October 1 , 1997
Back From Ontario
Why were we in Ontario you ask? Well, it was a combination of vacation and research. Before telling you about Ontario, let me explain how we ended up there.
During last summer, I attended a cordwood workshop in upper Wisconsin this summer hosted by Rob Roy. Rob has been building and lecturing on cordwood masonry for a number of years and has earned an excellent reputation for his work. If you would like to learn more about Rob and his experience, take a look at his web site: http://www.interlog.com/~ewood/.
Rob's workshops are a combination of hands-on and lecture. Rob's lectures were centered around how other people have built cordwood homes. There was one that Rob liked a lot and said that if he had to build his home over again, he would build it the way that this house was built. He also said that the owners of this house had made it into a bed and breakfast.
To make a long story short, we contacted the owners and arranged for a visit. Bernice and David Fraser (Bun and Bear) of Coe Hill, Ontario are the proud owners of Hutchnden House. I explained to them what are mission was and they were more than delighted to have us visit their house. Our visit with them was wonderful! After spending three days with them, we definitely felt right at home with them. They gave us tons of information that we can use to build our home. I cannot praise them enough for all of their gracious hospitality and help! After reviewing and pricing the cost of various home building styles, we have decided to build a cordwood or stackwall type of house. We feel that a cordwood home offers you many benefits:
- Energy efficiency
- Low cost housing
- Ease of construction (Almost anyone can build them)
- Use of natural building materials
- Fire resistant
- Low maintenance (Virtually maintenance free)
Our stay with them also gave us a chance to live in a almost circular cordwood home. There are a lot of advantages to living in a round home. It is the most efficient way to build a home - it requires the least amount of surface area to obtain the greatest amount of space. Not only that, it naturally makes the house more energy efficient. Next time you are out in the woods, take a look at how other creatures create their homes. Most animals build round homes.
The advantage to Bun and Bear's house is the post and beam concept. Granted, this adds a bit to the cost of the home, but the benefit is that you get to work under the protection of a roof and it breaks up the cordwood building into sections. It also makes it easier to obtain building permits, since your post and beam structure is doing some of the load bearing. Building inspectors want to make sure that the house is engineered correctly. (Cordwood walls by themselves are definitely load bearable, but most building authorities have never heard of such a thing.)