Amazing Couple Builds the Applegate Cottage on Whidbey Island

I met Paul and Sara in 2015, long before they moved into their very own Applegate Cottage, at my seven-day, hands-on workshop in La Grande, Oregon and was immediately struck by what an awesome couple they are. They had a work ethic like I’d not seen in years, and were always full of smiles and […]

The Ultimate Hole Saw for Drilling Through Straw Bale Walls

A reader wrote in some time ago about a hole saw he created to drill through an existing straw bale wall for a vent pipe for a new hot water heater. The wall had been in place for eight years already, so the plaster was hard and fully cured. He needed the hole to be […]

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 […]

Hanging Pictures on a Plaster Wall

Tools for hanging pictures on a plaster wall

If you’re like most people interested in straw bale construction, you’ve likely wondered about hanging pictures on a plaster wall. How do I do it? Won’t the plaster crack? Will I make a mess? Can the picture be moved and the hole patched? These are some of the most common questions I’m asked all the […]

Adding Shingles to Gable Walls

Reshingle a Gable Wall 18

Adding shingles to gable walls may not seem like a straw bale specific topic at first glance. That doesn’t mean it’s not an important skill for you to learn for several reasons. First and foremost, a lot of straw bale houses use shingles on the gable end walls. They do so to add a complementary […]

Adding Utility Lines After Plaster

Install the Lath to utility line

Adding utility lines to your wall after plaster has been applied to your straw bale house is not as hard as you might think. The sooner you realize your mistake (leaving out the utility line) the easier it is to fix. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, consider this: You raise the bale walls […]

Gravel in your toe ups. Is that enough?

straw bale wall toe ups

It’s the million dollar question you’ve all been wondering about: is it enough to have just gravel in your toe ups or do you need something more? Okay, it may not be a question worth a million dollars, but making a bad decision here can indeed cost you money. In some cases just a little […]

The Importance of Having Time

Time for Gratitude

If you’re living your life like most people, you’re missing out on the actual experience of life and the joy it brings. Stop wasting time and start living by learning the impact of gratitude.

Enjoying Your Straw Bale Build

happy family

Enjoying your straw bale build is something that many people simply assume will happen. They believe that since they’re really excited about the idea of building their straw bale home that their excitement will turn into enjoyment during the actual process of building or contracting that project. Unfortunately, the reality is often something very different. The good news is […]

Hiring the Right Contractor for Your Build

contractor working with couple

Hiring the right contractor for your straw bale construction project could be the most important decision you make along the path to creating your new home. This decision is more important than the size of the house, the layout of the floor plan, the finish materials you choose, and any other choice you make along […]

Smooth Plaster on Straw Bale Walls

Acid Staining Floors While Protecting Plaster Walls

I recently received an email asking if it was possible to get the interior walls of a straw bale house flat and smooth. I have included the email and my response to it below. Question: Are there any alternatives to finishing the interior walls of a straw bale home with plaster? More specifically, can I […]

Plastering Tip for Straw Bale Walls

Dash Plaster Texture

Plastering has a lot of challenges to it from mixing recipes to application techniques. Some challenges may not be obvious from the start, so be sure to spend some time learning what you need to know before you jump in. Today I spoke with a client who had spilled Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) all over their […]

Help Define a New Name for SBC

people standing atop straw bale wall

Here’s your call to action. We need a new name; one we can all get behind and present to the world in a new and powerful way. What ideas do you have? Please comment below with your ideas and share this article with anyone you think may want to help define the way forward for this amazing building technology.

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.