"Your are building your own house?" - Is the first response to sharing I am freeing up time to work on building a house.
"Yes! I am building by own selfsufficient home this year. I enjoy DYI and I'm pretty handy."
In all honesty, I hadnt had much experience at all. A few years living abroad dealing with basic conditions sure; a recent camper rebuild okay; but never had I built anything like this! Doubts about the immense challenge ahead have sure popped up, but, my life motto is not to shy away from trying new things and asking for help if needed. I can sure try, right?!
"Why?" - Is another frequent flier question.
"I have a big vision, and I believe that I can best reach that vision by doing it myself. Plus, it's fun!"
Okay, it helped to keep the budget down, but mostly it fitted with my vision to build alternatively and experimental, using natural, reclaimed materials, and have zero waste. Even if I had tried, it would have scared the hell out of any building company! Just like people used to build their own homes with whatever they'd see useful, it seems right for all the cuts of timber, pieces of straw, and lumbs of clay be made by my own hands, creating a space that's truly me.
"Wait, a house made from wood, straw and clay?" -
In ensuring the roof wouldn't collapse on me one day, I figured going for a constructively solid structure was the smart move. Developed by two pioneers in the world of building, Roelof and Daan, Strobox offered exactly that solution and it ticked all the boxes. Choosing to build with these insulated panels helped form the foundation of the design, a fun process my brother ended up sketching out with me!
Picture. A mockup of the straw-pressed panels
THE VISION of my design was not driven by estetics, grandeur or status. Instead, it was driven by having a low environmental impact; making it affordable; and simplicity for materials used and for its execution. Keeping a low floor print, and green roof and walls were key to allow for nature-inclusivity. The use of materials is sustainable and where possible recycled and locally sourced. Any building waste will remain on site and repurposed such as for insulation.
Once built, this nature-inclusive home and its immediate surroundings will merge harmoniously and gain its strength through direct collaboration with each other and with the outside elements. In its future use over the years, the impact is low. The large south-facing windows and sublime insulation value, in combination with sustainable production of heat and energy, make for it to be energy-neutral. By collecting rainwater, and using a compost toilet, there will be minimal dependence on municipal water.
Our lives could be much more sustainable; we can get a higher quality of life with lower mortgages; And women can do odd jobs! I'm definitely going to face a steep learning path, and it won't always be easy, but a dream is a dream.
A simple design helps keep costs down and simplify the execution process