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Checking Out Brian “Ziggy” Liloia’s Cozy Cob Homes

A few years ago, Alex did a piece on some land for sale near Dancing Rabbit Eco Village. Let’s return to Missouri to check out some of the most recent projects of this thriving intentional community. Brian Liloia goes by Ziggy and has been living at Dancing Rabbit Eco Village for nearly four years. He started his busy blog, The Year of Mud, soon after.

Ziggy has given the tiny house and natural building community a huge resource by continuing to document his construction projects through his blog. Today, hundreds of blog posts take readers step by step through his building process.

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Neighbors lend a hand with the roof.

Neighbors lend a hand with the roof.

The Year of Mud highlights timber framing for tiny house construction with natural materials. Timber framing uses carefully cut logs rather than planed boards to build the structure of a building. This technique makes it possible to raise a frame without the use of power tools. Doing things by hand, sustainably and in an environmentally friendly way is paramount to both Ziggy’s projects and Dancing Rabbit as a whole.

Ziggy writes that cob, and all-natural building, is usually more labor-intensive than traditional construction but that it is “a

labor of love”. Cob, in particular, allows more flexibility in design and personalization than modern techniques. The sand, clay and straw mixture is blended together by foot and formed into walls by hand.

The blog and Ziggy have been included in several magazines, from the mainstream Parade, Popular Science and Forbes to the lesser-known Boing Boing and even Shanghai’s The Bund Magazine.

An inspiring, joyful picture of Ziggy and his partner, April, perched upon their earthy cob cottage was featured on the cover of theFall 2010 issue of Yes! Magazine, titled A Resilient Community.

Ziggy’s beautiful home is also featured in long-time natural builder Lloyd Kahn’s new book Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter. The book is beautifully illustrated with large, color photographs of the inside of Ziggy’s home and many other gorgeous natural buildings.

Ziggy’s published a book of his own last year. The Year of Mud: Building a Cob House details and documents his experience building the first cob house and features dozens of great photos. It’s a combination of narrative and concrete

advice for building a small cob home.

As of 2012, Ziggy, 27, is busy with building a second cob house, erecting a unique group kitchen and teaching natural building workshops. In fact, they are looking for an intern to help them out with all these projects. If you have general carpentry, natural building, and construction skills, you could spend the summer living as a resident of Dancing Rabbit Eco Village!

The bedroom in Ziggy and April's first house.

The bedroom in Ziggy and April’s first house.


  1. http://small-scale.net/yearofmud/2011/12/26/small-timber-frame-house-plans
  2. http://small-scale.net/yearofmud/2011/12/28/my-cob-house-in-lloyd-kahns-tiny-homes-simple-shelter-book
  3. http://small-scale.net/yearofmud/2011/04/18/the-year-of-mud-building-a-cob-house-book-now-available
  4. http://small-scale.net/yearofmud/natural-building-workshops
  5. http://small-scale.net/yearofmud/natural-building-internship

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • March 4, 2012, 1:09 pm

    We got to meet Ziggy and his partner when we visited Dancing Rabbit a couple of years ago. His house is truly amazing!

  • sesameB
    March 7, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Yes, to this one, too!!!!

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