Ottery builder claims ‘king of the cob’ title from Grand Design presenter after biggest ever build
PUBLISHED: 17:04 08 November 2018
A seven year project to create a ‘cob castle’ on the edge of Ottery has astounded viewers in one of the biggest ever homes featured on television.
Builder Kevin McCabe appeared on Grand Designs last week as the show returned to catch up with him and his cob masterpiece, which he has been working on since 2011.
The show first featured the home in 2013 after Kevin acquired permission to create a large zero carbon cob house under PPS7 planing legislation, which relates to sustainable development in rural areas. Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud said it is one of the biggest designs seen on the show and described it as ‘completely magnificent’.
The presenter said: “I thought it might have been the largest cob building in the world, ever, visible from space. He described it the largest cob building in East Devon.
“It’s not a cob house, it’s a cob castle.”
During the building project Kevin, who is a cob specialist, used 2,000 tonnes of the material as well as laying 15,000 lightweight blocks – measuring up to 350mm wide.
The builder said he was inspired from a young age as he grew up in a cob cottage and saw it used when travelling. He repaired his first cob property in Sidbury and since then has repaired and lime rendered more than 200 cottages in Devon and built a number of homes and extensions, several of which are in Ottery.
Kevin said: “I have lived in brick, I have lived in concrete, I have live in timber and by far the most comfortable was the cob. Devon has 20,000 cob houses and another 20,000 cob buildings at least. We have had a life, it hasn’t been 24/7 but it has been most of my time. There was times where I had to earn the money to get it finished.”
The project saw more than 5,000 tonnes of soil from the site excavated over a quarter of a mile of foundations.
Kevin said: “It’s quite a luxurious, spacious home. It is done in such a way so it doesn’t feel so big.
“It’s very comfortable. What we have done with the cob is we have a lot of curves which are very comforting to live with, there are no sharp corners. “It feels very peaceful and very comforting. The green roof is pretty spectacular.”