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Introduction to Cob Workshop – Parrottsville, Tennessee


August 3, 2015 - August 7, 2015 Contact

Come and join us at the beautiful Meadow Creek Mountain Resort again this Summer for our Introduction to Cob Workshop! We will be continuing construction on a 400 square foot cob house that we’ve been constructing through the past two workshops. You can read about the first workshop here. And check out photos from our second workshop here.

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 400 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)

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

–          Earthen Plaster Demonstration (learn to mix and apply earth plaster)

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 general foundation building)

–          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 of Natural Building materials

–          Natural Building videos and slideshows

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!

The workshop will be held at the Meadow Creek Mountain Ranch and Resort in Parrotttsville, Tennesse.

Meadow Creek Mountain Ranch is located at the foot of the Cherokee National Forest in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. The Ranch is off the beaten path yet located within an easy drive of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, the top tourist destinations in Tennessee, as well as tourist havens in North Carolina including Hot Springs and Asheville, home of the Biltmore Estate.

It’s the perfect place for a workshop! You will really feel like you’re on vacation at the resort. We can work hard during the day, eat delicious home-cooked meals, and rest and relax on the property in the evenings.

We will begin each day with breakfast at 8:00 AM, discuss cob and natural building topics, and begin work around 9:00 AM. We will break for lunch at noon and return to our projects at about 1:00 PM. We will complete hands-on work around 5:00 PM. We will serve dinner at about 6:00 PM, 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 led by Alex Sumerall, an 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 This Cob House LLC, which is dedicated to 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.

Listen to the great things that our workshop participants are saying!

“The cob workshop was a life-changing experience. I learned a lot about natural building, not only from Alex’s instruction, experience and demonstrations, but from interacting with people from different backgrounds who were a great source of collective knowledge. The hands-on experience and the breathtaking scenery were priceless!”

Tony Romo, Texas

“The Cob Building Workshop was a great investment of my time!  It was well organized, extremely inspiring, and FUN!  Alex was able to explain construction basics to neophytes like me, yet he could also answer the complex questions asked by the more experienced workshop attendees.  I can’t wait until the next workshop!”

Marybeth Babos, Tennessee

Click to read more participant testimonials from Alex’s workshops.


There are three options for lodging: camping, RVs, or staying in one of Meadow Creek Ranch’s great cabins.

Camping is FREE and is available throughout the property. There are plenty of great locations to set up a tent here. Campers will have access to clean bathrooms and showers.

You may bring your RV or mobile camper for $12.50 per night. Electricity and water hook-ups are available at the RV sites. The ranch bathrooms and showers will also be available. Contact Meadow Creek Ranch ahead of time if you plan to bring an RV or camper.

Ranch amenities also include the Crazy Horse Café and The General Store with beverages, snacks, toiletries, and WI-FI.

The ranch has deluxe pet friendly cabin accommodations and a 6 bedroom/6 bath lodge with a kitchen and BBQ/Hot Tub deck. Lodge rooms will be $50 per night for workshop participants.

If you would like to make a lodging reservation, contact the ranch at 423-623-7543.

Visit the Meadow Creek Mountain Ranch website for more information by clicking here.


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served for each day of the workshop and are included in the price of the workshop. We will also have a celebration lunch when the work is over (August 7th).

All meals are home cooked and delicious! We always have amazing food! You will feel energized and satiated for our long days. We are taking great care and expense to always feed you well.

There will be vegetarian options for each meal. Other dietary needs can be accommodated for. But you must let us know of dietary preferences/needs ahead of time so we can make preparations.

Free Extras!

Everyone who signs up for the workshop will receive my downloadable eBooks, FREE:

  • Build a Cob House: A Step-By-Step Guide
  • Cob to Code: The Owner-Builder’s Guide to Cob Homes and Building Codes


Early bird special: $490 if you register and pay before July 20th

Regular Price: $590



August 3, 2015
August 7, 2015
Event Category:


Meadow Creek Mountain Ranch & Resort
961 Browns Chapel Road, Parrottsville, TN 37843 United States


Alex Sumerall