Building a house for €3,000 in France

The cordwood house was made from naturally felled timber

(all materials included)! 

“There’s not much in the way of comfort,” confesses Chloé Dequeker of her home in Ars, a small village in the Creuse, south-east of Guéret. However, costing just €3,000 and built almost single-handedly within a year, it hardly seems the point.

Measuring 80m², the eco-house is Ms Dequeker’s third construction project, and was completed in 2003 when she was age 30. Before that she had renovated one wooden and one stone building, so already had a fair idea of the work that a sustainable self-build entails.

“I’d done my fair share of stone arches,” she quips, “so in comparison a permaculture house seemed relatively easy!”

She employed a natural building technique called cordwood for the walls, which sees short pieces of debarked trees laid crosswise and fixed in place with a mortar of lime and sawdust. ...

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