Are you excited about the idea of living in a straw bale house but unsure of how to make your dream a reality (or are flat out terrified to even get started)? Join us at our Livermore, Colorado seven-day, hands-on workshop!
Our workshops are designed to meet the needs of both the novice builder and experienced contractor. Andrew’s grasp of construction technology, with over 20 years as a professional builder, comes through in his ability to explain each detail in a way that benefits all participants. Our goal is to prepare you with a truly well-rounded educational experience so when it comes time for your build, you have the confidence to handle anything that comes up from construction hiccups to personal stress management.
So, come and join us…we would love to have you with us! Our workshops are rewarding, engaging, highly informational, and an absolute blast! Truly, much, much more than just a workshop!!
IN THE HOSTS’ OWN WORDS:
Hello! We are Paul and Ken. Come join us at CoodaBenna Ranch as we build our dream home of a timber-framed straw bale house! “CoodaBenna?” you ask? Well, if we’d bought a few (hundred? thousand?) more acres, it CoodaBenna real ranch! Our mailing address is Livermore, Colorado, but lying only a mile from the Wyoming border, we’re almost Wyomingites.
When we met in 2018, we soon found we shared a love of the mountains, interests in the performing and visual arts, appreciation of family, and prior mutual interest in straw bale and other sustainable building/ living. Our house will be our full-time retirement home, as soon as we commit to full-time retirement!
Located 31 miles from Cheyenne, WY, or 42 miles from Laramie, WY, or 38 miles from Fort Collins, CO, or 110 miles from Denver International Airport, you have multiple options if you’re flying in. Mountain recreation is important in the area, including sightseeing, biking, hiking, backpacking, camping, fly-fishing, and skiing/ snowshoeing in season. Red Mountain Open Space is a hiking/ biking/ horse-riding area 25 miles away. The Red Feather Lakes area (noted among fly-fishers) is 40 miles away. Estes Park and its entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, are 75 miles away. Likewise, the Snowy Range west of Laramie is 75 miles.
Our building site eases into the north side of a small mountain (we affectionately call it “ShoodaBenna”), with Ponderosa pine; grasslands extend further north, east, and west. This affords views to Wyoming to the north and the Rocky Mountains to the northwest and west. Wildlife in the area includes Mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, coyote, wolf, bobcats, and mountain lions, plus an occasional black bear.
Our project is to build a modern, rustic straw bale mountain retreat that will serve as our retirement home. Our building footprint is about 1650 sq. ft. (inside the bales) ground floor, with a 650 sq. ft. loft above the standard living spaces, plus a walk-out basement with a guest room and full bath, a library/study/office, and two garage spaces. A standing-seam metal roof of opposing sheds will cap the structure. Our new home will replace a small decrepit A-frame cabin from the early 1980s, which will be moved off-site once construction is completed.
Ken is a painter and budding knitter; Paul is a promiscuous fiber artist, having played in quilting, crochet, knitting, spinning, dyeing, and weaving. The loft, open to living areas below, will allow a casual, comfortable lifestyle, hiding the mess and clutter of our artistic pursuits from direct view below, but still allowing intimate contact with whoever is in the main living spaces.
We look forward to hosting holiday and vacation gatherings of our families and friends. We also plan to offer weekend or perhaps longer gatherings of fiber and other visual arts friends for retreats and possible workshops. We’ll invite you to return and join us for one of those in the future!
Our 38-acre site provides ample flat space for tent campers as well as parking for RVers (no hookups; nearest RV parks are 30 miles away in Cheyenne, WY or Wellington, CO). Temporary hot-water showers and toilet facilities will be provided. For those who need or want more creature comfort, nearby VRBO/ AirBNB/ vacation rentals could be explored. Nearest hotels will be in Cheyenne or Laramie, WY or Fort Collins, CO.
Plan to be well fed in a sheltered community dining space. Meals will include entrée options for both vegetarians and omnivores. Breakfasts will be oatmeal and egg dishes with fruit, nuts, cold cereal and toast. Soups, salads, and sandwiches will comprise lunches. Dinners will be heartier entrees with desserts. Expect snacks available throughout the day, with occasional surprises.
We participated in the 2019 Fort Garland building workshop, and we are eager to implement that learning into building our home, while offering the opportunity for others like you to learn Andrew’s methods. At the same time, we look forward to the community that will develop, and we invite you to join us at CoodaBenna! We promise a lot of fun, good learning, as much hard work as you’re up for, and development of new friendships/ relationships. If you’re at all musical, bring your favorite instrument and voice for evenings around the firepit. Word is that Andrew will have his guitar in tow!
What’s Included in Your Tuition?
All workshop participants receive the following with their registration…
TOP NOTCH INSTRUCTION FROM ANDREW (Priceless!!!) PLUS…
• 3 HEALTHY MEALS/DAY
• CAMPING SPACE
• SHOWER AND BATHROOM FACILITIES
“BE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR” INSTANT DOWNLOAD VIDEOS ($34.99 Value)
22 PAGE STRAW BALE DETAILS INSTANT DOWNLOAD BOOKLET ($20 Value)
SPACE IS LIMITED!
Sign up now 🙂
Is This Workshop Right For Me?
It is if…
You don’t want to be that person that says “How hard can it be?” and then becomes the cautionary tale amongst your friends and family.
