Tag Archives: alternative building

New Cordwood Website

Would you like to check out our new Cordwood Construction website?  It is easy to navigate, filled with beautiful pictures, videos, instructional posts, books, plans & links.  Go to https://cordwoodconstruction.org and have a “click around.”  https://cordwoodconstruction.orgWant to learn about the Top Ten Best Practices to make your building warm and energy efficient (or cool and energy efficient)? Tom Huber Michigan masterpiece with logo.jpg

Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama small pixelsHow about a cozy place by the fire?Bruce Lord Alberta, Canada double wall with logo.jpgThinking about an Off-Grid cordwood cabin?  Alan house BEST cropped with logos

Cordwood Education Center solar tour 2Want to build a sauna that doubles as a guest cottage?Pelle Henriksson Sauna Sweden deck 1 pelle henriksson sauna stove.jpgHow about a cordwood castle?Alan Adolphson Hope, Maine aspen cordwood home 13 logo

Or a hybrid cordwood cottage?Clarke snell cob and cordwood with logoMillion dollar cordwood lodge.Cordwood hybrid timberframe and cordwood Wisconsin16 sided cordwood home?Curt and Annie Hubatch 1.jpg

Want to create a cordwood work of art for your community?Cordwood in ChicagoWhatever your cordwood ideas; on this new site, you will find detailed information so you can proceed with confidence. Visit https://cordwoodconstruction.org to explore all your options.

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Tiny Cordwood Garden Cottage in England

We’ve never built anything before but we’re very pleased with how it’s turned out.” Jan and Baz Whitlock sent pictures of their cordwood garden cottage in Bristol, England.  They used the ebook Cordwood Construction Best Practices as their go-to source/guide.  Jan & Baz write: “Here are some pics of a small cordwood build we’ve nearly finished it in the middle of our garden in the UK.Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 3“It’s around 12 feet square, we used lime mortar, the wood is softwood-larch and pine. It’s in the garden between 2 areas. Front door to enter, back to get to next bit (side to BBQ area). I haven’t totalled the cost-the cordwood was free, mortar not much, but the post and beam frame and roof were costly… could have been done with much smaller beams etc – we just went for chunky so it would last.”Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 7“We still have to render the blocks once we get a bit of decent weather. We are planning to insulate in between the beams, as we have found it retains heat well. We have electric and a radiator, so it could be used as an extra room to sleep in when the family all descend on us.”Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 5It is a lovely place to sit, we have great views & it’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset.Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 4“We just used the lime mortar-there’s a lot of old stone buildings around us with thick walls, all done with lime mortar and they’re still standing and cool in the summer so we figured it would be fine.”Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 6“We cut and dried the wood in our polytunnel for around a year, and dipped each log in a borax solution before using. The mortar was easier, as we have a nearby supplier of lime mortar, which we mixed using your instructions for lime putty mortar. We used what they call a unhaired course mix and added a bit of argical as it’s pretty damp in Cornwall. We mixed it in a cement mixer a batch at a time and after a while learnt how much wall we could do per bucket of mortar.

 We went back over the lime putty with disposable foam paint brushes rinsed in a bucket of water, which worked well.   We nailed strips of wood down the door and window posts with nails protruding to anchor the mortar, and used extruded foam where the mortar met the beams (again as you suggested-thank you).

Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 1It was really good to have a range of shapes and sizes for filling awkward gaps but I often wanted little triangular ones and wood does not split into 4 evenly. (We ended up with a nice lot of kindling!) I would advise anyone attempting a build with a partner to be sure they have a good relationship, as we had quite a few heated ‘discussions’ during the process (but were always ready to tackle it again the next day)!

We found your book and advice invaluable and we thank you for taking the time to post a lot of useful information online.

Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 2We could only get green or clear bottles, so after cutting I painted the inside end with glass paint that is set by putting in an oven-a few didn’t take well, but the majority did and it’s nice to have some different colour in there.

My advice would be, as yours is, to do a practice wall. We didn’t, as we didn’t have much space to do one and the first bit we did looked fine,until we stood back and realised the logs were too far apart and too formal (in neat rows); so we took it all down and started again. We improved, obviously as we did more, and got much quicker and our final wall (the one with no doors or windows) is much neater than our first one.

Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 8.JPGBaz writes, “Another pic of the inside…using an old sanding disc, I used friction to “scorch” the wood to darken and bring out the richness in the grain and also to protect the cordwood...this part of the UK it’s very damp so charing the ends of posts etc without using chemicals is not uncommon. We will see how that turns out in years to come… for fun, under the window is “hidden” a sailing ship for our gran kids to find,on other walls there are a clown and a cat…skirting boards are nearly finished and the white double doors are going back to wood…it’s been fun and thanks for the positive feedback…ocean apart, but same ideas …happy builds, Matey’s…”

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.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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 Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop DVD will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

The 30 detailed menu items from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2Thank you for your kind attention to Cordwood Construction.   If you would like more information, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

How to make a Cordwood wall look good

Some folks who build with cordwood are disappointed with the resulting “look” of their labor. In order to make a cordwood wall look good, it is imperative to learn how to make a random pattern.  While this may seem contradictory (we should probably say random no-pattern) it is important to place different size and shape pieces into the wall.  If you think of your logs as Goldilocks thought of her porridge (too cold, too hot, just right) but instead you piled your logs into stacks of small, medium and large pieces and you took a piece from each pile along each wall, you would end up with a random pattern.

Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9Western Red Cedar in a 30 year old cordwood home in British Columbia.  The mortar joints are approximately one inch and the cordwood has all been split into unique and interesting shapes. Nerdwood.com 5(Above) lots of well placed cordwood in a wall at Greg and Clare’s.  Random Pattern 1 using a round with the ears cut off.jpgAbove is a fine example of various shapes embedded in a mortar matrix. Ned Thilo mason from PA fire clay, lime, sand2Ned Thilo used a brick framework with a random display in the center.  He also used an off center crescent moon motif to create a work of art.

Kenai Chelsea 2As did Chelsea and Mark with their Alaskan sauna. Peter Debenham & Ann Lundquist 7 random pattern

Peter Debenham and Ann Linquist made beautiful cordwood music in Colorado. Peter Debenham 2Eric and Beth used rocks, bottles and a lightning bolt. Eric & Beth 29 pac man lightning bolt with logo.jpgHere deer antlers, bottles and marbles are used.   Random pattern Kinstone 2

Kimanna used bottles, logs and mermaids to make her memorable Mermaid Cottage in Colorado.

KimAnna mermaid cottage wall 2 with logo.jpgRandom pattern Kinstone workshop 2017BMaranda is rightly proud of the work she (and others) did on the star wall at Kinstone.

8. random pattern.jpgA sauna in Poland benefited from a very large, undulating piece of log and a red earthen mortar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARounds and splits with 8 inch cordwood. jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 4 homer alaska with logos

Sierra Exif JPEGPaying attention to and having many different sizes and shapes is incredibly helpful in creating your own piece of wall art.  This process starts when you are splitting and stacking your wood for drying.

(Below) This is what we are trying to avoid.  The Polka Dot wall effect. Polka dot wall 2

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.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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 Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

 

Cordwood Home for Sale

Another cordwood home is being offered for sale in the Pacific Northwest.  This gorgeous 2,176 sq. ft. build  in the state of Washington, halfway between Portland and Seattle.  WA for sale 1Made from Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, this is a massive post and beam framed beauty with large overhangs.WA for sale 2.pngQuality construction throughout, the floor plan is open and filled with light. WA for sale 3WA for sale 4A primary check will run right through the large rounds,  from inside to outside and must be stuffed to prevent air and insect infiltration. WA for sale 5Huge Douglas Fir posts make a sturdy statement. WA for sale 6These large pieces will continue to shrink in the wall, so a caulking like Permachink or Log Jam (which comes in mortar colors) is important to have on hand. WA for sale 7WA for sale 10This home was built in 1994.  It is on the top of a hill and shows a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and valley.  It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths and sits on 1.26 acres.

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  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders 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 Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25 and the DVD is available for an immediate download! 

 Online Cordwood Bookstore

 

 

Buy a Cordwood Home?

Would you consider buying a cordwood home?  I have known of several dozen cordwood homes that have “come on the market” in the past ten years.   What would encourage you to buy?  What would be a deal breaker? Here is a home in British Columbia that came for sale and the asking price was under half a million dollars.  Cordwood for Sale BC 1With half an acre, 1800 sq. ft. and western red cedar as the cordwood infill, this beauty sold as soon as it hit the market.  Cordwood for Sale BC 2

Cordwood for Sale BC 3Lots of wood, but oh, so well done.  Personally, I love a wood ceiling. Cordwood for Sale BC 4Cordwood for Sale BC 6Well placed cordwood log ends, with clean mortar joints,  make for very attractive, complimentary walls. Cordwood for Sale Comox BC5Cordwood for Sale Comox BC7Cordwood for Sale Comox BC8The specific features: 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, timber frame & cordwood; vaulted ceilings, a large open kitchen, a bright Sunroom & a cozy fireplace. The kitchen is large & open with an eating area. The roof was replaced a few years ago with light weight metal.Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9Cordwood for Sale Comox BC10Most cordwood homes that do sell quickly sell because of the attention to detail and the quality of the build.  The doors, windows, posts, roof, mortar, cabinets, closets, interior fixtures all play an important role in the attractiveness of the home.

