Adam P. Norris was kind enough to send me the following pictures of his cordwood stackwall dream home in the mountains of Alberta.  Such fantastic work, my mind was reeling, so I asked some questions.  Below are Adam’s answers:

The wood Adam used was mostly lodgepole pine, some quaking aspen and white spruce, then a smattering of white birch, balsam fir and black spruce.  Remember you can mix woods in a cordwood wall, just stay away from mixing softwoods with hardwood.

The wall depth is 24″ which equals an R-35. 

“We are midgets standing on the shoulders of giants and learned so much from everyone who shared their building experience and techniques, yourself included, that we want to share in case it helps someone.”

Thanks,   Adam

Special considerations – “as per our favourite architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the straight line is godless. We aren’t big on straight or square but plumb, hell yes.” 

The standing timbers with branches evoke the Ents in Lord of the Rings.

A half-log stairway and fire escape.  The stairs are cantilevered into the wall with 14′ – 22′ of stackwall on top of them.

If you look carefully at the individual log pieces, you will see that they were split into unusual pieces.  Some with just a chunk “split out”, others with a hollow center and others with double splits.  This adds a unique feature to your home: the suggestion being “don’t split all your cordwood into halves and quarters.”

The roof was engineered, thanks to Dr. Kris Dick, PEng who wrote the book Stackwall: How to Build It,  to support a sod roof. At this point, it is simply an LVL rafter-system with a drop-down ceiling. The exterior roof is sprayed with industrial foam and coated with polyurea to provide water seal and UV protection. I hope to do the sod bit in the next couple of years.

One thing that I highly recommend is what we call eave windows, but I can’t remember where I saw them. Somebody had put windows between the snow blocking on their stackwall house. We did this too and are loving the light.

Yes, we are in northern Alberta (Little Smoky), and I am fine with you sharing my name Adam Norris and I built with Katrin Sannig.


Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”  

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Here is a jpeg of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover which is also available for immediate download  at

The 30 part menu for the Cordwood Workshop DVD.