I’ll blow your house down…

We’ve been given fair warning, illustrated by that folklore tale, but we’re going to build a house made from bales of straw. It’s official now because we’ve just spent £385 applying for planning permission – and we don’t chuck that kind of money about easily.

I’ve spent the last few months researching straw bale houses, and doing all the drawings. If you can buy your bales dry, it seems, and keep them dry, then plaster them in lime mortar, there is no reason why they shouldn’t last for between 100 and 200 years.

What about fire? No problem, ‘traditional’ concrete-block built housing schemes are starting to incorporate straw bale walls every so often as a fire break. Flames just can’t get through the buggers.

Rats? They’re not attracted to the bales because there are no seed heads. And they won’t  gnaw through the lime to make runs because the lime is so caustic.

Here is an artist’s impression of the house we hope to build. It incorporates a ‘studio’ underneath in which this particular artist can continue to fail to make an impression. Hurry – you have until the early days of October to object to it.

Artist's Impression

Artist’s Impression

Just a thought… next year, right? …if you’d like to learn how to build a straw bale house …or to teach us how to do it …we’d be extremely grateful for your help. Or guidance.

Since May we have been living back on board our sailing boat and on one memorable occasion, as we walked along the low water beach, Linda found the world’s biggest Oyster. She thought it was a stone, at first.

It weighed just over a kilo.

It weighed just over a kilo.

Fortunately for the Oyster Linda doesn’t eat Oysters so she popped it back where she found it. Unfortunately for the Oyster I saw where she put it. It was delicious.

Here in Cornwall, in the words of Coleridge, summer has set in with its usual severity. Never-the-less, we’re enjoying it very much between showers, and have even made in-roads into the sanding and varnishing jobs we neglected for so long. People are beginning to recognise the old girl: they motor up to us calling out “Is this the boat that featured in Phoenix from the Ashes?” We tell them coyly that it is …slipping-in that there is a second book out …copies of which we happen to have on board …then we tell them that we will let them have a copy if they can match our generosity by letting us have nine quid. I know it’s shameless – but the way we look at it is that every book we can sell is another straw bale for our house.

If you’d like to buy us a straw bale for our house you can order them from Amazon, or even better get a signed one – perhaps including a dedication for a friend – direct from my website. Or you can send us a straw bale – mark the back of the envelope ‘Radio 4 straw bale appeal’.

Thank you.


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7 Responses to I’ll blow your house down…

  1. Nigel Brown says:

    Good to hear the new project is making headway. Those big windows look great!

    However … be warned … our friends young daughter severely reprimanded us for building our new Ardnahoe home from wood. They teach them these things at play group, apparently. She’d be totally devastated to learn that you’re building yours from Straw.

  2. Jon Hunkin / sailor says:

    I see what looks like an opening skylight near ridge, any overhead light a real plus. I have built a few Dormers and really like the framed view. Just seen a major rebuild and will include photos when downloaded from camera. Jon

    • justintyers says:

      Thanks Jon. Yes, I hear that skylights let in nearly twice as much light as a vertical window – talk about value-for-money! Thanks for the encouragement. I look forward to seeing your pics.

  3. Richard says:

    The artist’s impression looks great – really individual and will no doubt sit perfectly in its surroundings. Is it going to be on ‘Grand Designs’ – might be worth contacting them as Exmoor is much more accessible than Islay! It is lovely down in this part of the world isn’t it. Richard.

    • justintyers says:

      Hi Richard – thanks for that positive feedback! The planning authority have asked if we could separate the house from the workshop …so the new scheme looks a bit different from that one. I’ll post it here shortly. We’re having a great time down here. I don’t know if you’ve spotted it but apparently West Somerset is the fourth happiest place to live in Britain. In fact, I think I’ll tether that snippet of news as the axis of my next blog.

      When you’ve worked out the scheme for your garden, perhaps you can pass it on to us as a blueprint.

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