You’re an experienced builder but want to learn all the nuances & ins and outs of straw bale construction.
You’ve already designed your home, or even started to build. Now you’re running into a lot of questions and challenges and aren’t sure how to move forward.
You want to save money by building your own straw bale house but also want to make certain that you avoid costly mistakes.
You’ve never built anything before and don’t know if you’re insane for even considering building your own straw bale house.
Bale Stacking Details
Create strong and durable walls by learning the techniques used by master balers.
Retying and Resizing Bales
Master the fastest knot tying system to save time and money on your project.
Andrew’s framing system speeds your construction and lowers your budget.
Learn how to simplify the incorporation of electrical wiring in your bale walls.
Create gorgeous curves and sexy transitions to create an inspiring home with the art of bale shaping.
Windows, Doors, and HVAC
Keep your house moisture & mold free with proper ventilation and window/door installations.
Include pockets of beauty in your home with the installation of straw bale niches or “nichos”.
Cabinets & Special Installs
Master effective strategies to install cabinets, partition walls, and other special installations.
Plaster Prep Techniques
Build a strong foundation for your home’s plaster and ensure years of protection for your investment.
Learn the art of plastering in order to create a beautiful and durable finish for your home.
Financing and Insurance
Navigate the confusing world of paying for and insuring your straw bale home.
Endless Q & A
Ask me anything related to your personal project or general straw bale construction. ANYTHING!
Your Mentor is Andrew Morrison
Andrew has over 20 years of professional construction experience and in that time has done everything from design and build his own house, work as a licensed contractor and developer, give a TEDx talk (and numerous other presentations), co-author a national building code, to host several step-by-step instructional videos on contracting and building houses, and much more.
His greatest passion is teaching others how to build their own dream home and inspiring them to reach the highest level of their own greatness. Since 2006, Andrew has personally taught over 3,000 participants at his workshops. Through his kindness, sense of humor, and ability to teach complex concepts in easy-to-understand terms, his workshops are a mega-hit amongst his graduates. Make sure to bring your questions, curiosity, instruments (if you play any), and let’s have some fun while we build with bales!
SPACE IS LIMITED!
Sign up now 🙂
Here is what fellow workshop attendees are saying…
Karen Pope says…
“You truly are an inspiring teacher. All who are lucky enough to be your students receive the great gifts of your expertise, your humor, and your belief that we can all make a difference one home at a time. It was such a great pleasure to meet you and to be guided by you. I hope to be able to repeat the experience in the future.”
Mary Bushman says…
“Based on the information on the website and in the resource materials at strawbale.com I came to the Corvallis workshop with very high expectations. After a week of fabulous instruction and wonderful fellowship I am happy to report that my expectations were far EXCEEDED. Andrew is a teacher of rare talent. I will carry the lessons forward and am excited for the opportunity to use the new information to build our own straw bale heaven!”
Sharon Waldie says…
“GO TO THIS WORKSHOP! I’ve been learning about straw bale buildings for years, and I can honestly say that Andrew is a natural teacher. He deals with real issues that any home builder might encounter, and handles it with actual how-to answers. Great motivation to continue in my quest to become a resident of a straw bale home! Thank you so much.”
Reid Heimbeck says…
“What an awesome experience. It was truly hard to leave and go back home. I realize that this workshop was so much more than just learning about straw bale construction. I met 40 amazing people and gained several close friends from it. You personally are an inspiration to me, a role model as someone who has intentionally created a fun and fulfilling life. Thank you greatly for that. All my best my friend.”
Joy Wagner says…
“It truly was a wonderful week of hard work, hands on learning, and infectious fun. I so enjoyed being a part of the process: making new friends, learning additional skills, and experiencing camaraderie which strengthened as the week progressed. I treasure the overall experience and look forward to having a building workshop on our 5 acres someday. Thank you for being our cheerful and fearless leader!”
Theresa Coleman says…
“It is not only your experience that makes these workshops successful but your spirit and outlook on life. I was so impressed by how you can get a group of people to work so smoothly on a construction site, then at the end of the day still want to be around each other laughing and sharing. Once again thank you for such a great experience. Best Regards.”
Jim Ogden says…
“Andrew Morrison is an extraordinary teacher, a trusted leader, and a pioneer. It is through his passionate and enthusiastic approach, that he is setting new standards and raising the profile, credibility, and the global appeal of straw bale construction. All while sharing his love of life and his humor with us, the workshop participants.”
Leslie Arellanes says…
“Wow where do I even start? That was one of the best weeks of my life. I think Danielle and I are going to be your Straw Bale groupies. Thank you so much for creating such a magical workshop. Cheers!!!!”
Doss Palmer says…
“I have you to thank for the monumental shift in my life and honestly attending your workshop has been the best decision I’ve ever made to better myself.”
Clint Pinder says…
“This class literally PAID FOR ITSELF in the first day. The amount of knowledge that Andrew shared along with his ability to explain complex details in simple, easy to understand language made the educational aspect of this workshop amazing. AND, we had a blast!!!”
Jen Paulson says…
“A 10 day break from media and glowing screens, unplugged, submerged in a community of love and support is a life changing event. I am so fortunate to have had the privilege to experience this twice. Thank you.”
Robert Roach says…
“We would not have had the confidence to try this project or to plan our house build with knowing and learning from you.”