Building a tiny cob summer house in Bulgaria.


Click 1 to 9 to see the build steps


Ivan built his tiny cob summer house with family and friends just south of Sofia in Bulgaria to learn about building with natural materials. It's a simple one room home standing on a shallow rubble trench with a stone stem wall. Inside the tiny cob house the floor is earthen, sealed with linseed oil and wax.

The frost line in the region is shallow. Ivan dug a trench to the frost line sloping the trench to a dry well to remove any water from the trench [see pictures 1 and 2].


A dry stone wall forms the stem of the house that the cob walls are built from [3]. As the walls get higher the windows and door frame are placed and built around with cob [4]. The cob walls are scratched [5] to provide an anchor for the later plasters. The roof timbers are placed and anchored into the cob walls [6] and dressed with an edge board to retain the green roof [7]. Adding decoration to the doors and windows [8] provide a welcome to the home. It's one of the patterns in A Pattern Language, No.249 'Ornament'. Now after a few years the house has settled into it's environment [9] with flowers growing around it providing the family with a very low cost holiday hideaway.

Oops, we broke a window!

When you set a window in cob it's prudent to plan for accidents as Ivan has. Setting a window deep into the wall can mean extensive rebuilding if the window is broken. In the pictures below you can see Ivan created windows just smaller than the size of the glass. This has made replacing the window a relatively easy task.