Let’s face reality — few skilled builders are specializing in making and building with cob.
Unfortunately, hiring an unskilled builder for your cob home is a recipe for a weaker house that doesn’t meet cob house building codes. So, it’s important to bring in experienced cob house builders who will see you get your dream sustainable home that will withstand the test of time.
A good cob house builder must know how to mix cob in the right proportions, building strong impervious foundations and monolithic walls.
Moreover, the builder must know how to render the walls to prevent moisture accumulation, as this affects the cob’s structural integrity.
These are the crucial requirements for a cob house that will last a lifetime.
In this article, I’ll discuss the top 20 cob house builders who can build your dream home.
From what each builder offers to what makes them unique, I’ll give you an insight into each. Moreover, I highlight a few examples of their projects. Let’s dive right in!
This is one of the most astounding cob house builders in North America.
The Cobworks Company was founded by Patrick Hennebery, Tracy Calvert, and Elke Cole in 1998.
Through its 20+ years of building with cob, the company has been unique in incorporating inventive techniques and adventures in using recycled building materials.
The Cobworks Company has completed a wide range of cob projects, including:
- Kate’s cob house in Canada.
- Christina’s garden on Mayne Island.
- Deacon Vale Guest House.
2. The Cob Cottage Company
Founded in 1993 by Ianto Evans, Michael Smith, and Linda Smiley, The Cob Cottage Company in Oregon is renowned for building long-lasting and sustainable cob homes.
The company is behind the distinctive and innovative “Oregon Cob,” known for making some of North America’s most durable cob structures.
Its founders are also behind the establishment of the North American School of Natural Building.
The company has completed a myriad of projects, including:
- The laughing cob house in Oregon
- The Bedrock House in Oregon
3. Rising Earth Natural Building
Founded by Mike McDonough, the Rising Earth Natural Building Company builds and renovates cob houses throughout North Carolina and New York.
As an apprentice at The Cob Cottage Company, McDonough gained enough experience to start his own cob building company.
Moreover, Mike worked as a carpenter, a straw baler, and a mason—the roles that shaped his career in cob building.
Rising Earth Natural Building has made notable contributions to the natural building industry, with noteworthy projects such as:
- Rehabilitating the Cottekill Farmhouse.
- Cordwood Arch at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham.
4. Casa de Tierra
Casa de Tierra is among the best cob house builders in North America.
The company specializes in using sustainable construction materials to build homes and schools in Nicaragua.
Its unique approach is promoting healthier indoor air quality while maintaining a natural climate to keep homes cool in the dry season and warmer during cold weather.
Besides construction, the company organizes workshops and consultations to educate locals about cob and other natural building techniques.
By providing technical assistance and education, Casa de Tierra has made a difference with projects such as:
5. Earthen Hand Natural Building
Founded by Scott Howard in 2002 in Portland, the Earthen Hand Natural Building Company specializes in earthen building techniques.
The company’s unique approach is meeting the needs of different customers by offering a diversified portfolio of earthen-building techniques.
Besides cob, the company is experienced in straw bale, rammed earth, and earthbag building.
Some renowned cob projects by Earthen Hand Natural Building include:
- Franciscan Montessori Earth School outdoor classroom.
- The International School outdoor classroom.
- Sellwood cob columns.
- Trillium Charter School Garden Shed.
6. The Year of Mud
Brian Liloia (Ziggy) developed an interest in natural building materials after living at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, an off-grid community, for years.
Ziggy’s interest in natural building got him to build his first cob house (Cobgobatron) in 2008, an adventure that led to the establishment of The Year of Mud.
Currently, Ziggy uses his website, The Year of Mud, to educate people about cob and other natural building techniques. He also hosts workshops for those interested in learning this sustainable building method.
7. Barefoot Builder
Founded by Christina Ott, the Barefoot Builder Company is among the best cob house builders in Tennessee, Texas.
The company differentiates itself from the rest by involving clients in every step of the construction process.
Instead of acting like general contractors, this company walks clients through every construction step to ensure appropriate detailing and the use of the right materials.
Christina was inspired to start this company after attending a five-day workshop in 1999.
Some of the company’s projects include:
- Cob pottery studio in Gulf Breeze.
- Cob garden shed with a living roof.
- Barefoot builder office in Woodbury.
- Lime plaster on a cob building.
8. Build Something Beautiful
This is a natural building company in East Devon.