This cordwood home sold very quickly.

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  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders 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 Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25 and the DVD is available for an immediate download! 

 Online Cordwood Bookstore

 

 

Cordwood in the South

Can I build cordwood in a hot, humid climate?  Here are some fine examples of cordwood in the South.  Obviously, if best practices are used, cordwood can be very successful in warm, moist climes.Sam Felts round cordwood home in Georgia interior 3 Sam Felt and Bill talking about cordwood building in the center part of the home’s inner circle.  This is a very beautiful and dramatic building.  The arches were 1″ dimensional lumber, bent to make a frame and then pulled off once the mortar hardened.  Sam Felts Adel, Georgia with logo Sam Felt’s home in Adel, Georgia.   It is made of cypress and has arched doorways created by the Godfather of Cordwood,  Jack Henstridge.

Sam Felts son's cordwood home in Geroga small pixels with logoAbove is Renyard’s cypress cordwood home in Adel, Georgia. Rockmart, GA  built in the late 70's with logo.jpgTom and Ann’s post and beam framed beauty, in Rockmart, Georgia.  This one has a large stone fireplace and is built on an older stone barn foundation.  It has the wrap around porch that makes for good neighborly living.  dirt under my nails NC 3 with logo.jpgMaria & Toby built this masterpiece in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. It is a 12 sided, post framed cordwood with a living roof. dirt under my nails NC 8.jpgThe beams make a handy place to dry the garden produce.

Luke and Amy Metzger  Spartanburg, SC j 2012.jpg Spartanburg, South Carolina is graced with this post framed cordwood with a full walk-out basement.  The interior is also very attractive.  This home sold, when the family moved to Colorado, to the first person who looked at it (for the asking price!) The real estate agent said it was because of the quality of the build. Luke and Amy Metzger Spartanburg, SC g 2012a(Below) Kimberly built this 600 square foot cabin in western South Carolina for $6,000.  The majority of the materials came from the property.Kimberly Rak South Carolina 4.jpgThe The Cookie House (built in 1931) in Edgewater, Florida is a good example of how long cordwood will last in the south. Cordwood in Florida Cookie House 1930s.jpgWilburton, Oklahoma is so hot in the summer, that it’s hard to do heavy physical labor in the heat of the noon day sun.   This was built by a veteran on a military reserve and sold quickly, when he moved to Hawaii to be with his grandchildren.  It is made of Eastern Red Cedar.  Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama with logo.jpgSuffice it is to say that if a rot resistant wood is used, along with a slow setting mortar, within a post and beam framework, cordwood can be successfully built in many climates.

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  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders 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 Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25.

Alaska: The Last Frontier Cordwood Cabin

Shane & Kelli Kilcher of the Discovery series Alaska: The Last Frontier have built a beautiful cordwood cabin on their land near Homer, Alaska.  The Discovery Channel has been documenting their journey.  Shane & Kelli bought my book (Cordwood Construction Best Practices) and stayed in contact via email and text throughout the building process.  We answered questions as they were building on site. Here are a few photos they sent of their progress.  That’s the film crew in the background.

Shane and Kelli Kilcher with logo cropped

Kelli recently wrote on her Facebook page  “This guy (Richard Flatau) literally wrote the book on cordwood building and has been a great help with all our questions!”  They also purchased the Cordwood Workshop DVD, which is a great way to prepare for building your first walls.

Shane and Kelli Kilcher 6

It was a pleasure to help them navigate all the many decisions and details that can bog a natural builder down.  They were rushing to beat the winter weather that inevitably comes to Homer, Alaska.

Shane & Kelly Kilcher cordwood in Homer Alaska3 with logo

They used 24″ peeled, dried pine logs and a traditional cordwood mortar mix with plenty of sawdust, perlite and sand.

Shane broke a vertebrae in his back in a fall recently.  He assures me that he is on the mend, can still walk, but is limited to lifting.   There have been hundreds of people who have offered their good thoughts and support to the family.  We are hoping that he will make a full recovery.

Alaska: The Last Frontier is seen on the Discovery Channel and this production is in its 7th season.  The singer Jewel is part of the family and brings her son Kase to visit and learn survival and homesteading skills.

