A Weird and Wonderful Cob Cottage in a Washington Co-Op Asks $500K

A Weird and Wonderful Cob Cottage in a Washington Co-Op Asks $500K

By Kathryn M.
This whimsical home is set in a forested cohousing community with 23 acres of hiking trails and a neighborhood garden.

A recently listed property near Seattle, Washington, offers a pair of sustainably built cottages and a community-oriented lifestyle. The two adjacent structures—a main house and studio—were both constructed using centuries-old techniques for mixing straw and earthen materials—and the current owners outfitted the interior with natural wood finishes and sculptural details. Sited within a 38-acre land trust, the private property shares common areas and numerous amenities with a cohousing neighborhood.

Located northeast of Seattle, Washington, this two-home property is surrounded by a 38-acre land trust named Sharingwood. The front cottage was constructed using a naturally made material known as cob, while the rear studio was built using the straw-bale construction method.

The front cob house features hand-sculpted details along the wall and floors. Other handcrafted finishes include cabinetry, exposed beams, and moldings.

According the Cohousing Association of the United States, the term "cohousing" describes a master-designed community of privately owned homes surrounded by shared outdoor areas—as well as a central structure or space for regular gatherings and meetings between neighbors.

Many cohousing communities site homes closer together to encourage frequent interaction—and they reduce environmental impact by establishing common space around homes, using green building techniques, and sharing everyday items. However, each community is different—and each group of homeowners determines their own amenities and rules via consensus decision-making.

Another view of the living area shows a built-in bench that wraps around a corner. Cob is a structural material usually made by combining sand, clay, and straw together to form a mixture that is both insulating and durable once cured.

Located in the rear corner, the kitchen features open shelving and a gas range.

A look at the full bathroom, located just behind the kitchen.

While the concept of cohousing may seem unconventional for most Americans, it is more common internationally. California-based architect Charles Durrett and author Katie McCamant reportedly first introduced the concept to a U.S. audience with their 1988 book titled Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves.

Durrett, an outspoken advocate, has designed over 50 cohousing communities—including Muir Commons in Davis, California, which is thought to be the first of its kind in North America. Around 250 cohousing communities now exist or are under development in the U.S.—some in rural locations, some urban, and most consisting of 20 to 40 homes. The concept has no specific religious or political alignment.

A view from the bathroom shows a ladder that leads up to the bedroom.

A built-in desk runs along one side of the living area, while numerous windows provide sunlight from all sides of the home.

Upstairs, skylights illuminate the bedroom, while french doors provide access to a balcony overlooking the backyard.

The two cottages for sale can be found in a multigenerational cohousing community located about 30 miles northeast of downtown Seattle. The community offers a mix of privately owned homes and some rental spaces, with shared amenities including a 23-acre forested greenbelt, a six-tent campsite, playgrounds and a playfield, vegetable gardens and fruit trees, as well as a central community center. The two cottages are also sited on an idyllic lot opposite the gardens. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $499,900.

As seen from the bedroom balcony, the second structure sits just behind the main cottage.

The adjacent studio has a similar aesthetic as the cob house, with an abundance of natural materials and finishes. A handcrafted ladder provides access to a bedroom loft. 

A kitchen area and bathroom are located along one side of the main level.

The open end of the loft features a handmade driftwood screen.

The cob facade is protected by a large overhang around the home.

Nearby, a shared garden is cultivated by residents of the community.

The community also offers numerous green spaces and hiking trails.

22311 E Lost Lake #30 in Snohomish, Washington, is currently listed for $499,900 by The Thiel Team of Keller Williams Eastside.

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