Amazing Couple Builds the Applegate Cottage on Whidbey Island

I met Paul and Sara in 2015, long before they moved into their very own Applegate Cottage, at my seven-day, hands-on workshop in La Grande, Oregon and was immediately struck by what an awesome couple they are. They had a work ethic like I’d not seen in years, and were always full of smiles and […]

The Ultimate Hole Saw for Drilling Through Straw Bale Walls

A reader wrote in some time ago about a hole saw he created to drill through an existing straw bale wall for a vent pipe for a new hot water heater. The wall had been in place for eight years already, so the plaster was hard and fully cured. He needed the hole to be […]

2020 Straw Bale Workshop Hosts: Last Call!

Group Photo os straw bale workshop

This is the last call for 2020 straw bale workshop hosts. If you hope to host a workshop on your project, please get me your application soon. You can find the application by reading this article or visiting the hosting page on the website.

How a Straw Bale House Can Change the World

Straw Bale House exposed rafters

When most people think about building a straw bale house, they might not think about changing the world. That’s exactly what’s possible though, and on more levels than you may have first considered. Most people who have done their research will be well aware that a straw bale house is beautiful, energy efficient, sound proof, […]

A Glossary of Terms for Straw Bale Framing

Roof Frame and Carpenter Performing Framing

It’s important to understand the glossary of terms for straw bale construction framing. If you don’t know what something is called, you’ll have a harder time ordering the right materials from your suppliers. In addition, if you don’t know the right terms, you’ll have a harder time discussing things with your contractors, even if you’re […]

Gravel in your toe ups. Is that enough?

straw bale wall toe ups

It’s the million dollar question you’ve all been wondering about: is it enough to have just gravel in your toe ups or do you need something more? Okay, it may not be a question worth a million dollars, but making a bad decision here can indeed cost you money. In some cases just a little […]

Experience a Straw Bale Workshop With Us!

Andrew Playing Guitar at straw bale Workshop

As the workshop season continues on, you may be wondering what it’s like to experience a seven day, hands-on workshop. This new video will give you a delicious taste of what it’s like. As I’ve heard many times from participants: “It’s so much more than just a workshop.” I hope you will join me at […]

Enjoying Your Straw Bale Build

happy family

Enjoying your straw bale build is something that many people simply assume will happen. They believe that since they’re really excited about the idea of building their straw bale home that their excitement will turn into enjoyment during the actual process of building or contracting that project. Unfortunately, the reality is often something very different. The good news is […]

Contracting Part I: Know What You Are Getting Into

Building Permit

It is important that you fully understand what will be expected of you as you embark on the contracting of your home. It is easy to say that you want to contract the construction, but there is a lot to the process and perhaps the biggest pitfall is not knowing what will be asked of […]

Easier Insurance and Lending for Straw Bale Homes

insurance for straw bale houses

The inclusion of straw bale construction in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) has made it easier to get insurance and lending for straw bale homes. It may not be as easy as getting insurance and lending on conventional homes yet, but we are making major headway.

The Power of Education – A 15 Question Test

straw bale workshop site

It may sound obvious, but learning how to build a house, of any kind but especially a straw bale house, is a good thing to do before you actually start building. Ask yourself the following 15 questions and if you cannot answer them with a high level of confidence, you would be best served to gain some more experience before you start building.

California Straw Building Association’s 20th Anniversary Gathering

Bales of Straw in the Field

The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) has done amazing work in the field of straw bale construction for the last twenty years. This year’s annual meeting will celebrate those achievements and look to the future to see how CASBA can continue to build positive relationships in the field.

Acid Staining Floors While Protecting Plaster Walls

Acid Staining Floors While Protecting Plaster Walls

When acid staining concrete floors, it is very important to properly mask off walls and doors so that none of the stain gets onto places where you don’t want it. One of the hardest surfaces to protect is unsealed plaster.

The Importance of Tool Organization

Tool Organization

I don’t think that the importance of tool organization on a job site can be overstated. This is true for owner builders and professionals alike.

Free Arkin Tilt Architects Plans Now Available

Chalk Hill straw bale house

As a follow up to last week’s announcement by Arkin Tilt Architects (ATA) that they intend to offer a selection of their plans for free to California wildfire victims, I am happy to announce that those plans are now available for viewing.

Scheduling Subcontractors and Inspections on a Straw Bale House

straw bale house Dining Room

It’s pretty obvious that they are differences between a straw bale house and conventional homes. What is not so apparent are the differences encountered during the construction process. For example, the order of operations and thus inspections is different for a straw bale house.