EcoNest Natural Building Workshops and Timber Framing Workshops

Call Us: 541-488-9508
9:00am - 5:00pm Mon.-Fri. PST

August 2012

New for this month:

»   Upcoming Workshop in Humboldt County
»   Mandala House rises at OUR EcoVillage
»  From Building Science to Building Biology Seminar
»  Caretaker Needed for Salt Spring Island EcoNest

Upcoming Workshop in Humboldt County

Join us for our fall workshop where we we will build timber-frame, straw/clay walls and roof of Jani and Joseph Cook’s dream home. Camping and meals are included.

Mandala House rises at OUR EcoVillage

We just completed our third and best training ever at OUR EcoVillage. A tremendous team effort resulting in the completed shell of a 700 sf EcoNest for Marisa,Patrick and their children , Fiamma and Khaya.

Interns,students,and professionals worked together to construct the Faswall foundation, Japanese-style timber-frame, 15,000 pounds of clay/fiber walls and an elegant hipped/gable roof. Organization,weather, food,lodging, camaraderie,behind-the-scenes support/magic, purpose where ideal. Our future brightens when you see so many new leaders emerging from these trainings!

From Building Science to Building Biology

Oct. 15-16 Washington DC.Paula Baker-Laporte and Stephen Collette will co-teach this dynamic 2-day seminar To Learn more and register go to

Download the Seminar PDF for more information and to register.

Caretaker needed for Salt Spring Island, BC EcoNest

Beautiful EcoNest compound on Salt Spring Island,BC requires a caretaker/intern. Ideal for an EcoNest graduate or “budding” natural builder/permaculturist seeking to advance their natural building and permaculture skills.

In this extra-ordinary setting your responsibilities would involve carpentry, timber-framing,natural plastering, light-clay work, gardening,landscaping,general maintenance, firewood production. Year-round self-sufficient, timber-framed, light/clay cabin provided in exchange for modest services. Potentially some income as well. Caretaker would have opportunities to assist West Coast EcoNest workshops.

Email for details.

A Humble Home in Humboldt with Joseph and Jani Cook

By Paula Baker-Laporte

Paula: Tell me about yourselves

Jani: We came to Humboldt from Columbia gorge where we were land stewards, living in a yurt. 12 years ago we had the opportunity to buy a property. We found this place and loved it from the start. It spoke to us and we didn’t search farther. We were so welcomed by the community! Their warm welcome was one of the most heartening things in our life. There was a little A-frame on the land . We thought of it, not as our permanent home, but as useful. We envisioned a community kitchen space where local growers could make value-added products. Sometimes we sleep upstairs in it and sometimes in a yurt. We applied for a building permit for a more permanent house four years ago. The permit was expensive so we have spent the last four years gathering the funds to build the house. We have always dreamt of building a home. We once built a 7-sided wooden yurt but it was never thought of as our final home.

P: Why timber-frame and clay straw?

Jani: I went to school in England and my mother bought a property in France and soI grew up around timberframes and solid walled homes that were centuries old and  I loved them. When it came time to explore the materials for our own home we gravitated to more solid kinds of natural construction. We considered many systems but because we are building a very  small space straw  bales felt out of proportion to us.  Friend from Portland told us about light clay.We were thinking it over and gathering books from the library when the Econest book “fell off the shelf”. Soon after Joseph was on his way to your workshop.

P: What skills do you each bring to the table?

Joseph: We like to work. We are particular about the aesthetics of what we want to live in and this has  always driven us to experiment. We bring our vision to the process. I have always been around carpentry and  been able to hold tools and make them work for me.  Jani is willing to cook for a crowd!

Paula: What does this home mean to you?

Jani: I feel like this will be my final home for however long I have on earth. Before this property we have  always felt like Nomads. We never really felt settled in one place. Now our three kids are grown and its just the two of us and we are ready to settle down.

Joseph: I’ve always thought a home should be a temple for living in. We don’t have to go farther. We just want to enjoy it for our time on the planet and then pass it on.

Paula: Any final words?

Joseph: Ever since  we decided to host a workshop,preparing the space to receive the workshop participants has for me become as  important as preparing the home.

We hope you’ll stay in touch!

Robert Laporte and Paula Baker Laporte

Please let us know if you’d like us to update your email address by contacting us through our website:

Paula Baker-Laporte FAIA & Robert Laporte,
EcoNest Founders