Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Introduction to Cob and Natural Building 5-Day Workshop


August 4, 2014 - August 8, 2014 Contact

Dates: August 4 – August 8, 2014

Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee

This workshop is a great experience to learn how to build with cob and to get a broad learning overview of natural building techniques. You will get a solid foundation in cob building fundamentals. We will be constructing cob walls on a 200 square foot cob house and studying Natural Building together each day. After this workshop, you will have the basic know-how and confidence to design and build your own simple cob constructions or cob building.



Hands-On Work Topics:

–          How to make cob (by foot and by tractor)

–          Selecting and testing soils for cob (Learn several ways to test your soil composition)

–          Building cob walls (learn my four steps to efficient cob wall building)

–          Carving out wall niches (add extra depth and character to your cob house)

–          Installing decorative glass bottles into cob walls (create ambient lighting effects)

–          Light Straw-Clay Demonstration (how to create and apply this highly insulating wall material)

–          Earthen Floor Demonstration (we will create small floor samples)

Classroom and Discussion Topics:

–          Site selection and design (includes Passive Solar design principles)

–          Materials and tools (covers traditional and modern cob building toolset and materials)

–          Rubble trench foundations (Plus stone foundations and conventional foundation principles)

–          Drainage principles (Important: water can be cob’s worst enemy)

–          Basic Electrical and Plumbing integration for cob homes

–          Installing windows and doors

–          Roofing (Including Living Roofs)

–          Earthen/Adobe Floors

–          Natural plasters and finishes (Vapor Permeable / “Breathable” finishes)

–          Overview presentation of Natural Building materials

–          Natural Building videos and slideshow

This workshop is a unique experience for people to learn about building cob homes and to get an overview of Natural Building. Not only are there plenty of hands-on lessons to learn from, but we will also have ample discussion and informal classroom time. Most cob workshops don’t cover this many topics. But here, you will learn all the core lessons needed to start building from this one workshop!

Plus – there will be many hours of discussions about building cob homes and natural building throughout the workshop. Its a great way to get your questions answered and brainstorm your building ideas!

“Alex’s 5-day Cob Garden Wall workshop in May 2014 was my first experience working with Cob and it was very rewarding! He is very knowledgeable and offered alternative solutions during any “cobtastrophes”. With many hours of hands on training opportunity I am confident and well prepared to begin working on my cob home sooner rather than later. Alex’s workshop was much more than I expected and worth every penny!”

– Maria Wilbur, Virginia

The workshop will take place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on a beautiful 48 acre property. There are fields, streams, a horse ranch, outdoor pavilion, and swimming pool! It’s the perfect place for a workshop. You will feel like you’re on vacation at a resort. We can work hard during the day, take a dip in the pool afterwards, and then rest and relax on the property in the evenings.

We will begin each day with breakfast at 7:00 AM, discuss cob and natural building topics, and begin work around 8:30 AM. We will break for lunch at noon and return to our projects at 2:00 PM. We will complete hands-on work around 5:30 PM. We will serve dinner at 7:00, and complete the day with more classroom discussions or natural building presentations. They will be full-packed days! Worth your every penny!

The workshop will be lead by Alex Sumerall, an up-and-coming east coast Natural Builder who has a focus on creating earthen structures that are healthy, aesthetically pleasing, and functional for modern life. He is the owner of the website www.thiscobhouse.com, an educational resource for teaching people about cob and natural building techniques. Alex has a background in business and advertising, and has been practicing Natural Building since 2011. He graduated from the Aprovecho School of Natural Building in 2013 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and continues to teach, present, consult, and construct.

Click to view photos from our past two workshops here: Workshop 1, Workshop 2


Camping is available throughout the property. There are plenty of great locations to set up a tent here. If you choose, there are hotels in the nearby area as well.

You will have access to the private outdoor shower and clean indoor toilets.

You may bring your RV or mobile home. There are electrical hookups. No water hookups though.


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served for each day of the workshop and are included in the price of the workshop. You will also get dinner on the arrival day (August 3rd).

To please the largest audience, we will serve a large variety of foods and all meals will have a delicious, healthy Vegan and Vegetarian food option too. We don’t want anybody to be left out due to their dietary preferences. You will feel energized and satiated for our long days. We are taking great care and expense to always feed you well.

Dietary needs can be accommodated for. Please let us know of dietary preferences/needs ahead of time.

Free Extras!

Everyone who comes to the workshop will receive:

  • This Cob House t-shirt in your preferred size.
  • This Cob House Zip Drive
    • Includes my eBook “Build a Cob House: A Step-By-Step Guide”
    • 3D SketchUp designs of our project
    • Photos documenting the building process
    • Workshop outline and notes

This is a $40 value!


Early bird special: $470 if you register and pay before July 27th

Regular Price: $570

If you have further questions regarding the workshop or to receive details about how to pay the course fee to secure your spot in the workshop, contact Alex Sumerall at: alex@thiscobhouse.com or call 404-932-3345. To sign up, email or call me. I will be happy to talk with you! To pay the workshop tuition I can then send you an online invoice via PayPal.


August 4, 2014
August 8, 2014
Event Category:


Cheval Manor Ranch
Murfreesboro, TN 37127 United States
(615) 351-4870


Alex Sumerall