Wednesday, July 4, 2012

So the straw bale house is starting to feel more and more like a reality instead of just a bunch of ideas in our heads. The past 15 months have been a crazy process for a couple of kids trying to get their first home. We bought our property in west Austin in March of 2011. We knew we wanted to build a straw bale home so we researched our area and came across Ben Obregon of the Sustainable Design Center. He has been designing and building straw bale buildings for 15+ years and has been a part of Austin green building program for longer than that. After talking with Ben about our ideas we knew he was the right person for the job.

So in November of 2011 we began the design process. It took us almost 7+ months to narrow it down to the final design, but we finally have the stamped construction set. So now its time to start getting the property prepared for building.

Thanks to friends we were able to borrow lots of tools including axes, chainsaws, weed eaters, etc...This is the step we are currently on. Yasmin and I have been out on a couple of weekends taking down small trees and clearing brush from the property. Our property has lots of challenges when trying to build a house. We have no city gas, no city sewer, and barely any topsoil. The land is littered with giant boulders and steep grades. However, we have lots of beautiful oak trees, many cedar trees, and we are a short walk from a beautiful park on Lake Austin! Follow our progress as we build an energy efficient home using as much local and non-toxic materials as possible.

Here are a couple pics of beams that we purchased from craigslist! These beams were hand hewn by a real person between 1830 and 1850. most of the trees are about 180 years old. That means these were saplings in the 1600's! This just completely blows my mind that stuff like this is still around. We plan on using these beams for the frame of our house. These beams came from a barn in Wisconsin and were sold to me by the family member of the original owner of the barn.

And here is a picture of how they will be used in our home. These are from the same barn that was deconstructed in Wisconsin and rebuilt here in Texas. Thanks Doug for letting us into your barn you have been working so hard on for 4 years.

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