Designing a straw bale home is a huge learning curve and after 18 years in the design and construction business we had to start almost from scratch, natural building products react to the elements in a different way, the curing times and application methods change. Our Design of the home became centred around the size of a straw bale (and bales vary in size, depending on the baling machine).
The quantity of suitable bales which are needed, with tight compaction of the straw and low humidity levels are no longer available for this year and therefore we have to wait until the next baling season in October! We also discovered that bales in the Cape can be purchased at a fraction of the cost compared to Gauteng and the Free State and it may be worth considering bringing them up here.
In spite of all these frustrations, the opportunity of rediscovering traditional building methods and products has been so refreshing that Shimwell Designs has had just as much fun as frustration.