Sunday, May 31, 2015

One Month In

It has been six weeks since move in and I have been able to spend some quality time in the cob cottage recovering from the final pushes needed for move in. Although there is still finish work to be completed I have been spending most of my time just enjoying the building.

The house has proven to be very quiet inside and has so far comfortable to live in. The quality of sleep in the loft has been remarkable, far better than expected. The loft is starting to feel warm at night though requiring a window to be open.

The late spring days are now becoming very warm so the temperature in the building is regulated by the standard practice of opening windows when it is cool outside in the morning and keeping them closed through the day. I'm very curious to see how the building performs during the scorching summer heat. It just survived one of the wettest, stormiest spring seasons seen here which is encouraging.

The kitchen is simple yet has proven to be very usable. The drain for the sink still needs to be connected. More shelves are planned for the left side of the counter and also under the counter.

Work will slow for the summer but I'll continue to chip away at things as time permits and will continue to enjoy this house - and the grapes which will be ready in a few weeks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Moving Into A Cob House

I have moved into the tiny cob cottage. So far I have lived in it for ten days and nights. This is the office / dining area.

The building has been very comfortable so far. The quality of sleep in the loft is remarkable. Here is the hang out space. Some bench seating will be built soon.

I now have a kitchen!

There will be a lot of room for storage under the counter. I am planning on adding more shelves on the left side.

A view out the window at breakfast time.

The week wasn't without excitement. Two severe thunderstorms that each produced tornadoes came around. In the picture below can you see the lowering on the left? That lowering produced a tornado about ten miles away.


One of those severe storms took a bite out of the west wall of the cottage. Its minor but I need to get the finish plasters on the outside of the building.

Those angry storms don't look so bad from the back side...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Plaster, Finishing, Electric

It has been a while since the last post. Things inside have changed!

First there was a finish coat of plaster.

My friend Georgie had recommended the book Clay Culture: Plasters, Paints, Preservation by Carole Crews...which is now my second favorite book of all time.

That book provided confidence. It game me the confidence that anyone can work with earthen plaster. Thank you Georgie!

Working with the plaster was such an amazing experience. How beautiful is this plaster?


The finish plaster received two coats of alis, a hand-made clay based paint.

Easy to make and a joy to use it was expertly applied by the talented Nina who made sure it was done right. Thank you Nina!

At long last the imagined white finish appeared.

The cottage is now adequately bright without lights, even on a cloudy day.

I miss the reddish warmth of the natural clay but the improvement in brightness makes up for it.

And even the loft is bright now.

The floor received a coat of shellac as a sealer. What a difference it made to improve the appearance.

A desk / workstation area has been added in the alcove.



It was time for electric.

The building is now fully electrified and is habitable.

Next post ... THE MOVE IN!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Base Plaster, Part One

Plastering of the interior has begun. This base layer of plaster is an earthen mix of clay and sand.

The base layer of plaster helps fill in any irregularities in the walls. In this photo notice the weathering of the wall in the lower right. This was done last winter, before the roof was on.


Here the entrance wall is receiving it's plaster.

Most plasters include some fiber such as straw in the mix. I did not use straw since I'm plastering in less than optimal winter drying conditions, and straw is susceptible to mold.

The results have been very good. There is some cracking due to the absence of straw but the next layer of finish plaster will hide any cracks.

Window sills have been made for each of the windows.


Base plastering is now finished on the lower level. A few more days work on the loft and upper level should see it complete.

Then all that remains before move in is: 1. A layer of finish plaster. 2. Install electric (optional).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The floor is now complete and has it ever transformed the house.

It is made of recycled flagstone and some purchased flagstone. When I lived in the city a neighbor had a stack of flagstone on their front step with a "FREE" sign on it. I loaded it up right away...

It took about eight days for me to install it. Next time I think I could do it in half the time.

I didn't really know how it was going to turn out but I am pleased with the result.

Now two coats of clay plaster is the only thing left to do before I live here...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


There isn't a lot of commentary for this post but enjoy the pictures of the newly installed loft area. At 7' by 7' it is very spacious. There is also an adjoining shelf and storage area.