near Maberly, 2010


We camped out to plaster this beautiful cottage set on Loon Lake. Dwellings built the frame and did the bale work, and invited us to come and do our plaster magic.







Truly, a sweet frame. We're developing great relationships with timber framersacross the province!


 

Rosedale, 2010


This beautiful timber frame straw home is built right on the Trent Severn system. The timber frame was built & erected by Whippletree Timberframing Camel's Back assisted the owners with the bale work, and then we plastered the home. My personal favourite combination is reclaimed timbers with bales.

 





American Clay plaster, Dancey Home, Aylmer 2010


I met up with my friends, Chris and Wil while we were doing the plastering of a bale home in Sparta. They invited the entire crew to their place for dinner, which was impressive in itself! Wil and Chris built their own, a round log/hempcrete home with a stunning mandala timber frame roof. They still had a bit of American Clay base coat & finish plaster to do in their office, and in their bedroom, so of course, I jumped at the opportunity to get my hands muddy. A silk artist, Chris had a very specific idea of blending colour on the walls. It was great fun, and I'm finally getting the photos on the website. Thanks, Chris & Wil!




Earthbag heatsink Plaster


Friends of mine built and plastered their own timber frame/foam home. They've got a greenhouse in the house, and have created a heat sink in one part of it. They built earth bag steps to the raised platform, and we got to play one day plastering them. Plaster faeries are the best!!!




Sparta


I love cupolas- this house has a lovely timber framed upstairs, which frames the cupola beautifully. We did the bale work in November, and plastering into January. These guys didn't mess around, and rented a 'Frost Fighter' for heating the tarped in building in order to plaster.




Habitat for Humanity, Picton, 2009


We were delighted to be involved in Canada's first ever Habitat for Humanity straw home, right in Picton. I'm not sure why Habitat for Humanity in Canada hasn't built more straw bale homes- all of the volunteer hours that go hand in hand with the sweat equity are quite similar to our traditional volunteer bale raisings. There was a lot of interest from the general public for this building. Thanks, Greg, for this referral!




Winery, Prince Edward County, 2009


Stanners Winery was in need of a larger building to keep up with their wine production. This small winery is located in Hillier, in Prince Edward County. A family owned operation, they join the many small vineyards that dot the County and make it such a special place to visit. Theirs is the first straw bale winery that we know of in Ontario. Stanners Winery


Simcoe Island, 2009


A family cottage, this island job required taking two different ferries from the mainland. The site is right on the water, and in between watching ducks, deer & turkeys, we framed, baled & plastered this house. Our most talented trowellers jumped to the challenge of plastering arched doorways, in addition to the collection of niches.




Galetta, 2008-2009


A tribute to owner/built homes,this timber-frame home on the river is stunning. Lots of reclaimed materials, creative finishes, and a cook's kitchen! We stepped in late fall '08 to assist with the bale work, and start the plastering, which we then finished in 2009. We had a lot of fun working at this project!

Centennial Lake, 2009


This home is on Centennial Lake. Large interior windows are gorgeous, thanks to our tremendously skilled trowellers!


Pakenham, 2009


An owner-built home, we showed up with the Putzmeister to see if we could pump the clay plaster. Alas, this turned out to be too much for the pump, but we were able to pump it from the mixer into a wheelbarrow. We LOVE earthen plasters!


Wintergreen Studios, 2008



An eco-centre near Kingston, Wintergreenis an off-grid retreat centre, with a living roof over the bedrooms. Set in the woods, there are also charming cabins for accommodation. Yet another rounded building- we are quite fond of round buildings!

Wolfe Island, 2008


Our first 'island' job, we had to line up for the ferry each Monday morning for this site. An incredibly windy site, we had to tarp and batten down the hatches late fall and then we returned in the spring to continue with the bales and plastering.





Midland, 2007


 
Jim Gleason and some of the camels did the framing on a beautiful round retreat centre close to Midland. Framing of five sleeping cabins also continued into the snowy fall, which were subsequently baled & plastered the following spring.

Burleigh Falls, 2007


Largely made from reclaimed materials, starting with the timber frame, this is a beautiful home. The masonry heater was clad with bricks the owners salvaged, and recycled steel sheeting is used on interior walls.

Brighton, 2007


Camel's Back Construction worked alongside Havencraft Homes to do the bale work on this two storey straw home.


Morton, 2006





Burleigh Falls, 2007


Largely made from reclaimed materials, starting with the timber frame, this is a beautiful home. The masonry heater was clad with bricks the owners salvaged, and recycled steel sheeting is used on interior walls.


