Tag Archives: green roofs

Cordwood plays matchmaker

“Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, find me a catch, catch me a catch…”  That is precisely what is going on with Clarke Snell’s hybrid cottage.  One wall is cordwood, one wall cob, one strawbale and one earthen plaster, topped off with a living roof.

Clarke Snell small pixel with logo.jpgThe cob wall and living roof (top). The cordwood and strawbale wall (bottom).Clarke Snell #2a small pixel with logo

Clarke snell cob and cordwood with logo.jpgCordwood and cob play very well together.

So do strawbale (balewall) and cordwood (in this instance in Manitoba, Canada, the cordwood is double wall.IMG_4121

This how the strawbale and cordwood look when they meet in the corner of the room.

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This is cordwood in the kitchen in the lovely Cannon home in Antelope Valley, Manitoba, Canada.

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Sigi Koko has added a cordwood green house/sunroom in a strawbale and earthen plaster home in West Virginia. Sigi Koko Cordwood Greenhouse solar room2

Below is a cob and bottle wall greenhouse with excellent framing.

Greenhouse from Sigi www.dayonedesign.org

Windows and wooden framing make for astounding light and views.

FB page of Sigi Koko house in Guatemala from Green Renaussabce

Cordwood and bottle bricks brighten up the walls.

Sigi Koko Cordwood Greenhouse solar room

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 in Oklahoma is OK

Alan & Rebecca Barreca sent me the following pictures and information on their beautiful home in SE Oklahoma. For those who are wondering about cordwood in a hot, humid climate, this will help answer your questions.

“We moved into our 16 sided cordwood home last Mar 21 and simply love it. It is sooo comfortable to live in. It is only 800 square feet (one bedroom, 1 & 1/2 baths) including the pop out sun room on the south side, but is totally adequate for 2 retired folks.”

Alan & Rebecca's 16 sided cordwood home-made of 12" eastern red cedar.

Alan & Rebecca’s 16 sided cordwood home-made of 12″ red cedar.

Mortars:  They used all different types of cordwood mortars, from Lime Putty (which they found too time-consuming and difficult) to Paper Enhanced Mortar (which they liked) to cob (which they loved).

A Hearthstone free-standing stove takes care of all their heating requirements.  Easter red cedar has beautiful patterning.

A Hearthstone free standing stove takes care of all their heating requirements. Easter red cedar has beautiful patterning.

Alan & Rebecca used a special plaster paint to blend all the different cordwood mortars together and speak glowingly of Vasari – vasariplaster.com. They say it is so easy to use and so much better than lime wash. It is actually a plaster that is lime based.

The red cedar is a weed tree in the southern middle portion of the country and it is naturally resistant to insects.

The red cedar is a weed tree in the southern central portion of the country and it is naturally resistant to insects and rot.

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The home is relatively small (800 sq. ft.) handsome and easy to heat and cool. alan-rebecca-8-se-oklahama-with-logoThey also experimented with an earthen floor: After a year the floor is holding up pretty well. We have it everywhere including the bathroom. It is made up of clay and sand with a Bioshield finish.

Here is a sample of the central capital and the posts, including the earthen floor.

Here is a sample of the central capital and the posts, including the earthen floor.

The plaster paint that Alan & Rebecca used was helpful in covering up the different types of mortar they tried while building their lovely home.  You can see the different shades of mortar at the top (below).   The Vasari Lime Wash made it all the same color.

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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 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 Mermaid Cottage in Colorado

Did you know there is a cottage filled with mermaids in southern Colorado? KimAnna16 with logoKimAnna18 with logo Even though it is a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, this B n B has a bevy of seafaring sirens. It has gorgeous views, breathtaking skies, wonderful structures. The Mermaid Cottage is available via AirBnB at  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/685335KimAnna9 with logoBuilt by KimAnna Cellura-Shields and her husband Michael, the Mermaid Cottage is a testament to the possibilities of building with log ends, glass and mortar.KimAnna14 with logoThe shower is an entire glass bottle wall. KimAnna17 with logoThe surrounding countryside is beyond compare. KimAnna13 with logo If perchance, you are interested in moving to Colorado and starting a business, the Peace of Art Cafe in Del Norte, Colorado is FOR SALE  The details are available at http://www.organicpeddler.com/peace-of-art-cafe.html  KimAnna11 with logoThe kitchen sign says “The Mermaid is in.”KimAnna10 with logoThe bedroom is vibrant with color.KimAnna15 with logoEven the bathroom will bathe you in light and beauty.

