THE BEAUTY OF A DIY STRAW BALE HOME
One of the great pleasures in running our hands-on straw bale workshops is hearing from graduates who have finished their own beautiful, DIY straw bale home. We were so excited to hear from two such folks, Julia and John Furlong from New York, and to see their amazing home featured in ApartmentTherapy.com! You can see the article on THIS page.
Julia and John truly took the DIY component of their 1,800sf build to its fullest. They even cut the wood for the timber frame and raised it themselves (with help from family and friends). Neither Julia nor John had previous construction experience. They are awesome examples of what can be accomplished when there’s a clear goal in sight, when one is willing to invest time into learning something new, and is willing to see the process through, even when things feel overwhelming and hard.
TAKING IT SLOW
Over the years we have seen many, many workshop graduates with no previous building experience go on to create hand-crafted straw bale homes that even professional builders are impressed by. What’s more, we learn something from each new person/family that goes through this process. One pretty brilliant piece of advice that Julia and John shared is this: if you don’t need to, don’t rush the building process.
They say, “Don’t jump into a solution. It’s easy to just go out and buy something that you think will help but then it ultimately doesn’t serve you well. It took us so long to build, but it gave us a chance to think about how we would use the space and what would work best for us.” Decisions made early on, especially in the design process, may not actually make sense or serve their functions well, but one won’t know without the passage of time and without being able to see the flow of a home after it is used for a while.
So if you’re in a current build and feeling frustrated by how long things are taking, or you’re planning a tight timeline for a future build, perhaps consider slowing things down a bit. Ideally you can live in the house while it’s under construction so you can really get a true feel of movement patterns and flow. Julia wishes that they hadn’t actually built any interior walls for a while. Having a wide open interior space can be a canvas for real creativity.
ENJOY EACH STAGE
Julia also shares this advice for DIY builders: “Don’t worry about things being unfinished before you feel like you can really enjoy your space. Creating a space that is truly your own takes time. I’ve loved our home at every stage, even when we had plywood countertops and outdoor furniture in the living room. I hope other people feel the same way about their homes, too.”
It took Julia and John three years to get their build to the point that they could move in as they were both working full time and could only get to the project on weekends and holidays. But little by little it got done and now they have a truly stunning, magazine-worthy straw bale home that they can live in for the rest of their lives. They truly showcased the beauty of a DIY straw bale home.
IRRESISTIBLE STRAW BALE WALLS
One observation they’ve had is that visitors always want to touch the walls. We’ve noticed this for years as well and we still sort of chuckle each time we see someone, inevitably, slowly make their way to a wall and start touching it. We’ve never seen anyone do this to a standard, sheet-rocked wall mind you. Plastered straw bale homes have a magnetic quality to them; we think it’s the combination of the beauty of a plastered surface along with the natural, organic undulations of the walls.
THE JOY OF BUILDING A DIY STRAW BALE HOME
A theme we hear commonly from people hand-building their home, especially when they’re new to construction and learning the skills along the way, is that the absolute sense of joy and achievement is pretty spectacular. Truly, seeing a home being built right before your eyes, and knowing that it’s YOU bringing this dream from paper to manifested reality is an unforgettable experience. It’s our belief that the desire to build shelter is nestled deeply in our DNA, and we often see people come alive during our 7 day hands-on straw bale workshops while they rekindle this deep ancestral calling. It’s beautiful to watch actually.
So congratulations Julia and John on your stunning, hand-build straw bale home! We are thrilled for both of you. We’re so happy that your hard work and dedication led to something that you love and cherish so much. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. 🙂