Yorkshireman Sam Atkinson used a combination of traditional techniques and innovative new practices to construct a comfortable and appealing straw bale house for himself and his wife. Although straw bale homes were commonplace in the past, they are extremely rare these days in the UK. Their eco-credentials, however, attractive appearance and excellent insulation, have meant they are enjoying increased popularity.
Twenty-seven-year-old Sam was partly inspired by his mother, Carol, who built a straw cabin 10 years ago on the family farm. After this structure was a success, Carol decided she wanted to construct a large cottage using the same techniques. Sam, who had been working as a carpenter up until that point, quit his job to allow him to spend time working on his mother’s project. Since his first straw bale building, Sam has spent the last few years constructing bespoke straw bale properties.
How a straw bale house is built
The traditional method for building a straw bale property is to stack large bales of straw, much like huge bricks. The bales are fastened together with hazel rods, and a strong timber plate is attached to the top of the stack. The timber plate is then fastened to the building’s foundations and the roof is added. Sam has refined the building technique over the years and now uses a timber frame to hold the straw bales in place. He then adds an overhanging roof before he slots the bales into place.
While you’ll need some building experience to construct your own straw bale property, a reputable timber frame construction company is a great starting point if you know what you’re looking for. Firms such as QTF Homes can help you on the way to your dream home if you want to build your own property. As Homebuilding and Renovating online magazine https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/how-to-build-with-straw-bale/ points out, you don’t even have to build an entire house this way; a straw bale extension is an attractive and appealing addition to any home.
While building your own straw bale home might sound like a dream come true, Sam has had to work hard to get to where he is today. He works largely on his own, hiring in help as needed, and has no desire to grow his one-man business into a large firm.