Farmer Hand-Builds Charming Cob House for $250 (Video)

In a world of rising real estate costs and oppressive mortgages, most people can only dream of building a home of their own for next to nothing, and with their own hands. However, if there is a will, there is a way, and British farmer Michael Buck is an inspiring example of how building one's own home does not have to be an expensive nor complicated affair.

A Cheap Cob House

Buck, a 59-year-old retired art teacher from Oxfordshire, built this gorgeous cob house in his garden for a mere £150 (USD $250). Admittedly, it was easier for Buck as the land was already available, and didn't require any special permits as it was considered a summer home, but Buck nevertheless followed some basic principles in the process: he wanted to use only materials that he could find himself, he would use no power tools and it was to cost next to nothing.

According to Oddity Central, Buck designed the home on the back of an envelope, and spent over two years collecting local materials that he foraged or salvaged himself. The floorboards were from a neighbour's derelict boat, while the glass for the windows were salvaged from a scrapped truck. The roof's thatching came from straw that he gathered and hauled himself from adjacent fields.

Building Materials and Costs

For amenities, there is free water from a nearby creek, but the house has no electricity, no running water and is heated by a woodstove -- which is more than enough to heat up space warmly insulated by cob walls. A lovely spherical pile of stacked wood lies outside, while a nearby well serves as a refrigerator, complemented by a composting toilet in a separate outhouse. (And let's not forget the chicken coop!)

In creating this abode from the ground up, Buck wanted to show that a house can cost absolutely nothing to make:

A house doesn’t have to cost the earth, you only need the earth to build it. I wanted to show that houses don’t have to cost anything. We live in a society where we spend our lives paying our mortgages, which many people don’t enjoy.

However, he ran into the unexpected cost of USD $250 when he ran out of straw and nails. According to, Buck now rents this quaint 300-square-foot house out to a woman working at a nearby dairy farm, allowing her to pay the rent in milk.

Simple and unassuming, this hand-built house and its down-to-earth creator are truly inspiring examples of what can be achieved with determination and integrity. More over at Michael Buck's website.