Professional snowboarder Marie France Roy could have made things easier for herself and bought a house like most people. Instead, the eco-conscious young woman lives off-the-grid in a 400 square foot house she built with her own hands. The structure is made from sand, clay, straw, and garbage, which she says allowed her to mold it “kind of like Play-Doh.”
Roy built the structure in a rainforest, on the coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, using cob made from materials at hand. I wasn’t familiar with cob, so I looked it up, and I learned that cob (also known as cobb or clom) is a natural building material made from soil, water, fibrous organic material, sand or clay, and sometimes lime. It is naturally insulated and weather resistant, so cob structures need little in the way of heating or cooling.
“This planet is so powerful and diverse, but also fragile. I felt that building a smaller home, out of as many local, natural and recycled resources as possible, would be a wonderful way for me to remain more connected and grounded.
“The cob making process doesn’t require any building experience and it was the most fun and creative part,” says Marie. “Cob is so malleable that it allows you to really personalize a space to your own taste, like no other material.”– Marie France Roy
Roy got the idea for the house after she broke her neck in a snowboarding accident in 2010. While she was recovering, she took a cob house building course with a group of women living on Vancouver Island who call themselves Mudgirls. After taking the course, Roy started dreaming up her house project and eventually made it a reality.