Finishing Touches

The Devil Is in the Details

Builders and owners of straw-bale houses inevitably add a great number of details. Given both our location and our personal aesthetics, we've opted for a Santa Fe/Mexican style with lots of wood – mostly from storm-downed trees. This page shows some of the features that make our house unique.

Straw Bale House

The house on the hill. The land is extremely steep, but this hilltop has perfect southern exposure for a passive-solar house. The large trees are valley oaks and California live oaks.

Straw Bale House entry

Welcome. The posts and beams are storm-downed yellow pine. The front door was made in Santa Fe.

Straw Bale House entry

Once inside you're greeted by a tree trunk – a yellow pine from the Sierras.

Stairway with Mexican tiles

The stair risers are Mexican tiles that we bought in Santa Fe. The light in the stairwell come from a Solatube.

Straw bale house truth window

Every straw bale house has a "truth window." Some people won't believe that your house is made of straw.

Straw bale house truth window

All you have to do is open the door.

Straw bale house fireplace

The natural gas fireplace incorporates many natural elements. Some people think it odd to have a boulder in the great room. Floors are stained concrete.

Straw bale house wall

The bale walls are plastered to the floor. There are no baseboards to hide ill-fitting drywall.

Straw bale house window bench

Bale walls provide deep window benches. The concrete slabs were poured on site.

Punched tin sconce

Punched-tin scones in the great room and master bedroom (and also the cat door) were custom made for us by Marion Moore at Taos Tin Works. Her work has been shown at the Smithsonian.

Straw bale house kitchen

The countertops are soapstone. It's a heat-proof, stain-proof material that used to be used for lab benches. It's only drawback is being somewhat soft, so it can be scratched. The cabinets are cherry.

Straw bale house hat rack

A hat and coat rack was made from an old oxen yoke. This wall is finished with an American Clay earth-based plaster that gives it a deep, rich color without a paint-like sheen.

Straw bale house entry

The ceiling logs – called vigas – are a traditional part of Sante Fe style. We have them in several rooms. A Santa Fe viga is a structural element. Ours, however, are purely decorative.

Straw bale house bathroom

The guest bathroom, also known as the red bathroom. The vanity is an antique Mexican cabinet.

Beaded gecko on wall

You never know what might be clinging to the walls. This is beadwork from South Africa.

Straw bale house view

Our view from upstairs.

© 2021 Randy Knight