The $500 Cob House
Fancy a custom built $500 cob house? It’s cheaper than paying rent.
Check out Geoff Lawton’s next video, where he investigates an innovative collection of houses built on Warren Brush’s Quail Springs Permaculture Farm in California.
These beautifully constructed 96 foot square, one bedroom homes, were a delight to visit. They cost around $500 to construct for the free standing single bedroom homes with most of the labour being donated by volunteers. All the little houses are built individually out of cob (sand, clay, water and straw) and are lovingly decorated in unique custom designs from found materials.
Some of the glass, window’s and door’s were donated, some were easily bought from recycle centres. Colourful glass shards were impressed into the thick cob walls creating a dazzling magical effect in the midday sun. Small frying pans become shelves, stuck in the walls. Imagine building a house as whimsical as you want it to be?
The main cost was for the roofing materials. Some people blew their budget by a hundred dollars when they opted for cool floor tiles with unique bird feet pattern seconds. The sought after tiles feature the imprint of birds that took a short stroll through the wet Mexican tiles still soft and baking in the sun, rendering them unacceptable for sale. But, for the creative folk’s living in this beautiful permaculture farm, the bird step pattern created by the real thing – is a sought after bonus! Something the manufacturer never intended.
Beautiful lace curtains, little nooks for books and personal treasurers make these lovely homes a worthwhile visit. You will certainly look at your own rental or mortgage property with envious eyes when you see the creative possibilities on offer at Quail Springs.
Warren Brush has had a battle, with the regulatory authorities, to build these toxic free homes for his students and volunteer workers. Building cheap houses from the mud and straw that you live on can be a revolutionary act in California.
Warren says “The house itself, is inspiring to you. That’s part of the beauty of it. To create a house that fits you like a glove and that keeps you comfortable. You don’t have to get a mortgage. You don’t have to get into debt for the rest of your life.”
If you feel like some inspiration and want to see what is creatively possible with very little money, check out the longer format video available here.