Category Archives: Natural Building

Cordwood Chicken Coop in British Columbia

Tasha & Nathan in the Kootenay/Okanagan Mountains of British Columbia have created  a modern day homestead.  They have a menagerie of well loved and well cared for animals.  Their “just-about-finished” cedar chicken coop is a sturdy post and beam structure with unique & interesting cordwood log ends.  Tasha Hall chicken coopThe many shelves that will act as roosts.
Tasha Hall chicken coop9The chickens certainly look happy in their almost finished “digs.” The Western Red Cedar framework is braced and counter-braced and ready for the cordwood infill. Tasha Hall chicken coop7Nathan did the milling and provided the muscle/carpentry for the framing. The cedar corner posts on this shed are simply jaw dropping, gorgeous pieces of wood.   Note how the tree nestles right up to the structure. Tasha Hall chicken coop3Tasha Hall chicken coop6Cedar often has center rot and this is a cool way to make it an egress for their fowl-feathered friends. Tasha Hall chicken coop11Tasha/Nathan and their crew put in many delightful accoutrements. Tasha Hall chicken coop12Bottle ends with little rubber chicks inside… Tasha Hall chicken coop10Hearts, shelves and roosts are all part of the master plan. Tasha Hall chicken coop5A well designed and well built structure: the living roof, doors and windows will be added as time permits and as the flock grows.

Tasha runs a Photography business called T ‘n’ T Photography.  She does excellent work, as you will see if you click the link.    T-n-T-Photography

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

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 Lake, 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 open cell foam insulation has been installed.  Nancy’s cordwood walls are 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 12 x 12″ and some of the ceiling framing is 16″ 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


Cordwood at Maitreya Mountain Village in California

Maitreya Mountain Village is a permaculture community advocating sustainable living.  It is located in the mountains of California.  The community has built many different structures using natural building principles.   Here is an example of cordwood siding using a dark background and Western Red Cedar for the cordwood slices.  Cordwood at Maitreya Mountain Village in CA with logoThe “statement of purpose” from their Facebook page reads: “A remote wilderness permaculture farm, off-grid homestead, dynamic intentional community, and ever-evolving experiment in alternative living near Gasquet, CA.”  Below is their beautiful multi-faceted tile community center.  As you can see, the mountain views are spectacular.

FB page of Maitreya Mountain Village PERMACULTURE AND COMMUNITY FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVINGThe treehouse is a masterwork of design and a window on a birds-eye-view of the surrounding countryside. FB page of Maitreya Mountain Village treehouse permaculture and community for sustainable livingThe floor of the community meeting house is both functional and beautiful.  A wood stove takes care of the early morning chill. FB page of Maitreya Mountain Village3To find out more or to plan a visit their website: page of Maitreya Mountain Village5All I can say is WOW!

FB page of Maitreya Mountain Village4

Statement of Spirituality from Maitreya Mountain Village:

  1. We value kindness as our religion and compassion as our doctrine, before all others
  2. We trust that a life of service is divine
  3. We affirm that sharing ourselves, our knowledge, and our material possessions creates unity and abundance
  4. We regard health as sacred, in all mental, social and physical forms
  5. We revere all life as holy
  6. We accept that freedom and love as the highest expressions of morality
  7. We adhere to a life of simplicity, inner-growth, and contentednes
  8. We reject violence and embrace understanding

Well spoken!

To learn more about Cordwood Construction for your own retreat visit 

Or click on the book cover to see more pictures of cordwood (the home on the cover looks out at Pike’s Peak in Colorado).

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480

Cordwood Signs, Gateways & Statements

There are some very amazing signs and billboards being created as art work and not for residences.  Billboards, fences, signs and gates are being built with a cordwood motif.  Here are a few examples. Cordwood garden archCordwood garden gate for your daily wood “fix” on the way to harvest tomatoes and lettuce.Merrill sign 2Four of these Welcome to Merrill signs grace the entryways to our fair city.Andy Goretski Cordwood sign 2012This one has a digital sign that changes every couple of minutes to let folks know the happenings at the local rec center.Cordwood Sign MerrillAnd finally this is a good example of how to frame and finish the sign before hanging the placard.  These are 6″ x 8’s, pressure treated posts with 8″ cordwood infill.  There are keyways running up the inside sides of the posts to hold the cordwood firmly in place.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Click on the book cover or visit to see more pictures, read brief articles and look at books and plans.    Email with questions.