The company is among the most renowned cob house builders for a good reason; Kevin McCabe, its founder, was among the pioneers of the revival of cob building.
Kevin built his two-story, four-bedroom cob house in 1994, arousing interest in England. Therefore, he boasts more than 25 years of cob house building experience.
The company specializes in repairing cob-based historic buildings and constructing new ones.
The Build Something Beautiful Company is behind the following cob houses:
9. Cob and On
While apprenticing at the Cob Cottage Company, Greg Allen desired to have a school of natural building.
After building with cob in Central North Carolina and gaining more knowledge, Greg decided to fulfill his desire by establishing the Mud Dauber School of Natural Building.
Allen’s natural building school conducts regular workshops to teach people how to build with cob, straw bale, and other natural building materials.
Greg built his cob winter home in Durham to demonstrate his capabilities in cob building.
10. Emerald Earth Sanctuary
The Emerald Earth Sanctuary is spearheaded by Michael G. Smith.
Initially, Michael worked with Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley to establish the Cob Cottage Company.
As the lead instructor at the Emerald Sanctuary, Michael plays a central role in teaching sustainable building techniques to apprentices and students.
Moreover, he helped build the sanctuary’s infrastructure from natural materials like cob. For instance, he was in charge of the construction of a 3,000 square feet (279 square meters) community center at the sanctuary.
11. Straw Clay Wood
Besides being a shareholder in other natural building companies, Michael G. Smith founded the Straw Clay Company.
The company specializes in building with natural materials like cob, straw bales, rammed earth, and adobe.
Michael’s enthusiasm for the construction industry was nurtured by his architect father. In addition, he leverages his vast experience from The Cob Cottage Company and the Emerald Earth Sanctuary to construct unique cob houses.
Currently, Michael leads his team in installing small natural building projects that can be completed in a week or less.
This is a cob building company founded by Becky Bee.
Becky is credited for inventing the “tarp method” of mixing cob. She shares her in-depth knowledge of cob construction through the workshops organized by her company.
Becky has been behind the construction of many cob houses, including Billie and Dianne’s houses.
13. This Cob House
Founded by Alex Sumerall, This Cob House focuses on teaching people how to build a cob house.
Alex is an earth masonry professional with vast experience in cob, rammed earth, and adobe blocks.
After graduating from the Aprovecho School of Natural Building in 2013, Alex ventured into consultancy and teaching people natural building techniques.
Currently, the company offers various cob building workshops.
14. PSE Consulting Engineers
This is a U.S.-based company specializing in consultancy services.
This company is behind the design and construction of The Cob Eco-Heal Center, a 1,500 square feet (139.35 square meters), 12-sided cob building on the East Coast.
15. Cruzin Cob Global
Cruzin Cob Global is a team of trained cob house builders from different countries.
The team’s responsibility is teaching workshops and leading cob construction projects. They work with international cob teachers like Viva Hansen, Nicolas Pimentel, Lea Zdarsky, and Josh Burg.
The company’s workshops incorporate real projects so students can acquire relevant cob building knowledge. A good example is the latest project in Quinta da Vida Beleza Cob Ecovillage.
16. Urbunhut Vernaculars
This is an Indian-based mud house construction company.
The company has built several stabilized earthen cottages in India.
17. Earth Building Association of Australia (EBAA)
EBAA is an organization that promotes the use of unfired earth as a building material in Australia.
As a broad-based organization, EBAA has specialist contractors, builders, architects, manufacturers, and suppliers.
EBAA promotes earth building methods such as:
- Earth bricks
- Rammed earth
18. The Roundhouse Company
This is a U.K.-based company that focuses on sustainable building.
Besides its construction role, the company offers workshops and advice on building with cob.
19. Cob Solutions
Cob Solutions is a heritage building and surveying consultancy based in the U.K.
The company works with a small in-house team of cob repair and lime plastering specialists for different projects. It also has special machines for making cob blocks.
20. Mudgirls Collective
This is a group of women builders on the West Coast of Canada.
Mudgirls Collective specializes in using local, natural, and recycled materials.
This network of women spent 13 years gathering people worldwide to learn more about natural building methods like cob. They managed to build their first house after this intensive learning and consultations.
This group boasts some astounding structures made from natural materials.
With this list of top 20 cob house builders, you can easily find a professional that suits your needs.
Each company has its unique specialty and style of cob construction. So, go through their profiles to see who fits the bill for your project.
If you’re interested in other sustainable building techniques, here are the best eco-friendly straw bale house builders.