I have gathered these sites over the last few years.
There are 2 posts I wrote in 2007 that list a pile of useful sites and books.
I then added a recent (March 2009) list of small house and sustainable building blogs.
[Let me know if any of the links don’t work.]
They are full of very useful links and books that I purchased from Walnut Books in 2007 to help my very very very steep learning curve.
Post Number One – September 2007
In a few previous posts I mentioned my wish to build a home in the next few years.
I want a home that:
- is beautiful
- connects to a whole pile of ecological values that I’m interested in
- i can build myself
- won’t leave me with a 20 year mortgage debt
Now, anyone that knows me is very aware that I haven’t ever built anything – a shelf, a barbecue…and I want to build a whole house… with my own hands (and a lot of other helpful hands).
Don’t you just love big dreams?
What I’ve spent over 20 years doing in my work is … building communities, ideas, projects.
I have really, really good research skills and when I am passionate about anything I can gather people around an idea (thank god I never decided to be a career criminal or dictator).
I’ve collected great books and articles on ecological, green and sustainable building for about 10 years.
I highly recommend Walnut Books – a great online bookstore in Cork (Ireland). They have all the top books on every topic to do with sustainable and simpler living.
I’ve spent/invested a small fortune on some amazing books. And yesterday I ordered a few more on cob building and a few great wall charts on gardening through the year and biodynamic gardening (topic for another day folks).
I have now collected what I think is the definitive list of cob sites (most with great photos), workshops (and one of the best is held in Cork) and cob pioneer builders. I’m going to list a few so if you’re interested you can check them out – and save you the 15 hours trolling the web.
- green home building
- hollies centre http://theholliesonline.com/
- cob projects
- cob workshops
- network earth
- cob cottage
- cob in cornwall
- green building
- mud girls
- cob together
- build something beautiful
- devon earth building
- house alive
- building with awareness
That’ll keep you busy for a while. I’ll post others over time but these sites have great photos and links … so go play.
simon dale site [I love this house … I’m a hobbit fan … and star trek fan … so? … I’m a nerd/geek … ]
The Hollies Centre for Sustainability is based in Cork (Ireland) and runs some great courses. There’s a 9 day course running on cob building that’s worth checking out.
I’ve looked at a range of natural building materials and cob connects with me because it’s:
- cheap – the dirt you dig for the foundation becomes your walls
- ecological – it’s about as local as you can get and doesn’t burn any fuel
- beautiful – of all materials, cob can be sculpted into curves and niches
- efficient – if you also build using passive solar (and even feng shui) principles – you’ll end up with a very energy efficient home
And – there are cob houses in Devon (UK) that have been around for hundreds of years. They’ve survived wind and rain.
I’ll be building my home using a range of ecological and sustainable methods – compost toilet; rainwater tanks; solar or wind energy; passive solar design principles blah blah.
Basically, I’ll be building a home that will have a small footprint and won’t leave me paying a huge mortgage when I’m in my 60’s … maybe even no mortgage.
You’ve heard of the Slow Food Movement?
Sure you have. It’s all about buying local/seasonal and savouring the cooking and eating process. Tasty, relaxing and sensual.
Well folks, I’m starting the Slow Building Movement.
I’ll take my time learning and researching and going to some workshops (really play with the dirt girls and boys).
Then I’ll start building my home in either Autumn 2008 or Spring 2009 – a gift to me as I turn 50 (July 26 2009 – just in case you want to send a present).
added note in 2009 – well folks … I’ll still be 50 but the building won’t be for a few years yet. I enjoy living in Ballinamore town … and … I’m waiting for someone to come along and lease me an acre for about 40 years … instead of buying. I get the land for very little and they will get the house I build when I die.
After the last few months of hard but successful work in my business I was feeling a bit like I’d been in the trenches for too long … seeing the grains of sand on the beach … and …missing the actual beach.
These last few days have brought me back to the big picture of my life and what engages and makes me passionate. Researching for my home has really energised and excited me.
There’s heaps for me to learn …and I can’t wait.
Post Number Two – Sept 2007
When some people take a week off they loll. And that’s usually what I’d plan.
I wasn’t planning on taking this week off from work but each day just took me into other spaces than work.
I’ve now spent nearly 30 hours this week researching cob house building online.
Some people would define that as hard work.
I see it as leisure and a major leap towards creating my own natural home.
A couple of posts ago I listed some of the best sites on cob building. You can also watch dozens of short (a few minutes) videos on cob building at You Tube. Just type in ‘cob building’ and away you go.
3 parcels arrived today from Walnut Books – a fantastic online sustainable bookstore in Cork. A big hello to Nora – who answers all my questions with cheerful emails and sends the books in recycled packs.
Treat your self to a visit and buy 1 book – just for the craic of getting a parcel.
It’s like getting presents. The parcels included a great companion planting wall chart and an organic gardeners monthly calendar – very useful for baby neophyte gardeners like me.
I bought a gorgeous glass cabinet from a local store (I buy local to support small business. If we don’t Ireland will turn into Tescoland – or for my American friends – Walmart land) to house all these wonderful books -treasures of information that will help me design and build my own ecological home.
