A storybook cob cottage
Cob is an age-old method of building that can be used to create very unique organically-shaped structures. This particular example, called the Cob Cottage, is situated on Mayne Island, a quiet and laid-back locale in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. It was reportedly the first cob house in Canada to go through the building permit process.
Cob uses a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water to form load-bearing walls. Cob structures are built by hand with the mixture laid in layers and allowed to dry. This process lends itself to creating structures with curved walls, rounded openings, built-in display niches, and sculptural decoration. Building with cob requires a lot of physical labor but the materials are cheap, so it is one way to get a very low-cost house as long as you don’t pay someone else to do the work.
The Cob Cottage was designed by Mayne Island’s Cobworks in conjunction with Oregon-based Cob Cottage Company. The two-story core of the house is a roughly circular living room with cantilevered Douglas fir stairs leading to the bedroom above. The curved walls are topped by a rounded roof, which is supported in the bedroom by a naturally bowed tree trunk used as a beam.
The main roof swoops down on one side to shelter the entry foyer and bathroom. On the other side, a separate roof covers the kitchen with its custom curved cabinetry and adjacent dining nook. There are many other touches of custom woodwork on display throughout, including the railings and several hand-made furniture pieces. The cottage has approximately 600 ft2 (55.7 m2) of floor space over the two levels.
If you’d like to experience living in a cob house, the Cob Cottage is available for vacation rentals through Airbnb. Have a great weekend!
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