Still not sure about small space living? How about a home constructed of straw? Straw bales, that is. I first read about straw bale construction in a "Romantic Home" issue from the early 90's. A California artist needed an art studio and built a really cute backyard cottage out of straw bales. If I could easily get my hands on that issue, I'd scan a few pics.
Straw bale construction seems like it'd have been around hundreds of years and have originated in some exotic locale, so it's surprising that it was actually created right here in the U.S.
Straw is a renewable resource and an inexpensive material to build with. As you might expect, it acts as excellent insulation but unfortunately, must be kept dry to avoid rot. That's why straw bale homes and cabins are more common in the dry climate of the southwestern U.S.
Greenhomebuilding.com says this of straw bale construction: Erecting bale walls can go amazingly quickly, and does not take a lot of skill, but then the rest of the creation of the building is similar to any other wood framed house. In fact strawbale houses typically only save about 15% of the wood used in a conventionally framed house. The cost of finishing a strawbale house can often exceed that of standard construction, because of the specialized work that goes into plastering both sides of the walls. The result is often worth it though, because of the superior insulation and wall depth that is achieved.
If you're skeptical about straw bale construction, see if the following pics change your mind.
Straw bale construction lends well to southwestern style. With deep window sills and rounded corners, you might mistake a straw bale interior for adobe.
What do you think? Could you live in a house made of straw?
Extraordinary Women ~ Mother Joseph Pariseau
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