Small straw bale cottage in rural Devon

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    About us

    Hi, we're Nicola and Myrtle and we're self-building our own small strawbale house in Devon. We're both passionate about sustainable living, particularly eco- and affordable housing and food (local, organic, including foraging and growing your own) and have backgrounds in grassroots activism including Transition Town Totnes. I (Nicola) am really into local low-embodied energy natural materials such as straw, clay and timber and have worked in community-led housing development (a CLT) for the last 7 years.

    My place

    Harbertonford is a small village 3 miles from 'Transition Town' Totnes. South Devon is a beautiful area close to the coast, Dartmoor National Park and with lovely rivers - great for people who love nature and the outdoors. There is a shop and petrol station in the village and a bus to Totnes.


    Little Owl Cottage is a 56m2 2 bedroom strawbale house with a timber frame. It's lime rendered externally and clay plastered internally (we are just finishing the internal plaster), with a solar PV array on the roof, and rainwater harvesting system (still to be installed). Nearly all the timber is locally sourced (within 10 miles) and milled by a friend, including larch for the frame, cedar for the windowboards and ash for the floor. We have made our own clay paints, and the clay for the plaster and paint was sourced from a friend's land in the next village. We've moved in now! But there are a few things to finish off: - Lime washing the external walls (requires the use of a ladder) - Fitting some ash boards to the staircase - Fitting oak shelves in a cupboard, maybe building some cupboards (electrical cabinet definitely needs one!), and drawers for below the kitchen cupboards! - Landscaping - building a deck and fencing - Sorting out the rainwater tanks - I installed them, but the connectors leaked, so they are currently disconnected - Installing new front & back doors (Rationel, should be delivered mid Sept) - Finishing the skirting board, some kerfing required for door reveals (after doors installed) If you have carpentry skills or are just confident measuring and cutting wood to length that would be great - but if you have none but are conscientious and eager to learn that's ok too. I know a fair amount about eco building, self building, planning etc now and I'm very happy to answer questions, talk about your plans etc. I've also got a lot of relevant books, and have several friends nearby who are also doing straw bale builds who I can put you in touch with or visit their projects! I can be flexible with working days as I'm not working at the moment and I'm mostly focussing on finishing the house which I tend to do 3-4 days a week (weekends are ok too).


    There is a single sofa bed in the second bedroom and a double sofa bed in the lounge room. We're a mostly vegetarian household although we sometimes eat fish or venison. We have a very affectionate cat!


    We mostly eat vegetarian, local organic veg/dairy and lots of wholefoods. Vegan is no problem! When we do eat meat it's mostly from our friend's organic smallholding, or locally caught fish. We're happy to make meals (or you can help yourself to whatever we've got in), but we will need some nights to ourselves for peace and relaxation :)


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