At a time when housing rates are hitting the roof, an English farmer has gone and built a house for almost nothing. 59-year-old Michael Buck spent a measly £150 ($250) to construct a small, yet cozy house in the garden of his Oxfordshire home.
The former art teacher drew plans for the house on the back of an envelope. He didn’t need any special planning permissions since it was classified as a summer home. Buck spent two years gathering natural and reclaimed materials for construction. It took him an additional eight months to construct it with his bare hands; he didn’t use any power tools at all.
To make the base, he learned the ancient technique of cob from a book. The technique comes from prehistoric times and involves a mixture of sand, clay, water and earth. Clay-based subsoil is mixed with sand, straw and water and then ladled onto a stone foundation. Workers and oxen then trample upon the mixture — a process known as cobbing. The layers of cob gradually build up and harden over time.
For the 300 sq. ft. floor space, Buck rescued the floorboards from a neighbor’s unused skip. He retrieved the windscreen of an old lorry and converted the glass into windows. The walls are painted with a mixture of chalk and plant resin. The roof is a simple wooden frame thatched with straw from nearby fields.
Text by Sumitra
Photos by Michael Buck