Building small homes is an increasing nation-wide trend, and similarly, natural building methods are picking up steam and gaining recognition in the movement towards more sustainable lifestyles. Small Strawbale a a book fusing these two attractive building features, providing a nice bit of juice in the inspiration department for those folks intrigued by small homes and building with straw bales.
As the title quite obviously suggests, this is a book about building small houses, and building with bales, and the projects featured within all speak to that style in unique ways. Within the book are a range of owner-builder projects — some homes, some sheds, some bike shelters, laundry houses, wood sheds, meditation huts, etc. There is good diversity in the buildings featured within, demonstrating what is possible with straw bale construction.
Important to note: what this book is not, however, is a book that will detail exactly how you can build your home, with all the gritty technical construction information. It’s more of a “pick up and flip” style of book with inspiring stories and nice images from owner-builders that have taken the plunge into building small, and building with bales. There’s plenty of other actual how-to straw bale construction guides out there, anyway.
Each project has but a few pages devoted to it, with stories about its construction, and some of the details of how it was built contained within those pages. The pictures are aplenty, and some projects are accompanied with floor plan images, helpful for visualizing the actual space and design features of these buildings.
The book is interrupted throughout with more technical, or more frequently, artistic ideas and elements that often accompany straw bale building. These short articles help provide background for some of the aspects of building ecologically — built-in furniture, sunrooms, etc.
The photo quality is generally quite good, and the projects themselves are well-chosen. I appreciate the “small” aspect of the projects, as I think this is one of the most important aspects of building sustainably, and the homes and sheds within speak to that ideal quite nicely.
Overall, this is a good book for the aspiring builder, or the builder with some experience under his/her belt looking for inspiration from the work of other accomplished, and artistic straw bale builders.
p.s. Looking for more natural building inspiration? Check out these three books featuring folks who build their own awesome eco homes, and this inspiring natural building documentary film.