What we do and why we are doing it


PO Box 942, Coquille, Oregon 97423 Phone: 541-396-1825

What we do

  1. We conduct hands-on research on natural building methods and materials, testing our own buildings by living in them.
  2. Through our sharing of this knoweldge, we help empower ordinary people to build their own houses at moderate cost and help others become professionals in natural construction.
  3. By mail and phone, and through publications and tours, we supply information, support and inspiration for people to make healthy choices about buildings.

Our inspiration comes from direct observation of Nature, and from the wisdom of traditional cultures. We are committed to deconsumerizing, to reducing the flow of cash, resources and waste, and helping others to do the same. We work with a wide range of natural materials. Numerous cob demonstration buildings all over North America are now open to visitors. Tours of the demonstration buildings in Coquille Oregon are available at set times or by appointment as no one resides on the property, so we need to make arrangements for someone to meet you for a tour.  Please call the office number to schedule one.

Why Bother?

    • A new house costs $100,000 or more and takes a lifetime to pay for. As real earnings decline, housing costs continue to rise, trapping people into 30-year mortgages. Homeowners take jobs they can't stand to pay for houses that don't suit them. We research and teach how to build very low cost, personalized houses that an owner can pay for in a year.
    • Although family size has dropped, new houses continue to get bigger -- huge boxes unsuited to their occupants' needs, costly to maintain, and inefficient in space, energy and materials. In contrast to the building industry's emphasis on size, we demonstrate quality -- of materials, craftsmanship and spaces. We believe your house should be of moderate size but a work of art, a daily inspiration and a joy to live in.
    • Modern building materials are increasingly toxic to builders and residents. We explore durable, cheap, natural materials which won't make you ill.
    • Most houses are designed to alienate people from Nature, but ours reveal the solar and lunar cycles and emphasize the character and climate of their site. Through careful placement of openings, focus on views, integrating outdoor spaces and encouraging wildlife, the residents of our buildings become more aware of the natural world.
    • The construction industry is a major contributor to deforestation, mining and pollution. We help people build gracefully with much less lumber, metal, or manufactured products.
    • Most US housing uses immense amounts of energy for heating and lighting. All our buildings are solar oriented to be snug in winter and cool in summer. They need no air conditioning, no daytime lighting, and minimal heating.
    • Industrial cartels, the building industry and government have all conspired to prevent most people from building their own homes. We help people to take charge of creating their own housing. We research and teach construction techniques anyone can learn rapidly.
    • As resources diminish, the reuse of building materials becomes urgent. Mainstream construction shows little concern for how its products will be re-used and is a massive creator of waste, impoverishing future generations. We work with organic materials which can be reused or composted, especially earth, rock, straw and unwanted parts of trees.

Section and plan of the $500 "Heart House" in Cottage Grove with kitchenette and snug space below, sleeping/dressing loft and study above. Foundation and floor are rock; beams are hand-hewn fir, madrone and oak. Note heated cob bench, massive cob walls, window seat, glasswall to south and east. Linda and Ianto lived there for twelve years.

We are the authors of The Hand-Sculpted House(published by Chelsea Green with 20,000 in print), the most comprehensive book available on cob construction, also the Cobber's Companion, Rocket Mass Heaters and Earth Building and the Cob revival.