Cobbing a cottage

by ziggy on February 16, 2008 -- 0 comments -- Follow

I’m very excited by the prospect of building my own cob cottage. I have been hesitant to commit myself to this idea over the winter, but I’ve finally put my foot down and made it an official goal of mine. Ideally, I would like to build a small cob house by the end of this year.

Last year, I had the opportunity to work with Ironweed on their cob kitchen for three months. I also helped my friend Dan with construction on his urbanite foundation, and doing light clay straw insulation on his second house. I’ve done bits of other natural building work around the community as well. Having experienced all that, I felt much more confident in my own skills and abilities, but I was still daunted by the prospect of heading my own building project. But I realized I do indeed value natural building skills quite highly, and it’s all a great big learning process. Even if I don’t have all the skills I need to build a house at this moment in time, there’s absolutely no reason that that should stop me. I am looking forward to the prospect of starting a project from the group up (literally) and learning simultaneously.

The plan, in short, is to construct a small house of cob, perhaps 11’x13′, slightly rounded, a single storied building with a living roof, a rocket stove (for heat) connected to a heated cob bed, with large south-facing windows (to take advantage of solar gain), and with an urbanite foundation. I have spent a bit of time thus far making scale sketches, designs, and floor plans. I am fairly confident that I am on the right track, although I do not have every detail in place.

The other day, I decided to give the Cob Cottage Company a phone call with a couple of construction questions I had. (They don’t do e-mail.) Ianto Evans, co-founder of the group answered the phone, and readily answered my questions. Because one of my questions was a bit complicated, he suggested I call back at a specific time later in the day. I was taken aback that he was so willing to accommodate me and answer my questions. Later, on the phone again, he was incredibly friendly and willing to talk to me about my plans. I was able to share some of my ideas about my overall design, and he listened intently and gave me feedback. He was so willing to talk about cob and building, and we eventually got into a deeper discussion about building, doing workshops, etc. Here was the author of the book I had been studying intently for several months, totally willing to help me in my own pursuits. Overall, it was an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ll admit it was like being star-struck.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to update more about this adventure as time goes on…

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  • Claire

    Your hint gave away your story. sad.

  • Buts

    Scan your floor plans and designs–

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