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.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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 instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop DVD cover, featuring the best practices Cordwood Education Center.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3.jpg

 

For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Below is the 30 item DVD menu. 

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Largest Cordwood Building in the World

The 75 foot long Quetzal Cordwood Classroom is located in the rain forest near Coban, Guatemala.  Built by the Community Cloud Forest Conservation it is a long curved structure that resembles the tail feathers of the Quetzal (the national bird).

CCFC 2017F.jpgThese buildings house classrooms, kitchens and dormitories that serve the middle school girls from the area. The girls are able to continue their education and learn skills that are income producing.  Many volunteers and organizations have helped in the support and construction of this wonderful community.  Rob & Tara Cahill are the Directors.CCFC 2017BThe shingles are recycled tires and are donated by a Canadian shingle company.  They are guaranteed to last for 100 years.  Comforting thought in the rain forest!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Quetzal’s have high stone foundations to funnel the ever present rainwater away from the buildings.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cafeteria is bright and colorful.

CCFC squash and cordwood Guatemala.jpgThe community grows traditional fruits and vegetables (local squash is pictured above) and has an industrial kitchen to make jams, jellies and salsas to sell on the world market.CCFC 2017DThe beautiful windows are handmade by local artisans.CCFC 3 July 2017.jpgStudents learn valuable skills that help them with high school and employability.

Quetzal.jpg

The Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala.   The tail feathers of the Quetzal are the inspiration for the buildings. CCFC 38 Elvira.jpgElvira, a graduate of the Cloud Forest Conservatory, is teaching plant identification and their uses to a group of visiting students.   There is also an ornithology program run by Cornell University.   Many unique species of birds and plants are to be found in the adjacent rain forest.

CCFC 1S

The architect of the curved window and his drawing. CCFC 1QYoung students were taught masonry skills to erect the buildings. CCFC 1A with logoThe front porch is a valuable and beautiful teaching space.CCFC cleaning the cordwood before mortaring 1 with logoCleaning logs for the cordwood infill.

CCFC 27 with logo

Laying the logs in mortar with an insulation cavity filled with sawdust.

(Below) River stones were used for the shower rooms and the entrance ways.

CCFC Conservation, Agroecology, Sustainable Living Learning Center Tara Jean Cahill 5.jpg

The building is framed with local, non-native, invasive eucalyptus and the cordwood infill is local pine.

CCFC 24 cleaning the walls in sequence

The local population provided the labor and were paid a fair wage for their work.

CCFC rebar for seismic activity

Should you wish to contribute, visit, work or learn more about the Community Cloud Forest Conservation please contact Rob & Tara Cahill.    rtcahill@gmail.com    www.cloudforestconservation.org    http://cloudforestconservation.org/our-work/walc/

CoCoCo15 Papers.jpg

The Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 has a wonderful article about the Quetzal Cordwood Classroom. 

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.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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 instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop DVD cover, featuring the best practices Cordwood Education Center.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3.jpg

 

For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Below is the 30 item DVD menu. 

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood Home of 40 years

Folks have been asking about our northern Wisconsin cordwood home and how it has “held up” after 40 years.  Here are some pictures, commentary and a few links, should you care to delve deeper. Flatau's Chateau winter with logo30′ x 40′ Post and beam framed with Northern White Cedar on a frosty November morning. Flatau's Chateau for book CCBP with logoWe capped it with a truss room-in-the-attic (a Swiss Chalet style roof).  It gave us an additional 560 sq. ft. of living space (two large bedrooms and a half bath). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInterior walls and ceilings are made from locally milled Norwegian Pine (also called Red Pine).   In a nutshell, our cordwood home is doing just fine.  The mortar is in good shape, there is no degradation of the wood and our home is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Who could ask for anything more?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt 720 pounds, the Hearthstone Wood Stove supplies all the heat we need.  Having a large thermal mass, a passive solar design and an attached solar/greenhouse room helps to moderate the interior heating and cooling. Flatau's Chateau 1b.jpgThe photo above was taken when the Mother Earth News sent a photographer from New York to document the Mortgage Free Cordwood Article we had written in 1980. Flatau's Chateau 2005.jpgThe always reliant Yellow Transparent apple tree provides fragrant blooms every spring.   Note the domestic hot water solar thermal panels on the roof.

Truss room in the attic small pixels

Above is the Truss Room in the Attic truss that increased our home by 560  sq. ft.   It cost the same as a traditional roof. Flatau's chateau 2 interior with logo.jpgThe Home Comfort wood cookstove is used many times a year, but especially around the holidays.  Rich Becky and Summer with logo.jpgMany articles have been published about our little cabin in the woods over the past four decades, here are links to the last and the first.