Cordwood Construction in Mexico

Mario Vargas sent me some wonderful photos of a cordwood bath house he is building near Tlaxcala, Mexico.  He is using white and red cedar to complete his cordwood walls.  Three masons are working on the walls tuck pointing.  Since it is a bath house the windows are higher up in the walls for privacy and ventilation. Mario in Mexico 1You may enjoy the gorgeous mountains in the background of the frame of the building.   Note that the frame is “up” and the roof is “on” before the cordwood infill.   That is known as using Best Practices. Mario in Mexico 5The south side of the interior has the occasional bottle end.  Mario in Mexico 4Note that the bottom two courses are block, since this will be a very wet area with all the changing and showering.

Mario in Mexico 3.jjpgHaving a pooch on site is always a pleasure for dog lovers.  This one looks sweet and watchful. Mario in Mexico 2The building nears completion.  The right side is for the gentlemen and the left for the ladies.   Thank you Mario for sharing your fine cordwood work.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

For the latest, up to date information on Best Practices with cordwood construction please Click on the Book Cover or visit to see more photos, read brief articles and order books or plans for your cordwood project.

You can make a comment in the comment section or email with your questions.

Does Cordwood belong in the Kitchen?

As my Swedish (Minnesotan) friends would say “Ya sure you betcha!” Many folks have wondered how to hang kitchen cabinets and design their kitchen around cordwood walls.  It is actually very easy because cabinets can be hung on any level and plumb wall.   Here are some examples of “Cordwood in the Kitchen”. to get your creative juices flowing.Cordwood Kitchen in Copper Harbor Michigan from A beautiful cordwood wall lends dignity and class to a well-built kitchen.  The cabinets are easy to hang (you don’t have to find a stud, just a log end).Copper Harbor cordwood interior small pixelsA Kitchen Island works well in so many ways.  Folks can sit around for an informal meal or it can be a staging area for a sit-down feast.Flatau White Earth Reservation Corwdood Home 8 Naytahwaush, Minnesota USA note bearpaw and featherAn open kitchen concept where guests are welcome to sit and share.
Mermaid Cottage 1f best for CCBP small pixelsSimple and elegant is the order of the day when space is limited. Gormley kitchen countertops

A blue-jean denim concrete coutertop is the perfect accent to this cordwood kitchen.

John Meilahn leaves countertopFall leaves, at the peak of their color, are epoxied  into the countertop.

So let your imagination be your guide and don’t be afraid of trying something new .

To learn how to build a cottage, cabin, or shed with best practices using Cordwood Construction, have a look at the latest book on the subject. Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Click on the book cover or visit and go to the Online Bookstore.  Many of the books and plans are offered as ebooks.

Email if you have questions.

Cordwood Conference Papers 2015

The 2015 Cordwood Conference was held near Plattsburg, New York on July 11-12, 2015.  It was hosted by Rob and Jaki Roy of Earthwood Building School.  35 wonderful souls attended and had an outstanding time learning, sharing and networking.  A set of papers was developed over the of winter of 2015.   Richard Flatau and Rob Roy edited the papers, collated them and sent them to the printer.  CCC 15 Papers cover

Written by 19 different authors. there are 136 pages and 242  inspirational, color photos. Examples of articles are: “Cordwood in the round, the Rendezvous Cabin, Ravenwood, Kinstone Chapel, Adirondack Cabin, Cordwood in Sweden, Korean Soil Houses, Special Design Features at Driftwood, Cordwood Flooring,  Cordwood Classroooms in Guatemala” and so many more. This is a significant addition to the ever expanding cordwood library. You can have your very own copy in print or ebook format…visit           to find out more. Here are some pictures from the Conference.

