Natural Building (106)

Roundhouse Living in Wales

While not included in the print edition of Small Homes, this spread will be included in the ebook edition, and links to a very readable PDF.

Hi folks. I live in West Wales, UK, with my partner Faith in a roundhouse I designed and we built in 1997. It is about 85m2, (850 sq. ft.) in size. It cost £3,000 ($4,500) to make initially, and we have spent another £1000 or so on it in the 18 years we have been living here.

It is based on the type of roundwood frame and turf-roofed houses used by Celtic, Mandan, Miwok, and Pomo peoples, plus some modern things thrown in, like windscreen and double-glazed windows, wood stove, running water (hot and cold), solar PVs on the roof, and a wooden plank floor. We are off grid.

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Builder on the Move

My partner and I restored an old bread oven in northern Drôme, France, that was damaged by the rain and the time, extended it to make a small bedroom for a guesthouse. The idea was to create a room for lovers, close to the woods and far from the road.

The special design with bottles is inspired from the wind and a feather because the guest house is called the Feathers Inn. Most of the building materials were repurposed (tiles, bottles, door, wood), or found on site (earth, stones).

The design is inspired by the local style of building with stones on the base and earth on the top, but adapted with a contemporary touch.

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Jan's Cabin

“As I was finishing it, nailing the last shake on the roof, a surveyor came along.” Bad news: The building was completely on his neighbors’ land. What else to do but move it? He jacked up the building, slid four logs underneath, put axle grease on them, and with a come-along, a 5-wheel block and tackle, and 1″ steel cable, skidded the building up onto the logs, onto four other logs and then onto the repositioned original logs, a distance of 70 feet onto his own property.

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Natural Building Colloquium – High Desert, Southern California, Oct. 17–22, 2016

5438538_orig-2Focusing on the West Coast and Southwest, Quail Springs is an educational and land stewardship nonprofit organization dedicated to demonstrating and teaching holistic ways of designing human environments, restoring and revitalizing the land and community, and facilitating deeper understandings of ourselves and one another through immersive experiences in nature. The 2016 Colloquium organizing team consists of the whole Quail Springs team, Sasha Rabin*, Tammy Van, and Rebekah Hacker.

The gathering will give focus and priority to the building and builders of the west coast and southwest, U.S. We ask that all people attending the colloquium have some experience with natural building. This is not the event for the novice builder. That being said, we value the fresh eyes and perspectives, and enthusiasm that comes with a newness to the field. We will strive for a balance of experienced attendees, while also encouraging the next generation of builders…

*Sasha’s beautiful cob house will be in Small Homes.

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Meet West Wing – Shed of the Year

West Wing, Eco

The West Wing, a family-friendly labour of love over eight years, has three separate sections including a spacious loft which as an area to sleep and wind down, a large workshop space for ‘shedworking’ and a secret bookcase that reveals a hidden room for the kids to enjoy. The eco-friendly shed, with its warm and cozy charm, is a quirky getaway at the bottom of the garden…

Made from 90% recycled materials and set across three sections, the West Wing includes a bed in loft space, an area to relax and escape, a secret bookcase, a play area, storage and workshop…

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