Beautiful, simple and practical kitchens in natural homes around the world.

 

The kitchen is the heart of the home. A place to socialise, share food, entertain, meet the family informally. This collection of kitchens demonstrates many of the patterns from 'A Pattern Language' the architectural bible for many natural builders and architects.

 
       
       
 

These nine homes ...

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This is Ianto and Linda's kitchen in their beautiful cob home in Oregon, USA. They run the Cob Cottage Company. The first obvious pattern is No.128, 'indoor sunlight'. When you are designing a home arrange the important rooms along the south edge and spread the building out along the east west axis.

People gravitate to rooms with (No.159) 'light on two sides' and light that enters the room should be softened by (No.223) deep reveals. That's where the edge of the window is splayed to create a soft transition of light into the room. The smaller the windows are, with (No.239) small panes, the more intensely the window helps to connect you with what is on the other side; like the view of the trees partially hidden by the tea pots, a nice place to put a collection of (No.253) things from your life.

Just above the kitchen on the left is a half-private office (Pattern No.152).

 

   
     
       
   

Colin (a carpenter) and Féile (an architect) built this beautiful cob, straw bale and natural edge wood home in Skreen, County Sligo, Ireland. After attending a 10 day cob workshop the following year they designed their home and started building once they were given planning permission. In the video (right) they talk about how their slow approach to building resulted in a home that surpassed their expectations.

Colin and Féile now run Mud and Wood offering natural building workshops and conservation architecture giving advise on the repair of centuries old mud-walled buildings.

   
     
       
   

This is a clom cottage built in 1750 in the Aeron Valley, Wales. Clom (like cob) is a mixture of clay and fibre, in this case marsh grass. Horse hair and lambís wool were often mixed in too. The horse hair gives the walls of the cottage an unshaven appearance. The roof is thatched in wheat straw with a base coat of gorse and turf. The cottage has a crogloft (below right), a traditional sleeping platform. These were once common in West Wales, as were daubed wickerwork chimneys like the one below (left).

 

   
     
   
 
 
   


This is Adam and Katy's 'farmhouse kitchen' (Pattern No.139) in their Cornish cob home with a big table at its heart. The house is a converted 17th century stone, cob, oak and thatch granary that they bought in 2008 and restored it to make it habitable. They plastered the kitchen with their own clay plaster that they sell through their company Clayworks. Clay plasters absorb excess condensation and their soft natural pigments give warmth (pattern No. 250) to the room.

   
     
   
 
 
 
   


This kitchen, with an open fire (pattern No.230 Radiant Heat), belongs to a late 17th century 'Mud and Stud' cottage in the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds of England. Mud and stud differs from 'wattle and daub' in that the mud (clay, sand and straw) is supported by vertical riven lathes (riven: split with the grain of the wood which is stronger than sawn lathes) nailed to horizontal rails between the posts of an elm frame. The elm frame is a series of upright posts (studs) placed at about 2m (6ft) intervals. The mud (daub) covers the whole framework. The exterior is painted with lime-wash which would have been given an animal fat or linseed oil additive for weatherproofing.
 

   
     
   
       
 
   

This home was the first fully permitted cob house in Canada. It was a collaboration between Pat and Tracy of CobWorks, Ianto of Cob Cottage Company and Elke Cole with a team of volunteers. The roof is totally load bearing on the cob walls. The house, built in 1999, is 600 sq.ft (56m2) on 2 floors and cost about $56,000 (£35,000).

   
         
   
   
     
   


This is the museum at Garenin on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The homes, called blackhouses, were originally designed to house people and livestock together with a partition between them. Low rounded roofs, elaborately roped with stones, were built to resist the strong Atlantic winds. Originally without chimneys, the smoke made its way through the roof keeping the thatch dry. The blackhouses were occupied until the early 1970s when the last few elderly residents moved to homes that didnít need the annual maintenance of thatch and stonework. The homes are now used as holiday accommodation run by the Garenin Trust.

   
     
   
   
 
   


This is an 800 sq.ft. (74m2) cob home, by Cob Works, buried into the hillside of Deacon Vale Farm an organic farm on Mayne Island, Canada. All of the stone for the back wall and foundation, and the logs for the structure and roof were found on the farm. The house cost around $48,000. The kitchen shows patterns (No.199) sunny counter and narrow (No.200) open shelves where nothing hides behind something else.

   
     
   
 
   
 
   


This is the kitchen of probably the most famous natural home on the planet, Charlie's straw bale home in Wales. The kitchen has lots of natural light with open shelves above cupboards, all made from wood gathered from the land around Charlie's home. When you enter Charlie's home the kitchen is the first thing you see, an inviting space overlooking the central living room.