Extreme Real Estate: Hay Houses

  • Hay Isn’t Just for Horses

    Straw and thatch have been used to build houses for about as long as people have wanted a roof over their heads. Today, due to its low cost, availability and excellent insulation properties, straw bale construction is an important segment of the growing green building revolution. Photo Credit: iphilipp
    I’ll huff and I’ll puff ... and nothing. These things are sturdy.
  • I’ll huff and I’ll puff ... and nothing. These things are sturdy.

    Straw bale building generally consists of stacking rows of straw bales on a raised foundation. The bales can be used as structural support, for insulation, or both. Usually–but not always–the bales are stuccoed or plastered with a cement-based material, adobe or some other hardening material that helps to protect and further insulate the straw bales. Photo Credit: colros
    Luxury in Austin
  • Luxury in Austin

    Just outside of Austin, Texas, where the sun scorches in the summer and the wind bites hard in the winter, stands an undeniably luxurious and environmentally sensitive straw bale house on a parcel larger than 4 acres. The 4-bedroom and 3.25-bathroom Santa Fe-inspired residence measures a generous 4,100 square feet and is currently available with an asking price of $899,000.
    Eat Your Heart Out, Bob Vila
  • Eat Your Heart Out, Bob Vila

    The house, a collaboration with noted green builder Bill Moore of PBS’s This Old House, was built with non-load bearing straw bales, utilized many reclaimed and locally sourced materials, is topped with a standing seam metal roof that feeds a 21,500 gallon rain water collection system, and is equipped with a thermal chimney that draws fresh air through the entire house and keeps the air conditioning bills at a bare minimum. The upscale interior spaces feature stamped concrete and mesquite hardwood floors, several wood burning fireplaces, high-grade Pella wood casement windows and a chef’s kitchen with cherry cabinetry, a walk-in pantry and top-end appliances.
    Want to Buy It?
  • Want to Buy It?

    The grounds include established organic gardens, low impact landscaping, Ipe decks, a covered porch with built-in wood burning pizza oven, a saltwater swimming pool and spa, and a poolside pavilion with built-in barbecue. For additional information, contact owner Rogene Burhdorf at (512) 750-7273 in Austin, Texas.
    A House of Straw in Arkansas
  • A House of Straw in Arkansas

    Although straw bale building techniques are most often seen in the mid- and western portions of the U.S., it’s not uncommon to find them in the south. Eight miles out of the artist mecca of Eureka Springs, Ark., sits a straw built, solar powered home on 12 acres with an asking price of $295,000.
    More Details
  • More Details

    The 1,200 sq. ft., open plan house includes just 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom but additional structures on the property–including a wedding chapel–can be used and converted to guest accommodations. There are pine floors, a large loft and a wall of windows looking out into the forest, 1,100 sq. ft. of deck with scenic views and a wood stove that heats the entire house.
    The Green Side of Hay
  • The Green Side of Hay

    In addition to the straw bale construction and solar power, environmentally conscious consumers will appreciate the rainwater collection and filtration systems and propane water heating systems. The property includes 200 feet of river frontage, a 20-foot waterfall with a swimming hole, and a cavern that Native American Indians and Civil War soldiers once used as a camping spot. For additional information contact John Angleton at (479) 313-2659 in Fayetteville, Ark. Photo credits: Austin: Rogene Burhdorf Arkansas: Green Homes For Sale
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