This Cob House Offers Plans for a $4,500 Cob Home

Alex Sumerall of This Cob House recently received his natural building training, but already his Tennessee company also offers plans, guides, workshops, consultations, crew training and books on the natural building technique. Cob is an earthen building material that is made from hand formed loaves of clay, sand, straw, and water.


Alex’s primary design plan is for “The Freeman” cob house, a 120 square foot natural building with an open cathedral ceiling, south facing windows and a loft bedroom. The plans are $37 and include the floor plan, electrical plans, dimensional diagrams, roof and loft plans and a materials and tools list. The size of The Freeman does not need a permit for most counties and can be built for around $4,500. To go along with the plan are several ebooks including Build A Cob House and Cob to Code on how to build a cob house in conjunction with the correct permits and building codes.


“The Freeman” cob house design

Alex also offers an introduction to cob building workshop in Tennessee, but in case you are not able to make it to the Southeast, This Cob House offers an online course that covers foundations, wall construction, materials and tools, roofing and earthen floors and addition of plumbing and electrical.



Photos by This Cob House

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Little Yellow House Update

by Ella Jenkins

It’s been a year now since I moved to the bay area and thought you might consider running an update now that I’ve been living tiny for a year. It’s tiny for two as of 10 months ago!

Everything is still going beautifully. It’s amazing how big a tiny house can feel when you’ve built it around what’s important to you. It’s truly just like the average house, but smaller and exactly the way you want! I actually felt I could have gone with a shorter trailer when I first moved in, but now with my boyfriend living here too it’s perfect.

little yellow house

We met 3 days after I moved to the Bay area, and he thinks tiny houses are just as wonderful as I do. It probably helps that he doesn’t have a lot of stuff either!

I rent space on a small ranch and get to see a little sliver of the ocean out my window every day. I work for Tumbleweed teaching workshops on everything to do with tiny building and living and I work an average of 5.4 days a month. And that’s it :)


I get to be music-y and beach-y and arts-y and as creative as I’d like in my extra time because you just don’t need very much when you don’t have to take care of very much. Basically, I love my house, and I love how simple it has allowed my life to be.

*Ella :)

sitting area


living room

Ella and boyfriend

Dee Williams Lives Large in a Tiny Footprint

By Alyse Nelson

How much house does it really take to be happy? Some people are taking a hard look at the question, and discovering that the answer is: not much.

These “tiny housers” are bucking the idea that “bigger is better.” Their homes, ranging from 800 square feet to less than 100 square feet—a far cry from the 1000 square feet per person that has become the North American norm—take many shapes and sizes. And the people who live in them are as diverse as the homes themselves. Some hope to save money on housing; others hope to “live green” by choosing a smaller space; some are trading living space for a neighborhood they love; and others want to live closer to family or friends.

Dee's house with class

Dee Williams talking to a group outside her tiny house

Photo by Flickr user irooshka

Dee Williams’s story starts with her questioning her lifestyle choices. After helping build a school in Guatemala and watching a close friend fight cancer, Williams reevaluated her priorities. “He was getting sicker and sicker, and I didn’t have the time or the money to really throw myself into helping him. I was spending a lot of time and money on my house. So the house was the easiest thing to try to get rid of,” Williams told Yes! Magazine.

“I started really wondering if the cost of owning a house, of maintaining a house, of remodeling my house, was really kind of socially what I wanted to be about. So I decided to bite the bullet and go for it!” Williams said in this video. So she sold her 1,500 square foot Portland home and built an 84-square foot tiny home for $10,000.

Her 8-foot by 15-foot home is parked in a friend’s backyard in Olympia, Washington. She helps out with household chores in exchange for the space and drinking water. She lives with just a few outfits and shoes, but also is mortgage-free. This has allowed Williams to work less and spend more time and money investing in giving back to her community.

Williams’s story has spread far; because she’s been featured in national news more than 20 million people have viewed (in person or via video) her tiny home. She received the 2008 Governor’s Award for Sustainable Practices in Washington State. Now she co-owns PAD—Portland Alternative Dwellings—a tiny house company that holds workshops to help future tiny housers get their start.

Dee showing her house

Dee Williams shows off her tiny house.

Photo by Flickr user irooshka

But the help tiny housers need most isn’t advice about building or living in a small space; it’s navigating the maze of regulations they’ll confront as they downsize.. Some cities set minimum size requirements for dwellings. Others say a recreational vehicle can’t count as an ADU, which is typically how a tiny house is categorized. This means “you can camp in your little house, but not live in it,” writes Williams. Williams helps other tiny housers navigate the regulatory barriers that come with tiny house living.

Through her activism—and her lifestyle—Williams is helping create a wave of interest in tiny homes that local governments cannot ignore for long. Williams proves that even if your house has a tiny footprint, you can still live large.

Bio: Alyse Nelson is an urban planner for a small town in Kitsap County, Washington. She is a Writing Fellow for Sightline Institute. This post is adapted from a full article published here:

StrawBale Sale! Book, Workshops, Consulting, Plans, DVDs

by Andrew Morrison of

EVERYTHING on our site is on sale for 1 week including:

  • “A MODERN LOOK AT STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION”, our new book. Get it as an instant download or bound book on sale this week. And since so many of you have asked, yes, I can autograph them for you if you’d like (just write in the Comments Section at checkout “autograph”).
  • Check out our 2013 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE we’ve just released. We are excited to say that we are offering a workshop in pretty much every major geographic area in the US so that you don’t (hopefully) have to travel so far to take a workshop (at least for our US folks). Our workshops are also all on sale.
  • Sale pricing on our 3 CONSULTING PACKAGES (Plans Review, Crew Training, and Total Package). If you are serious about wanting to have a successful straw bale build, make sure to check out these consulting options to see which works for you.
  • Sale on all of our DVDs, including our best seller “Combo Package” which includes ALL of our straw bale DVDs, plus a Free set of the Mountain View Cabin Plans for a killer price.
  • Sale on our beloved Applegate and Sunset Cottages. These plans are perfect for those wanting to downsize into something they can build themselves that is energy efficient and beautiful.

The sale will go on until Friday, Nov. 30, 9am EST.

The link to the sale again is:

Happy Baling!

Andrew Morrison
Straw Bale Innovations, LLC
PO Box 3145
Ashland, OR 97520, USA sale

PAD Update from Dee Williams

Following is a letter from my friend Dee Williams.

Hope you are well and enjoying this October! It is beautiful out! I’m forwarding this to you with the hopes that you might consider posting a notice about it on your blog, or with your tiny house network.

In the past couple of months, my company Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) has been working on a new look and focus. We recently reorganized, and now will offer more workshops and consulting services.

Our first ‘Build it Tiny’ workshop is coming up this November 10th. We’ll focus on practical solutions for some of the more challenging little house conundrums: where to place/park your tiny house, code enforcement, insurance, electrical hook-ups, wastewater and (drum roll please…) toilets! The workshop will provide detailed information from local experts, and a great opportunity to meet others in the tiny house community. It will be an awesome opportunity to further flesh out the details for your little house, and to sort through some of the hard-knuckle decisions associated with a tiny house.

In the spring, folks can join us for another workshop: a hands-on, tool wielding weekend workshop focused on building a little house!

Our new website: offers more information about PAD and the up-coming workshops.

Hope you are well and enjoying the last bit of summer!

Be well,

PAD Tiny Houses