This Charming Cob Home Was Built By Hand For Less Than $250

Cob-HouseBy Amanda Froelich

What could you  do with $250? Buy a one-way plane ticket? Splurge on an evening out? What about build a charming little cob home, in which you – or someone else – might live?

If you chose the last option, you’d be in good company with Michael Buck, a British farmer who hand built the charming abode shown below.

Oddity Central reports that the 59-year-old retired art teacher from Oxfordshire crafted the tiny house in his garden for a mere £150 (>USD $250). He did this by using no power tools and using only materials that he could find. In addition, he didn’t need to pay any special permits, as the cob home is considered a summer home.

michael-buck-cob-house-2 Buck spent two years collecting local materials which he foraged or salvaged himself. He also drew up the design on the back of an envelope.

The cob home’s floorboards were from a neighbor’s derelict boat, and the glass for the windows was salvaged from a scrapped truck. The roof’s thatching is straw which he gathered and hauled himself from adjacent fields.

michael-buck-cob-house-6 michael-buck-cob-house-7For pleasure and bathing purposes, there is a nearby creek which supplies water. There might be no running water or electricity in the house, but one could definitely include these resources with a bigger budget.


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Inside, there is a wood stove to heat the well-insulated space, and a spherical pile of wood is stacked right outside the home. A nearby well serves as a refrigerator, and there is a composting toilet in a separate outhouse.

michael-buck-cob-house-4 michael-buck-cob-house-8And, don’t forget about the chicken coop!

michael-buck-cob-house-9Buck’s main interest in creating this abode was to show that a house can cost absolutely nothing to make:

A house doesn’t have to cost the earth, you only need the earth to build it. I wanted to show that houses don’t have to cost anything. We live in a society where we spend our lives paying our mortgages, which many people don’t enjoy.

The $250 accounts for what he paid for straw and nails.

michael-buck-cob-house-1The farmer now rents this cozy 300-square foot house to a woman working at a nearby dairy farm, which allows her to pay rent in fresh milk.

michael-buck-cob-house-10Undoubtedly, amazing things can be created with a bit of determination and integrity. And, perhaps, with a couple hundred dollars.

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What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

Also Read: Building a $500 Cabin Without a Permit: “Simple Offers Freedom”

This article (This Charming Cob Home Was Built By Hand And Cost Only $250 [Watch]) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

  • barebones

    Cute, but unfortunately in the US, it wouldn’t qualify for a occupancy permit. The entire house is one single violation!

    • Evone

      There are old laws that exist and say otherwise. Every American has the right to build a home for their family without permits and penalties.

      • walcon

        Elaborate on that if you will.

      • Jay_Sherman

        Yeah, try getting the new politicians and their enforcers to abide by those old laws! They don’t even abide by the Constitution. Just try owning a gun in NYC or Washington DC…LOL….or building even a shed on your own property on Long Island (or in most cities/suburbs) without a permit and inspections… You’ll end up in jail and/or lose your property. In many places now, you can have a lien put on your property just for having a puddle in your driveway, or having grass more than 6 inches tall…..

        The rule of law is over in America. It is now about power. The gov’t does what it wants, and obeys only the laws it wants to.

        Only way to get around some of these property laws and permits and codes, is to live in one of the few rural places where they are not yet in effect- which is why I moved to such a place. Where I’m originally from (Long Island NY) try merely putting an above ground pool in your backyard without a permit The permits and legal proceedings and junk will cost you about $3K -( meanwhile, where I now live, my pool and excavation work et al didn’t cost me $3K!)..or try renting an apartment in your house (the house on which you pay over $10K a year in property taxes on to live in) without the required permits and resultant even higher taxes…you will be CRUCIFIED.

        • Evone

          I live in Arizona and we are going to buy land in Concho, and the county is Apache and pretty much anything goes. They really don’t give a rat’s @$$ what you do out there. Not the prettiest land but doable. I am still looking into the whole build your house with out having to pay permits. The land taxes are supper cheap like 40 acres taxes are $130 a year. Cross your fingers. The whole system is so corrupted
          non of use are free. Most of the crap we pay for is null and void but they make it out to be a law when it is anything but… Good luck to you and yours. If we all start questioning and stop following along, so as not to cause trouble then things will change. Can’t happen with just a few trying to beat City Hall.

          • Jay_Sherman

            Amen to that! Same where I now live. You want to build something, whether it be a shed or a skyscraper, on your own property, you just build it. I couldn’t see living any other way. But sadly, even many rural areas now have gotten into the permits and inspections and fees thing.

            Here, I bought 28 acres, and put a mobile home on it, and can live nicely and debt-free, on practically nothing. Where I was from on Long Island, that would be illegal (Not to mention that 28 acres there would cost millions of dollars!)-They want to ensure that their tax base is kept high, so they make it so you really can’t have a house that is worth less than $300K. It’s sick.

            Best of luck with what you are doing, too! Every person who dumps “the system” and lives free, is a win for our side! This is really the only way to escape the system- live free, and refuse to participate ion their world. If even 30% of the population would do this, it would accomplish more than any revolution ever could.

            Thanks for posting- it always does my heart good to hear of someone else who is living free!!

          • Brett

            There plans are all about containment in the end. They wont want you doing your thing out there I promise you. Such a thing represents freedom and some small hope. The very things they wish to destroy. I love what you are doing and have similar plans for myself. However I think time will beat me and if I did make it happen they will come looking for me at some point. guaranteed!

          • Jay_Sherman

            Eggs-zactly. They can’t control people who are self-sufficient; and they can’t profit off of them/harness their labor for their own purposes. Which is why, in some places already, it’s virtually a crime to be “off the grid”. In CO. someone is in jail for collecting rainwater on their own property.

            Wanna go on welfare and spend your days sitting on the couch watching TV and taking pills in some HUD apartment as you pop out one baby after another? No problem. You’re treated like a model citizen, because your entire life is open to the gov’t and controlled by them, and is justification for confiscating the wealth of others…..but if you live off the land and don’t take anything from anybody, and covet your basic human rights, like privacy…..then you’re some kind of dangerous terrorist lunatic-fringer, and they have to find a way to control you, once they know you exist. [HINT: Try to avoid letting them know you exist!]

          • Brett

            In a nut-shell, my friend!

    • I can see code for safety sake, but codes and regs have been used to keep the middle class from soaring and exploring.

    • Ganesh

      The government would rather you be homeless, than live in a beautiful, healthy home that doesn’t mean their arbitrary standards.

  • Jay_Sherman

    Awesome! They might, however, explain what cob construction is, for the uninitiated in alternate building techniques. It is essentially using clay-like subsoil to form the structure. It’s essentially a mud hut! 😀 Which is very cool (literally).There must be something very satisfying about living in one of these natural structures.

  • John Dee

    Here in the UK you can build certain structures in your back garden that comply with regs. For example sheds, garden rooms, workshops etc. There are certain limits as to height, about 8′ high. Overall size can be up to half the size of the garden. Materials used are up to the householder generally. These structures are not normally allowed for overnight/ occupancy use. With a permit and planning consent however, some structures can qualify. Just a very rough overview.

    Not so different from the US then?

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