Thursday, April 22, 2010


Wayne, our architect, built his straw bale house just outside of Driggs, Idaho which isn’t terribly far from Logan. Early in the design process of our own home, he invited us for a visit in order to experience the “feel” of a house made of straw. One of the features we especially loved was the floor. You  might think that a floor is just a floor, but Wayne’s is an earthen floor made from the dirt on his property. He mixed the dirt with sand, finely chopped straw and clay until it reached a consistency that could be spread with a trowel on the concrete subsurface. Once that was dry, he finished the floor with linseed oil to seal it and protect it from wear and tear. It looked and felt like thick leather and was absolutely beautiful!

We’ve read everything we can find about making a floor like Wayne’s, and there seems to be as many methods as there are actual floors. You just need to Google “earthen floor” to see what I mean. But one of the things our research reaffirmed was our commitment to the concept. Indeed the floors are lovely, natural, and, as one fellow said, “dirt cheap.” Our only qualms are related to the amount of time it takes. We have a lot of floor space to cover, and we really do want to live in our house before we’re too old to enjoy it.

For now, or at least until we change our mind again, we’ve decided to pour a concrete slab throughout the house. There will be a radiant heat system within the slab. We’ll finish the main living area with the earthen floor. Scott’s office and our bedroom will be stained concrete. This Saturday we’re taking a field trip to a veterinary clinic in West Haven, Utah. It is reported to have a “gorgeous concrete floor to die for.” We’ll see.