Sunday, February 22, 2009

More Research

Before we could really talk about what our home could become, we needed to hit the books again. Mary read most of the design books. Scott read the actual "how to" books. The complete contents of our building library is located in the Library Thing link on this blog.

We created a scrapbook of ideas collected from magazines and websites as well as placed post-it tags on book pages.


Hoping to escape the trend of houses built with a forest of wood, we began reading about alternative construction methods. Alternative Housebuilding (Mike McClintock), Dwelling on Earth (David Easton), Build Your Own Stone House (Karl and Sue Schwenke), Passive Solar Energy (Bruce Anderson & Malcolm Wells) and The Adobe Book (John F. O'Connor) all presented, excellent information. More and more we were drawn to strawbale construction. The texture and shape seduced us. And the idea of energy efficiency coupled with the use of renewable resources held an irresistable draw.

Our goal is to build our house without a mortgage, so we formulated a timeline and saved more money until, at last, we were ready to look for an architect. A Google search was ineffective and disheartening. We couldn't find anyone in our area with strawbale experience. On a whim, we e-mailed The Green Building Center in Salt Lake hoping for a reference. They had several. We contacted, met with and interviewed three architects on their list.

We believe Wayne Bingham may have been interviewing us as much as we interviewed him, but we all felt we could work well together. From our perspective we found an architect with experience in strawbale construction who is generous, patient, enthusiastic and creative. We couldn't find a person better to work with.

The Beginning

After finding ourselves exploring the southern Utah area year after year after year, we finally realized we really liked it there. Why else would we endure the drive along the Wasatch Front every time a vacation came around? A panorama of red cliffs always signaled the end to the urgency of traffic-filled lanes and a world of noise and nerves left far behind. Eventually we began looking at properies in Moab since we were so familiar with that area, but none of them worked out. Besides, at that point in our lives, we didn't have enough money to buy even the smallest house on the market.

Years passed and Scott was hired to create a slide show of Boulder Mountain for a local organization. It took a few years and many hiking miles to complete the project. By the time he finished, we knew where we had to live - Torrey, a small, story-book town along the Fremont River between Boulder Mountain and Thousand Lake Mountain. It took several more years of searching and saving, but we found our place! So now the adventure begins.