By Lady Covington
You've seen where we live and work. I thought you might like a glimpse into where we would ideally love to live some day.
Growing up I always lived in close quarters, my parent's house is three bedrooms for them and four kids. I won't say I never dreamt of having a huge mansion, truthfully if I were rich I might still prefer a house full of ivy laced windows, winding corridors, and hidden passages. It's fun to daydream about, but as far as realistic housing situations, my options would appear limited. At the end of college, however, I started learning about eco-friendly architecture, green building techniques and people who not only eschewed 'McMansions' but the very idea of four walls and a roof.
I thought I could never stand to live in a place so small, but then I read about how people tend to only use small parts of the huge homes that are so popular. I noticed that Lord C and I didn't even use all of the area in our one bedroom apartment. This stayed true throughout several moves. There were always areas we would go without using. Many years, in winter we would close off the bedroom and heat only the living room, sleeping there. I have always been a self described hippy, and I wanted to live in a 'green' house, so I learned about green technology. The newest technology was oh-so expensive, but I also learned about time honored techniques like passive solar heating. Along the way I discovered the extreme end--Earthships, using recyled materials in construction, like earth rammed tires and glass bottles. I saw more conventional looking houses built with strawbale, and wonderfully quirky houses made of cob. I thought "I could never use a wood-burning stove, I'd burn everything" then ended up in a duplex with a gas stove and learned to cook on fire.
I have always been a 'crafter' and over time, creation has become more and more important to me. Clay has been my favorite medium since I first used sculpey. I pick up creating tiny sculptures time and again, and I got a chance to work with kiln clay for a couple weeks in high school and for one class in college. I think I intrinsically think additively, and found creating in that form came much easier than two dimensions. Because of this, cob houses became my favorite form of green building. About once a year I will binge on looking at all things cob, I will refresh myself on proportions of cob mixtures, google image and drool over the beautiful organic art these buildings can be. I've read stories where people have bought land and starting building with cob with no formal instruction and ended up with wonderful houses, but I would not feel confident enough to do this until I have had hands on experience. So, every year, I have looked up cob building seminars, sighed over their costs and distance from me and resigned myself to the thought that I will get to go to one, someday, somehow.
This particular house is my very favorite, the one I keep coming back to time and again. I love the idea of a 'hobbit' house, a house part of the earth and blending into nature rather than standing starkly from it. I would want a small upstairs area to open onto the grass roof for easy stargazing, ala this house from In The Puddle. I think about building the nooks and crannies to curl up into, the arches we'd create for doorways, creating a tree flowing over our walls. I think of the freedom we would have, not having to search for such-and-such bedrooms, blank and a half baths, bay window, etc. Just having to discover a plot of land we find suitable, and crafting our world with our bare hands, to the exact specifications of our desires. One of my new years resolutions is starting a savings account specifically for this goal and if at all possible with seminar schedules, attending one by the end of the year. I believe taking the first step and starting a savings account with the goal of attending a cob building seminar will be evidence to act as a reminder that we don't have to keep putting it of for someday, but that we are even now in the process of sculpting our future.