Most Beautiful Cordwood @ Ravenwood (New York) Part 1

One of thee most beautiful cordwood homes I have ever had the pleasure of seeing is the lovely home of Bruce Kilgore and Nancy Dow in the Adirondacks near Saranac, New York.  This home is energy-efficient to the max and uses only 2 full cords of firewood to heat this two story,  earth-bermed, double wall, living roof cordwood beauty.  This is 9000 heating degree days country, which means it is plenty cold!Bruce & Nancy exterior Fall 2015The living roof helps to keep heat in and provides a year long bucolic display. Colorful bottle ends light up the interior of the guest cottage which served as living quarters and a practice building.BN new 7 with logoNancy smiles happily while she finishes up working on her new porch at the entrance to Ravenwood.BN 12 new porch comboThe new bottle end entrance work is spectacular!  BN new 8 with logoThe porch is almost finished for the upcoming winter. BN new 10 with logoThe owl has found a new home and it seems to be eyeing the light switch.BN12There are lots of ravens in the various motifs at Bruce & Nancy’s. BN13The massive timber frame plays well with the Northern White Cedar cordwood.   BN new 3 with logoNancy is one of the few wood masons I k now who can mortar in shorts and sandals and not get full of lime. BN new 1This is a double wall home and here in the interior (second) wall. The soy-based open cell foam insulation is 8″ thick.  The total R-value approaches R-40.  Nancy’s cordwood wall artistry is like no other. BN19Nancy’s mortaring and Bruce’s mixing are a match made in heaven.  Precise lime putty mortar with an artists penchant for design and flow.  Simply gorgeous. BN new 4 wth logoHere is their incredibly efficient masonry heater.   It uses 2 cords of wood to heat this most energy efficient, double wall cordwood beauty. BN14Beautiful, massive beams with hand made metal framing. BN25The framing is 8 x 8″ and some of the ceiling framing is 16″ x 12″ and 4″ x  12″.  Bruce made all the metal brackets by hand.  What a metal artist. BN24Bruce and Nancy in their kitchen.  What delightful host/hostess they were. CCC15aa logoBruce shows off his custom made, counter-weighted, cordwood cut-off saw, while Tom Huber looks on in amazement.   His saw cuts straight and true.

Should you wish to learn more about Cordwood Construction and all the different choices available,  visit or click on the book cover. Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

If you have questions please add a comment or email me at

PS  There will be a Part 2 blog post in the future about the beautiful, hidden post Guest House that Bruce and Nancy built first.BN new 2 with logo



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