A 9 step guide to building a straw bale roundhouse for $23,000


See steps 1 to 9


It took Charlie a little over a year to build his home with a reciprocal roof and lime plastered straw bale walls. All in all it cost Charlie about £15,000 ($23,000). Charlie's home is designed from the natural resources available on the land using stone, roundwood, straw bales, clay, turf and lime. Click on numbers 1 to 9 above the picture to see the building stages of the house.


Picture No.1 shows the basic roundwood henge frame with temporary bracing standing on plinths ready for first reciprocal roof rafter. The tripod in the middle is there to support the reciprocal roof as it's built. The whole structure will be supported on a single timber called a Charlie Stick. In picture No.2 the roundwood roof timbers are in place supporting each other leaving a circle for a skylight. By picture No.3 the roof has been clad ready for the exterior straw bale insulation in No.4. Braces have been fitted to the henge with a central tree trunk that later forms the spiral staircase (see below left). In No.5 a pond liner has been spread over the bales with drainage pipes topped off with the turf making the beautiful green roof. In No.5 you can also see the stone stem wall on which the straw bales will stand anchored on hazel spikes. The windows are also in place, but not installed, waiting for the first layer of straw bales. Now in No.6 the straw bales begin to form the walls and in No.7 the completed walls have the first scratch coat of lime plaster. No.8 shows the third coat of lime plaster ready for the lime wash that you can see in No.9.

Charlie's house is famous. Some might say infamous because it was built without planning permission. You can see more interior pictures, a plan, and read the story about saving Charlie's house.


Charlie and Megan