A California Straw Bale House

Staw Bale Houses

Straw bales in bedroom
Yes, we really do live in a house made of straw. This, for example, is our bedroom. The big bad wolf was wrong.

This web site is devoted to documenting our experience of designing, building, and living in a passive solar, straw bale house in San Luis Obispo County California, on the California Central Coast roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. We'll will cover everything from aesthetics to practical issues you might not have considered. We hope this will be both an inspiration and a source of useful information to others who are considering a passive solar house.
Why Straw Bale?
Straw bale wall with sconce
For one thing, it’s a super-energy-efficient “green” house. We have no furnace or air conditioner, and solar panels on the roof generate almost all the energy we use. There are no residual toxic fumes. And with no HVAC machinery, it’s amazingly quiet.

For another, it’s beautiful. We’ve all grown up in houses with flat walls and where everything is at right angles. A bale wall is anything but flat. The thickness and irregularities of a bale wall create a solid, grounded, organic effect that inspires the use of many other natural and sustainable building materials.

Designers and builders of straw bale houses make a wide variety of stylistic choices. Based on our southwestern location in an arid climate and our feeling that straw bale structures are reminiscent of old adobe buildings, our house has been designed in a Santa Fe style with many southwestern and Mexican touches.


NOTE: This web site does not display very well on a phone. Most tablets are OK. A laptop or desktop is highly recommended.
And the Credit Goes To ...

Architect: Jennifer Rennick, a Cal Poly architecture graduate
Builder: Semmes and Co, Atascadero CA
Completion date: July 2009

© 2021 Randy Knight