’s mom, and Pratico’s daughter, Alyssa Pratico, said, “It’s really cool and super unique that she has this in their backyard.”
Truly a piece of Middle Earth in the middle of Rutland and constructed to withstand anything, said Pratico, “my father taught me, and I overdid it. I doubled up on everything, even the inside. I doubled up on the beams.”
Harper isn’t worried about beams or waterproofing. She’s more concerned about just playing inside her hobbit house with granddad.
When asked if she liked her unique getaway, Harper had a simple answer. She said, “It’s fun!”