Engineer in New York State for Straw Bale Builds

If you’re looking for an engineer in New York State to help with your straw bale build, please read on. Touson Saryon, the architect of the most popular home designs that we sell, recently gave me a recommendation for an engineer in New York State that I want to share with you all. It can […]

Bale Stops Strengthen and Simplify Your Build

Having built hundreds of straw bale houses over the years, I’ve learned that bale stops do an incredible job of both strengthening and simplifying a build. I use them in every bale structure I work on. The most common placement for bale stops is at the top of the wall so that I can compress […]

Everything You Need to Know About Straw Bale DESIGN

straw bale cabin floor plan

If there’s one thing I’d like to gift you, it’s knowing how to design a beautiful, safe, and cost effective straw bale home. A sound design is paramount for a successful build and I have personally seen a poor design literally cost the owners the entire cost of their house. Fortunately, designing a straw bale house […]

A Glossary of Terms for Straw Bale Framing

Roof Frame and Carpenter Performing Framing

It’s important to understand the glossary of terms for straw bale construction framing. If you don’t know what something is called, you’ll have a harder time ordering the right materials from your suppliers. In addition, if you don’t know the right terms, you’ll have a harder time discussing things with your contractors, even if you’re […]

New Pricing on Straw Bale Plans

stack of money on top of plans

A quality designer or architect is absolutely worth every penny spent on them; however, if you don’t have the money to spend, it doesn’t matter how amazing they are. So for those who cannot afford to hire a private architect or designer, there is a “next best” option: previously designed homes.

The Power of Education – A 15 Question Test

straw bale workshop site

It may sound obvious, but learning how to build a house, of any kind but especially a straw bale house, is a good thing to do before you actually start building. Ask yourself the following 15 questions and if you cannot answer them with a high level of confidence, you would be best served to gain some more experience before you start building.

Free Arkin Tilt Architects Plans Now Available

Chalk Hill straw bale house

As a follow up to last week’s announcement by Arkin Tilt Architects (ATA) that they intend to offer a selection of their plans for free to California wildfire victims, I am happy to announce that those plans are now available for viewing.

Timber Framing and Straw Bale Construction

straw bale house kitchen

In general, the detailing of a timber frame straw bale home is very much like that of a regular post an dream straw bale home; however, the differences are important to discuss. How the bales attach to the frame and how to best seal the air gap at the transition from plaster to frame are among the important details we will discuss in this article.

The Cost of Straw Bale Construction

Energy Efficiency

When people talk about the cost of straw bale construction, they often get things a bit muddled up. They either come in way too low or way too high. I’m here to set the record straight, hopefully once and for all.

When a Straw Bale House Isn’t Green

straw bale house interior

I wonder if any of you knows why a straw bale house isn’t green. A straw bale house isn’t green because the wall system is only one part of a bigger system, and a small part at that.

A Great Use for Leftover NHL

straw bale house window seat

Here’s a great use for any left over bags of natural hydraulic lime you may have from your straw bale plastering job.

Metal In Straw Bale Wall Assemblies

Electrical Boxes in straw bale wall

I know that the topic of metal in straw bale wall assemblies is a contentious one, and that is precisely why I want to bring it up and talk about it with you all. I have been saying for years that the use of welded wire mesh and plaster lath is essential to a quality bale house, and that sentiment has not changed. I want to quickly share my thoughts about using metal mesh and lath, and then hear from those of you who either agree or disagree with the practice.

The Impact of Design Details

straw bale house exterior

There is no question that the more elaborate your design, the more expensive it will be to build; however, there are ways to find that sought after balance that will please both your senses and your finances.

Minimizing Construction Costs in Straw Bale

Architectural Plans

When designing a custom home, it’s important to know you can actually afford to build what you design. These seven tips will help you hit your target and successfully build the home you have dreamed about without breaking the budget.

Baling Angular Walls

Octagonal straw bale house exterior

If you plan to build your straw bale house with angular walls, instead of using common right angle intersections, this post will give you a simple, fast, and effective way to build strong, structural corners.

Best Plumbing Practices In Straw Bale Houses

Straw bale house kitchen

Water is enemy number 1 in straw bale construction. The good news is that with proper design and construction details, your straw bale house will stay dry and moisture issue free. The key to installing plumbing in a bale house is to create ‘water isolation walls’. I describe the best plumbing practices in straw bale […]

Watch The Curves – StrawBale.com

straw bale house hallway

One of the most stunning aspects of a straw bale home is the shape that window and door openings take. The gentle curves flood light across the room and lend a sense of calm and peace to the occupants. These very same curves that bring so much joy and serenity can also drive home owners crazy. That sounds unlikely; however, when the curves are not properly built, they can cause all kinds of problems as the home is finished.

Spring is Coming…Straw Bale Plans to Speed Things Up!

straw bale house exterior entrance

We have recently added a bunch of construction drawings of straw bale houses (full sets of plans) to our website bringing the total to nineteen sets. We have several different architects represented with several different styles. Everything from simple to elaborate is available.

Straw Bale Design Seminar: Old Friends and New Friends

straw bale design seminar

Last weekend in Denver, Colorado I held my first ever 2-day Straw Bale Design Seminar. I suppose it would be silly for me to try and share the group experience via a blog post. We simply covered too much ground and had too much fun to sum it up in a few paragraphs. I’ll do my best, nonetheless, to let you in on it as best I can. I started my workshop by hugging old friends and saying hello to new ones. I think there is something about starting a workshop that way because the smiles seemed to be contagious. I think they came from knowing that the room was full of like minded people willing to share their questions and experiences to help the group move forward. The simple format of the weekend allowed us to discuss the inner workings of straw bale construction in great detail. We covered the construction details of building a straw bale home and how to properly represent those details on the construction drawings. We talked at great length about working with building departments, banks, insurance companies, and more. We dove into managing subcontractors, budgets, and time lines. We reviewed the plans that participants brought with them and offered feedback and guidance on each set.

How Much Will It Cost?

money symbol in eye

A lot of people are excited about the idea of straw bale construction; however, they stumble a bit when it comes to estimating the cost of their potential home. So how is someone supposed to make an informed decision about what plan to buy and what that plan might cost to build? The answer is actually very simple: start with a rough estimate of the cost. Just a rough number will let you know if it is in your price range or not. If you want accuracy, you will need accurate plans. The only way to get accurate plans is to purchase a set of quality construction plans, specific to straw bale homes, like those on StrawBalePlans.com, or to design your own.

Campus Straw Bale Cafe Wins Plaudits

ModCell straw bale house

Here’s an interview with the architect of a straw bale cafe in the United Kingdom. This modern and elegant building is not something easily or immediately identifiable as straw bale. That’s part of what makes it so interesting to me. I love the modern lines and clean design. The execution of the construction was done […]

Announcing a 2-Day Straw Bale Design Workshop!

Drawing on construction plans

I have created an entirely new workshop focused specifically on the design aspect of straw bale construction. Visit www.StrawBaleWorkshops.com and click on Design Workshop under the 2012 Locations drop down menu to learn more or to sign up today.