9 Day Natural Cottage Building Essentials

July 1-9, 2017
StrawBale Studio
Oxford MI



As usual our skill builder workshops give participants hands-on experience to build their own natural cottage from foundation to roof, but this site affords us a special opportunity to experience a variety of existing natural building spaces as we build and learn. For 20 years Deanne Bednar’s Strawbale Studio has been Michigan’s go-to spot for Natural Building. More than half a dozen buildings demonstrate much of the wide variety of what can be done with local natural materials. Students will go home with a basic working knowledge of multiple methods and materials and finishes, but they will also know how it feels to live with natural materials and organic sculpted spaces.

This year’s Skill Builder will include work on several buildings to allow us to work with and compare a variety of approaches to the same problem. Cob walls vs. straw bale walls vs. light-clay-straw. Rubble trench vs. concrete foundations. Living roof vs. thatched roof.


Subjects Covered

Natural Cottage Project workshops are an exercise in community living. Our daily schedule includes morning and afternoon hands-on work sessions, an afternoon lecture, and evening presentations or campfire chats and musical jam sessions (be sure to bring your instrument). We prepare whole food vegetarian meals as together for our nourishment and delight. An extended lunch hour/siesta time gives us a chance for a nap, or browsing our extensive Natural Building library/bookstore, or a dip in the nearby quarry lake. Field or woods camping is available on site. Limited indoor spaces are available for participants joining us by public transportation or with special needs. Composting toilets and hot showers are provided.  This is a family-friendly event with special pricing for groups with or without children. DSCF1270

Inside of the Hobbit Sauna

Pictures of the 2014 Hobbit Sauna on Oxford, Michigan

IMG_0533       DSCN1322

Full Price (after June 1) $1,100.00 USD
Early Bird Rate (before June 1, 2017) $825.00 SAVE $300!
Early Bird Group Rate (per person, before June 1, 2017) $750.00
Bring your friends and each of you will save!
Daily Rate $110
Half-price worktrade available. Please email info@naturalcottageproject.com for application.

Registration Options


What’s included:

  • Camping on-site:  you bring your tent, we provide hot showers and composting toilets   (contact us if you want to know about other accommodations available nearby)
  • Hands-on and classroom-style lessons all day every day of the workshop.
  • Three vegetarian meals a day prepared by our cooks using largely in-season, regional whole foods.   During our mid-workshop break day, you’ll be on your own for lunch and dinner.   Vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options will be available; let us know if you have dietary restrictions and we will do our best to accommodate you. Why do we choose food from local and regional sources? Just as natural building uses materials that are as local as possible and as unprocessed as possible, we believe that by supporting regional farmers and cooking with seasonally-available vegetables and with foods that have had little or no processing, we support the health of our communities and our bodies!

For more information, email us at info@naturalcottageproject.com or call 440-682-0502. We look forward to talking with you!

4 Responses to 9 Day Natural Cottage Building Essentials

  1. Lynsey Sable says:

    Wondering about where to lodge and meals – are they included, and if not, what are the details?

    Thanks so much. Keep up the good work.

    • natural77 says:

      Included in the price we have our own chef on site cooking vegetarian-friendly meals for us from whole grains and fresh, local fruits and vegetables. All our workshops also include camping and hot showers. The Michigan workshops have limited bed space for those with special needs. Thank you for your question. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions. –Chris

  2. James Robert (Bob)Chambers says:

    Hi Chris,

    Is it camping only in Tennessee, and are there internships available?


    • natural77 says:

      Our Tennessee location has only camping facilities. There are a few motels nearby. We have a limited number of half-price work-trade positions available. They would involve a couple days before and after the workshop for setup/takedown and light housekeeping duties during the workshop. If you are interested please email us at info@naturalcottageproject.com tell us a little about yourself including at least two references.

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