“Chalk Bluff” Straw Bale Plans

Plan Number: at-100
Designed by: Arkin-Tilt Architects. For bio click here

Chalk Hill

This 872 s.f. downstairs + 155 s.f. loft, off-grid straw-bale project was originally designed as a getaway home for a San Francisco couple with two active young boys.

The house mediates the northern edge of a forest glade, with driveway access and entry against a steeper slope to the north. The entry/mudroom, bath and mechanical spaces are located in a wood-framed portion of the home a half level up from the main living space. This simple, straw-bale home opens to a south-facing terrace, connecting it to the forest glade, and a more intimate queen bed sized sleeping bay. An open loft above the kitchen provides additional sleeping space for kids and guests.

The house features the ability to be energy independent. The property currently employs solar hot water collectors to provide domestic hot water as well as space heating by flowing the heated fluid first through a heat exchanger and then into tubing buried in a 2 ft. bed of sand beneath the floor slabs. In addition, P.V. panels on the roof harvest electricity, stored in batteries, powering the well pump and other domestic needs.

The metal roof, plastered bale walls, and fiber-cement siding give the structure elegant lines and distinctive finish. What’s more, those same elements, along with a fire safe perimeter, will give the structure high marks for surviving a wildfire, ensuring that this small cabin will provide many years of service.


Square Footage Home Elements
Total Living Area 1027 SF
Levels: 1.5
Main Level: 872 SF Foundation: Slab on Grade
Second Level: 155 SF Loft Alternate Foundations: Crawlspace, Pier, Basement
Porch: 392 SF Lot Type: Sloping, Wooded
Footprint: 48′-0″x 24′-0″ Alternate Lot Types: Flat
Room Details
Master Suite: Main Level
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1


Details and Features

  • Exterior Deck Space
  • Water Solar Heat
  • Raised Mudroom/Utility
  • Radiant Floor Heat
  • Large Fireplace
  • Super Efficient
  • Photovoltaic Power
  • Open Living Space
  • Lots of Windows

Floor Plans


Chalk Hill


Included in Construction Drawing Set

  • Site Plan
  • Floor Plans
  • Roof Plan
  • Elevations
  • Building Sections
  • Interior Elevations
  • Numerous Details
  • Window and Door Schedule
  • Foundation Plan
  • Electrical Plan
  • Roof Framing Plans


Set of Black Line Drawings $985.00 —Buy Now—

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