Home Grown Home: A Straw Bale Off Grid Double-Wide


We love the idea mobile housing, if not the execution; here is one that presses almost all our green buttons. It's a straw bale double-wide mobile home, built by Richard and Carol Atkinson of East Yorkshire in the UK. Like most mobile homes, it's not going anywhere; they couldn't get planning permission to build permanently so they put it on a double chassis. With the exception of the steel chassis, everything is renewable or recyclable, (list below the fold) including sheeps wool insulation, hemp and marmoleum.

The builders note that "The construction of the average UK home produces 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide but the construction of a straw house produces only a fraction of that. Transportation over long distances increases carbon dioxide emissions. During the construction of the Straw Bale Cabin we tried to use local materials and services as much as possible. " It is also off grid with wind turbine, photovolataics and solar hot water.

And you can stay in it- " the perfect escape to the countryside; peaceful, relaxing and environmentally friendly." (only 150 pounds for the entire weekend); they will pick you up at the nearby train station.


The interior is more of the warm and cosy school of design, but that seems to go with much of straw bale. "The curvy, clay plastered walls, oak beams and deep, oak windowsills give the cabin the feel of an old country cottage. There is a bright kitchen and lounge area opening out onto a south facing porch, a spacious double bedroom and adjoining shower." ::Home Grown Home thanks, tipster Andy!


From the website:

Why straw?

Straw is a locally available, plentiful material which can be used to create a beautiful, yet practical and comfortable homes that have a minimal impact on the environment in which we all live.

Building with straw bales is not a new concept. Some of the oldest known straw bale buildings still in use today include houses built in France in 1921 and Nebraska, USA in 1925.

The straw is usually weatherproofed with a breathable material such as lime render. An overhanging roof and high foundations are also essential to provide maximum protection for the walls.


Renewable materials used in the construction of the Straw Bale Cabin include
1. Straw (for the super-insulated walls).
2. Cedar shingles (for the roof).
3. Sheep's wool (local wool for insulating the base of the walls and stuffing gaps, Thermafleece for insulating the floor, ceiling and internal walls).
4. Timber (base, roof trusses, windows, floors, doors, cupboards).
5. Wood fibre board (internal walls)
6. Hemp (chopped in the lime render and clay plaster for strength).
7. Linseed (for mastic around windows and doors and in the marmoleum flooring).
8. Cork (an insulating layer beneath the floor boards, also helping prevent �squeaking� and an ingredient in the marmoleum flooring).
9. Hessian (used to prevent cracking in plaster where wood joins straw, in corners, over pipes, around windows and over wall straps).
10. Paints and oils made from plant extracts

Recycled items include

11. The old barn door (unused for over 20 years) was used to make beams in the lounge and bedroom, edging above all windows and doors and coat hooks.
12. The bathroom and bedroom doors were bought from a small ad in the Goole Times. They were once part of a local nursing home.
13. Hanging rails in the wardrobe were once part of the milking parlour (unused for over 20 years).
14. Roof water reaches the ditch or pond via the plastic centre tubes of silage wrap.
15. The path uses a number of paving stones found on the farm and locally sourced reclaimed railway sleepers.
16. Off cuts of marmoleum line the cupboard shelves.
17. Furniture, curtains, books, games, crockery, cutlery and kitchen equipment was acquired from charity shops, small ads, friends and family