Timber Framing and Straw Bale Construction

straw bale house kitchen

In general, the detailing of a timber frame straw bale home is very much like that of a regular post an dream straw bale home; however, the differences are important to discuss. How the bales attach to the frame and how to best seal the air gap at the transition from plaster to frame are among the important details we will discuss in this article.

The Cost of Straw Bale Construction

Energy Efficiency

When people talk about the cost of straw bale construction, they often get things a bit muddled up. They either come in way too low or way too high. I’m here to set the record straight, hopefully once and for all.

Another Amazing Straw Bale Workshop

entry doors on timber frame straw bale house

I recently returned home from another amazing straw bale workshop in Arlington, Vermont. This was truly one of the most fun workshops I have had in years. The building will be used as woodworking shop, home brew facility, pottery studio and forge. It will certainly provide years of fun and creativity for the hosts: Tara and Tyler.

Land Development Process Revealed

dream house image

Allow me to share with you what I have learned over my 20 years as a professional builder and land developer. All tweaks and adjustments aside, this will be a good footing to start out on for anyone interested in the start to finish process of finding, developing, and building on raw land.

The Impact of Design Details

straw bale house exterior

There is no question that the more elaborate your design, the more expensive it will be to build; however, there are ways to find that sought after balance that will please both your senses and your finances.

Financing a Straw Bale Home

Small house made of money in a hand

Perhaps the most commonly asked question about straw bale construction is: “How do I finance it?” Unfortunately, the answer hasn’t gotten much easier over the years as straw bale construction is still considered alternative to the mainstream and, as we all know, banks are not big fans of taking risks on alternative construction techniques. That said, there are some things that you can do to improve your efforts and increase your chance of receiving funding.

Minimizing Construction Costs in Straw Bale

Architectural Plans

When designing a custom home, it’s important to know you can actually afford to build what you design. These seven tips will help you hit your target and successfully build the home you have dreamed about without breaking the budget.

Talking Through Straw Bale Walls

woman talking through a straw bale

Whether you’ve ever tried to talk through a straw bale wall during construction or not, you’ll immediately see the value in this quick tip for simple and clear communication.

Some Mind-Numbing Facts about Ferncliff’s Eco Center

Straw Bale Eco Center Front

Last year’s straw bale construction workshop season started with a huge project: the 5300 SF Eco Learning Center at Ferncliff outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. In this article you can check out some mind-numbing facts of some of the “behind the scenes” numbers that go into building a house. Some of them are truly amazing.

Step By Step Guide To Creating Niches

Man and Baby in front of a wall niche

One of the most artistic expressions of a straw bale wall are the niches that are carved into it. I have laid out a step-by-step process for the most common niche I see in straw bale homes: the arch top.

Watch The Curves – StrawBale.com

straw bale house hallway

One of the most stunning aspects of a straw bale home is the shape that window and door openings take. The gentle curves flood light across the room and lend a sense of calm and peace to the occupants. These very same curves that bring so much joy and serenity can also drive home owners crazy. That sounds unlikely; however, when the curves are not properly built, they can cause all kinds of problems as the home is finished.

Plumbing Details in Straw Bale Construction

Straw bale house kitchen

You have likely heard me say this before, but it is worth saying again: keep your plumbing out of your bales. Of course, it’s not as simple as that when it comes to adding plumbing to a straw bale house. There are obviously more details to consider in order to ensure that the straw bale walls are not damaged by water infiltration. The good news is that there are a limited number of locations to consider in terms of potential water damage from plumbing in a straw bale home so managing the installation is easier than you may think. In this article, we will look at the major areas of concern and I’ll show you my preferred solution for each location.

A Review of Electrical Installations in Straw Bale Houses

arch in straw bale house

In this post, I will teach you the most up to date and highest quality installation techniques for installing electrical service in your straw bale home. Knowing these techniques is important whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a subcontractor to do it for you. Chances are that any electrical subcontractor you hire will have very little experience in straw bale installations, and may have never seen the new techniques I have created for simplifying and improving the installation of electrical services in your straw bale house.

Straw Bale Construction and Health

Chinese man walking in smog

I am not one who lives from a place of fear or who likes to offer it as a motivation to others. Personally, I think that is a poor way to live a life or achieve a goal. In fact, my wife has a hand written reminder above her desk that reads “a life motivated by fear is a shadow.” So I’m not going to focus on how bad things are. Instead, I’m hopefully going to inspire you to be part of the solution. My question for you is: can you find connections to “real life?” I know that we all want to live the life of our dreams. The problem is that some of us have blockages that get in the way. I hope you will read more and join the conversation in the comments section.

Old School Hand Baler

old hand baler

The efficiency of straw bale homes would be a wonderful thing to share with those living in extreme climates and the existence, or lack there of, of local modern baling machinery should not deter people from making this happen.

Learn To Build Your Own Tiny Home

Learn to build your own tiny home - straw bale house

If you have an interest in building your own tiny home or your own straw bale home, this is an awesome opportunity for you to learn hands on from an expert. This two-week workshop will cover everything from foundation to plaster and everything in between. Perfect for the tiny home and straw bale enthusiasts alike.

Straw Bale Eco Farm Stay in Australia

woman cutting straw bales with chainsaw

Some friends of ours are building an eco farm stay in Australia. These folks are very involved in all things grass-root and are building their own straw bale house in Australia. They are doing an amazing job with their build and have created a website of their progress. You can check out some great photos […]

Firefighter and Wife Host Dream Straw Bale Home Workshop

three men with large log on a trailer

Dylana and Ron are the hosts for the Ashland, OR, August 15-21 workshop. Hosting this workshop represents a lifelong goal of Dylana’s, an Ashland native, who has had visions of building her dream straw bale home since she was just a 15 years old. She grew up in the beautiful mountains that surround Ashland and […]