Green Your Life Cob house

Published on December 31st, 2013 | by James Ayre


Beautiful Cob House Built By Retired Teacher With Only $250 Dollars

Ever think about building your own house? Perhaps a cob house? I know that I certainly have. If you have as well, then you’ll probably be able to greatly appreciate the story below — one detailing how a retired art teacher from Oxfordshire, England was able to build a beautiful cob-house for only about £150 (USD $250).

Michael Buck, a 59-year-old British farmer and retired art teacher, apparently designed his dirt-cheap (but beautiful) house on the back of an envelope, and built the house largely from salvaged materials — just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need much to get started.

Cob house

TreeHugger provides more:

According to Oddity Central, Buck designed the home on the back of an envelope, and spent over two years collecting local materials that he foraged or salvaged himself. The floorboards were from a neighbour’s derelict boat, while the glass for the windows were salvaged from a scrapped truck. The roof’s thatching came from straw that he gathered and hauled himself from adjacent fields.

For amenities, there is free water from a nearby creek, but the house has no electricity, no running water and is heated by a woodstove — which is more than enough to heat up a space warmly insulated by cob walls. A lovely spherical pile of stacked wood lies outside, while a nearby well serves as a refrigerator, complemented by a composting toilet in a separate outhouse. (And let’s not forget the chicken coop!) However, he ran into the unexpected cost of USD $250 when he ran out of straw and nails.

Cob house inside

The project was in many ways intended to demonstrate that a quality living environment can built for next to nothing: “A house doesn’t have to cost the earth, you only need the earth to build it. I wanted to show that houses don’t have to cost anything. We live in a society where we spend our lives paying our mortgages, which many people don’t enjoy.”

You can find out more at Michael’s site.

Image Credit: Michael Buck

Tags: , , ,

About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Earl Crabb

    Yeah right…….not here in the US! Just to get a building permit you have to go thru zoning and apply for permit for sewage and water which is between 4 and 6 hundred bucks…..what crock of NOT REALITY this article is……maybe on a deserted island without building codes, taxes and permits

  • flux5000

    “We live in a society where we spend our lives paying our mortgages, which many people don’t enjoy.”

    Very true, but how much was the land that this gorgeous house was built on?
    Even out here in rural west Wales land is very expensive, and unless it’s under 1m in height there would be planning permission to deal with.
    Please explain how these issues were circumvented.

Back to Top ↑