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.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ceiling - Part Two

The ceiling has been completed.

 It really brightened up the cottage.

Now work shifts back down to floor level where the floor will be installed next. In preparation it received a final layer of gravel.

In the meantime here is a preview of the post that is to follow. What's different?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ceiling - Part One

The ceiling is ready to be finished.

A radiant barrier was added. It's not very natural but energy efficiency is the whole purpose of this cottage.

The insulation is cotton. Recycled denim. It was a joy to work with.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Closed In

The cottage is now closed in thanks to a new door.


The door was assembled over one and a half days.

The door was filled with a layer of poly-iso foam insulation.

And it was installed just in time. The first freezing temperatures of the season will be tonight.

The previous week a lot of work was done filling gaps and holes in the building to help it get closed in. Here some gaps in the foundation are closed up.

Inside some of the storm wash out from last year was smoothed over with a clay mixture.

Until spring all the remaining work will be done inside. I missed the window of opportunity for applying lime plaster on the exterior. Lime cannot freeze so lime plastering is now on hold until spring time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


All of the six windows have been installed.

Surprisingly the installation went according to plan with just a couple of minor deviations.

The frames were built and installed in the building last year and had to wait a long time to receive their windows.

About ten days from now lime plaster will be applied to the exterior, weather permitting.

Then a door needs to be built and all the remaining will be done inside.

And this is what the building looked like on this day last year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Preparing For Plaster

The building is two steps away from being closed in. All that is needed are windows and a door

One goal is to finish the exterior plaster before winter. In preparation for plaster a cob mix was applied to the walls. I was actually dreading the job but quickly found out how fun it was. Applying this layer of clay has been one of the most fun and enjoyable parts of the build so far.

Here it is possible to see three different phases of covering the walls. On the right is a layer completed the day before, in the center a newly applied layer, and on the left the wall has been soaked with water in preparation to receive a layer.

Two severe storms came through in the summer and the building was not unscathed. I'm told one of the storms put out 4 inches of rain within 30 minutes with an accompanying wind of 50 mph / 80 kph. Despite these tropical storm conditions the building held up well but did suffer some wash out which can be seen in this post. In many places a quarter to a half inch of clay washed out, and some pockets were as much as one inch deep.

The layer that is being added now is not waterproof and I'm fully aware that another severe storm of this nature will see me doing this work again. That is fine - the building did very well last time. But the push is on to add an outer layer of lime plaster that will assist in shedding water.


Lots of additional minor work was done to ready the building for close-in. The gaps above the windows were filled in, the window frames were cleaned and readied, and the rafters and eaves received another coat of oil / stain.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Walls Are Complete

The walls are finished! There will be no more wall construction on this project. All work from this point forward is finish work.


The walls were built in 104 days spanning 13.5 months. All the work was done myself with the exception of two days where I had helpers. I started wall construction on August 31, 2013 and finished on October 15, 2014.

This was the last section of wall to be completed. It was above the door. This is what it looked like before, from outside.

 And this is what it looked like after, from inside. 591 batches of cob were prepared for wall construction. It is estimated that 8900 balls of cob were placed into the walls.

This is the loft where I'll be sleeping in a few months time.

And this is a view out of the loft window. Based on the amount of cob prepared I'm estimating that the building weighs about 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) including the recycled concrete foundation.

I figure I lifted the weight of the building about five to seven times over moving materials around. Was it a hardship? Not at all. The work was broken into small chunks and it was enjoyable, perhaps the most enjoyable thing I will do. Ever.

And the reward for all the work is yet to come.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Roof Is Complete

The summer heat has finally broke and the building season has commenced. And it is especially exciting to start the season with a major milestone. The metal has been added to the roof and the roof is now finished.

I had help with the roof metal. A neighbor and his talented crew did the installation.

Also a significant portion of closing in the walls to the roof has been completed. Here is the southeast corner before...

 And after...

  And also the northeast corner before...

And after...


 I'm very happy to be building again. Next will be closing in above the door to the roof then all wall work will be completed. Another milestone accomplished.

Here some of my neighbors are taking a rest. This is the view out of the west window of the cottage.

Here I am testing out the building as an office space. It passed the test!

When the wall work is finished next up will be preparing the walls for plaster, windows, door, floor, ceiling, countertops, and sitting area.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Update

The summer heat is here and for the next four to six weeks not much building will be done. I was however able to get some protective stain on the rafters.

There have been some incredible storms this summer. The cottage has been pelted with fierce showers on numerous occasions, the kind where it is raining sideways. There has been some minor wash out but the building has stood up extremely well. But I am looking forward to applying the protective plaster in the fall.