Miguel Elliott has been a leader in the natural building movement for over 20 years. He started his Sonoma County based business/service Living Earth Structures in 2008 after spending years travelling around the world developing his skills and being inspired by different methods of building. He was knighted as “Sir Cobalot” with a special ceremony when he proclaimed his commitment to promoting natural building. He deeply believes in the importance of Earthen building and works to create opportunities for community involvement.
The Mission is to construct high quality living earth structures, such as cob benches, wood fired ovens, and adobe dome saunas encouraging community involvement through educational workshops and gatherings around the finished project, promoting a healthy, simple and creative lifestyle harmonious with the natural flow of creation. After spending over ten years of natural building in countries ranging from Argentina, Guatemala, Africa, Thailand and around the US, Miguel Elliott aka “Sir Cobalot” has brought his skills to his hometown of Petaluma, California, a town with a rich history of natural adobe building. Inspired and fascinated at an early age by the earthen ovens at General Vallejo’s old adobe home in Petaluma, Miguel now finds himself specializing in creating various living earth structures such as cob benches, cob ovens, adobe dome saunas and small huts. Miguel spent nearly 4 years at the Isis Oasis Retreat center in Geyserville, where he built the Hobbit Hut, Gingerbread House, and several other cob structures around the property.
Natural Building Meetup
If you would like to meet up with other folks interested in natural building, you mwant to join our Meetup group.We meet once a month often to enjoy some cob oven pizzas, to make adobe bricks, tour different earthen structures, or to watch videos together about natural building.If you would like to join our group, you can JOIN THE NATURAL BUILDING MEETUP GROUP
COB TO CODE
We have been working to get our Palletable Cobin designed to meet code. At this point, we have an engineered drawings to have both a round and rectangular structure designed to meet code requirements. We have a 160 sq ft designed that can be built as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) it is built with a post and beam frame with pallets attached to either side of the studs, insulated with straw, and then covered in an Earthen plaster. The design includes space for a bathroom and small kitchenette. We are currently taking orders to build a backyard ADU. Once we get an order to build, we would submit the plans to the Building Department to get a building permit for the unit, complete with electricity and plumbing permits. The cost estimate for an ADU would be about $30,000 complete with the required poured concrete foundation, insulation, double paned windows, roofing and framing materials.
Why Natural Building?
Most importantly, it is fun.
- Anybody can help mix and sculpt cob-children, elderly, businessmen.
- Easy to learn in a workshop.
- Very affordable for you use materials right from your land.
- Helps build a relationship with the surrounding earth on your property.
- Keeps excavated clay out of landfill, and uses recycled concrete for foundations.
- Inspires creativity and artistic flare.
- Its design can be rounded, smooth, soft and sensual.
- Is water resistant if protected properly.
- The rounded nature of cob structures makes them earthquake resistant.
- Avoid using wood, saving trees, to give us more healthy air to breath.
- Avoids using cement whose production burns fossil fuels.
- Cob walls breathe, which allows you to live in a living organism.
- Working with cob involves working with community- the ultimate work party.
- Clay in cob can absorb toxins.
- Mixing clay with feet can massage the feet-it feels so good!
- Sculpting the cob strengthens the fingers, and gives the earth a nice massage.
- Is easy to repair, add on, change, or re-plaster.
- It is comfortable, and the design can be an efficient use of space.
- Often the spaces built with cob feels like being inside of a hug.
- Because building a cob house is more affordable, you have more free time.
- Allows you to live more in nature, as cob houses are not yet permitted in the city.
- You can have arched doors, rounded windows, curved walls and a living roof allowing you to live like a hobbit.
- In the process of building and playing in the clay, your inner child comes out.
- Can make ovens, and bake pizzas, bread, casseroles, cookies, etc.
- The ovens allow you to enjoy an outdoor fireplace staying warm in the winter.
- Cob benches allow you to sit, relax, and enjoy life.
- When living in the city, it brings more nature into your life surrounded by cement.
- It is tapping into ancient indigenous building wisdom.
- Allow you to work outside, receiving fresh air and sunlight.
- Gets you into shape, builds muscle, and is good for the skin.
- Can make a good living being hired as a professional cob builder.
- Can travel and work around the world, spreading beautiful functional creations.
- Brings people together- a excellent bonding agent.
- Gives people a sense of accomplishment to build something for themselves.
- Don’t need noisy expensive power tools that burn energy.
- Helps you appreciate Mother Earth, and be more connected to your land.
- You can infuse the cob with your creative essence through chanting & singing.
- With its high thermal mass, Cob absorbs heat during the heat of the day,and radiates it out during the coolness of the night.
- Being barefoot to the Earth alkalizes the body and helps with EMF sensitivities.
- Overall, it is the solution for living a more enjoyable, healthy, satisfying life.