Hello! We are Dave and Belinda and we are really looking forward to hosting Andrew’s first straw bale workshop of 2023!
Our house project is situated in Grenville, just 20 minutes south from the historic township of Ballarat, or 90 minutes west of Melbourne. Grenville is a small rural community with sheep grazing, beef cattle and crops being the predominant agricultural activities. A growing number of hobby farmers and those just wishing to escape the craziness of city life are choosing to reside here.
There are a multitude of sights and experiences for those who wish to spend time in the area. There are waterfalls, botanical gardens, historic gold town experiences at Sovereign Hill, wildlife parks, hiking, riding trails all within a short distance of where the workshop will be held. THIS page provides a lot more information about what to see and do in the area. The closest town to us is Buninyong where you can enjoy a range of cafés and coffee shops, bakery, hotel and local supermarket.
The property is 150 acres with the Yarrowee River forming the western boundary and pine plantations to the south and east. A small head of cattle graze across the paddocks and by the beginning of the workshop we anticipate seeing some new born calves arriving and joining the herd.
Our house is a post and beam structure made with recycled bridge and rail timbers from Victoria and New South Wales. Recycled solid red bricks have been used for the foundation. We have tried to base the design on historical homesteads that we came across when we lived in outback Western Australia. Verandahs fully envelope the building to protect the bale walls from driving rain (and the very occasional snow!) It is a loft design with the kids bedrooms (we have four boys!) upstairs and the main living, kitchen and master bedroom downstairs.
We are in the process of completing the building of a straw bale structure to be used as a music studio/rehearsal space. This is a smaller version of the house to be built as it is constructed with recycled timbers exposed on the inside of the building. Triple glazed windows are to be used in both the music room and the house to achieve the highest possible energy efficiency that we can.
I have attended two of Andrews’ workshops in Australia and found them absolutely invaluable in gaining a much greater, hands-on understanding of the unique techniques that are specific to strawbale building. It provides a wonderful opportunity to meet others who share a similar interest in building with this amazing resource. We would love to invite you to share in our journey and to be a part of the fulfilling and rewarding experience of building a home – not just a building to live in.