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/

 

Dragon’s Cordwood Keep

In the rolling bluffs and buttes of southwest Wisconsin and nigh onto the Mississippi River resides a cordwood dragon. Kinstone 49This dragon (the eye is green) is sleeping in a cordwood “dragon’s keep.”  Kinstone 27 Made of cordwood, bottles, metal and glass it keeps watch over the Driftless Zone and the other 15 dragons nestled under and near its wings.  As you know a “keep” is defined as an “inner most stronghold.” Kinstone 4The Dragon’s Keep came to fruition during cordwood workshops at Kinstone Permaculture Academy near Fountain City, Wisconsin.  High atop a ridge, overlooking the Mississippi River, this dragon is ready for anything.  Actually multiple baby dragons can be seen nesting in the walls. Kinstone 9There is also a double antler shed embedded in the walls, which is now used as a coat rack.  You will also notice that this wall has cobwood (cob mortar and cordwood log ends) on the bottom and cordwood on the top. Kinstone 2

Here you can see the dragon’s eye, head and fiery tongue (black).Kinstone 10The entrance way is protected by a cedar tree. Kinstone 37A green dragon awaits placement in the wall. kinstone 47The dragon’s wing is ready to take flight. Kinstone 48

There are five tiny dragons in this photo, can you find them all?Kinstone 50The “keep” building crew is positive and happy with their work!

Kinstone 3Should 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.

Cordwood Most Beautiful @Ravenwood (New York) Part 2

Note:  This is part 2 of a 2 part post about Bruce & Nancy’s cordwood masterpiece(s). The first part is available at Most Beautiful Cordwood part 1  Before Bruce & Nancy built their cordwood masterpiece near Saranac, New York they built a storage shed and then a guest cottage.  They lived in the 315 sq. ft. round guest cottage for 9 months, while they built their home.  The following pictures from their most excellent home tour during the Cordwood Conference in July 2015. BN new 11 with logo Bruce explains the construction of the guest cottage. BN new wraparounds with logoEven though the guest cottage looks round, it carries a full, hidden post framework of 6″ x 6″ timbers with 12″ cordwood infill.   Bruce “hid” the posts on the inside of the wall by using his latest invention “Wraparound Log Ends.” The posts are only visible from the inside. Notice the cordwood is notched and screwed to the post.  Bruce wrote an article about his wraparounds for the Cordwood Conference Papers 2005.Bruce and Nancy Kilgore for blog post 2015The living roof is all most finished. BN6The interior has beautiful bottle end motifs.  This was their practice building before they built their lovely Ravenwood home. BN4Bottle end beautiful!  Can you see the smiling frog?BN5Tom stops for a moment of reflection and a smile. BN new 3 with logoNancy works on the new house using double wall (the guest cottage is single wall).  This exterior wall is 8″ thick with two 3 inch mortar beads and 2″ of sawdust insulation.   There will be 6″ of blown-in water based foam and then another 8″ of cordwood on the interior:  producing a super-insulated wall. CCC15aa logoBruce cranks up his cordwood chop saw.  He has expertly modified the original Mother Earth News plans for this bad boy and made it much better.  Tom Huber watches in awe.BN2The other side of the guest cottage. Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

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  

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 and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publication available from their online cordwood bookstore. (www.cordwoodconstruction.org)”

 

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 www.cordwoodconstruction.org 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 richardflatau@gmail.com

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 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.

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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 www.cordwoodconstruction.org 

Does Cordwood belong in the Bathroom?

