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Author Topic: Beautiful Sculptural Cob Houses  (Read 7786 times)
Gorbal
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« on: January 02, 2008, 03:10:25 am »

I thought these pics might inspire people here-

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Canopy/7148/cobpics.html

I helped a small house three summers ago for a workshop. It was beautiful and cost under 5,000 dollars. (they usually run higher but can feasibly be built for less) I noticed many people here were from the Portland Oregon area. I am  curious if you have ever heard of the "Cob Cottage Comapany" or "House Alive"?
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Sir Theodore Catchpole
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 03:19:56 am »

they are cool looking
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Lady Merovingian
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008, 03:29:04 am »

Hmmmm... broken link???
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Saphyra
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2008, 03:45:20 am »

Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe did a segment on cob houses.
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Oh how I long to return to my Mighty Mississippi River.
gpalmer
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Mad Limner and Sometime Bricoleuse


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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2008, 05:02:52 am »

The pics are down, sadly.  However, I've long wanted a cob house.  It (or more precisely, the amount of labor required) is unfortunately at odds with my preference for living with lots of people (who don't really want to lift that much dirt.)  Thus I must simply drool.

Grace D. Palmer
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Gorbal
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 05:48:14 am »

The link works for me, so you  may want to try it with netscape or Firefox.

Otherwise the cob cottage company has some nice piccies.

http://www.cobcottage.com/

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gpalmer
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2008, 05:37:53 pm »

The link works for me, so you  may want to try it with netscape or Firefox.

Otherwise the cob cottage company has some nice piccies.

http://www.cobcottage.com/




I use Firefox exclusively.  Last night, the site had merely exceeded its bandwidth. Smiley
Cob cottage is likewise great.  Their book, The Hand Sculpted House, is lovely.

Grace D. Palmer
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Great Bizarro
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2008, 06:15:17 pm »

I have been reading on Underground Houses or Earth beamed houses that make use of a large mass of earth as a type of thermal flywheel. With the cost of heating/cooling a house this day and age, these alternative building methods are starting to be of interest to us that don't believe mainstream is the only way to go.
Here is a link to one such book on the subject.
http://www.undergroundhousing.com/
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Dauntless
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 07:30:11 pm »

By Godparents run Build Something Beautiful...
www.buildsomethingbeautiful.com

Their current house is a thing of beauty and very snug!
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akumabito
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2008, 07:35:35 pm »

By Godparents run Build Something Beautiful...
www.buildsomethingbeautiful.com

Their current house is a thing of beauty and very snug!


*pretends not to be jealous*

Wow, that's nice! I like the Cadhay home.. very nice overall shape! Such a home would look amazing with antique window frames and old oak doors.. Cheesy Just out of curiosity... you wouldn't happen to know how much it sold for, would you? Smiley
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CapnHarlock
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2008, 09:15:22 pm »

For some very basic info and technique on underground building, an old hippie-era book is hard to beat "The $50 and Up Underground House Book" by Mike Oehler  http://www.amazon.com/Fifty-Dollar-Underground-House-Book/dp/0442273118 (for info /ISBN, etc)
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Kabuki
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2008, 11:00:15 pm »

Now, you mention Portland, however...   I can't imagine this kind of construction would be suitable for the northwest.  It's awfully wet here for most of the year.  As I look out across the yard, there are puddles METERS across.  All over.  Wouldn't that be problematic?
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gpalmer
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2008, 11:18:36 pm »

Now, you mention Portland, however...   I can't imagine this kind of construction would be suitable for the northwest.  It's awfully wet here for most of the year.  As I look out across the yard, there are puddles METERS across.  All over.  Wouldn't that be problematic?

Actually, most of the old cob houses are in Devon, England, which is also quite wet, and much of the new work on it's being done in Oregon.  As long as the house has a good, tall foundation and a roof with wide overhangs, it apparently works quite well.

Grace D. Palmer
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Gorbal
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2008, 11:49:20 pm »

I remember some group in Canada was attempting an earthquake  test on a small cob house, but they couldn't get a proper reading because it flew across the room instead of breaking.

