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Artist James Hubbell rebuilds his Hobbit home

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The charred trunk of a tree frames one of the eight structures designed by architect James Hubbell. The San Diego County fires of 2003 gutted four of the Hobbit-like buildings that Anne and James Hubbell have since restored on their 45 acres in Wynola, Calif. (Christopher Reynolds / LAT)
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James Hubbell looks out from a bedroom doorway near one of the buildings’ many mosaic inlays and stained-glass windows. (Christopher Reynolds / LAT)
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Arched ceilings and exposed stone and brick walls lead to a heavy wood door. James Hubbell began designing the structures in 1958, building a room or two at a time, including an art studio for his growing business. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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An elaborately carved door graces the entry to James Hubbell’s office. He rebuilt the burned buildings with the help of his son Drew, an architect, and Mark Tighe, a Ramona, Calif., builder, artisan and reclaimed-materials specialist. “It was a real adventure,” Tighe says. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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The rear doorway of Hubbell’s studio offers a natural path to the rugged landscape. At the time of the wildfire, Hubbell simply said, “I’m not going to give it my misery.” (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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Stained glass lends brilliant color to the spa and the egg-shaped pool, with its mosaic bottom. The pool, built around 1970, also survived the 2003 fire. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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A swirled design colors the floor of the boys’ living area, with its exposed rock walls and sprayed concrete roof. James Hubbell calls it a “habitable sculpture.” (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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Light from circular windows fills the loft in the main house. In the rebirth, the new structures have gained fire resistance and energy efficiency. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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A mosaic design on the floor and stained-glass ceiling window radiate color throughout the bedroom. The Hubbells have started paperwork to get the compound designated as a county and state historic site. (Christopher Reynolds / LAT)
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Brickwork, sculpted faces and a carved door with a glass inset mark the entry to the boys’ room, a 650-square-foot space that reflects Hubbell’s playful style. It was built in the 1970s and survived the fire, except for the stained-glass bathroom skylight, which crashed to the floor. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
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Wrought iron handles and a latch are part of the whimsical detail on a gallery’s wooden door. (Christopher Reynolds / LAT)
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A spire rises from one of the distinctive buildings, with its series of wavy roof overhangs. James Hubbell used reclaimed cedar milled from local fire-damaged trees for most of his reconstruction wood. (Christopher Reynolds / LAT)
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