Tag Archives: cordwood home

Curved Cordwood & Corners

If you want a curved cordwood home, but would like an attached garage and some right angles for kitchen cabinets and a workshop, this home is a good combination of styles. Don Gerdes, an engineer from Reedsburg, Wisconsin created and built a design that combines the best of both worlds.

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Below is Don’s architectural rendering.  He wanted to have an attached two car garage, a curved wall great room and square corners for his workshop and kitchen.  Many folks who build round, or multi-sided eventually yearn for a couple of right angles.  That is why Pythagoras helped us understand the Golden Rectangle and why it was considered by the Greeks to be of the most pleasing proportion.

 

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The finished product.

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Inside Don used what he called Brilliant Bottles.  These are wired so they light up at night. Don Gerdes Reedsburg9Don Gerdes Reedsburg8

Here is how he made the Brilliant Bottles in his workshop.  Don auctioned one of these at the Cordwood Conference 2005 in Merrill, Wisconsin.

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The interior is tastefully arranged with a curved motif.

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The kitchen allows for hanging cabinets in a more traditional manner.

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A loft and fireplace compliment the interior. Don Gerdes Reedsburg4

A few photos of the framework and the room-in-the-attic trusses being installed.

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The two car garage and workshop are included in the rectangular area.

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Don passed away a few years ago.  This posting is to honor his contributions to the cordwood field.  Thank you, dear friend.

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

DVDandPrint

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

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Warming Shelter

We built a cordwood warming hut at the Merrill School Forest that gradually morphed into a public school classroom along the way. The goal was to create a natural building using materials from the surrounding woods for students to warm up in on their winter hikes.
The result is a state code-approved, public school classroom that boldly demonstrates “best practice building” using sustainable methods.  Many of  these techniques can be used with other alternative building methods like strawbale, cob, earthen plaster, adobe and cobwood. Cordwood Education Center Richard Flatau highresjpeg with logo

The building started with architectural drawings and blueprints. These were sent to the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin to be assessed for code compliance  We were pleased when they were approved. [Note:  In the future this tiny cabin may become a care-takers cottage and so “knock outs” were made during construction to provide for plumbing for a kitchen and a bathroom.]

The wood for the entire building (posts, cordwood, window boxes, paneling, trim) was cut within 1000 feet of the building site.  We used tamarack (larch), pine, spruce and balsam. Crews of community volunteers from ages 4 to 80 turned out to help. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Wood Mizer cut all the posts, beams and one inch lumber. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For planning, we started with an architectural drawing.

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A rubble trench is much messier in reality.  This poor soil is called “goose nuggets.” sfwh5

A 4″ perforated drain tile surrounds the foundation and carries the water away. sfwh12

In order to satisfy code requirements, we topped it with a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (FPSF).  Five million of these foundations have been built in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland and they are now approved in the USA and Canada.  They work very well in cold climates, keeping the heat in the building and most are outfitted with radiant-in-floor heating systems.  This type of foundation saves money by reducing materials and excavation costs.

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The building was framed using heavy timbers of pine and tamarack (larch).  The roof truss was built with a 14″ Energy Heel so that  starched cellulose could be packed to the outside edge of the top plate, giving the roof an R-value of 53.

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The high school construction classes and middle school students came to work and learn.  They wanted to live and work here all semester.

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Everybody pitched in.  We had 90 volunteers and 180 folks who came to “have a look/see.”  So, doing the math,  for every one who worked, two supervised :0)

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The split faced blocks are needed in this area because of the high snow depth (70″ per year) to protect the cordwood.  The double posts allow for a 16″ wall, which not only provides an excellent thermal mass, but also an R-value of 24.

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The sawdust mixed with lime provides a thermal break.

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As the walls began to rise, the community came together to help.

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Building the Big Dipper wall with seventeen volunteers.

Below, ready for the windows and doors as Autumn approaches.

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The cup end of the dipper points to the North Star.  “Follow the drinking gourd” was what Harriet Tubman sang to her escaping comrades.

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The dedication was planned and celebrations took place.  The Cordwood Education Center is now used every day by the students of the Merrill Area Public Schools. It is also used as a Warming Shelter by weekend skiers and hikers.

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The students celebrate!

Watch a brief video about beavers at the Cordwood Education Center .  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh6uW663R88

Even the media found this little classroom in the woods appealing.

The local and national media payed close attention to the project.  Many other cabins, homes and cottages have been built using the Cordwood Education template.

Cordwood has a tremendous amount of “thermal mass” which means it has the capability of taking and holding and then releasing the warmth or coolness that has been introduced by passive or active means.   In other words your warm building will stay warm and if you cool it, it will stay cool:0)

Ready to welcome the students!cordwood-education-center-with-summer-small-pixels-for-new-pioneer-sample

We host an annual Solar Tour of Homes and Businesses. solar-tour-cordwood-education-center-2015-with-logo

Best Practices used in this building.

