Shortly after our daughter Juli was born we assessed our housing situation: crowded. We needed to find a larger home; more than that, we longed to flee the city and return to the woods.
And over the course of a few years, we did just that. Although it was a big, scary thing to do, we purchased property and acted as the general contractor in the building of our straw bale home.
Haven Homestead is a post-and-beam, non-loadbearing straw bale home, finished in layers of hand-mixed earth plaster.
Juli and Micah were 4 1/2 and 1 when we started the building process.
We subcontracted parts that I deemed as "too hard", "too scary", or "illegal to do ourselves"...
...such as framing and roofing.
Construction lasted over a year and a half, from September 2007 through May 2009.
We spent every hour of every weekend here, and most of that time went into applying the earth plaster that is the interior and exterior finish.
Haven runs on a cistern (water-catchment) system that satisfies all our water needs, housed in our basement.
Cabinets were designed and built by a friend.
Reused materials are featured throughout the home. These ceiling boards are living a second life, their first 50 years served as roofing boards at Camp Lutherlyn.
The Corian featured in the kitchen was salvaged from The Pennysaver for $300.
Haven was designed with passive solar in mind. Our home stays warm in the winter, cool in the summer.
We felt absolutely blessed throughout the entire building experience. Family and friends became tangible evidence of God's love and concern for us, providing hands-on help and emotional support.
Words cannot express how we’ve grown closer as a family simply because of the enduring of the building process. The house became an excellent metaphor for building our life together, of taking separate agendas and meshing them into one structure that can hold us all. And it feels so good to be mostly on the other side of that, to enjoy what we’ve been given. This is a feat that we couldn’t have accomplished without the support of our friends and family. We chose the name “Haven Homestead” partly in memory of Haven Farm, where we spent many pleasant days visiting Todd’s Aunt Brenda and Uncle Gene. We hope that our home will be a peaceful place for our children, visitors and friends as the years pass by.
Thanks for visiting!