Straw Bale Houses

Straw Bale Houses

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Straw bale houses are one of my favorite forms of eco-friendly housing.

Maybe it’s the extra thick walls, or the ease of building, or just the general fairytale quality that’s emitted by straw bale houses, but they’ve always been one of my favorite “alternative” types of housing. They were certainly my first love when it came to looking at alternative housing, and I still fantasize about building one someday. Here are a few of my favorite things about straw bale houses.

Straw Bale Houses are Eco-friendly

Always an important factor in my life, straw bale houses are very eco-friendly. While the larger ones do require a basic timber framework, the walls themselves are completely made of straw bales. The bales serve as both the inner and outer walls (covered with an eco-friendly lime plaster to prevent them from rotting), as well as the insulation. Straw is of course a very renewable resource. Smaller single story straw bale houses don’t even require the timber framework making them even more eco-friendly. As an added benefit, the thick straw bale walls help to naturally sound proof homes.

Straw Bale Houses are Less Expensive

If you’re in a country area where straw is raised, you can often transport the bales to your home with your own pickup truck making the building materials very inexpensive. And because straw bale houses are fairly easy to do-it-yourself, it saves a lot of money in construction labor. You can gather your family and friends for a straw bale pow-wow and have the house completed fairly quickly with a minimum of fuss or cost.

Straw Bale Houses are Beautiful

Anyone who’s ever seen a straw bale house in person (or even in a photograph) can vouch that they are quite pleasing to the eye. The plaster gives them an old-time cottage feel, no matter how big they are. On the inside, the windows frames are often curved outward allowing light to flow in more easily than conventional windows. Because of the plaster covering the interior walls, many people use the plaster itself as a decorating medium creating alcoves and carvings. My personal favorite was the house I saw where someone had carved the face of a “green man” spirit into the interior wall plaster. One decoration that appears in most straw bale houses is a “truth window,” a little section of unplastered interior wall revealing that the walls underneath are indeed straw.

If you’re considering building a straw bale house, or want to learn more about them, check out They have a ton of information and resources as well as a huge photo gallery of gorgeous straw bale houses.

Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

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