Tiny sod-roofed house in Denmark
This little cottage is nestled among the sand dunes on the northern coast of Denmark. Its vernacular appearance and sod roof might fool some into thinking that it is a historic home, but the fully-glazed gable gives it away as being much younger. Sod has been used as a roofing material for hundreds of years in Scandinavia. It remained the most common roof type in rural areas until the late 1800s, when it was gradually supplanted by tile and later metal.
In recent years there has been a revival of interest in traditional building methods and materials. That coupled with the concept of green roofs has led to sod being used on newer homes, such as this one built in 1987. While the materials are literally dirt cheap, they are very labor-intensive to build and therefore costly unless you do the work yourself.
The dirt and grass does add some insulation but its main purpose was to hold down the layers of birch bark that provided the actual waterproofing. In new construction, the birch bark is usually replaced by asphalt felt and a dimpled plastic drainage layer. That is likely what was used on this house, judging by the metal drip edge visible below the sod layer.
Like its predecessors, this small house is recessed slightly into the ground and has short sidewalls to deflect the often harsh coastal winds over the roof.
The wood-lined interior is cozy with a roughly 40 m2 (430 ft2) floor plan. The short sidewalls mean that the only windows are on the gable ends, but the living area’s window wall ensures that there is no lack of daylight.
The bedroom and bathroom are in the back corners, with the bathroom accessed through the bedroom.
The cottage is currently on the market with an asking price of 1,295,000 Danish kroner, or roughly US$195,000.
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Photographs courtesy of EDC.
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