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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

Owner:Craig and Kia Sanford
Contact Name:Kia Sanford
 Ashland, OR 97520
 United States
Structure Location:  
 Ashland, OR 97520
 United States

Type of Structure: Hybrid loadbearing/nonloadbearing strawbale original structure with sustainable stick frame addition
interior size: ~1600 sq ft
exterior size: ~2000 sq ft
Number of stories: 1
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2
Built primarily by: Owner Built

Open to organized Home Tours and to visitors by appointment.

Foundations and Floor: monolith concrete slab colored and stamped in some areas to resemble sautillo tile
Exterior Finish:
    Wood siding over unplastered bales
Interior Finish:
    Earth or clay plaster
Plaster was applied:
    combination of direct application and over chicken wire & expanded metal lath
Plaster application method:
    By hand, with trowels
Were the bales pinned?:
    internal pinning, wood/bamboo
    We attached the box beam over the bales to the foundation by pairs of steel rods threaded on the top end and hooked into eye bolts in the foundation. Bolts were tightened on the threaded ends to compress the bales and and level the box beam prior t
Bale type:
Number of bales used: 129
Straw type(s) used:
Bale Orientation:
    Strings up (flat)

Insured?: yes
Mortgaged?: yes
Appraised Value: 350,000.00

Unique features: The main part of the house is strawbale with a sustainably harvested/green materials addition. The strawbale portion was built as a load bearing structure and then we went back after loading and leveling the bale walls and added 4x4 posts on the outside edges as required by the county. Additional 2x4 studs were added to catch exterior siding. Exterior is sided to resemble board and batton with a metal roof. All interior doors are salvaged from old homes. The original bathroom has salvaged fixtures including a clawfoot tub. The kitchen has a 1940's refurbished sink and all wood cabinets and counters. Niches around the house hold toiletries, books, and artwork. The house is situated for passive solar gain in the winter with deciduous vines on arbors to shade south windows in summer. Heat is furnished by 2 small propane stoves and air is moved through the house by ceiling fans.

Problems encountered: As the first legal strawbale home in Jackson County, we experienced a number of hurdles but managed to successfully education the building departments both here and in the state capital. We had to apply "house wrap" as required by stick frame construction which has made us a little nervous about moisture, but no problems yet. We were forced to put all electrical in conduit but we chose to use the box beams for the long runs around the house so it wasn't too difficult. There has been some settling of the foundation which has caused a few cracks in the floors and plaster walls, but nothing drastic or requiring repair. No fire, water, bugs, moulds, or other disasterous experiences to date - knock on straw!

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