12 Amazing Cob House Designs & Cob House Plans
Being able to construct shelter from local resources is a key survival skill. If you learn how to properly construct a cob home, you can build more than just a temporary home. Cob houses are known to last well over a hundred years. All you need is a clay based soil and straw or pine needles.
Cob homes are not just for a survival emergency. They make beautiful and comfortable everyday houses. If you do most of the labor yourself they are also incredibly cheap to build.
1. Oregon Cob Home
The builder of this cob cabin loves this building style for its versatility. You aren’t locked in to 90 degree angles and sharp corners. You home can be round, square, triangular or any shape you like. For the creative home builder this is the perfect medium.
2. What is a Cob House?
A cob house is an earthen home built from resources on-site. Ideally the clay for cob building will come from the site itself. It is traditionally mixed with straw, though other materials can be used instead. In southern Mexico where the mountains are full of pine clay is mixed with pine needles to build cob homes. The idea is to use what is available in your area. The resulting structure is very strong. In England there are cob homes over 500 years old.
3. Beautiful Cob House Design
A cob home can be a beautiful and sustainable building. There are many who are turned off by building with earth because they want their home to be elegant and comfortable. Look at this amazing cob home. The large glass windows offer views from both floors. The living roof is attractive and a sustainable choice. It can collect water and provides good insulation from the winter chill or summer heat.
4. Curvy Cob House
This large cob house has a lot of natural curves. It looks like it was carved into rock, not formed out of mud.
Before you start planning your cob home, be sure to check local laws and building regulations. In the U.S. there are building codes, zoning laws and homeowner’s associations, all of which may have something to say about your cob house design.
5. Cob Homes are Green Homes
This home is a combination of cob and straw bale construction. The two together are a great combination for insulation. This home will be cool all summer and stay warm with very little heating in the winter.
One beautiful feature of cob houses is the wide windowsills and doorways. They double as elegant shelves.
6. Cob Oven
Cob has many applications beyond home building. Cob ovens are popular. They make great bread and pizza ovens, though they can be used for anything. This set-up works great for smoking sausages.
You can also use cob to build garden walls or sheds. Since the materials are usually free and the technique is simple enough you can do it on your own, why not use cob to improve your property? Maybe you aren’t ready to tackle a whole home, but you could build a goat shed or pig hut out of cob.
7. Cob Bookshelves
Think of working with cob like playing with clay, only on a real-life scale. You can form any shapes you like. These bookshelves are made of cob, and literally are part of the wall. You can form any structure you like by building out of the walls of your home. You could make tables, shelves and any variety of nooks and crannies. Your imagination is the only limit with cob building.
8. Cob House with Living Roof
It is easy to combine cob techniques with other sustainable building efforts. You could easily add in a composting toilet, a rain water collection system, solar or wind power. This family chose to use a living roof on top of the cob home. It really is a house made out of the earth, so why shouldn’t it feed living grass?
One of the best things about cob is that it is naturally insulating. The walls are typically a foot thick. The sheer weight of earth surrounding your home greatly reduces heating and cooling costs.
9. Building Cob is Green Building
Cob house construction looks like this. You build the whole home bit by bit, from the bottom upwards. Cob is ideal for the DIY builder because you can always add on, bit by bit.
There is no separate foundation or cement flooring in a cob home. The cob is applied directly on top of the earth. As it hardens it bonds to the ground below, and your home becomes an extension of the earth itself. This makes the entire structure stable and resilient, as it can move as one unit during an earthquake while suffering minimal damage.
10. Thatched Roof Cob House
Building with cob is especially suited to DIY builders. The technique is easy to learn. Materials are locally sourced. Best of all, you can do it piecemeal. It is perfect for the weekend home builder. You can do it section by section. Each bit can be added onto later, so it doesn’t matter if you need months or even years to get the project finished.
11. Tiny Cob House
Cob houses can come in any size, though they are often small. This is a “tiny” cob house, but it is warm and comfortable. One of the benefits of building a tiny home, besides the savings, is the fact that they are often exempt from building codes. You will save a lot of money on inspections and enjoy the freedom that comes with designing your home just the way you want it.
In parts of Mexico where small cob homes are common the kitchen and bathroom are typically located in separate buildings outside the house. The kitchen is the center of activity for most families.
12. Modern Cob House
While cob was traditionally used for small, functional dwellings, it is a versatile building material. This modern home is made of cob, but it is all about luxury inside. There are beautiful wood floors and countertops. The paint inside and out helps to preserve the walls against the weather and it looks great.
How to Build a Cob House
Are you ready to get started on your cob house? Here are some resources that will walk you through building with cob and other alternative building materials.
- Building Green: New Home Alternative
- Building Cob Step By Step
- Hand Sculpted House: Practical, Philosophical Building