Here is a list of the books I’ve bought so far – all available from Walnut Books:
- The biodynamic food & cookbook. wendy e. cook. 2006
- Results from the biodynamic sowing and planting calendar. maria thun. Gave to Sinead.
- Complete book of companion gardening. bob flowerdew. 2004
- More straw bale buildings – a complete guide to designing and building with straw. chris magwood etal. 2005. Gave to Pat.
- The beauty of strawbale homes. Steens. 2005. Gave to Pat.
- Build your own earth oven. kiko denzer. Gave to Sinead.
- Places of the soul – architecture & environmental design as a healing art. christopher day
- Power of limits – proportional harmonies in nature, art and architecture. Gave to Brian.
- The whole house book – ecological building design and materials. harris and borer.2004
- The earthcare manual – a permaculture handbook for britain and other temperate climates. patrick whitefield. 2004
- Natural home heating – the complete guide to renewable energy options. greg pahl. 2003
- The organic gardeners monthly reminder calendar.michael littlewood. 2005
- Companion planting chart. michael littlewood.
- Put your hands in the dirt. activities and projects.kiko denzer
- Home Work. handmade shelter. lloyd kahn. 2004
- Shelter. lloyd kahn.
- Building with cob. adam weismann & katy bryce. UK. 2003
- The cob builders handbook. becky bee. usa.
- The hand sculpted house. evans, smith & smiley.2002
Yup – that’s a really really cool reference library . I’m still waiting for books I ordered but that’s all part of the fun – never quite knowing when a parcel will arrive here in Ballinamore.
Some of the books have been gifts to very dear friends. The straw bale books go to Pat in Boston. She and her partner are planning to build a strawbale house in an urban USA environment.
The 3 cob building books are pretty much the bibles of cob building and I’m glad there’s one from the UK as well as the USA contingent.
I was writing in the diary last night about the values and personal qualities that passionately drive me & will help me in building my home:
- beauty in design and execution
- ethical buying and sourcing of materials
- ecological view of building
- local sourcing of materials and labour
- community involvement in building and learning – I’ll be inviting school groups on site
- slow building to take the time to grow the design and enjoy the experience
- sensual design in the look, feel, scent, touch & taste of the whole process
- spiritual in honouring the people, place and space
- respect for the land and people involved in the building
- playfulness in the design and building – have fun with the mud
- celebration through all the good, bad & downright ugly
- energy save it, respect it, share it
- low to no debt so I’ll take my time and save and only borrow from the credit union
- integrity in all my dealings with people and the land
- joy in creating my own home
- gratitude for all the gifts in my life (people, skills, information …) that will make my ideas a reality
- recycle & reuse as many materials as I can
- courage to be true to my values and ideas – particularly when it’s raining and people say it can’t be done
- persistence beyond inspiration and the first burst of enthusiasm
- resilience when even the silver lining has another cloud
- planning a framework of ideas so I can be creative within a structure of building
- research and gather information to inform all the design and building
- support from friends and people I don’t yet know – and I’ll give support in return
So – in 5 days I’ve made a major life decision; researched it and begun the first small steps towards making it real.
I’m chuffed beyond words.
I’m happy to share any information I collect on this 2 or 3 year journey. Just leave a comment with your email and I’ll get back to you.
Don’t worry family – Lizzy is well able to look after herself … and … I’m not about to live in a mud hut and eat dirt.
Regardless of how much money I have (or don’t have) I’ll be happy creating a great home … and … growing my own food … and still find a way to drink champagne!
A sustainable life does not mean a refusal to care about and for myself – in fact it’s the exact opposite.
The more aware and conscious I become of the whole ecology of building a home and living a sustainable life – the more content and healthy (mind, body, heart & spirit) I’m becoming.
You know me well enough that I’d never become po faced.
I’ll enjoy this new journey (it’s actually a deepening of an existing journey) as much as I do pretty much everything in my life.
You have a great weekend.
Added information March 2009
And here are some sites I collected this week (no … don’t thank me for spending hours and hours online sorting through the great and the crap sites … just send me chocolates and champers dear reader!) on small house design and simple living. I rss them where I can so I can receive updates.
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company – Jay Shafer is seen as one of the founding ideas/action people when it comes to small houses.
- Green Home Building – an amazing site on every aspect of sustainable building. Heaps of info on all materials.
- Tiny House Blog
- Resources for Life
- Constructing a Simpler Life
- Small Living Journal
- This Tiny House
- Coming unmoored … living in a tiny floating home
- Small House Style
- Tiny House Design – free house plans
- Earth Bag Plans – over 77 free designs
- Tiny Texas Homes
- The Cabin House
- Coyote Cottage
- Little Diggs
- small house musings
- Tiny Free House – a guy is making his wee house from wooden pallets
- Tiny Houses
- Tiny Pallet House – another blog by Tiny Free House guy.
- Research Institute of Sustainable Building
- Earth Bag Building Blog