Jeffery, a homebuilder specializing in using only natural materials for his construction projects, recently completed a tiny house in the woods. His main goals were to construct a house that was comfortable to live in and cheap to built, and made from materials destined for the landfill as much as possible. The cabin he built contains a bed, desk and a small wood stove. It is intended to serve mainly as a shelter, and therefore encourage the occupant to go out and enjoy nature.
For his project, Jeffery decided on the geodesic dome as the shape. This resulted in a house with no empty corners, which makes for a unique house, while the dome shape also made it easier to use reclaimed materials during the construction process. He built the cabin in Aprovecho, a sustainable education and research center in Oregon, which donated him the land to build on.
First, Jeffery made a nine-foot, ten-sided deck out of wood salvaged from a torn down shed. The deck was set on concrete pier blocks that he also salvaged from the shed. He then built small walls, (also known as “pony walls”) to raise the domed roof. He built the dome structure from pallet wood, which he fastened together using plumbing wire wrapped around hubs made from PVC pipe.
In order to waterproof the roof, Jeffery at first wanted to use old billboard canvass. But he was unable to locate it in time, so in the end he bought tarpaper for the purpose. The roof was finished with salvaged cedar shakes.
For the insulation, Jeffrey used a number of different materials, all of which he reclaimed. More specifically, he used reclaimed rigid foam he got from a pile of deconstruction waste. Since he didn’t have enough of it, he also used “slip chip” made from wood shavings coated with clay slip and packed into a form. To finish the insulation process by using raw sheep’s wool as insulation, which he got from a local woman in exchange for a few hours of labor. Before using it to insulate the cabin, he first washed the wool, then carded it to fluff it up, and sprayed it with borax to prevent insect infestation.
The outside of the cabin is finished with vine maple, which he collected from the surrounding forest. He bent the green branches around the structure, which served as lathe to hold the earthen and lime plaster that was smeared on as a protective skin.
As for the interior, Jeffrey started out by paneling the “pony wall”s with exterior siding, which he salvaged from the same shed deconstruction as the decking. He first sanded the siding to reveal the natural wood grains, and finished it using linseed oil and bees wax. He hand built the bed and the desk from pine harvested and milled on site. To finish up, Jeffery made the door for the cabin from the remains of an old goat shed.