Earth Sheltered And Earthbag Designs

Bath_SpringsThe majority of conventional Oxford Brookes-educated architects and home designers will consider me being barking mad to try to unearth the uneasy topic of earthbag buildings, but here we are. Sandbag buildings we’re all familiar with – sandbag walls are great as flood barriers or temporary military buildings. Bullets don’t go through earthbags, don’t ricochet and don’t create shrapnel.

Earthbag buildings, due to their unconventional status, are largely underestimated these days. They are probably the most affordable substantial buildings available to DIY builders. If you have a site, you’ll only need to spend money on sacks, dome frame and some fixtures/fittings. The main material is all around you (underneath your feet, to be precise) and it is free – sand, soil, fine gravel – anything can go in your earthbags.

By the way, a single-storey sandbag house can withstand the fiercest earthquake and it is fireproof.

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Cheap and Easy Brick Floors

Laying-the-FloorWhen considering what material to use for a floor, few people look beyond a concrete slab, with something like tile or carpet as a finish. For us, however, there were several factors that made a stabilized compressed earth brick (SCEB) floor far more appealing.

Using mortar in between the bricks increases the price and time a little, but saves effort and varnish when sealing the floor. However, for the beginner, laying your bricks without mortar and sweeping sand into the cracks is easier, and it is this method we will discuss here. 

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Concrete Countertops for the Kitchen - Solid Surface on the Cheap

poured_in_countertopSo I wanted to redo the kitchen in my 1916 Foursquare and I was bored with all the countertop options. Unless you're getting formica, they all cost about the same as granite or marble, look just like granite or marble, and are as typically typical as granite or marble.

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Handbuilt Shelter by Lloyd Kahn

shelter_book_coverLloyd Kahn has managed to pull together a stunning catalog of the phenomenon of human shelter through history, across cultures and climates from around the world. Yurts and huts and tree houses and cathedrals of stone.

This is an eye-opener for anyone considering building their own home, or anyone just interested in human inventiveness and creativity. With over 1000 photos and drawings of cave houses, communal huts, wooden shacks, tents, domes, towers and holes in the ground, you'll be amazed at all the different ways people have tried to keep the rain off their heads and the wolves outside!

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Working your walls with Earth plaster: play in the mud

mudding_4If you think smearing mud all over your living room walls is either an act of insanity or vandalism, think again! Without having to build a straw bale A straw bale is a bundle of straw tightly bound with twine or wire. Bales may be square, rectangular, or round, depending on the type of baler used.

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