So many cob questions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-17-2005, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me start by saying I have fallen in love with cob construction, the detail, design, creativity and beauty is just amazing! Dh and I are inheriting a good amount of land from my grandmother (btween 2 and 10 acres not sure yet) over the course of the next five years and plan to build a home on it. After seeing pictures of cob homes I would love to at least incorporate cob construction into my home. Here are my questions (bare with me I am very new to this whole idea)
1. Can you build a cob home in New England (massachusetts)? We have cold, snowy winters and I wonder how well it will hold up. The house will be in the woods so I dont know how much direct sunlight it will get
2. Is it possible to do a cob interior, some sort of insulation, and then a wood exterior? Dh and i love natural wood and I thought having a wood exterior and insulation between the wood and cob would allow us to live in this climate
3. How much would it cost to have someone build a cob home for us? Dh and I both work full time and could never built it ourselves
4. Can cob homes be big? We plan on having a very large family and want a good sized home
5. How does electrical and plumbing work in a cob home? (maybe a dumb question) Is it just the same as if you used sheetrock?
6. Any links to cob builders in New England?
okay I think that's enough questions for now, but I'm sure I'll have more. If anyone is experienced with this PLEASE pm or email me ( because I would love to discuss ideas and questions with you. Thanks so much!!! I'm really excited about building a natural home
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#2 of 4 Old 04-17-2005, 01:24 PM
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I did a story on cob for HGTV -- but it was a while ago and I don't remember much!

Here are some links though!!

Hope this helps!!

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#3 of 4 Old 04-18-2005, 10:31 AM
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There are cob homes that were built in your part of the world in the 1700's and are still being lived in. New England is not a problem.

Have you gone and looked at the website for Cob Cottage Company? They will answer a lot of your questions and have links to other places.
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#4 of 4 Old 04-20-2005, 10:31 PM
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We are in the process of building a house, part of which will be cob. We're almost to the cob phase. In a few months maybe. We both work so we're doing it weekends & evenings in the summer.

In answer to your questions.
#1 Not sure as I don't live in the US but our architect came from New England somewhere there. I can ask him if you would like. I think he still designs homes for ppl over your way. ETA: after reading question 3, it may be better to go strawbale as it is very insulating & goes up a whole heap quicker so would cost a lot less for someone else to do.
#2 A friend of mine is doing a straw bale home with adobe brick interior. Coz of our building laws, they are having bevel backed weather board on the exterior. So yes it is totally possible. I would keep the cob in the sunnier areas to store the heat.
#3 Cob is very labour intensive so most of your cost would be labour. The beauty of cob usually is it is free so it enables ppl to build their own homes without sustaining a massive mortgage. you may find it would be cheaper for you to take a few unpaid months off work & do it yourself.
#4 We're in metric but our house is gonna be about 240-250sqm which I think is pretty big.

#5 Electricity you lay conduit thru the walls where the wires are going to be as you go along. Our plumbing goes under the floor.
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