Nearly thirty years ago, Evelyne Adam changed her way of life to get closer to nature and, over the course of experiments to build her own house in Brittany, she invented the “Kerterre”. It is the association of “ker” (which means “house” or “at” in Breton language) and “terre” (which means “land” in French). So Kerterre means “living at the land”.
The Kerterre are small round houses built with long fibers of hemp, soaked in lime mixed with sand. Once built, they “carbonate”, which means they gradually turn into stone and become very solid. There are no foundations nor frame. The Kerterre can be sculpted inside and outside, giving free rein to the builder’s imagination!
Easy to build, solid, beautiful, that’s how Evelyne Adam defines the Kerterre, and she aslo likes the fact that it can be built by women themselves. The Kerterre being rather small, several can be built for the different rooms of the dwelling.
One of the distinctive features of this form of housing is that it blends into nature. For Evelyne Adam, the garden is as important as the house and she spends most of the day outdoor. She works hand in hand with nature to move towards abundance.
A video report that will lead you into the world of Kerterre:
This way of life attracts people who wish to live a healthy and frugal life, without borrowing from the bank, and to live in harmony with nature while revitalizing biodiversity on a small piece of land.
Trailer of a film by Nikita Gouëzel (the film is available on demand on the platform):
Evelyne Adam shares the building techniques by organizing workshops and training. More and more people are interested in this way of life. This is not going back to prehistory, there is electricity in the Kerterre!
According to Evelyne Adam, the Kerterre is a way of embodying values, of taking action to change the world, starting with changing one’s own way of life and relations with living things. Kerterre allows us to live with nature rather than “off-ground” as we often live nowadays.
Simplicity does not mean that this kind of house is not comfortable, says Evelyne Adam, and the round shape allows the Kerterre to be solid while at the same time being beautiful and resonating with the surrounding environment.
How did Evelyne Adam manage to change her way of life? First, she took some time to sit in silence and reflect on her habits. We all inherit some habits from our family and from society. She asked herself: which habits are good for me and beyond me? Depending on the answer, she kept some habits and changed others. She also thought about the way she spent money: what are the impacts of my purchases on the environment and on society? Is it more important to possess a lot of things or to possess less, but objects which are beautiful and made by people who love what they produce with their hands?
In the French field of natural building, the Kerterre are an exquisite example of what can be built using hemp and lime. A Kerterre is not just a house, it is also a piece of art and a philosophy that is embodied in a way of life.