I update this page every few months or so, summing up the state of things and the latest major developments for a quick overview. If you want to read about absolutely everything in great detail, check out the blog.
What we’re currently planning to do
This is still subject to change a bit, but here’s what we want to do:
- Build a fairly large cob-bale house for 3-5 adults and 5-6 kids (not large for that many people though), including
- an office room for 2-3 people,
- passive solar design,
- recycled materials where possible (see what materials we’re collecting already here),
- well-designed, open common rooms,
- a root cellar-like larder to the north,
- Jean Pain composting for hot water,
- rain water catchment,
- and more, probably!
- Create an integral permacultural setting including
- a reed bed for greywater treatment,
- a half-open cob outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, a pyrolising cooker and some shelving and counterspace next to an open fireplace,
- a tiny forest garden and assorted greenery,
- composting toilets,
- aquaponics (if I have my way)
The story so far
So there are some very old sketches and doodles as well as fairly sophisticated drawings by now (see posts tagged planning stage), but basically we're STILL in the planning stage as of August 2015. We found out that the outdoor kitchen we’d planned to start on right about now needs a permit too (oh, Germany). So we decided to postpone everything for yet another year (i.e., kitchen in 2016, house in 2017), and decided to look for housemates first. On a positive note however, we found some wonderful allies (an architect and her cob veteran husband) in May, and since I
dragged brought my partner along for another 4 day cob course at Kate’s in Norfolk, we can finally work on this together!
Learning & preparation stage
From 2012 onwards I have been attending courses and reading books and of course, spent hundreds of hours on the internet, educating myself at every opportunity. And, I should add, telling everyone who would listen for even a minute about what a fabulous thing cob building is. We also found a plot and bought it in November 2014, and I made contact with our local building regulations authorities.
It all started sometime in 2007, I think, when I stumbled across Simon Dale’s hobbit house on the internet. Those beautiful pictures along with his description of how he built it (best quote:
“Lift logs, prop up, nail together and continue until no longer wobbly.” Yay!!) went straight to somewhere deep inside me and firmly lodged themselves there. After that, life happened, I had two more kids, and things sort of evolved in the background, until I got to stay in the cob cottage at Cae Mabon for five nights with my daughters and a huge fat belly, in the summer of 2011. I loathed being back in the house we lived in back then – newly renovated, with a lot of work involved, large amounts of foam stuck to the walls on the outside, triple-glazed windows, and unbreathable in a very suffocating way to me, after that snug, simple, cosy cob cottage in Wales. Ack.