Limitations; I read that cob wasn't particularily good in places prone to flooding but then few houses are. Also, both books that I have read on cob suggest you insulate your house if you live in an area where the temperature  stays below freezing for long periods of time.  In some places people just get a permit to build a strawbale house and use cob on  the inside and/or outside.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 11:51:55 pm by Gorbal » Logged
Prof. Brockworth
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2008, 12:22:14 am »

Actually, most of the old cob houses are in Devon, England, which is also quite wet, and much of the new work on it's being done in Oregon.  As long as the house has a good, tall foundation and a roof with wide overhangs, it apparently works quite well.

Speaking from my cob basement in Devon...

...there's lots of cob around here.  It's fine in the wet but degrades if it isn't rendered - lime is traditional, cement is modern.  People are tending to go back to the lime as it's friendlier.  It is also not a real moisture barrier, not the way a cavity wall is, so you remove old screws to see rust on the threads.  But like most natural materials, it works well when slightly damp. 

All our cob around here is full of spiders in the autumn.  Every crevice is silver with webs and legs.  Smiley

As for longevity, my pad's about 250 years old.  The upper levels are brick, the half of the basement that isn't underground is cob.  It's a good two feet thick which makes for fantastically deep windows and chimneys, and there are no right angles or straight edges anywhere.  I love it - it just needs decorating... :/
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gpalmer
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2008, 12:26:40 am »

Actually, most of the old cob houses are in Devon, England, which is also quite wet, and much of the new work on it's being done in Oregon.  As long as the house has a good, tall foundation and a roof with wide overhangs, it apparently works quite well.

Speaking from my cob basement in Devon...

...there's lots of cob around here.  It's fine in the wet but degrades if it isn't rendered - lime is traditional, cement is modern.  People are tending to go back to the lime as it's friendlier.  It is also not a real moisture barrier, not the way a cavity wall is, so you remove old screws to see rust on the threads.  But like most natural materials, it works well when slightly damp. 

All our cob around here is full of spiders in the autumn.  Every crevice is silver with webs and legs.  Smiley

As for longevity, my pad's about 250 years old.  The upper levels are brick, the half of the basement that isn't underground is cob.  It's a good two feet thick which makes for fantastically deep windows and chimneys, and there are no right angles or straight edges anywhere.  I love it - it just needs decorating... :/

My house jealousy is incredible right now.

Grace D. palmer
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Gorbal
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United States United States


« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2008, 06:01:53 am »

Actually, most of the old cob houses are in Devon, England, which is also quite wet, and much of the new work on it's being done in Oregon.  As long as the house has a good, tall foundation and a roof with wide overhangs, it apparently works quite well.

Speaking from my cob basement in Devon...



I am curious of how old cob houses are insulated, and how hard they are to keep  heated without further insulation.
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Prof. Brockworth
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2008, 12:02:39 am »

They're not insulated.  A yard of cob is an enormous thermal mass, so a cob house stays relatively cool in summer and warm in winter.  My place takes trivial heating - one 1kw storage heater for all the living space.  There's a second one in the bathroom but that's mostly to keep it dry, not warm.  The floor and ceilings are treated as usual (which here is thermal batt between the concrete screed and floorboards, and rockwool in the ceiling spaces).  In a really period house you'd see flagstone floors instead of floorboards: more thermal mass. 

(Grace, fret not: this place is almost derelict, it's so run-down.  A major project not helped by racking bicycles and tools everywhere!)

Artisan cob is very pretty.  When I am ancient and wealthy, I may have to have some in my Earthship...
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Dauntless
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2008, 01:50:04 pm »

In my godfather's place the walls are very thick, about 3 feet minimum. Also theres hot air ducts to take otherwise unused hot air from the fireplace downstairs to the upper floors...
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Kabuki
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« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2008, 07:50:48 pm »


All our cob around here is full of spiders in the autumn.  Every crevice is silver with webs and legs.  Smiley



[mild arachnophobia]  Um...  Nevermind, then. [/mild arachnophobia]
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Gorbal
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2008, 06:30:50 am »


[mild arachnophobia]  Um...  Nevermind, then. [/mild arachnophobia]

Yeah me to.

That's funny that your cob house isn't insulated in England- I am curious how big it is and how hard it is  to keep  toasty  warm. I  would like to build a cob house myself one  day, (spiders or no) but I live in Maine where it  can  get really cold.
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Gorbal
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2008, 08:13:02 pm »

Here is a youtube video that gives an inside look at many different cob houses-



And here is a chapter of a documentary on eart building with Michael Smith from the Cobb Cottage Company-



enjoy:)
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