Synopses & Reviews
Clarke Snell and Timothy L. Callahan, whose popular Good House Book
helped environmentally-minded readers create an earth-friendly home, have returned with a photo-packed, amazingly complete, start-to-finish guide to "green" housebuilding.
This absolutely groundbreaking manual doesn't just talk about eco-friendly building techniques, but actually shows every step! More than 1,200 close-up photographs, along with in-depth descriptions, follow the real construction of an alternative house from site selection to the addition of final-touch interior details. Co-authors Clarke Snell and Timothy Callahan (a professional builder and contractor) provide thorough discussions of the fundamental concepts of construction, substitutes for conventional approaches, and planning a home that's not only comfortable and beautiful, but environmentally responsible. Then, they roll up their sleeves and get to work assembling a guest house that incorporates four different alternative building methods: straw bale, cob, cordwood, and modified stick frame. The images show every move: how the site is cleared, the basic structure put together, the cob wall sculpted, the bales and cordwood stacked, a living roof created, and more. Most important, the manual conveys real-world challenges and processes, and offers dozens of sidebars with invaluable advice. It's head and shoulders above all others in the field.
"This large, generously illustrated manual is an excellent primer on owner-designed and site-inspired building. Snell, who wrote the eco-friendly The Good House Book, and Callahan, a more conventional but highly experienced builder and contractor, take readers step-by-step through the creation of a charming little guesthouse, demonstrating a variety of 'green' techniques along the way. They start with an introduction to building fundamentals and how alternative materials can provide the necessities of housing: structure, climate-control and separation from as well as connection to the outer world. Next comes a mini-course in design. But the bulk of the book is hands-on: the nuts-and-bolts of siting; foundations; flooring; living (plant-covered) roofs; and cob, cordwood, straw-bale and modified stick frame walls although the book's minimal treatment of electricity and plumbing, and how to integrate them with unfamiliar materials like cob or straw-bale, disappoints. Snell's tendency to decry the sins of modern architectural practice can become exasperating, but doesn't diminish the value of his extensive experience-derived knowledge; and the grace and beauty of the authors' building project, featuring Callahan's fine finish work, is inspiring. The abundance of color photos detailing the construction process, supplemented by examples from indigenous buildings around the world, is particularly helpful." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Clarke Snell is an expert in the field of green building and self-sufficiency. Author of The Good House Book (Lark, 2004), he lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife in a partially-bermed, passive-solar house in a small intentional community they helped create.
Tim Callahan is a practicing general contractor. An experienced timber-frame builder, Tim is currently focused on residential projects of unique character.