Cob House for Jennifer Fruth and Robert Brown
Lockhart, TX

Jennifer Fruth knows what she wants and she is not afraid to give it to herself. On her third try at hiring designers she found Kindra Welch, who worked closely with Jennifer and Robert's vision to create an oasis of sustainibility surrounding a treasured courtyard. Jennifer has often been heard to comment "all I really care about is the courtyard, you all can sort the rest out." But thats not entirely the truth, there are a few more priorities in the project:
...everyone on site is always welcomed and taken care of: from local goat butter to hot showers and muffin breaks at midmorning, the crew is downright spoiled by generosity.
... recycle and use what you have: time and time again Jennifer and Robert have absorbed a little extra expense and put out the extra effort to use local and recycled materials rather than just running out to the hardware store for a quick fix. From river cane soffits, recycled windows off ebay, granite off cuts for windows sills, scavenged lumber and windmill-drawn water this project will provide inspiration for years to come.

phase 1 - Oct 2006-May 2007 - southern house: including kitchen, office, bathroom and a bedroom
crew: Jennifer and Robert, Hop Kleinhauser(cook), Kindra Welch, Chris Copp, Sara Schmidt, Travis Riley, Jared, LadyeAnne Keck, Trcia Gourley, Jefferson Ryon

phase 2 - Sept 2007 - April 2008 - courtyard arches and northern house: studio, Roberts office, utility room, bathroom,a bedroom
crew: Jennifer and Robert, Gino and Evan (foundation), Kindra, Sara, Jared, ...?

phase 1 construction photos (click to enlarge)
we mixed piles of cob every morning with a rented BobCat
the first foot went on in just a few hours
cob was delivered to the walls by bucket full and then pitch-forked directly onto the wall
at three weeks, 6 feet of cob
built-in shelves in the office
native juniper wood headers set directly in cob
at six weeks 8-10 feet of cob
arch in bedroom
sisters Kindra and Kerri cobbing on the kitchen wall
LadyAnn trimming at sunset
LadyAnn admires Travis' cobbing pants which have reached a slightly scandalous state of disrepair
team photo taken just before Thanksgiving, LtoR: Chef Hop, Kindra, Chris, Sara, Travis, LadyAnn, Jared
eight weeks: cob 9-12 feet
time for rafters
setting rafters on a round wall requires lots of stringline, levels and cob adjustments
rafters in place and walls fill in between
Chris shows his power-chord on the pitchfork
Sara insalls our native bamboo, "River Cane", as a soffit between rafters
Jared basks in the shadows of his cane work
shadow lines on a curved wall
roof layers
billboards: the new tarp
cob lifts
fondue for lunch
and then it rained for the first time since Sept. .... 9 inches in 24 hours turned the little puddle in the meadow in to lake overnight
...and we all waded/canoed in to retrieve our stuff from the murky water inside our tents.
showers -> flowers
Sara's specialty: rock and plaster intersections
rough plaster in the bedroom
the roof is complete!
limestone sills purchased from a stone graveyard and carved by Jennifer to fit each window
Travis muscles in the main layer of the earthen floor in the kitchen/office as Mikey mixes outside
Ladye Anne packs in the the top of the bathroom walls with light claystraw... actually in this case: lightlimestraw
Robert and Jennifer in the sitting nook
earthen finish plaster in the bedroom... silky smooth!
recessed nook for bed (stain glass to come)
...Gino and Even have phase 2 foundation ready to go

June 2007

view from the lake. exterior lime plaster by Frank Meyer and crew.

solar tube light on unfinished cob wall
open windows collect breezes in the bedroom
wide angle view of future kitchen
stain glass in bedroom
solstice:building in full shadow
view from NW marble window sill
cork wallpaper going on ceiling
Jef and Elena building kitchen island
island structure finished
walls getting color
morning light in the kitchen
finish floor ready to be sealed with linseed
countertop by Gino

kitchen island complete Jef, Gino & Elena

finish floor pour in living room
entry/living room floor waiting for linseed oil