Morton, 2006


This beautiful home, designed by the owners, was our first full-on earthen plaster, and it was a blast! The ability to work with bare hands if one chose, the fact that the clay came from the land, and the idea of not having a mixer running all day was, well, delightful! Eco-house prima-sil dispersion paint (clear) was painted onto the walls, but the colour is sheerly natural, exactly what Karel & Elaine wanted. Karel & Elaine worked closely with us on all stages, including doing bale work, cobbing, and hands-on plastering. Straight walls with angular window openings was desired, and achieved, thanks to laser levels and excellent trowellers (Monica, Chris, JD, Pete!).

Horse stable, Uxbridge, 2005


This immense (10,000 sq.ft.) horse stable was built with 1400++ hemp bales, plus an assortment of wheat straw for shaping windows. The owners salvaged a lot of materials for this project, including timbers from a whiskey distillery and the glass skylight from a shopping mall. We started the bale work after Thanksgiving weekend, and the last bit of plastering was completed indoors in January. There is also a 2000 sq. ft. apartment/ tack room adjoined to the stable. Our first round building, we definitely 'went big' on this one!




Northport, Prince Edward County, 2005


Our first bale project in Prince Edward County, this is an off-grid house with both solar & wind. The owners are incredibly conservative with energy & water consumption. We love working in the County!

 


Buckhorn, 2004


This owner-built load bearing building was built near Buckhorn. Off-grid, and complete with a heatsink greenhouse built next to the house to assist with heating, the interior is stunning. We love round buildings! We plastered this home for the owners.

 

Powassan, 2004


This owner-built load bearing building was built in the summer of 2004, near North Bay. After a hard, long, rainy summer, Albert and Martha finally finished all of the prep work, and hired Camel's Back to plaster their home. We were treated extremely well, with lodging taken care of with the owners, and Martha prepared meals for us. We had a great time up there!

El  Dorado, 2003

 

 
 

Hunter House, 2003


This off-grid passive solar home was completed in 2003. The north east and west walls are straw bale while the south wall is all windows. The owners and family were heavily involved in all aspects of construction, and have a lovely, modern straw home on 100 acres in the country.
For more information and pictures visit The Straw House Blog.

 
 

Peterborough, 2002


This house is just on the outskirts of the town limits of Peterborough. The first storey is load-bearing, with modified post & beam on the second floor. There is an interior bale wall in the house with two arched doorways, a carved bookcase, and a couple of niches carved into the walls. Radiant floor heat keeps this home cozy and warm in the winter, with little consumption of propane. Jim Gleason's crew framed and roofed the house, while Camel's Back did all of the bale work and plastering. Karen painted the exterior (and interior!) with a pigmented paint by Eco-House, a small Canadian company.









Karen chose to have an interior bale wall, which allowed for arched openings, a built in bookcase, and a niche to house her antique clock.


Norwood, 2000


Robin's Nest, Norwood, Ontario: Gail and Brianís house fronts as both a bed and breakfast, and a retreat center. They lay claims to having North Americaís largest load-bearing straw bale building. They bought their land in April 2000, and the interior is now finished. Building your own home doesnít always take years! To see more about their house and the bed and breakfast, check out their website:

Centreville, 2000


John and Anita have always dreamed of having a house with a tower....now they have it! On the cover of Harrowsmith magazine in the fall of 2003, the house stands out in a class of its own. John grew his own house...as an organic farmer, he was able to grow the organic wheat that they used for the bales. The roof of the tower was built on the ground and then hoisted up with a crane. And as for plastering it...they rented a sky-jack for access around the otherwise difficult to reach surfaces.
 

Mississauga, 2000


Mississauga, Ont. This large home in Mississauga has been a work in progress for the last two years. The house, comprised of 6000 sq. ft., will be shared by three people, with a combination of shared and private space.There is an extensive array of solar panels on the roof, and the dwellers hope to be able to sell power back to the grid someday. Each product that has been used in the construction of their home has been researched carefully, in order to create the healthiest environment possible

 


 
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Orillia, 2001


Jack and Connie's house is quite lovely. They have rounded interior doorways, and lime plaster as a finish on some of their walls.
Largely their own design, the house has turned out beautifully. This is a 2 storey load bearing building.
 

Smithville,1998


A bale house can look as funky, or as straight, as you want it to. This house would be at home in any subdivision, but it is actually in a lovely setting in a country field.

 


 
 
 

Bancroft, 1999


Pat and Sherriís house, in Bancroft, Ont. is a post & beam structure. Largely owner-built, Pat & Sherri have put many hours into finishing their home. Their house has been featured on Cottage Life Television. Pat has also made beautiful kitchen cabinets out of straw board with concrete counter tops. Pat builds straw bale homes,works with cordwood, does spectacular custom cabinetry, in addition to installing radiant floor heating.You can find out more at: www.strawhome.homestead.com
Pat, Sherri & son Andrew are adamant about not having any straight walls in their house, and have worked creatively to achieve stunning results such as these:

Elora, 1999


This is a lovely woodworking shop, surrounded by cornfields. The framing of this building was done with recycled telephone poles, and the building sits overtop