So how did we come to want to build a strawbale house? It was always my ideal, I just liked the idea of using a natural waste product to super-insulate a house, but my hubby was in no way convinced.Until we met with the local permaculture designer down here that is – who, surprise surprise, happens to live in a strawbale house and has done for over 20 years. Their current strawbale house is definitely ‘modern’ and very well finished – from the outside it looks like any other (better than others actually). It is 'normal' looking (nothing way out or hippy) – so you really don’t know you are looking at a strawbale house until you are inside and told – shown the truth windows in the wall and the roof – yes the roof is strawbale too!
I was onto a winner here finding Warwick and Gillian Rowell. We visited and talked designing our house and garden – Warwick put me onto Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language (the best book ever for understanding our built environment and why it makes us feel good or bad – borrow it from your library and read it!) – and while we were talking, my hubby kept looking around and saying “I can’t believe this is a strawbale house”. He was expecting a three little pigs and big bad wolf makeup I think!So he was sold on the idea – yay for me! Every other eco-building idea is not too far off the beaten track so they were no problem – plus we came to the conclusion that the house was mine to design, the shed was his!
Meeting Warwick and Gillian was a double win though, because their son, Richard Rowell, just happens to run “Your Building Company” – working specifically to help strawbale owner-builders get the house of their dreams. Plus they all lived locally so had the perfect local knowledge. It looked like it was all going to come together nicely – but I still wasn’t comfortable with building (I wanted to go with a builder who would do ‘the lot’ remember) – so the idea of being an owner-builder just wasn’t on my radar!And it has taken me a good while to get over it!!