Mother Earth Living


A Straw Bale Home: Small, Secondhand & Spectacular

An Idaho couple's salvage savvy gives this snug straw bale home its character.



The home's passive-solar design proves highly efficient during the long Idaho winters.
Photos By Betsy Morrison
Hand-poured concrete countertops create a clean, modern look that contrasts with the gentle curves of the straw-bale walls. Oiled wheat-board cabinets; a salvadged faucet, sink and metal ceiling; and artistic CFL pendants make the room both sleek and earthy.
A west-facing window brings sunlight into the hallway and creates a perfect nook for a small wheat-boad writing desk. The Powerses' use of spaces that would be "dead space" in many homes was vital to achieving their small floorplan.
Aaron and Meghan relax in their Japanese-inspired sunken dining table made from cherry wood taken from Aaron's grandfather's farm in Vermont.
The organic garden keeps the Powerses in produce nearly all year.
Reused barnwood planks cover the dining area when it's not in use.
Straw bale homes' thick, earthen walls require deep windowsills, the perfect place to display a beautiful slab of salvaged beetlekilled pine. The deep sills become a display spot for artful odds and ends.
The circular, redwood shower's curving exterior walls also serve as a visual centerpiece for the living room.
A vertical window into Meghan's closet brings in natural light.
A converted silo, which serves as an office and workshop, ties the Powerses' home to the region's rich agricultural heritage.
Soft American Clay wall colors contrast with the brightly painted door taken from an old farm house. The "truth window"—a common feature in straw bale homes—gives viewers a peek into the walls' all-natural interior.
A 5-foot-deep sunken bathtub hides beneath the shower floor.





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