CCC15eeee.jpg colleenAbove:  Jaki & Rob Roy, Becky & Richard Flatau.CCC15uuAngelika, Nancy, Jaki & Becky striking a beautiful pose.CCC15xxAngelika, Clare and Lulu at Stoneview. CCC15tThe Cordwood Conference attendees pose in front of Rapatooee Louie. CCC15zzzzA beautiful corwdood wall in progress at the home of Chris and Cat Ryan.  A cordwood workshop was held there after the Conference. CCC15fffConference attendees having fun at the Saturday social at Earthwood.
BN24Bruce Kilgore and Nancy Dow were gracious host/hostess in offering their incredibly gorgeous Ravenwood cordwood home for tour.  More on the Kilgore’s homestead in another post.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480Should you be interested in books about cordwood, click on the picture of Cordwood Construction Best Practices and then click on it again when you are at my website to be taken to the Online Cordwood Bookstore. 

Cordwood Construction shows off her Outhouses

One of the all-time-best cordwood construction practice projects is building the cordwood outhouse.  Not only do you get to hone your cordwood mortaring skills, but you get a functional addition to your homestead.Cordwood Outhouse high with logoThis outhouse (above) was the first cordwood building constructed before the owners cordwood cabin. This delightful structure is located in Wisconsin.  Yurt cobwood Marcus Grossman NJ with logoMarcus Grossman built this yurt style cordwood outhouse in New Jersey before moving to Central America.  He used a cob mortar and topped it off with a living roof.


Julie decided that she was going to make her outhouse look like cordwood, so she took here paintbrush and her artistic talent.  This is what she created.  Nice work Julie.

Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild when you build with cordwood.  It lends itself to unique and one of a kind features.

Bathroom cordwood DregnesThis is not an outhouse, but a cordwood bathroom inside of Julie’s lovely cordwood home. Huber Shed MI with logoWhile this is not technically an outhouse, it could have been easily modified to serve as one.  It currently functions as a beautiful shed in southern Michigan. Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480Should you be interested in learning more about Cordwood Construction, please click on the photo of my book (above) or visit 

Cordwood flooring moves outdoors in Slovakia

Continue reading

Cordwood in Sweden @ Pelle Henriksson’s cordwood sauna

Pelle Henriksson sent these wonderful pictures of his backyard sauna in Sweden.  He calls his Facebook building site Kubbhusbastu which translates to Cordwood Sauna which Pelle says is “Just for fun.”   The foundation (ring beam), framing (post & beam) and cordwood infill are very well done using “best practices” throughout.  Kubbhusta 5 Pelle HenrikssonPelle’s  pictures tell the story very well.Kubbusbsta 10 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaThe logs for the framework are 100 years old and were found in Pelle’s uncle’s barn.  The photo shows the grade beam and part of the drain tile (orange colored pipe).Kubbusbsta 14 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaThe foundation is a ring beam on a rubble trench with a drain tile sloped to a lower grade.  Each post has a roofing shingle placed on the bottom to stop moisture from “wicking up” the post. Kubbusbsta 1 Pelle HenrikssonMany of the older cordwood (kubbhus) buildings in Sweden use a clay based mortar.  Olle Hagman has been very instrumental in documenting the migration of cordwood throughout Sweden and has located 150 buildings.  His excellent article is told in the Cordwood Conference Papers 2015. 6 Pelle HenrikssonNote how the windows are placed within a post and beam framework.  This is my favorite style of window framing. Kubbusbsta 8 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaPelle used keyways (vertical strips of wood on the posts) to hold his wall sections in place. The sauna will have a changing room and a sauna chamber.  Putting the roof on first allows Pelle to work and store his materials out of the elements.

A beautiful flower motif chain saw cut into a log end shows off the Swedish love of all things wooden. Kubbhusta 4 Pelle HenrikssonTo fit a glass into a cleaned out hollow center log.   Cut out a sheet of glass after tracing and cutting the paper template.Kubbusbsta 11 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaKubbusbsta 12 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaMany of these pictures and more are also on Pelle’s Facebook page  You may want to bookmark Pelle’s page and check back every now and again to marvel at his progress.  Thank you Pelle for the explanation and the photos!

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit