A Tiny House built from bamboo, rice husk and cob

a new technique and design!  see reviewed version (scroll down)


roof of main house removed


Our Tiny house needs to be built only with local material and will be a Karen style house. The Karen are an ethnic group in Burma and Thailand and live in wood or bamboo houses with leaf roofs. They are on stilts, have a veranda, a big room with a small bedroom and a back veranda for bath and cooking. Shower is either done on the veranda or at the public well, always in sarongs. Cooking is on open fire and outside. Toilet is in the outhouse or in the jungle (eaten by pigs).

The village is very remote, so transport is a major issue. There is a river close by, so sand and gravel are available, bamboo grows and rice husk is also always there.

The foundation will be gravel in “earth bags” plus a layer of earth bags. Isolation of the ground floor  by tarpaulins and strong plastic sheets. A traditional style Bamboo skeleton will be placed on top, which carries the lofts and roofs.  The bamboos will be covered with split bamboo on both sides. The gap will be filled with rice husk for isolation. The walls will then be plastered with cob, mud and manure. The technique is a combination of building with rice husk in bags, tied to a bamboo skeleton and an Indian technique (Murali house). The combination is my idea and we will try it for the first time. The woman in Chiang Dao writes, that rice husk dries out faster and stays drier in rainy season than cob. The Indian technique looks very good as well, I would use split bamboo mats (not pieces) and use the rice husk instead of compacted mud. The plastering over a skeleton from wood or bamboo is done all around the world from India over all of Asia, Afrika and in Southamerica. In Germany the 300-600 year old houses are done with a similar technique and they are still going strong.

The kitchen and bathroom will be a traditional half-open bamboo building. The bathroom wall will get some glass bottles for light and decoration.

The roof will either be bamboo shingles or a leaf roof or a combination.

The loft floors will be split bamboo. We will sleep on mats on the floor. They can be rolled away in the day time. Storage is in boxes. We can hang up a few hammocks to relax. Maybe later we can get some bamboo furniture.

The kitchen is basic as well. One big table, which reaches over into the veranda. Hay boxes in the floor for heat retention cooking plus a biomass gassifier cooker.  If I am lucky I can get clay pots and make me a Zeer pot for keeping food cool.

Bucket compost toilet and shower with bucket or solar camping showers. A cob/ tadelekt bathtub,

To avoid lines in front of the toilet, we will have another toilet at the South pergola with a shower.

In the South there will be a pergola to plant vegetables that keep the wall in shadow. It will also protect our dogs and chicken from rain and we can hang washing there in rainy season.

Of course hand washing with bucket and plunger. No way to get a Lehmann’s crank washing machine there.  Research leads you down funny alleys and creates strange wishes…

I plan to have a food mill and grinder to make seeds and beans small (for soy milk etc). An egg beater to make soap. I already make a longtime herbal soap that I sell in a fair trade shop. I want to build an oven pit and hope I can manage to bake bread in there over hot stones and charcoal. Otherwise Naan bread, Cream of Wheat and and Semolina dumplings, pan cakes etc. I should be able to make yogurt (probably from soy) in the hay box. I hope I can keep water so hot over night, that I can make me an instant coffee when waking up. My weak point is to start a fire, especially when I have low blood sugar and am only half awake.

I learnt over the years to cook Karen food, so I can use the local vegetables. I never got used though to eating rice 2-3 times a day, it doesn’t keep me full.  I hope I can manage to get regularly wheat flour and yeast, that  can bake bread.

veranda     verandafromside


veranda at East side



ground floor


main1     mainwithloft1

loft2b      corneron2lots


main room view on loft 1


Plan2      Plan3

kitchne2    kitchenbath

kitchen2    bath3


view into main room on both lofts


Sothpergoalaotherside     Southpergola


a Pergola at the South with ranking vegetables should keep the house cool and provide a place for our animals, hang up washing and a second bathroom

I made some adjustments and changed the roof! For this I had to move the second loft to the other side. I added another veranda to the West side.  It is a bit more traditional now, but there will be no problems for the local builders and we gained covered open space to sit down when the rain pours down plus the mud walls are better protected. I also slightly moved the outside bath, it can be assessed now from the East veranda and has mud walls. No major changes, the layout is the same.

Screenshot_52           Screenshot_50

East Veranda and access to outside bathroom

Screenshot_40              Screenshot_38

kitchen with biomass gassifier cooker and hay box (heat retention cooker)          outside bathScreenshot_33



new covered veranda at the West side

               Screenshot_30           Screenshot_31




Probably the inside will look something like this:

images (9)     int_bathroom_weav_REACH

This the Chiang Dao rice husk technique (they offer workshops, check out their website)

workshop_0002x        download

Murali house (screenshots from their video)      video link