  • Rubble Trench
  • FPSF  (Frost Protected Shallow Foundation)
  • Natural materials built up (off grade)
  • 16″ cordwood walls (R-24)
  • Post & Beam Framework
  • Energy Heel Truss
  • Large Overhangs (2′ and 6′)
  • Gutters to prevent splashback
  • Metal Roof (to shed extreme snow load)
  • Energy Efficient Windows and doors
  • Passive Solar Design
  • Natural materials sustainably and locally harvested (posts/sawdust/cordwood/lumber)
  • Random patterning of well dried softwood
  • 200 recycled bottles/stones/momentos placed in the walls from the volunteers

Let’s be clear. Not everyone has to use all these best practices.  They are simply listed for the owner/builders consideration.  The choices you make will be based upon your time, talents and treasure.

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

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

Cordwood B & B in the Adirondacks

Rarilee & James Conway built this beautiful airbnb cordwood Bed and Breakfast in the Adirondacks of upstate New York near Whiteface Mountain.  Rarilee used the Stoneview style project as a way to provide extra income for the family and involve them in a meaningful project.airbnb-rarilee-conway-adirondacks-cordwood-1 Rairlee says: “We built this unique cabin by hand using locally sourced eco-friendly materials. 22′ diameter octagon w/ 8′ x 8′ bathroom (tiled shower & compost toilet). Timber frame structure, cordwood walls & living roof. Bottle logs add color & creativity. Full kitchen, charcoal grill & fire pit. Linens provided. Comfortably sleeps up to 3 w/ queen memory foam mattress & single futon. Shed is available for ski/bike storage. Easy, close access to ski, fish, hike & bike. You can hear wolves howl too!”rairlee-and-james-frame-it-first-4-copyInside it’s cozy, warm and relaxing. rairlee-and-james-frame-it-first-5-copyOne of the reviews from someone who stayed at the cottage.  “The Adirondack Cordwood Cabin is a little slice of hand-crafted, charming, mountain paradise. The cordwood construction with colored glass highlights and gorgeous exposed beam ceiling make this space feel magical and timeless. One may be struck by the thought of being in some Tolkien world as they gaze out at deer nosing at the ground amongst the pines all around and feel at peace in this little hobbit abode. There’s also all the modern comforts one could want for a perfect couples getaway. Gas woodstove, which keeps the place nice and cozy, superbly comfortable bed, well appointed kitchen suitable for any meal preparation one could imagine, reliable wi-fi, composting toilet (super cool), stereo, and lots of serenity. The wildlife refuge across the street is a really nice perk, and the cabin is situated well within driving distance of the high peaks and lake placid. Will likely be visiting again.”rairlee-and-james-frame-it-firstThe framework is post and beam with a center bearing post. rairlee-and-james-frame-it-first-3-copy

It’s also beautiful and attractive during the summer months.

Want to stay?  

Contact Information:   Rarilee Conway   Email: conway12@charter.net

Web Site: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4872916

Phone Number: 518-524-0493    Address: PO Box 57, Wilmington, NY 12997

Rarilee also wrote a wonderful article in the Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 about her project and provides a detailed materials list in her essay Adirondack Cordwood Cabin.  The Papers are available at the Online Cordwood Bookstore. 

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

DVDandPrint

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

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood home near Asheville, North Carolina

Maria & Toby built a beautiful cordwood home in the mountains near Asheville, NC.   Maria blogs about her life as a homesteader, homeschooler at www.dirtundermynails.com   It is an excellent blog, filled with hope and life and light.  I go there whenever I need a pick-me-up.   Their two children Kaia and Leif and wonderful and inquisitive.  Her blog goes from homeschooling to cordwood building, to chicken rearing, and on and on.

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Toby & Maria’s cordwood creation with living roof.

Here are Maria’s words…“Hey there! Welcome to my blog. I’m a Nurse-Herbalist turned homesteader and homeschooling mom of two crazy-awesome kids. I love to knit, sew, play on aerial silks, and wear my pajamas all day long.”

Framing the home took some serious geometric cutting skills.  Fortunately Toby is a carpenter!

Framing the home took some serious geometric cutting skills. Fortunately Toby is a carpenter!

This is a double wall cordwood home with blown in Icyene foam.  It has a living roof and a cool second floor.   Heated with a Hearthstone soapstone stove, this beautiful dwelling provides a welcome family sanctuary.

All kinds of interesting motifs are mortared into the walls.

All kinds of interesting motifs are mortared into the walls.

Garlic and onions hanging from the rafters, no problem in a post and beam framed home.  Especially if the beams are left exposed.

Garlic and onions hanging from the rafters, no problem in a post and beam framed home. Especially if the beams are left exposed.

A triangle window is the backdrop for mother and child.

A triangle window is the backdrop for a loving mother and her dear child.

More wonderful shades of poor man's stained glass.

More wonderful shades of poor man’s stained glass.

Natural paving stones form a very functional and attractive patio.

Natural paving stones form a very functional and attractive patio.

The family and homestead were part of an excellent article about cordwood construction in the NY Times.

The family and homestead were part of an excellent article about cordwood construction in the NY Times.

   For more information on Maria’s blog (great tips and links on all things homesteading, homeschooling, family and herbal) go to www.dirtundermynails.com

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

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Here is a picture of the DVD label on the best selling Cordwood Construction video.  It has been getting rave reviews for its incredible detail, clear instruction and how it breaks the cordwood tasks into manageable sections.  There are 30 menu items from foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, wall building, materials, special effects, bottle bricks, best practices, drone views of outstanding cordwood and so much more. Order yours today.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

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