Mortgage Free Cordwood Home

Mother Earth News Magazine (first article)  

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.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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 Workshop Video (DVD),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print & ebook), Cordwood House Plans, Cordwood Shed Plans and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

 

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

 

Mermaid Cordwood Cottage featured in Czech Architectural Magazine

The prestigious Czech architectural magazine Drevo & Stavby: Kvalini Casopis recently featured the Mermaid Cottage.  Kimanna & Michael built this beautiful BnB in Colorado using cordwood construction with mermaid motifs.   Although this article is written in Czech, fear not, for there is a translation further down the page.  The article calls cordwood wonky and funky folk architecture.  I quite agree. Mermaid Cottage 1

Mermaid Cottage 3Mermaid Cottage 2

While the words are in Czech, the pictures tell the story of a gorgeous place to spend a vacation.  The building is a post and beam framed, cordwood masterpiece.  The cottage is registered with AirBnB.  For details on how to spend a night or a month visit   http://www.mermaidcottage.org/

Here is the translation of the article (I love the idiomatic translations):

  • If you are able to accumulate enough logs, you can cheaply build a full house somewhere between a wooden cottage and a wooden heap of Earth alchemy. For someone, the building of a house can be as demanding as a crossword puzzle for a graduate. For a builder of cordwood technology, this is just a leisure time activity with an ecological subtext that is no more complicated than going through TV channels. It’s just a little tedious. However, if you are the owner of a forest or a large pile of bark that is rid of logs, then the construction of your house will be economically beneficial.
  • Architecture is a bit crazy, but with “hairy,” green roofs, cozy proportions, and folk creativity, these houses have an unmistakable sparkle.   Looking from the distance, it looks like a stone house. That it is a wooden building is obvious only after a closer examination. While wooden houses built in the traditional way usually require long and high quality wood in large quantities, for a house built with cordwood masonry technology – wood-trimming you need long beams only a few for the load-bearing skeleton of the house and the rest, that is, walls, are already built from short softwoods wood.
  • Thickness of the wall is determined by the constructor by how long the logs cut. They are placed in a bed of a mixture of sand, cement and lime perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the wall. If the filler gaps between the inner and outer mortar layers, for example, sawdust, are used, the insulation properties of the wall increase. If it is made of soft, well-dried wood (for example, pine, larch or birch), which at least changes its bulk properties, the logs will not burst or separate from the mortar, and the wall will breathe well, respectively work with indoor and outdoor humidity. The presence of lime in the mortar, but also the filler prevents mold formation.
  • Some might consider it an act of despair of the poor. Another for building somewhere halfway between a heap of logs and a wooden cottage. The truth is, however, that in countries where building law is more congenial, this method builds not only permanently habitable houses, but also public and commercial buildings. A somewhat old-fashioned look can, of course, be combined with modern mitochondria of ecological operation such as a solar energy system, floor heating stored in a sand bed, capture and use of rainwater or a “cool” green roof.
  • Fans of natural construction are welcoming this return to the roots, the Czech construction office is catching up. But if we always have to meet standards, how many interesting and functionally tested housing alternatives have arisen just because the norms have been around and over and over?
  • Cordwood technology can ideally be used to build a small house by self-help. It is a frequent choice of alternates, dreamers and hypers, simply people who are enthusiastic about a simple, sustainable construction that does not cost much. Assuming basic rules such as preventing the interlocking of the logs, keeping the roof overhead and stripping the top structure off the ground, for example, a stone wall, then such a house will last forever, as evidenced by the findings of Siberia or the United States of America, up to a thousand years.
  • The log walls look the same from the inside as the outside. If you have artistic tendencies, you can create a series of mini-bottles from bottles or decorate it in funky style; beads, shells or colored shards …
  • Try this house:   The “Mermaid Cottage” Del Norte – a cordwood chalet located in American Colorado, and you can rent it through Airbnb.  http://www.mermaidcottage.org/

Here are a few more photos of Kimanna & Michael’s masterpiece.  KimAnna14 with logo.jpg

The mermaid shower.

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The mermaid bathroom.

Mermaid Cottage low rez with logo.jpg

The lovely Kimanna tuckpointing to her heart’s content.

KimAnna17 with logo

The mountains make the setting serene and restful.

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If you love light and color, this may be worth a visit.

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.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

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

The Cordwood Workshop Video label. DVD label cover yellow

The 30 menu items. DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

The Drone View is especially spectacular!