|▲ Wood Furniture Master Lee Hae-bok|
People who wish to own a country house is increasing recently especially among retirees and return to farmers. The trend might have come from awareness on healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle but we cannot overlook the efficiency and good value for money of wooden country house also. Wood furniture master Lee hae-bok is in business of mobile country house under the brand name Love House and I met him and learned about the trend.
Q. Why do you think mobile house is trendy now?
A. I think it started from America. People made a mobile house with only must-necessary installations such as a bed, kitchen and restroom. It is like a dwelling vehicle I can say. In Korea, I can compare it with a farmer’s hut which is less than 20 square meter big. You can see more than this size as a house which needs a license. Some people wish to have one as a holiday house and some to actually live in it. Advantages of a mobile house are it is movable, small and no hassle over documentation.
Q. What does a traditional Korean mobile house look like?
A. It is made of wood and red clay and it is long lasting and it is eco-friendly. I make three sizes at the moment. 10 square meter dry sauna, 20 square meter traditional Korean mobile house and 20 square meter studio flat with single of two rooms. Other sizes can also be made to order.
Q. Tell me about materials you use.
A. Basically, I use fire tree and red clay. Restroom is applied with tiles and boiler supplies hot water. I then use various other materials depending on its purpose. Wood makes a house cool in summer and warm in winter thanks to its excellent ventilation. Eco-friendly materials are free from environmental hormones and we do not need to worry about sick house syndrome also. In addition, wood is soundproof.
Q. Can you give me an example?
A. Frame, for example is constructed by assembling timbers rather than hammering nails. Assembly is traditional way of building Korean house and it is firmer than nails. For surfaces and walls, I apply plastering twice to make sure they are thorough and even. Then I apply handmade Korean paper to prevent particles falling off and to give smooth look. The floor follows similar procedures like surfaces and walls.
Q. What is your advice when having a traditional Korean mobile house?
A. You need to give a little bit of effort in finding the right service provider. Check good value for money above anything else and then reviews of the provider and warranty. It is also advisable to know the cost of relocation and other administrative costs. Have consulting from several providers to compare the price and to check pros and cons before you make your decision.
Lee Hae-bok is Korea’s Intangible Cultural Asset No.3120. He runs Yechang Traditional Craft in Daejeon while his workshop is in Okcheon, just a short drive from Daejeon. He has engaged in numerous recovery works of traditional Korean houses and temples including Joseon scholar Song Si-yeol and artist Sin Saimdang. His traditional Korean mobile house is built on his brand name Love House.
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