Going Bananas for Cordwood in Quebec

Sebastien Demers built a beautiful two-story cordwood home near Ste. Onesime, Quebec in 2009.   Here are some pictures and an explanation of “the build” from Sebastien himself.   The half round/half rectangle floor plan also has two interior gardens and a banana tree flourishes there and produced 30 pounds of bananas last year.

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This is the front of the half round, the rectangle is in the back.

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A whole bunch of bananas!  30 pounds!

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The masonry heater, tile floor and indoor garden areas.

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The post and beam framework cross-braced with roof applied and ready for cordwood infill.

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Sebastien suggests building a 3D scale model first.  Note the two indoor garden plots.  Genius!

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Sebastien built his own doors.   What a beautiful looking entrance.  Note the shelves on the outside for keeping keys or packages up off the snow.  This is Quebec remember:0)

sebastien-demers-14-practice-building-small-pixelsSebastien also built a practice building before he completed his beautiful home.  He grows melons on top of his living roof and bananas (and now aquaponics) in his home.


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The masonry heater supplies warmth for 24 hours at a time.

Sebastien offers advice on what to do before building your cordwood home:

1.  Read everything on the subject.

2.  Take a workshop.

3.  Build a practice building.

4.  Make a 3D scale model of your building.

Here are a few facts and figures from Sebastien:

Sebastien Demers Ste Onesime, Quebec.

“My best suggestions would be to take the time to do it, by  – reading; – visiting houses: – Workshops; – Experimenting, ideally with a test building; – A lot of planning and asking questions – Making a model of the house. It takes a lot of time, but this time is so much worth it when it comes to real construction!

  • And some details :
  • I used 16″ logs, cedar.
  • Insulation is sawdust with a bit of lime.
  • Next, to the kitchen, there is à root cellar which is 3´ underground and it communicates from the inside. It is 12’x12′.
  • The house is a half circle (40′ in diameter) annexed to à 15’x40′ rectangle. All of it is on a floating slab, Heater by water.
  • The structure is made from beams that come from an old barn I recycled.
  • There is also à living roof.
  • Let me know if you need any more details.
  • Almost forgot… There are 2 inside gardens in the circular part of the house. They are simply holes (about 10’x20′ x 3’deep) in which I did not pour concrete.
  • I have a banana tree that gave me 30 pounds of bananas, 2 years ago”

As you can see a very beautiful and very functional cordwood home was built with patience, research and planning.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org


Here is a jpeg of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover available at http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

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