A number of years ago we began construction of a vaulted straw bale sleeping cabin. The bones of it were constructed during a 5-day workshop, and then it sat for a few years. We named it the Dogwood Chalet after a lovely dogwood tree that grows right next to it.

One day in a storm, a large tree fell over, poking a branch through the roof and knocking the entire building nearly over. Fortunately another tree held it up. We brought in a bobcat and pushed the entire building upright again.

I point this out because we have demonstrated (over and over again), that you can mess up nearly every step of building sustainably – but if you have some folks who are good at finish work, the process is pretty forgiving.

We eventually built the front and back walls (out of beer bottles). Ryan Evans constructed a very nice bottle window rosette to let in a bit of light. We later added a front porch onto the building, giving it a nice view into the woods.

The inside walls were finished with earth plaster and lime paint. A oak floor was installed. We also experimented with “Tidy Cat” cubbies, creating storage out of discarded cat litter buckets.

In 2016 Sarah Holtzclaw painted a beautiful dogwood flower on the back, completing the cozy little staw bale sleeping cabin.