Before making our move to the mountains, we purchased a mobile home. A very old mobile home. We had big dreams, but we were moving on a small budget. The mobile home was 720 square feet--about 300 square feet more than what we were living in at the time, so it seemed almost large at first. But, with two kids, several animals,and a lot of books, we filled it up rather quickly.
We wanted to build a home eventually, but time was passing quickly and money was not growing on trees. The old mobile was starting to have some problems. Okay, a lot of problems. It leaked from the roof down through the walls, no matter how many times the roof was patched and coated. The floor was beginning to rot, too. We knew we had to do something--and soon.
Buying another mobile home was an option, but our budget wasn't going to get us anything much better than what we were living in. That's when our research began. What could we build, on a very small budget, that didn't include getting a loan?
Finding a house plan that we could afford seemed like a difficult task. I grew up reading my parent's Mother Earth News magazines. And, being a family of pack rats, our storage building was full of those old magazines. One day, while flipping through a stack of them, I came upon an article about cordwood building. I had heard of cordwood masonry before, (from all those years of reading Mother Earth), but had never considered it for ourselves. We read the article and it went on the list of 'options'.
Actually the list was pretty short. 1) Buy another old mobile home, or 2) Build a low cost house--paying as we built, no mortgage. Cordwood seemed the only affordable way for us to build. After all, we lived on over 100 acres, so we had the trees, and the rest of the supplies to get the building into the dry were less than what a stick construction house would cost. For better or worse, we were in!
Our first move was to order Rob Roy's Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding. I believe that edition is out of print, but Rob Roy offers several more books now.
After reading through the book several times, we started to plan our house--a small, rustic cabin that would house us and keep us out of the elements, as well as satisfy our desire for an owner-built home. And that plan started with cutting down the groves of cedar trees on the property.
And so. . .the adventure began!
I've put a slideshow at the bottom of the blog--I'll add more pictures to it later.