You bet it does!  Many people want to examine what possibilities they have with cordwood in the bathroom.   Quite a few folks who live in cordwood homes or have a cordwood motif (like a cordwood floor or countertop) have done creative and amazingly beautiful things in their bathrooms.   Here are a few examples.Mermaid cottage rental

Above is KimAnna’s gorgeous Mermaid Cottage in Colorado.  She made a wonderfully decorative visual splash with bottle ends, ornaments and move-able curtains (for privacy).Bathroom cordwood Dregnes

Julie in Minnesota has created a soaking tub for reflection and contemplation.   The cordwood barn beams add the mass and the cordwood & bottle ends, the muse. John Meilhan Copper Harbor bathroom

John in Michigan has created a very attractive sink area with a cordwood wall and a sink top infilled with Lake Superior stones.

Lees bathroom 2

Steve and Sharon have created a real-stone-wall bathroom with wooden floors, a shower and birch cabinets.  Cordwood countertop BillandVicki Jarratt 1 with logo

“Bill Jarratt can do anything” and he proved once again that he is the master of the cordwood countertop. Bottle ends in the bathroom

This gorgeous second story bathroom window is filled with sea shells, bottles and glassware that adds a luster and sunshine to the morning.

 

cordwood floor bathroomA cordwood  floor is the perfect compliment to the white porcelain.Lees bathroom 3 with logo

The chickadee effect is understated and blends perfectly with the white birch cabinets.  Cordwood countertop BillandVicki Jarratt 3 with logo

Another view of Bill Jarratt’s masterpiece.

A mans bathroom FB page of Faluhelyen Itthon És Másutt

If you want to go with a “Man Cave Theme” here is a fine example.

Yurt cobwood Marcus Grossman NJ

When you want the whole bathroom OUTSIDE, here is Marcus’s cobwood privy in New Jersey.

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This bathroom is not cordwood at all, but rather a painted motif over plywood:0)

Cordwood has become a way to make a statement and build something unique and individualistic for yourself.

If you would like to learn a little more, please consider checking out the website www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Click on the pictures and read the articles in the pull down menus to get even more ideas. 

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Should you be looking for a book on the subject, check out the latest on the subject at the Onlinc Cordwood Bookstore (also available in ebook and print).  Click on the book cover once you arrive at the website to be taken to the Bookstore.

Hybrid Cordwood Cottage in North Carolina

Clarke Snell co-author of the excellent book, Building Green, spoke to our Cordwood Workshop at Love’s Organic Farm in September of 2007 near Marshall, North Carolina. We then followed him to his Building Green Cottage site where he gave the class a tour and explanation of the various wall types (cordwood, cob, strawbale, earthen plaster, and a living roof) and delineated their pros and cons. It was a very interesting visit.

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Clarke giving an explanation of the cob and cordwood wall

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The synergy of the cob and cordwood wall. Sweet!

 Clarke Snell's hybrid cordwood cottage in NC with living roof

The cordwood wall with large overhang

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 Random pattern cordwood with bottles, shells and marbles.
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Flowers & cordwood with Tulip Poplar

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Star pupils building a wall with smiles.

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Checking the log end faces to see which one goes next.

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Clarke giving tips on building a living roof like making a fine cabinet.  Pay attention to detail and seal every joint.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures. We have more workshops coming up in Wisconsin, Idaho and Michigan.  Here is a link to the Cordwood eNewsletter  http://cordwoodconstruction.org/img/springnewsletter_2015.pdf
 
All the best,

Richard Flatau

To read Cordwood Construction Best Practices as an ebook or print edition please go to the online bookstore at:

http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

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Or email me at richardflatau@gmail.com

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, idealy with a test building; – Alot of planning and asking questions – Making a model of the house. It takes alot of time, but this time is so much worth it when it comes to the 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 celar whitch is 3´ underground and it communicantes 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 flaoting 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 anymore 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 whitch 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.

For additional information on Cordwood Construction and to read articles and visit the Online Bookstore go to www.cordwoodconstruction.org 

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 pixels

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

DVD label cover yellow

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