The Honey House

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The Honey House

The Honey House is an           earthbag building with a corbelled dome roof.

We designed and built the Honey House as a means to calculate the construction costs of an earthbag dome for the purpose of determining the budget for a film we had written entitled: "Honey''s House." In order to substantiate the claims made by the film''s heroine, Honey, about the merits of earthbag building, we decided we had better first prove them to ourselves. Which we did! What started out as a feature film script, turned into a new way of life. We became the real life story of "Honey''s House!"

We began by simply rolling up our sleeves and started building an earthbag dome in our own backyard. We had a professional backhoe operator dig the hole for our sunken floor and foundation. We invited friends and family to learn earthbag building along with us and attracted quite a bit of attention along the way. We designed the dome to be under the size that would normally require a building permit. The foundation begins two feet (60 cm) below grade on the level of the sunken-floor. The window and door openings were constructed by tamping the earthbags around temporary rigid box and arch forms.



The Honey House uses natural         earth throughout the entire structure.Compacting the first row of         earthbags.Installing window and door forms.Laying the corbelled earthbag         dome roof coils.


After completing the arched windows, we switched from bags to laying tubes that were stepped in to create the corbelled dome shape. We did this by following a predetermined shape (calculated on paper with the use of an architectural compass), and then recreated it by following the same profile with a homemade construction-size compass. Earthbag domes are self-supporting and do not require any structural formwork. The tubes continued to be laid by following the profile outlined by the compass until the circle was enclosed.

Earthbag tubes stepped-in           to form a corbelled dome.
The Honey House has a           second story loft.
View from the top of the           Honey House dome.
Kaki Hunter takes a           well-earned break.


The arch window and box forms were then removed. We plastered the Honey House with a base coat of cob (a mixture of clay, sand and straw) to provide a thick, erosion resistant skin. As an experiment, we planted a living roof on the dome that worked beautifully until we tired of watering it! Eventually we shaved off the grass and plastered the roof with a mixture of red clay and straw. We also covered the vertical walls with a lime/sand plaster to provide additional protection from erosion, and because it looks so cool.

Cob protects the earthbags           from UV radiation. We finally got tired of           watering the living thatch roof and plastered it over. This straw-rich, red clay           plaster roof is now 6 years old. Lime and sand plaster           protect the walls.


The interior of the Honey House is finished with natural wild harvested plaster and clay paints stabilized with milk. We poured an earthen floor and set flagstone rock and broken tiles into it. The surface was finished with linseed oil and a natural resin oil base sealer. The Honey House is now used as the drafting studio for OK OK OK Productions.

Natural plasters, paints,           mortars, and grout. OK OK OK Productions'' new           drafting studio. The magic of Arches!

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