Last Saturday I went with my hubby to a course and workshop about straw bale houses organised by Casa Calida. As we are looking to move we want to keep all options open and had come across this affordable method for a new built home.

Each straw house has a window of proof,
a large one in this case.

We learned that:

  • mice don’t like these houses, as the straw is mostly cellulose, which they don’t eat. It too tightly packed and enclosed for them to built homes in.
  • straw houses breath, they take in extra moisture if it is too damp and evaporate this dampness once it gets to dry. So very nice air inside these houses :-)
  • you need little heating, a large house can be heated with 6kW wood burner
  • you can do a lot of the building work yourself
  • your house can be spacious, with large windows and mezzanines, last are good for air circulation
  • it is strong, some houses dating back from 1914 or so are still around and in good condition
Want to see what a straw house looks like? Have a look here. You see there is no typical straw house. But the basics are more or less the same everywhere, stacking straw and sealing it with loam:

My creation by Two-Trees

So after a day looking at straw bale houses and getting to grips with the basic building techniques, we were convinced, now all we have to do is find a bit of land to built it on …… and make our wishlist:
  • an open plan kitchen with an AGA or similar heat storage cooker, this will give a nice background heat, besides great food
  • an open plan living/dining room with a Bullerjan woodstove, the smallest Bullerjan is enough to heat the hole house :-)
  • lots of large windows, facing south
  • sun-heated water
  • a warm bathroom, so if need be (electric) underfloor heating in the bathroom
  • a mezzanine
  • a windmill to make electricity
  • lots of room for books
  • open bicycle storage, always ready to go
  • large light atelier
  • large garden with room for vegetables, fruit, chickens, …
  • a special window of proof
  • outside is clad with a mix of wood and a natural chalk-mixture
  • straw in the floors and roof too, maximum natural insulation!