Category Archives: small house

Rammed Earth Wall

The  Rammed Earth Wall

Earth wall, side and end

Constructing the wall

Mixing and ramming the earth into the forms

At last I have fulfilled a dream and built an earth wall. This technique is rammed earth and as far as I know this is the first in my area, perhaps in Pennsylvania. It is usually found in drier areas such as Arizona and New Mexico, as well as Australia. It is adaptable to a wide range of soils and has a small percentage of portland cement added to the mix to make it more waterproof and stable.

This will be the side wall of a garden shed, which is sorely needed to keep tools, bicycles and so on out of the weather. It looks very fine. There is quite a difference in texture and appearance as you go up the wall, partly because of slight differences in the soil and the mix, but more because of different workers on the two days we spent building it. It should be smooth and hard, well compacted, as it is at the bottom. But the upper part with a more earthy look is also good. The roof will project to help keep of the rain, and I have linseed oil to coat it with and help preserve it. Let’s hope it can survive our wetter climate.


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Small Houses – Oldest House, Newest House

Too small for Building Inspectiion

In North Carolina recently, I saw examples of a house that is too small to come under the building code.   Any house smaller than 12′ x 12′ in plan (I do not know anything about the height..) does not have to conform to the building codes.  So an enterprising designer at Earthaven Ecovillage is producing these 11.5’x 11.5′ little cabins, with sleeping loft and full range of dwelling functions.  Sign of the times / sign of the future?

Meanwhile the remains of an incredibly old residence have been found.  Guess what – it was the same size….

LONDON – Archaeologists have uncovered the site of Britain’s oldest house, the waterside home of nomad hunters dating back about 11,000 years.

The dwelling, which has lake views, a thatched roof and very original features, predates the country’s famous Stonehenge monument by around 6,000 years and was built at a time when Britain was still connected to continental Europe.

Teams from the University of York and the University of Manchester working at the site believe the circular shaped home was built in about 8,500 B.C. next to an ancient lake at Star Carr, near Scarborough, in northeastern England.

Discoveries made at the site suggest the house was about 3.5 meters wide (11 feet, 6 inches), constructed of timber posts and likely had a roof of thatched reeds. The site was probably inhabited for between 200 and 500 years, and there were possibly several homes built at the site.

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