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on 14 May 2004
A truly excellent book, a tad other worldly in places but in terms of inspiring a person to build a house from eco friendly materials, paying attention to the design process and generally making you want to stop whatever you are doing and begin building immediately, there is no competition.
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on 19 February 2010
I had wanted to read this book for ages, and so it was a momentous moment when I found it in my local library. And it was every bit as good, ground-breaking and life-changing as I had hoped. I've long been interested in natural building, and plan...one day...to build my own cob/straw bale home. But this book is more than a series of techniques or house plans - it makes you think about what a home should be, how you'll live in it, and to understand the concept of minimal environmental disruption.

I think that having read this book I will end up building a smaller, more organically-shaped and also more personal building, and one which will be a far more positive place to live. I look around me at the vast, boxy, homogenous houses which fill (and blight) the Irish countryside, and I wish more people would read this book! It's so good that even though I read it as a library book I will be buying my own copy now...one read is not enough!
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on 27 March 2009
Well written, great diagrams and drawings to assist you visually, beautiful photos to inspire you and a real in depth approach to cob building! I particularly like the fact that it gives a good idea of the history, social, emotional and economic implications of cob building, and the importance of the relation between your house and the environment it in which it is in. Definitely a must for anyone interested in building their own cob house, or a wall or an oven, or simply for those who have an interest in sustainability and natural buildings! Thanks Linda and Ianto!
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on 12 November 2016
I absolutely adore this book. I had read the Cob Handbook previously and although that was an enjoyable book, I felt this one went into far more detail and design planning considerations. I also really enjoyed the philosophy around building with cob and natural architecture in general. The book covers the history of cob, financial and land obstacles, a wonderful section on planning and site selection, soil tests, cob mixing, and more.

There are a number of illustrations throughout the book and although hand drawn, they're perfectly clear I think this adds to the subject matter - after all, we're talking about getting away from rigidness and straight lines so no need for exact architectural drawings!

Although I've never met Ianto, I've already found him very likeable and look forward to reading his book about rocket stoves. The Hand-Sculpted House is a wonderful read - highly recommended and has inspired me to one day build my own home out of cob, although at this stage, I've not got past my miniature clay mockup!
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on 14 January 2013
I bought this book because i wanted to learn how to build a house out of cob. Period. I was not interested in the "philosophy" aspect because i was already sold on the idea and i also assumed that it would be one man standing on a soapbox and waxing pretentiously. However, i began to really appreciate the way the author inserted his philosophy on building because is super practical and really illuminated some aspects of building and of living in general that made me feel even more empowered to start building my own house. I look forward to rereading i, which i rarely do with books..
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on 2 January 2013
I had been toying with the notion of buying this book for some time, afraid of opening a pandora's box and becoming even more disillusioned with our current consumer culture and way of living (which was quite). I am only sorry I didn't buy it sooner! I now have a hope and a vision for a different future for myself and those I love. I find that a lot of books on the subject of sustainable living and permaculture are quite specialist and exclusive. This beautiful book is neither.

Each writer tackles a different aspect of designing and building a cob cottage, giving you three different perspectives and sources of knowledge. This book is truly holistic in its' approach to building a cob home. It is practical, detailed (without being overly daunting) and an inspiration. There is a belief in the right for each individual to own their own home, however most of us spend our lives in debt as a result. Ianto questions this and encourages us to understand that it is possible for anyone to build their own home at very little expense with basic skills and equiped with a bit of knowledge. I had been researching cob homes proir to buying this book. The evidence that cob building is a viable and long-lasting building technique is all around us. This book gently encourages us to dream of possiblity and then nudges us in the direction of seeing that possibility come to fruition. It asserts that it is something that can be done by young and not so young alike.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you are interested at all in the subject of building your own home or sustainable living. I was so inspired by it that I am going to go on a cob-building workshop next summer where I will hopefully get to put my new-found learning to good use.

I would have loved a few more colour-pictures, but on the other hand that might have limited my own vision as to what is possible when using this building technique. If you're hesitating like I was, do yourself a favour and click on the "add to basket" icon. You won't regret it!
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on 6 June 2013
I have been toying with building my own sustainable house for a few years, and have bought half a dozen books. This one leaves the rest standing. A delight to read with very good practical advice often mentioning the things that other books overlook,sparkling dewdrops of philosophy and a source book for inspiration. What more could you want?
Get the book, get the land and get building!
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on 4 May 2015
Essential book to read if you were interested in building your own house in your own hand.
Cob houses existed from medieval era. There are few cob houses in Italy as well. Cob house construction is largest in North America where the land is vast and the bare land can be cheaper to buy and one can build a custom house upon it. Certainly, for the cities dwellers in Europe, building cob house mean that they have to do it in a country side.
No matter where you plan to build, this book, with beautiful pictures, illustrations and explanations, gives you fundamental idea, concept of what is needed to construct, safe and comfortable cob houses. In the era where the cities are filled with stresses, crimes and pollution, many peoplke may thinking about retiring in the country side, however the fund to purchase the second house limited. Why not purchase a bare ladn and build your own house economically using cob house?
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on 23 January 2016
Easy to read. Easy to follow. Is not dictating a method, but certainly condoning an ethos to go with the build. Anyone buying this book would almost certainly lying be of that mindset anyway, but he is deepening an understanding.
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on 16 May 2015
excellent piece of knowledge, is my first book about cob building, and I have a decent idea in my head about how to do it. Very down on earth and easy to understand, even if you are new to the subject. Great!
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