How to build your own woodland house

Simon Dale and Jasmine Saville are concerned about the affects of fossil fuel use on the environment. To minimize their own environmental impact, they designed their own low-impact home in Wales. Simon and his father-in-law built it with the help of friends.


In Simon’s words:

  • The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature. Being your own (have a go) architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land.
  • Main tools used: chainsaw, hammer and 1 inch chisel, little else really. Oh and by the way I am not a builder or carpenter, my experience is only having a go at one similar house 2yrs before and a bit of mucking around in between. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and perseverance and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.
The site before starting The site before starting
Hole dug and level, post positions marked out, dry stone foundation walls down, first retaining wall built against front bank. Hole dug and level
30 or so small trees and a bit of chainsawing later. Lift logs, prop up, nail together and continue until no longer wobbly. Construction
Split logs over the top and palettes on the floor. Tree in to prop up sleeping platform. Palettes on the floor to take insulating bales. Finished construction
Straw delivery. Cotton sheets then straw bales on the roof and cover it up with plastic, other bales inside, quick before it rains.
Build straw bale wall inside, a fun and quick job. The bales are stacked on rough dry stone wall and staked together with hazel sticks. Inside bales go on pallette floor ready for floorboards on top.
Pop windows in the holes, stuff straw into any gaps then chainsaw trim the bales smooth with cute roundy corners.
Tool bench, 4.30am. All tools lost, snowing outside, no doors, plastering underway.
Spring, mud on the roof, plastering and whitewashing done, landscaping nearly finished, beer brewing, bread in the oven.

Reference:

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