Archive for January, 2010

topsoil cleared!

Stevie & Noel stake the site

After moving around a lot of stones and bamboo, we decided on the exact location for the house.  A stake was placed marking the center point of the building, and from there we marked some other key points.  And then finally…time to dig!  Noel, Stevie, Gray, and I had a topsoil clearing party to celebrate one of the warmest days we’ve had in weeks.  Now that all the topsoil is gone, next we’ll be leveling the site, and then the rubble trench!

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floor plans

first floor

second floor

So here are the house plans.  Pretty simple and straight forward.  One room downstairs, with a bench, a wood stove, a desk, shelves, and a ladder leading to the second floor.  The room upstairs will provide a place to sleep during the cold winter months, as well during any other challenging weather days, like one of our great summer thunderstorms.  Also on the second level will be plenty of storage space for clothes and anything else we want to keep up there.  The house is designed to create a lot of outdoor hangout space, which is where I imagine we will sleep most nights.  What I like most about living in a small space (which right now is an 8’ x 12’ bedroom/kitchen) is that I end up outside most of the time.  So there will be a cob wall extending out from the eastern wall of the house that will designate an outdoor living area.  That’s where we’ll have an outdoor bed, a table, a fire pit, and plenty of seating.

The house doesn’t have a kitchen, or a bathroom, or a lot of other things.  That was intentional.  We have plans to build all that separately, as spaces that can be shared with other people living on the land.  There is the potential for a lot of people to be staying here at any given time.  Do we each need our own bathroom, our own kitchen?  That just seems silly.

south wall

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So, I’m not too much into blogging, but as I start to really get into this long building project, I wanted a way to document my experience, to share it with others.  So here it is.

I’m building a home, out of cob, for a lot of reasons.  First reason being that my partner Noel and I need a space to live in that isn’t a small room leading a double life as a sort of community kitchen.  Another reason to build a cob house – lots and lots of clay soil.  But really the main reason is that  it’s fun.  Definitely way more fun than working to make money to pay someone to build a house for you.  I think I’ll trade treated lumber, vinyl siding, asphalt shingles, pvc, concrete, loud machinery, and a lifetime of debt for clay, sand, straw, and days spent outside working with friends.

I spent a lot of last fall gathering materials.  Lots of “urbanite” of various sizes, ranging from small gravel sized pieces to use in the rubble trench, to larger chunks to use when laying the foundation.  I’ve got some wood, some windows, as well as buckets, tarps, and other random materials and tools.  The house plans are complete, a building site chosen, and some test holes dug.  My main obstacle has been my inability to stay in town long enough to get any work done.  But after being gone for almost 2 months straight, I’m back without plans to leave any time soon.  So it’s on now!

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