straw-bale house

Strawbale Solar Saltbox

Here are photographs and the story of the Lisa's timber framed straw-bale home and how it was built.

Lisa's report:

"Built my straw bale house using your passive solar farmhouse turned out beautifully...will pass along some pics.

The house faces south (of course). The kitchen is on the south east side, living room takes up the rest of the south side. behind it (to the north) is a guest room (or an extension to the living room...I have not and may not close it off).

The second floor is currently split by a wall east to west separating the south living space from the north storage space. a bit of the storage space on the west side is a  4 pc. bathroom. The main bedroom was designed to be two actually with no real hallway taking up space. If a family ever moves in, there are options for three bedrooms. The house is built on a slab on grade and Legalett heated with electric forced air, but I heat 98% with wood from my own property cut and split by me. I have an electric on demand hot water system. I do not have a clothes dryer or an oven. I cook a lot on the woodstove and have a cook top. The wide plaster window wells heat up nicely on sunny days in the winter. I have the verandah on the south and west sides. The bedroom upstairs gets a little warm in the summer...I attach temporary blinds..don't like window treatments very much. This is not exactly how you planned the house but I loved your ideas and it works well for me so far."

saltbox strawbale porch

The front wrap around porch.

porch on strawbale house

Porch under construction - putting down the metal roofing.

stair in timber frame

Interior of the house showing the modified stair and exposed beam and post interior supports.

strawbale interior

Looking at the SW corner of the interior. Note the braced timber frame elements and the thick plastered strawbale walls.

strawbale interior

Looking from the living room into the kitchen. Great use of exposed timber work.

strawbale kitchen

Looking into the kitchen and the tall windows to the south. Windows and doors are Marvin brand.

2nd floor strawbale bedroom

A view of the upper floor bedroom.

2nd floor strawbale bedroom

There was a lot of customization of the intial plans to allow for the timber-framing and strawbale. Credit for the results of this fine project rests largely with the owner, the fine builders and others who assisted in its construction.

Here are a few more details from Lisa:
  • House is straw bale enveloped (hybrid...meaning north wall has box beam frame) timber frame. 32.1 x 32.1 exterior measurements. bales are 18 inches thick.
  • Passive solar orientation...angles were not precisely measured for maximum efficiency.
  • Built pretty far North - in Ontario, Canada.
  • In floor electric air heat for use as back up only (when I get too old to cut and split my own wood)...Legalett engineered foundation reinforced to take eventual weight of a masonry heater. Floors are natural marbeled concrete...not stained
  • Pacific Energy woodstove is main source of heat...use between 1.5 - 2 cords of wood annually.
  • Bale walls left natural (plaster, cementious finish) same on outside and inside. Exterior cracks filled with flexcoat acrylic parging.
  • Almost no plumbing in exterior walls except for outside tap placed in conduit for safety from moisture.
  • Electric on demand water heater.
  • Second floor; One large bedroom and ensuite bath...under eaves storage.
  • Main floor: Den, kitchen, living area (pseudo dining area), 5 piece (incl bidet) bathroom and laundry/mech room. One pantry and one closet.
  • South covered verandah  (8 X 36) and west side 10 x 32

Click HERE to see the plans the owner modified for this custom house.

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