Firefly ~ New accommodation coming soon
Currently under construction is the newest form of accommodation here in the garden - a cob roundhouse.
This very exciting new accommodation is built with a timber frame made from sweet chestnut in the round (ie not planed or squared off) and with a reciprocal roof. The roof has various layers including lots of insulation and finished with a green roof consisting of sedum (a succulent) and moss. The 50cm thick walls on the North side of the house are infilled with straw bales, and the rest of the walls are made from cob (clay and sand) and cordwood (logs laid on their sides with the log ends visible on both sides of the walls) and with a cavity insulation layer of sawdust. Amongst the cordwood is some light tunnels made from glass bottles and jars, and the South side of the house is plenty of glass to allow the winter sun to warm the inside of the house. A good overhang not only protects the walls from weather, but also shields the windows from the heat of the summer sun. Usually when roundhouses are built with reciprocal roofs, a large perspex dome is used in the middle of the roof to cover the central hole. We wanted something a bit different - and we were worried about that central dome allowing too much heat into the house in the summer - so instead we built a cupola. This consists of a circular window made from two layers of perspex, with another reciprocal roof on top. The result is a beautiful centrepiece as well as a practical solution.
We have tried to source all the ingredients for the build as locally as possible. Here's a list:
water (building uses a LOT of water) - nearly 100% rainwater harvested on site
chestnut (for timber frame) - grown in Ipswich & Iken
larch (roof slats laid across the chestnut) - grown in Thetford
sawdust (insulation in the cavity walls) - a carpenter's workshop in Saxstead
clay (one of the ingredients of cob) - Carlton & Sweffling - none more than 2 miles away
cords (the logs laid in the cob walls, end on) - grown in Ipswich & Iken
bottles and jars (for the light tunnels) - Sweffling pub!
old tyres (our stem wall is tyres filled with rammed earth) - repurposed from Framlingham
celotex (insulation in the roof) - repurposed from a selection of local builders' skips
windows - mismeasured or seconds from a glazing company in Ipswich
sedum (the 'lawn' on the roof) - grown & harvested by us from Parham
straw (used in the cob mix and also some light clay straw sections) - Stratford St Andrew
oak barge boards - from a waste pile in Parham woodyard
hazel (holds the strawbale section together) - Saxstead
sand (the main ingredient of cob) - local quarries in Suffolk
bricks & tiles - recycled from Sweffling
perspex in cupola - plastics company in Ipswich
These are the main ingredients for the build - and the furthest they have travelled is 20 miles! Some ingredients (such as the pondliner on the roof) have travelled further - but our criteria for sourcing is: can we recycle something, or buy locally?
This new structure will sleep up to 4 adults, be fully self-contained and we hope it will become available sometime soon - but we're not setting a date because we want to enjoy the building process!