Happy Thanksgiving Day 2012

by Kent Griswold on November 22nd, 2012. 8 Comments

I would like to wish all our North American readers a Happy Thanksgiving Day! I thought this house fit the mood of the day and I hope you enjoy it.

This is the Laughing House sculpted by Linda Smiley and Ianto Evans out of cob, clay, sand, and straw. Dug locally right from the ground. They live in the temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest, so high thermal mass (non-insulating) walls work in their climate.

This photo is from their websitte: http://www.cobcottage.com/laughing-house

cob cottage

Dan’s Smaller House in Lithuania

by Kent Griswold on September 4th, 2012. 51 Comments

by Dan Combellick

Again working alone.

I like it most of the time, but there are moments when a second set of hands would be, well, handy.

This new project is on a farm not far from the capitol of Lithuania, Vilnius. This makes it much easier to acquire various building materials. But in general, wherever you are in Lithuania, you are not far from a sawmill, wood being a major export and forests abundant. And being from America, I like to build with wood.

This property had several buildings officially recorded on the title, and I chose the spot for the new construction in the location of one of those official structures, and by good fortune, the footprint is the size I wanted to use, about 24 square meters, approx. 240 square feet. I am adding a second floor, which yields perhaps another 150 square feet of “walkable space,” being under the roof, but also additional floor area which will provide useful storage space.

land for building

In this photo you see the site of the original building with the old apple trees cut back so they do not overhang the new roof. I am doing the roof in a traditional material, hand split Aspen shakes. Wood roofs do not enjoy having closely overhanging trees, and I have about 40 apple trees, so the loss of a couple does not discomfort me. Most of them are too old and have not been cared for, anyway. Plus apple makes good firewood.

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