Golden rules


I reprint here a short plea from Jan Sturman, published in edition number 30, Summer 2000, of The Last Straw, the wonderful US strawbale building magazine (visit The Last Straw website for subscription details). All I know about building:

Keep it small, simple, and beautiful

Listen to what the building wants to become.
Use found and natural materials.
Know when to start, then start.
Finish what you start.
Spend your own money, reluctantly.
Use simple tools well.
Share the skills.
Build friendships not just a house.
A home is just a shelter, not your life.
Move onto other things.

Huff ‘n’ Puff’s golden rules for designing and building your strawbale home

  1. Practice on a test wall before you build.
  2. Keep your buildings small.
  3. Do not design a two-storey home.
  4. Inspect your bales at source before you buy and have them delivered the day before you commence the wall raising.
  5. Keep the strawbales at least 250 mm off the ground.
  6. Purchase your windows and doors in advance. Narrow, long windows are better than wide windows.
  7. Have strong corners with the wall at least one-and-a-half bales wide in each corner. We prefer two bales – 1.8 metres.
  8. Always have adequate protection for the walls. Good eaves are a minimum protection.
  9. Use low-cost technology with small, load-bearing pavilions.
  10. Prepare well. Always have your materials ready in advance.
  11. Get your roof on before you apply any renders.
  12. Protect the strawbale walls during the building process.
  13. Never use cement renders.
  14. Involve your friends and neighbours in the building process.

Remember: Have fun because building your own home can be a very stressful time in your life. Be Cool!


This is another article but we are mortgage-free and very happy!