Tiny Homes Made of Straw

Straw Bale Tiny HouseOver the years I have seen the interest in tiny homes grow and grow. During that time, one thing has been consistent, the design and detailing of the structures. I would imagine that many of you have seen an image of a tiny house on a trailer by now. Wood siding, gable roof lines, tiny front porch, you know the look. The buildings have charm, to be sure, yet they tend to carry a similar look for the most part.

I have been party to several straw bale structures that could certainly fit the description of tiny. For example, the Mountain View Cabin is only 200 SF of interior living space. Even smaller, the Sunset Cottage has its 200 SF measured on the exterior. There’s also the Applegate Cottage which boasts a whopping 570 SF, not including the sleeping loft. All of these structures have their place in the world of tiny construction, but I found a new one during the Montana straw bale workshop.

Tiny Straw Bale HomeThe owner Dale explained to our group that the structure we worked on will be used to build cabinets and wood kayaks, yet none of us could let go of the potential for the building as a home. At 470 SF, the organic shape lends itself to a feeling of open space and comfort. There is ample room for a bathroom, kitchen, living and sleeping areas, and several long bench seat options as well. The high ceilings help open the space up and make it feel bigger than it really is. I think that if Dale was allowed to (he is restricted by local building codes from building another home), he would gladly leave his existing home and move into this amazing space that we created together.

Southern Exposure on Tiny Straw HouseIf anyone ever wondered if living tiny is possible while living in a straw bale structure, wonder no more. There are several options available to you and your imagination is the only limit of what might be possible. I would not suggest that one build a tiny straw bale house on a trailer as that would simply be difficult to make work due to the thick and heavy walls; however, if you plan to build on the ground, straw bale is a great option.

You get a building with superior insulation value, soundproofing, and fire resistance AND you get something that looks and feels unique and natural. I am a firm believer in loving the space in which I live. I think you will find that loving a straw b ale structure is easy to do, and it will love you right back! How will it do that, you might ask? By keeping you warm, cool, quiet, and calm within its walls. I hope you will take a few minutes to look at some photos of straw bale homes and consider what might be possible in your own tiny bale abode.

Montana 2013 Group PhotoWhat’s more, building a straw bale home, whether it be a tiny home or a “regular-sized” home, is a lot of fun if you get together with others to do it. Each year I work with several hosts around the world on their projects and bring in a workshop full of fun and interesting people. The experience we all share is one of connection, learning, sharing, and growing friendships. I hope you will consider joining us at a workshop soon so you too can get connected!

11 Responses to Tiny Homes Made of Straw

  1. Jim February 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Great and inspirational information throughout tinyhousebuild.com. Do you know of any North Carolina-area straw bale or tiny house work shops upcoming?

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella February 28, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks Jim! There are quite a few tiny house workshops coming up in your neck of the woods. A web search should yield some good results. In terms of straw bale, the closest we will be to NC is in NY and RI this year. You can check out our schedule on strawbale.com. 🙂

  2. Christine Chen March 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    I’m new to straw bale housing and had a question–are there climates where this type of building is more appropriate than others, or will it work equally well anywhere?

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella March 25, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks for connecting Christine! Really humid climates (like true tropics) are not generally recommended. That said, we have a friend doing research in Bali with bale houses and her measurements are looking very good actually. With the right design principles there are very very few places where straw bale would not do well. The ideal climate though is an arid one, like the SW.

  3. Terry November 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    I build small wood stoves/rocket stoves. Got any advice? I also build solar water distillers, composting 55gallon drums, wheat grass/ sunnis garden growing, heated platform trays. Great in the winter. Summers are to warm, to much mold. It goes on and on, advice ? Thanks Gabriella, your great, terry Thompson north San Juan cal.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella November 11, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Thanks for writing Terry! Sounds like you are a jack of all trades. Do you build these things for others?

      • Terry November 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

        I used to build solar water distillers, I hade and solved a lot of problems, I finally got a good solid product, I left it at that for now,I do build for others.My small foundry and rocet stove patterns, sprout garden is it for this week, thanks for asking Terry

  4. Dale January 24, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Imagine my surprise when I ran across this today.

    • Andrew
      Andrew January 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

      Ha! What a great little home that would be!!!

  5. Jack Bybee June 18, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    Gabriella:
    I am on the verge of designing my own strawbael tiny house… BUT building codes insist that it be post-and-beam (raised)- NOT a regular foundation. Is this practical with strawbale construction?
    Enjoyed your post.

  6. Jack Bybee June 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    Gabriella:
    I am on the verge of designing my own strawbale tiny house… BUT building codes insist that it be post-and-beam (raised)- NOT a regular foundation. Is this practical with strawbale construction?
    Enjoyed your post.

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