It’s been a few months since I wrote here last.
I was in Australia and Singapore for nearly 3 months enjoying the sun and family and wine and seafood.
I’ve been doing heaps of research on all aspects of cob building and when I get a second I’ll pull together all the cool sites I found and share them with you. I may post them as a permanent page at the top of my blog. I could also do them up in a pdf that I’d be happy to email to anyone that would find it useful. Let me know if you want it.
Some of the areas I have been researching include:
- small house design
- passive solar design
- compost toilets
- straw bale and hybrid building
- designing a rainwater collection system
- non concrete foundations
- architectural salvage in Ireland
- walls & windows
- energy technologies
- earth floors
- natural finishes
- gathering stories and photos of cob builds
Slowly, slowly I’m gathering information and good sites. They are all saved to favourites and to my files but I need to do some proper sorting and cataloguing. Give me a month or so. Nothing like a deadline to motivate!
I mentioned on another post that I had bought a lot of very interesting cob building books from Walnut Books through their online store. Nora is a dote and very helpful.
Well, it seems to me that there’s a section missing in all their books and a lot of the sites. This became clearer to me when I was talking with my friends that are sustainable renovating their cottage (see previous post for photos).
They borrowed the books and then said that there’s nothing about what materials to use to build the bathrooms. Obviously you can’t have exposed cob – as water and cob are a bit like vampires and sun – melting. And quite a few materials won’t adhere to cob or allow a proper airflow. My friends solved the problem and now have 2 gorgeous tiled bathrooms. Anyway – that’s a section for someone’s book.
Speaking of my friend and their cottage. It’s nearly finished and I’ll post photos in a few weeks. It will be available for rent and is the soul of peacefulness. You can sit on the decking and look out onto the curving stream (that legend has it – Charles Atlas used to swim in as a boy.) and the mountains. The downstairs has an open kitchen/living/dining and a HUGE det of french doors to the decking – as well as 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. One of the bedrooms and bathrooms is wheel chair accessible.There are stairs to a lovely mezzanine/ entertainment area plus another bedroom and toilet. It’s a clay, hemp & lime build with all sorts of sustainable materials.
I’m going to book myself in for a week and just retreat and write. The cottage has been in Frank’s family for 7 generations and will soon be part of the Greenbox sustainable holiday rent scheme. If you’re interested in renting after May this year let me know and I’ll link you to them. I’m going to help them develop a blog with photos and a small video tour of the cottage.
It’s not easy finding designs and photos of small house design. Some people’s idea of a small house is something just under 2000 sqft! And as our American friends would say – Hello!! Here in Ireland we are used to living in much smaller spaces.
If you want to see a really interesting small house have a look at Simon Dales self built home in a woodland. I call it the hobbit home and I love it. And – just for the fun do a Google of hobbit homes.
If you do a Google search on small house design some interesting sites do come up.
Check out the natural homes site. It has done a mashup of Google maps and you can see where natural builders have their sites (in real time and online) around the world. If you have a site – add it in.
The other thing I’ve found really interesting is going to You Tube and typing in ‘cob building’. There are a heap of short videos and slide shows with some of the cob innovators as well as tours of homes. Worth a wander.
Still looking for land around Ballinamore at a price I can afford. I have one of those feelings that something will come along around June or July. House and land prices in Ireland have dropped a fair amount in the last 6 months.
You know – part of sustaining a dream is to allow for the moments when you wonder whether it will happen – or should you change you dream.
I wonder if I’ll find the land for a reasonable price within 5 miles of Ballinamore. I wonder whether the bank will give me a loan to build a cob house. I wonder whether the Leitrim County Council will give me planning permission – if I get the land and the loan.
All fair wonderings. Right now I’ll just wait and see what comes up in the next few months.
Meanwhile I can still share with you the information I find from my research.
Take good care.