When most folks decide to build a home, they get some timbers and construct a wood frame. There are actually a number of other approaches you can take however involving different materials and techniques. One fascinating method is to work with “cob.”
This fanciful structure is Kate’s Cob. The top floor of the house is made of wood, but the bottom clearly is not. It has a unique organic look to it, almost like it was grown, not built.
Of course, Kate’s Cob was built. The walls are constructed from a kind of mud blended out of clay, sand, straw and water. The resulting material is known as “cob.”
In this mixture, the sand provides strength while the clay acts as a binder. The water is used to mix them together, while the straw provides reinforcement.
Cob is not entirely stable if it is left to the mercy of time and exposure. The material is mud, and while it is compact and hard, moisture can bring out its “muddy” attributes, and it can wash away.
This weathering process does take a long time, but naturally it is something to avoid. Thankfully, there are steps which can be taken to protect it. A high foundation protects the base of the structure, while a wide overhang above can shelter it from precipitation. A plaster finish can be applied to the wall to make sure that sideways rainfall will not cause damage.
Check out the bench on the left. The organic lines are a great complement to the cob construction. The door on the right is very quaint and charming as well.
This has to be the coolest, most artistic oven I have ever seen in my life. Shall we take a look inside the house?
Cob is not a great insulator on its own, but straw bales can be used in the construction to add some insulation to the walls. There is a rocket stove in this house to provide heat along with thermal tubes embedded in the floor.
This looks exactly like you would expect a kitchen to look in a hobbit house! The round shape of the counter not only fits flush against the curved wall, but also provides an optimized space to cook with ease. Above the rectangular window is a really cool artistic flourish—a set of colorful glass bottles embedded directly in the cob.
Dividing the kitchen and dining space is a lovely cabinet. A set of stairs leads to the upper story.
I have to draw your attention to the placement of the TV! That little alcove was sculpted directly into the wall when the home was being built. The TV is situated at just the right height for comfortable, ergonomic viewing. There is room above it for DVDs.
I can’t imagine how cool it must be to live in this gorgeous and unusual house! If you enjoyed checking out Kate’s Cob, learn more about it over at Cobworks.