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Ann Arbor area, MI Hands-On Straw Bale Workshop taught by: Andrew Morrison

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 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 Host's Own Words

Hello from Manchester, Michigan! We are Nayan Hajratwala and Meaghan Lemon of The Wild Familiar. Manchester is a friendly small town with a rich history, charming shops and a few local restaurants. The greater area offers all kinds of outdoor activities, breweries, music venues, restaurants and more. It’s conveniently located 30 minutes from Ann Arbor, Michigan (home to University of Michigan) and an hour from Detroit and Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). Michigan has a lot to offer when it comes to natural beauty. You are never too far from one of the Great Lakes!

In the spring of 2021, we purchased a 46 acre alfalfa lot, with the hope of starting our dream farmstead, The Wild Familiar. Neither of us had any farming experience, but we quickly fell in love with the green rolling hills and endless possibilities. It’s the perfect blank slate to build our Living Building Challenge home.

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The Living Building Challenge is a philosophy and certification that asks, “what if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?”. A Living Building should act like a flower. Our house needs to have a relationship to its location, provide net positive energy & water to the land and community, use sustainable materials for building (straw!), provide equity for residents, and have an aesthetic/biophilic value. This green build philosophy led us to strawbale building. If you’re reading this, you already know why straw is a great building material.

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Our house will be an approximately 2200 square foot ranch style building with a vaulted ceiling and a full basement. In an effort to further reduce our carbon footprint, we’ll use a permanent wood foundation rather than concrete. The FSC certified timber framing and roof will be completed before the workshop. A truth window and maybe a niche or two would be a great addition.

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Nayan and I plan to bring the Living Building philosophy to the rest of our farm as well. After researching the property, we discovered the land was conventionally farmed for over two hundred years. This has led to poor soil health and loss of important habitat. Along with building our farmstead, we are embarking on a lifelong project to restore the land to its original habitat, an oak barren. We are very excited to start this new journey and want to invite you along. It’s always refreshing to meet people with similar passions and interests. Nayan and I learned so much from Andrew and the workshop we attended last October. We know you will too!

What's Included in Your Tuition?

All workshop participants receive the following with their registration…

E-Book

"A Modern Look At Straw Bale Construction"
($24.99 Value)

Instant Download

"Be Your Own Contractor"
Instant Download Videos
($34.99 Value)

Five Step-By-Step Instructional Videos

Instant Download Videos:
Concrete Framing Post And Beam Load Bearing Lime Plastering
($79.99 Value)

Top Notch Instruction From Andrew (priceless!!!) Plus...

3 Healthy Meals/Day
Camping Space
Shower and Bathroom Facilities

Straw Bale Details

22 Page Instant Download Booklet
($20 Value)

Ann Arbor area, MI Hands-On Straw Bale Workshop

Is the 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 want to save money by building your own straw bale house but also want to make certain that you avoid costly mistakes.

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’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.

Framing Considerations

Our framing system speeds your construction and lowers your budget.

Electrical Details

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 And 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!

Ann Arbor area, MI Hands-On Straw Bale Workshop

Here Is What Fellow Workshop Attendees Are Saying...

“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.”
Karen Pope
“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!”
Mary Bushman
“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.”
Theresa Coleman
“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!!!”
Clint Pinder

To Watch A Short And Fun Video Of Our Workshop Experience, Start The Video Below

Play Video

Read Answers To Our Most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) And Learn WHAT TO EXPECT At Our Workshops HERE.

Ann Arbor area, MI Hands-On Straw Bale Workshop

Modifying Plans

In most cases, our customers use their local resources, their builder or designer, to make the changes to the plans; however, it is sometimes possible to work directly with the original architect or designer to make the necessary changes. A fee of some kind will be in place for such modifications, and that fee is set by the architect or designer.

Steps To Take

Step 1:

First, find a plan that is almost perfect.

Step 2

Buy the plan you would like to customize.

Step 3

Work with a design professional to fine-tune your plan!

We are happy to put you in direct contact with the architect and designer if they are open to modifications (see below for the current availability of the designer of this plan.)

To work with the original architect or designer, you will first need to purchase the plans. We will then put you in direct contact with the architect or designer. At that point, we will no longer be involved with your discussions as they relate to the changes to the plans. 

Should you decide not to work with the original architect or designer, you are welcome to work with anyone of your choosing to modify the plans in line with the copyright requirements stated in the Terms of Use

Is This Designer Available For Modifications?