Although cob has been one of the best sustainable building materials since prehistoric times, it can be hard to come across a cob house these days.
This is because the industrial revolution brought about conventional building materials deemed more efficient. Due to the scarcity of cob houses, many people struggle to visualize what to expect when building a cob home.
Having cob house examples is an inspiration to build a home using this eco-friendly material.
The examples will help determine if a cob house meets your needs. Some needs you’ll want to consider include aesthetics, durability, and suitability for your surroundings.
I’ll discuss 11 cob house examples you will love and want to build in this article. From their curved walls to thatched roofs, these houses are meant to inspire you into cob construction. Let’s dive right in!
1. The Laughing Cob House, Oregon
Built by Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley, the founders of The Cob Cottage Company in Oregon, The Laughing Cob House features intricate patterns that make it an ideal family dwelling.
The walls are made from structurally-bonded cob and straw bales (the latter enhances insulation). Its foundation combines urbanite and unmilled roundwood.
For protection against erosion, the home’s interior and exterior walls are rendered with lime-sand plasters and lime-based paint.
Finally, the living room combines clay, straw, and hydraulic lime.
2. East Devon Cob House
Designed and built by Kevin McCabe, the East Devon Cob House is the epitome of cob construction.
Kevin embarked on constructing this magnificent 10,000 square feet (929 square meters) cob home in 2011, a project that resulted in bankruptcy and divorce. However, despite the trials and tribulations, he never gave up on his dream of building this magnificent cob castle.
The cob castle took nine years to complete, incorporating 2,000 tonnes of cob. Some of the walls incorporate polystyrene and are rendered with lime plaster. They’re rated A+ for their highly sustainable and eco-friendly nature.
3. A Tiny Cob Home in Romania
Built by architect Ileana Mavrodin, this tiny home is an inspiration for Romanians to rediscover their natural skills and community spirit.
The home encompasses stem walls made from dry stone. Its foundation is a rubble trench, while the door frames are made from roundwood.
Mavrodin used a roundwood green roof on this home to enhance its sustainability.
4. The Cob Cottage in Wales
Located at Cae Mabon, the cob cottage was built in 2004 by 25 people led by Ianto and Linda.
The construction team adopted the technique of mixing cob in the morning and building with it in the evening. This was necessary to give the cob mixture sufficient forming time before building with it.
The cottage features a small double bedroom, a rocket stove, a pair of bunk beds, and solar panels for lighting.
5. A Cob House in County Sligo, Ireland
Built by Féile (an Architect) and Colin (a Carpenter), this is a beautiful cob and straw bale home in Skreen, Ireland. It took three years to complete.
After attending a 10-day cob workshop, the two built this home using mud dug up from a sheep’s pasture. They used a slow design that resulted in a home that surpassed their expectations.
Besides cob for the walls, the 1,400-square-foot (130-square-meter) home has door and window frames made with wood taken from nearby trees.
6. The Cob House in Oxfordshire
This is a cob house built by Michael Buck, a 59-year-old retired teacher and farmer. Interestingly, Michael built this house without using any power machine on a budget of $250.
Although he lacked knowledge of cob building, Buck read some manuals, collected the necessary materials over two years, and embarked on construction.
The 300-square-foot (28-square-meter) home has a thatched roof and windows made from the windscreen of an old truck.
7. The Hobbitowa Home in Poland
Built by Bogdan Pękalski, this cob home is built on a hill and is designed to match the shape of the landscape.
After years of trial and error, Bogdan accomplished his dream of building this house.
Although he did most of the work, friends assisted with the roundwood timber and other heavy tasks.
The 45-square-meter (484-square-foot) cob house features the following:
- An open-plan living room
- Two bedrooms
- A bathroom
- A fireplace
Bogdan used clay and lime for exterior walls and clay for interior walls.
8. The Cadhay Cob House
This is a cob house designed and built by Kevin McCabe in Devon.
Built on a Southwest-facing rural site, the house is designed with an emphasis on longevity and environmental consciousness.
The 2,500-square-foot (232-square-meter) house has a ground-floor loo, a spacious living room, four large bedrooms, and a spectacular second-floor family room.
9. The Goatling Cob House in England
This is one of the most beautiful cob house examples.
Built in Somerset, England, the house features skillfully sculpted cob walls designed by Rich and Lisa.
The house has its roof shingles made from cedar. The walls were made with clay from a nearby stream.
The house’s frame is made from roundwood pine and hawthorne from local woodlands. Therefore, it’s a house designed to meet the highest sustainable construction standards.
10. Gobcobatron in Missouri, USA
Gobcobatron was built in 2008 by Ziggy.
The 200-square-foot (19-square-meter), one-room cob house has earthen plasters, a green roof with wild grasses, a recycled urbanite foundation, and a terracotta tile floor.
It was primarily made with local, natural, and renewable materials like cob.
Gobcobatron has been featured in the following publications:
- 2008 issue of The Bund Magazine.
- 2010 issue of Parade Magazine.
- 2010 issue of Yes! Magazine.
Ziggy used his blog, The Year of Mud, to popularize this cob house by documenting its construction process.
11. Ornee Cottage, Ireland
Built in 1810, this is one of the oldest cob house examples.
Architect John Nash designed the cottage with roundwood pillars, an open-plan living room, and three bedrooms.
The cottage was built with strong frames for longevity.
It has a wood-burning stove to keep visitors warm in cold weather.
We Hope You Enjoyed These Cob House Examples
These cob house examples should serve as inspiration for your next cob project. You can adopt any of these designs to make your compelling dream cob home.
As with any construction, don’t forget to consult professionals like architects and engineers knowledgeable in earthen construction for guidance.
Before you leave, it’s crucial to compare different building materials to find the perfect option for your needs. Therefore, if you’re considering straw bale homes, check out this article for their pros and cons.