Tiny Straw Bale Village Getaway

Recently I had the opportunity to work closely with Strawbale.com to introduce to you the new Applegate Residence, a small straw bale home that can be built for around $20,000. I am very intrigued by this type of construction but I have never actually stayed in a straw bale home. As I was learning more about Strawbale.com I stumbled across a page that showed some tiny straw bale homes for rent. I contacted Gabrielle Morrison to learn more about them and she wrote back with the following information and photographs. I’ll let Gabriella tell you more.

Over the course of about 3 years we built a series of 4 charming and beautiful straw bale cabins, all at 200sqft to create a mini “Straw Bale Village.” Three of them serve as sleeping cabins and have plenty of space for queen size beds as well as desks.

The fourth cabin is the “Sauna” cabin and includes a wood fired sauna. There is also a private full bathroom with flush toilet, sink and large shower stall in that cabin. One can come out of the bathroom or sauna and rest in the beautiful, inviting window seat and enjoy the view of the distant mountain peaks. There is also an outdoor deck with seating for cooling off after a hot sauna.

These cabins reside on a stunning 90 acre property in southern Oregon which serves as a retreat center. This property has several ponds on it, a full horse back riding facility, thousands of acres of trails available around it, and is a wonderful, peaceful place to spend some time. There is also a large retreat space (about 1,500 sq.ft.) that can be rented if you want to host your own workshop on the property.

If interested, you can rent the straw bale cabins and spend some time ‘recharging your batteries’ in this tranquil paradise. For more information and to make reservations, please visit www.ramsayrealty.com, click on vacation rentals.

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Lynne H - August 5, 2011 Reply

I’ve always admired strawbale construction. Love the color and texture on the walls. These are beautiful!

redarts - August 5, 2011 Reply

How does the sauna/straw bale combo work? I’ve always heard that the number one enemy of building with straw is moisture within the walls. By the way, these cabins are fantastic. The finishes on these look really great. Really classy and warm at the same time.

    Jennifer Y - August 5, 2011 Reply

    Looks like a dry sauna…

    alice - August 7, 2011 Reply

    I wondered about the sauna too. Even a dry sauna produces a lot more prolonged moisture than most other rooms in the house unless you’re having really long showers and doing a lot of boiling or canning in the kitchen. A bathroom or kitchen usually has a vented fan to help disperse moisture. Maybe all it takes is to cover the walls with an exterior grade sealant of some kind, or maybe the size of the walls allows for greater fluctuations in moisture without problems? I’m used to wood walled saunas, not sure how it would feel in a plastered wall sauna physically. Aesthetically it’s different but not something you couldn’t get used to. I’d be curious how the walls did long term. That said, it’s likely the ancient Roman steam bath walls were plastered so it must be possible.

cj - August 6, 2011 Reply

Straw bale produced the most beautiful, serene places. The walls are the art.

Moontreeranch - August 6, 2011 Reply

They don’t have to all be small…we looked into strawbale as a medium for our cabin…but due to a tighter build schedule went with stick built. Our larger full time home at the ranch will be a hybrid ICF / earthship.

I have some brand new strawbale books for sale on my blog page.


GarageCat - August 8, 2011 Reply

Straw bale homes are great. Nice thick walls. I wondering how they fit in with modern building codes.

    Rick - August 11, 2011 Reply

    Regarding codes: There are two types of SB construction — load bearing (in which bales hold up what’s above them), and infill, which relies on post and beam construction, with bales being non-structural infill. If you say you’re doing a post and beam building with cellulose insulation, most building officials (and codes) get it; no problem. It you’re trying to claim straw is structural, you need to research the codes and talk to code officials in your locality to see if there’s going to be a problem. If you just say you’re building a building out of straw, if your code officials don’t understand what you’re talking about, you can have lots of fun and frustration. So, it’s really a matter of thinking through what you’re doing in conventional building-speak terms, and explaining it in a way code officials understand. There are also issues of regional familiarity. Here in central California, our officials are familiar with straw. Unwittingly I applied for the first straw permit in my community about 11 years ago, and when I went to talk to the building official prior to submitting plans, he said “We’ve been waiting for somebody like you.” He was thrilled to have something interesting to oversee. So, it all depends.

Paul Jenkins - August 11, 2011 Reply

Really cute! Love the interior textures and colours, very warm.

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