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[Cob] Our futue Cob home

PHIL MOULTON philmoulton at
Sun Oct 5 18:52:13 CDT 2008

I and my wife are going to be selling our home in Portland and moving to a
cabin I have in Otis.

The cabin was originally built in the 60's with lots of bottles of beer (I
found one)

And is substandard in every category.

It was built in thirds over the years.

The last built 1/3 being a legal inspected structure (Master bedroom) that I
built in the late 80's and 90's. It has a slope roof sloping to the North
with a 20 ft high South facing Wall, and has a footprint of 20x18

1/3 of the structure (living room one bedroom and bathroom) need to be torn
off and rebuilt. Roof slopes East and West.

Currently its about 20x16 and would be enlarged to approx 24x26 ft.

The last 1/3 is the kitchen that faces south along its longest axis and
although its fairly stable as far as foundation goes (I tore up the floor In
the early 90's and rebuilt it) It is still Pier block and post. Roof slopes
North and South.

(photos are available upon request off-line)

I am hoping to match a Cob structure to the longest wall of the Kitchen (
That would be the North facing wall approx. 20 ft long. If so I plan to tear
off the roof/roof trusses and built one roof of some type and shape over the
entire Kitchen and Cob "addition".

I would like to keep the kitchen but I accept that building a Cob home
allows for passive Solar heating which I would not have as it would be to
the North side of the Kitchen. I am however not married to the idea of even
keeping the kitchen.

The electrical service connects in the kitchen as well as water and although
we are a bit away from incorporated cities we still have to deal with the
Lincoln County building codes.

The Master bedroom attaches to the Kitchen on the Kitchens West wall and
that I do want to save, That wall would be modified to incorporate part of a
Kiva Fireplace or 2nd wood stove.

We are going to have to live in this structure of perhaps get a small
trailer while we do this project and as we are both over 50 it will take I
am guessing at this time about a year to complete.

The Cob structure if attached to the Kitchen would consist of one Great
room, a Kiva fireplace in the South West corner that would interconnect into
the Kitchen and Master Bedrooms threw the modified walls in that corner, A
bathroom and a utility room would be included.

If we tear down the Kitchen as well I know I would have to deal with
Electrical permits but it would allow a more Solar friendly home. However we
could then build a larger Cob home with rounded corners that would match
better astatically and not have concerns with the substandard walls in the
kitchen. We could keep the kitchen intact and after tearing off the roof and
roof trusses rebuild the south wall into a Thrombe wall or some variant.

I plan on a Poured concrete stem wall foundation approx 2 ft high with 1/2
of that under ground level with a built up Cob/Adobe floor that would have a
set of steps into the Kitchen/ or Bedroom.

The stem wall on the North side of the kitchen would be 6 inches thick and
would support that end of the Kitchen floor as well as a inner wall for
internal support for the roof and keep my roof trusses a manageable length.

The roof would be a Wood truss roof of unknown shape and composition. As
this is Oregon Coastal range it does get wet. I am very open to ideas on the
roof and even its shape so skylights and a inner Thrombe wall are also

My wife also has asthma so my primary concern is keeping her in a dry
non-moldy environment if that means we buy the neighbors cabin and live
there while this is built or we get a small trailer both are options. I will
have approx $20,000.

out of the equity that will go toward materials, foundation work and
building the Cob home.

Now that you have a small idea of what we have :-)

1. Can I attach a Cob home to an existing stick frame. As the Kitchen North
wall would come out and a foundation poured under that wall it would be more
stable then it is now, But what about sealing that walls together ?

2. Is the issue with the kitchen on the south wall of the Cob and the
possible solar loss significant enough to not even consider keeping the

3. Regardless if we keep the kitchen or not the Cob home has to be attached
to the existing Master bedroom. What about real world issues with sealing
the two given that it does rain a LOT.

4. What about non-standard roof construction as in creating a dome that
somehow matches into the existing Master bedroom.

5. Is a one year timeframe reasonable if I can find a concrete company to
subcontract the foundation work to this winter and start the Cob portion
after Spring rains. We are both no longer in our 20's or even 40's and would
seek out others who would be interested in assisting, learning as we build.

Phil and lilpony.

Phil Moulton
Locopony Racing
Able Office Machines