Montezuma, NM Casita Guest House Workshop

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 Montezuma, NM 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:

The view from our large meadow

Hello! We are a tight knit family of four who have been working for years on the idea of building our straw bale homestead in the beautiful mountains of northern New Mexico. We are committed to creating a home that reflects the very best that straw bale and wood and concrete can be! We have been to several of Andrew’s workshops, and are hoping to leverage that experience to create an environment that empowers Andrew to lead us in an impactful, educational and fun-filled week.

Imagine waking up to the sound of birds echoing in the crisp mountain air at 7400 ft above sea level. You will be spending the day surrounded by beautiful views, fresh air, good food and companionship while getting down and dirty learning about how to build with straw bales. At night, we have an outdoor fireplace that has been the center of many wonderful evenings, and stars you rarely find within reach of plumbing. If that sounds tempting, please come join our family to help us build our mountain guest casitas in the Land of Enchantment!

COVID-19 STRATEGY

Our family is all vaccinated, and we imagine many of you will be by August as well. Regardless of the level of vaccinations in our group, we will follow up-to-date CDC guidelines for how to be together most safely. In addition, we have led major mountaineering and scientific expeditions to remote locations all over the world. On each of those expeditions we have been responsible for the health and well-being of large groups of people—we have the experience and promise to apply those same management and safety protocols to your stay with us. Our goal is for everyone to leave with tons of knowledge, great friendships, but no viruses or other medical problems.

THE AREA

If you are a movie or TV fan, you’ve seen the surrounding area in the movies “No Country for Old Men” and “Red Dawn” (starring our neighbor the late Patrick Swayze), or the TV show “Longmire”.

Our property is located in El Porvenir by Montezuma, New Mexico, 15 miles outside of the charming town of Las Vegas in the northern part of the state. Local airports are Albuquerque (145 miles) and Santa Fe (80 miles). Santa Fe deserves its own write-up— even before the pilgrims landed there was a small village in Santa Fe—so there is history galore. It is about a 5 hr drive from Denver. Other nearby attractions include the high road to Taos (starting in Santa Fe and ending in Taos) with many amazing textile galleries along the road, visiting the Taos pueblo, or Chimayo, a contemporary pilgrimage site.

Once you leave the town of Las Vegas and head up into our valley, you enter a world where time has stood still, and life moves at an easy pace. At the edge of our property the Santa Fe National Forest starts, offering several gorgeous hiking trails that go for many miles. Do yourself a favor and plan some extra time to explore this wonderful part of the world.

THE WORKSHOP SITE

The view of Hermit Peak from our property

The workshop site sits nestled in the woods with no other homes in sight (email us for GPS coordinates). Our land has a large meadow, so there will be plenty of room to set up your tent or camper while having some privacy. There also is a campground in the national forest, just a mile down the road. We’ll have portable restroom and shower facilities available. For those who prefer not to camp, there are a few cabins for rent within a mile or two. Don’t wait until the last minute as these cabins are popular. Town is a 30 minute drive, but you could stay in one of the many hotels there if you prefer. Email us and we will send you a list of local accommodations.

THE BUILD

In early June we are hosting a workshop to build our main house. Later in August we are hosting this second workshop to build two adjacent casitas and a shower room, which we envision as a wonderful private space for our sons and friends when visiting. We’ll use straw bales for in-fill, have a radiant heated concrete floor and plan on using lime plaster for the interior and exterior walls. The casitas have a metal roof with deep eaves to protect the bale walls and a large porch on the west-side. The casitas (little cabins) are roughly based on the Mountain View Cabin plans from Andrew’s website, and will be built together as a pair. This is a great opportunity because you will not only learn all of the same techniques, tricks, and tips that Andrew teaches in all of his workshops, but you’ll also be able to see the progress we’ve made on the main house following its workshop.

Your hosts Barbara and Robert

Here’s a quick tidbit about us too. Barbara is a financial advisor focusing specifically on financial issues facing women, and Rob is a scientist specializing in studying how people adjust to extreme environments. Our two sons, Jack (21) and Charlie (18) are both at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Jack and Charlie have shared in our dreams about this project since they were little kids and will be there for the full workshop. We have been dreaming about and planning this workshop for many years and are very excited it will finally happen. We are looking forward to a great week with Andrew, and we hope you can join us!

-Barbara and Robert

p.s. Everyone who signs up for this workshop will also receive a digital set of the Mountain View Cabin architectural plans (which the casitas at the workshop are based on) totally FREE (normally $99)!

What’s Included in Your Tuition?

All workshop participants receive the following with their registration…

A MODERN LOOK AT STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION” E- BOOK ($24.99 Value)

FIVE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONAL INSTANT DOWNLOAD VIDEOS: CONCRETE, FRAMING, POST AND BEAM, LOAD BEARING, LIME PLASTERING ($99.99 Value)

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)

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.

What Will I learn?

Click HERE for a detailed outline of topics covered

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.

Framing Considerations

Andrew’s framing system speeds your construction and lowers your budget.

Electrical Work

Learn how to simplify the incorporation of electrical wiring in your bale walls.

Shaping Bales

Create gorgeous curves and sexy transitions to create an inspiring home with the art of bale shaping.

straw bale round window

Windows, Doors, and HVAC

Keep your house moisture & mold free with proper ventilation and window/door installations.

Creating Niches

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.

straw bale wall

Plaster Prep Techniques

Build a strong foundation for your home’s plaster and ensure years of protection for your investment.

plastering straw bale wall

Natural Plastering

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!

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.”

To watch a short and fun video of our workshop experience, click the video image below.

Untitled design-9

Read answers to our most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

and learn WHAT TO EXPECT at our workshops HERE.