Cob House – Hobbit House: The Project Begins

This past weekend I finally managed to make it up to my brother’s property, located near Lone Butte BC, to have a look at the patch of ground that he is going to allow me use to build the cob/hobbit house. I took 2 of my son’s up with me and we spent the Saturday pulling nails and sorting lumber from the cabin my brother and his friend salvaged. We didn’t finish all of it but we did manage to deal with the most valuable cuts at least.

While I was up there inspecting the potential building sites I snapped a few pictures to document the process of building the little cob/hobbit house. The first picture is facing south (it may be off a few points) and I took the rest turning slightly to the right to approximate the main compass points.

South View

South View

South West View

South West View

West View

West View

North West View

North West View

North View

North View

North East View

North East View

East View

East View

South East View

South East View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in the pictures we will have some decent trees surrounding our little cob house once it is done but we will certainly need to do some clearing as well.

What you can’t see in the pictures is the location of the road, our site will be about 75 yards off of the main road and it is off to the East. Also it may be hard to notice but the site is at the top of a little hill that levels off quite nicely to the North. The steepest part of the hill is to the South and will work well for drainage.

I brought back a soil sample so I can test it to see the clay content, make sure that it is suitable to build this hobbit house. There was a very thin layer of top soil but under that it looks like there is a lot of sandy material and rocks. Looks pretty good for drainage but I will consult my “How To” books to make sure it is going to be adequate to our needs. If the soil isn’t suitable I would be left with the choices of either selecting a new building spot or scraping off the unsuitable soil until I find a decent sub-strait. If it is too deep it will drive the cost up for foundation stone which would force me to find a new location.

For those of you who are curious I am basing the construction of this project from a book called “How To Build A Cob House – Step by Step” by Alex Sumerall. His site is a good resource on building with Cob.

On a slightly different note; my brother’s property is divided in two by a road and the section of property across the street from his house has this old dilapidated cabin on it that seems to garner a lot of people stopping on the road to take pictures of it. Oddly, the old cabin also seems to receive a lot of visitations by some of the local deer as they can hole up in it from time to time. Below is a picture of that old cabin.

Old Cabin

Old Cabin

Better late than never…

Alright. I know it has been close to a month since my last post but what can I say, I’ve been busy.

I am almost all moved in to the new digs out in Coquitlam, BC. I still have to move the remaining contents of my storage locker to the new place but there isn’t much left. Mostly my large collection of games and the required shelving to hold them and that is about it.

I have sprung an interesting spring for myself and it is about to begin. I bribed one of my kids with the building of a hobbit house up on my brother’s property in the Caribou. Nothing too fancy just a round little 2 bedroom house built of cob.

For those of you who do not know what cob is they are little balls of mud, sand and straw that you pile up over a period of time to resemble a small cottage. The nice things about using cob are that you get to sculpt your house rather than build it and it is far less expensive than traditional housing. They also regulate temperature very efficiently, making them economical to live in.

A lot of people who build these things do it because they want to reduce their footprint upon the environment. Power to them for all the difference they actually make but that isn’t my motivation. Hell, I am going to use power tools to do all of my heavy work. I am not that noble, I don’t have the time to be.

My son and I have gone over some rough plans and will be finalizing a blueprint real soon. We know the basic size of land that will be required and I am going up that way to scout out the building spot as well as secure the various equipment and supplies required to build the foundation.

I haven’t decided if I am going to make a new site to chronicle the building of our hobbit house or just make a section for it on this site but I will be documenting the undertaking somewhere.

The hobbit house will be named either Broderick Hall or Logan Manor, we haven’t decided yet. Also, the patio with the sculpted outdoor oven will also be a memorial to my sister, Shannon Romhanyi.

Scary project? You bet but it will also be a fun one for the next couple of years.