The Hobbit Hut - Clay Cottage
All credits go to Mother Earth. More than 1/3 of the world’s inhabitants still live in earthen homes. The cob house was built with dreams of exotic travel, adventure, diversity and the fantasies inspired when creating with clay.
In reality; it was many hours of intensive hard work and locating recycled and repurposed materials. Dreamt of for a lifetime and finished almost 10 years ago, it has survived well and continues to be a small magical outlier, just far enough from home for a little escape from the mundane.
You will find many curios used in the walls like colored glass items, firewood, bottles, a glass table top & more. Several features were artisticly sculptured into the clay walls.
We used alot of recycled products for the Hobbit Hut, from concrete core samples in the footing to redesigned old cabinets with a counter top that flows to fit the wall. The sink is designed to work like a sink in a camper with a hand pump water faucet that gets water from a water tank. (a hose can be fashioned to supply water as well). There is a hefty "solace bench" (rescued wood from a discarded beam intended for the SpiderHollow), and the bed in the loft can sleep 2 people comfortably. The loft is supported by hand hewn log slabs created while sawing up logs for building the Spiderhollow. The structure is stout and sturdy to say the least. Large windows and a lockable French pane front door allow plenty of sunlight inside. On winter nights, a welcoming glow from the woodstove can be seen from the the big house.
Solar panels provide power for lights, radio, laptop, and other small wattage devices. In the past we have run a power cord down from the house anytime it might be needed for larger power demands. A small woodstove is inside to keep you cozy and warm for those cold winter days and nights. In the back wall is an old fashion celler door style cooler box vented to the outside.
The walls are roughly 12" thick offering a thermal mass that stabilzes temperature and holds that temperature for an amazing period of time. Small diameter saplings and trees from the property were hand hewn and used as roof beams to support a natural earthen mushroom shaped roof.
There is an adobe/clay floor with many finishing top coats, color, and hand polished. A nice sized out building was added behind the hut for fire wood and storage. Behind is a surpentine privacy wall protected from rain by a hand cut cedar shake roof and is intended for a composting toilet. The Hobbit Hut is surrounded by flowers and roses, and other plantings. It even has it's own little garden.
It is most difficult to leave the Hobbit Hut, but we know the next owner will simply fall in love with it, just as we did. The cob project really fit into the SpiderHollow feeling of our property. All our land and buildings emulate a most unique and individual spirit all thier own.
The Hobbit Hut can easily be enjoyed by 2 people but for a more lengthly stay it is most comfortable for 1. Guests will often request a stay in the hut instead of the guest room of the house. In fact, we have had several guests live in the cottage for 3 & 4 months at a time, summer & winter. The cottage gives you extra living space (12x12) beyond the capabilities of just another spare room in the big house. *If you are not actively using the cottage, consider putting it up on AirBnB.com.
Cob is a very old method of building with earth and straw or other fibers. Cob is similar to adobe. Instead of creating uniform blocks to build with, cob is normally applied by hand in large gobs (or cobs) which can be tossed from one person to another during the building process. Cob building is typically a group effort, a community goal, a village endeavor - to house the people. The traditional way of mixing the clay/sand/straw is with the bare feet. For this reason, it is fairly labor intensive. Because of all the straw, cob can be slightly more insulating than adobe. As a large 'masonary mass', cob heats and cools slowly. Since this building is small, the wood stove heats it well and it is shaded during the hot summer afternoons.The wonderful thing about cob construction is that it can be a wildly freeform, sculptural affair. Hence - A cob hut often becomes an emotional & spiritual artform, which invokes both simplicity and ancient architecture.
A suggested book that will provide an extensive education on cob houses and their maintenance is: The Hand Sculpted House, by Ianto Evans.
Here is a link for Cob House research: Mother Earth News: Cob House Dwellings