April and Ziggy built this gorgeous, yet simple straw bale house in Berea, KY for a friend of theirs. It features many different natural building materials, most of which were found locally. Conventional house construction these days has a huge impact on the planet. Mostly the materials aren’t sustainably sourced, the houses are cookie cutter, and although they may be more efficient in some ways than their predecessors, they cancel out all benefit by taking up an enormous square footage. The house you build largely determines the footprint your lifestyle will have, and this kind of naturally built small house can go a long way toward reducing impact, not only in the materials it consumes in being built, but in impact of the people living in it. Most naturally built houses apply permaculture principles to ensure they are practical, efficient, and sustainable. Aesthetic beauty is often a natural result of employing sustainable techniques.
Check out April and Ziggy’s natural building workshops and sign up way ahead of time because the spots go fast. If you’re not too far from them, they may be able to build a house for you too.
Living, Learning, Teaching
In this video I take you on a tour of the interior of this tiny house and explain a little bit more about its background and the design. Wisteria has a passive solar design, and incorporates natural and reclaimed material. It’s a quaint little rental at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.
When I first moved to Dancing Rabbit I lived in a different tiny house, an even tinier house. Wisteria Lodge is only 240 sq ft, but it’s a nice little two story space and its passive solar design makes it easier to heat. Keeping with its name it does feature a wisteria vine growing on a trellis halfway up the south side. Check out this video to find out more interesting tidbits about the house and to hear the story of how it ended up at Dancing Rabbit.
It’s a good thing I have plans to get out of the cold if being swooped down on by the polar vortex is going to become a regular thing thanks to climate change. I’m getting the mudroom finished up and preparing to leave Dancing Rabbit for the winter, so maybe I don’t have to worry about how my house performs. But even so, it’s nice to know it does pretty well on a sunny day when it’s 5 degrees F. The problem is that we don’t get very many sunny days in winter, so I think I’m better living somewhere during wintertime where I don’t have to heat my house.
I make a lot more progress on the mudroom in this video. It’s amazing how much of a difference giving form to walls can have on the impact of a structure. This video goes into more detail on how I turn reclaimed pallet wood into decorative siding.
At Dancing Rabbit we try to build our houses out of reclaimed and natural materials as much as we possibly can, so I’m siding my new mudroom with reclaimed pallet wood. We’re fortunate enough to have a guy nearby who reclaims good boards from deconstructed shipping pallets. I was able to get some of the better boards for doing the exterior siding on my new addition.