Escapees From McMansion Ethos Build Tiny Cob Home | Home Design Find
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Escapees From McMansion Ethos Build Tiny Cob Home

Hap Lin cob1 green
As the US middle class teeters on the brink after the housing collapse, some people are looking at an alternative. Instead of moving into a giant McMansion with 30 years of debt attached, some Americans are open to seeing just how little you can get by with, and seeing what can be build for practically nothing.
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Here’s what one couple was able to do.  Hap and Lin abandoned their condo and built a home in rural Iowa entirely without debt.  They took a cob building workshop in Oregon.
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Cob is an ancient building technology, used in Great Britain for centuries. Like many pre-industrial age technologies, it is a very green way to build. Just mix earth and straw. There’s none of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from firing bricks or heating Gypsum to make dry wall sheet rock.
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And its cheap. The labor was free. Friends and family helped out, and even a toddler helped with stamping out the muddy earth with straw to create the cob.

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The result? It is not a high tech life. They filter the rainwater for drinking, heat with scrap wood, cook on this wood fire stove and just do without a refrigerator altogether.

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They do splurge on a tiny amount of electricity from what looks like a toy photovoltaic system off a panel that is not even the size of one average 200 watt panel. The whole contraction cost just $400 – mostly for everything but the 45 watt panel.

It just powers a laptop, a modem and one light.

Instead of an inverter to convert the solar to AC, they have adapted their computer, modem and light to run on DC. So, even with the panel, its not really a modern life.

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But it’s a peaceful one. They can sleep soundly knowing that there is no mortgage to keep them up at night. They built their home for just $7,000 in materials.

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What they found? Life with out a fridge, a water line, and especially, a mortgage is not unlivable. It can be quite pleasant.

Source: TinyHouseBlog

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8 Comments so far to “Escapees From McMansion Ethos Build Tiny Cob Home”
  1. Typo Tat Says:

    Oookay, I see their only water supply is rain water. How do they shower? Is their toilet that horrible little shed you can see in picture 4? Yuck!

  2. Christa Pirl Says:

    How wonderfully quaint and refreshingly small! That might be the only good thing to come out of this recession….there is a marked interest in smaller living spaces and a move away from McMansions…yea!

  3. Rhys Says:

    Inspiring! I'm about to build something similar in Australia. The shower and toilet question? Piece of cake. A one minute shower is sufficient if you turn off the water while you soap up and thus this can be within the capacity of the most meagre rain water supply (even in Australia), and a composting toilet can be perfectly pleasant. 'Horrid little shed'? Grow up. And read 'the Humanure Handbook' by Joseph Jenkins. Want to make a change? You need to change how you think.

  4. Jodi Says:

    I love this! By the way, their photo website has many more pictures for viewing: http://www.pbase.com/hapm/ourhouse

  5. Susan Kraemer Says:

    Yes, you're right – and it's a big juicy read, too! If you have time to dig deep into this subject, there's a wealth of information and good advice there.

  6. SAP Data Center to Go DC to Save Big Bucks – CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views Says:

    [...] Nobody has tried this, to my knowledge, at least not on this scale. Off-gridders and RV-ers use DC appliances so that one tiny solar panel can more efficiently power a computer and a fridge etc, but SAP is on a different [...]

  7. built in fridge Says:

    How wonderfully quaint and refreshingly small! That might be the only good thing to come out of this recession…

  8. ben Says:

    Wonderfull . Simple living :-)

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