Where it all began


Like most people once we hit our late twenties we discussed the possibility of where and how to live. We had been renting and decided it might be time to get on the property ladder. Ireland was going through a recession and house prices had fallen through the floor. It made economic sense to buy, however we did look at a handful of properties and all would involve a compromise in some shape or another. The other option as to build we luckily had family land available to us. The inspiration for cob came from grand designs, Kevin McCabe's ‘cob castle’ was mind blowing, sure it was great in Devon but Ireland? It turns out there are cob houses dotted all over the place, we attended the open day at mud and wood in Sligo and absolutely loved their house, this lead on to attending their intro to cob course to try our hand at cob. We also attended a straw building course as we thought based on our research we would require a straw bale wall as part of our house for insulation reasons however this was not a necessity as it turned out.

Cob had all the attributes we looked for it was environmentally friendly, it could be self-built, is readily available, cheap and in many ways it is a very forgiving material to build with. Planning for the Mudhouse was relatively easy from a cob point of view however site lines caused us more of a headache and threatened to derail the project however we got around this issue by submitting as a replacement dwelling and taking down an old house on the property which was beyond repair. this also provided the stone for our plinth, porch and stone outshot. Cob is not recognised by planning to meet building regs .The mudhouse compensates by having additional insulation in roof, floor and cavity walls. Along with our original architect and engineer we had sign off from a structural engineer who had previously worked with a cob house. Feile from mud and wood also input on some technical aspects of our house. 

The design of the Mudhouse is quite conventional, fitting in with general vernacular of other houses in the area and laid out to take in the spectacular views. we hope by employing this design people can see that natural materials can be used in the same way as conventional materials and meet current building regulations. this design also helped in planning as the Mudhouse ticks many of the initial boxes looked for by planning. The Mudhouse once completed will be approx 1800sq ft and a Storey and a half. it will encompass 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen/dining room, utility, living room and a play room/sitting room. It is also envisioned that a lean to greenhouse will be added and a covered outdoor dining area accessed by the double patio doors.  Internally the Mudhouse will reflect our ethos using as many upcycled and natural materials as possible. Once completed the Mudhouse will serve as a warm, comfortable family home for our children to grow up in, for family and friends to gather and to share with others.