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International Straw Bale Building Registry, created and hosted by Sustainable Sources

IMPORTANT! We are currently working on an update to this Registry. To be notified when it is ready for use, please sign up at

Contact Name:Norbert Hufnagl and Carolyn Riege
Mailing address: P.O. Box 21
 El Rito, NM 87530
 United States
Structure Location: 215 FR 44B
 El Rito, NM 87530
 United States
Web site:

Type of Structure: Hybrid loadbearing/nonloadbearing home
interior size: 1150 sq ft
exterior size: 1000 sq ft
unconditioned space size: 150 sq ft
Number of stories: 2
Bedrooms: 1
Baths: 1 1/
Built primarily by: Owner Built

Open to visitors by appointment.
Architect/Designer:Earthen Touch Natural Builders, LLC

Builder:Earthen Touch Builders, LLC

Construction Methods Used

Foundations and Floor: Foundation is french drain. The earthen floors were poured over radiant in-floor heating, over a pumice bed and finished with an alis coat and sealed with linseed oil and a carbuna wax blend.
Exterior Finish:
    Lime Plaster
Interior Finish:
    Earth or clay plaster
Plaster was applied:
    Directly to the bales
Plaster application method:
    By hand, with trowels
Were the bales pinned?:
    internal pinning, rebar
    steel wire/rope and toggles
Bale type:
Bale dimensions: 18 inches X 14 inches X 38 inches
Number of bales used: 450
Straw type(s) used:
Bale Orientation:
    Bales on edge

Insured?: no
Mortgaged?: no

Unique features: The house was designed with all gentle curves verses square corners. Custom features include - adobe/cob European masonry stove, solar radiant in-floor heating, hand harvested and milled lumber, inlaid sculptural aspects in walls, hand made windows, custom earthen plaster colors and details, clay for walls harvested less than 2 miles from the site. Hybrid features include cob sun room, light/straw clay interior walls and adobe walls. House is entirely off the grid including water collection/harvesting.

Problems encountered: The only problem was needing to build over many years due to stopping and starting/building for others, and having 2 severe years with weather (heavy snow and rain at 8000 ft.)

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