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Volunteer work on Straw Bale House

  • Straw Bale House 140 Canyon Acres Drive Laguna Beach, CA, 92651 United States (map)

Work Day at the Straw Bale House, 140 Canyon Acres

Snacks will be provided, but feel free to bring something to contribute to a potluck. 

All skills levels are welcome. Working with straw bales is very beginner friendly, but there are also jobs that those with more construction experience could help with. If you have tools, bring 'em! If not, just bring you!

Questions? Call Kris Spitaleri 949 246-5289. 

About The Straw-Bale House

The Spitaleri family, including sons, Eric and Kris, have owned this property for many years. Prompted by their love of both nature and aesthetics, the Spitaleris decided to build a unique straw-bale home.

Kris Spitaleri, an admirer of Tibetan monks, persuaded his family that no life should be disturbed in the building of this harmonious home. For example, a Catalina cherry and a pomegranate tree within the building envelope were carefully transplanted to new locations on the property where they are thriving.

For the last 10+ years Kris has been building this straw-bale house almost entirely by himself, using a newly revived historic method only now being addressed by building codes. It took 7 years to get permits in place before the project could begin because of its unique challenges.

The house—

  •  is post and beam construction with insulating straw bales covered with adobe,
  • looks large, but has only about 2000 sq feet of interior space because the walls are 2 ft thick,
  • is plumbed for grey water use whenever permission for it is granted,
  •  is heated by water warmed by solar roof panels and run through floor tubing,
  •  is constructed to the greatest degree possible with reused and recycled material. The straw, for example, is a waste product from agriculture.
  •  uses only nontoxic materials in so far as possible given building codes.
  • Kris describes this as a “magical project.” Every time they have been at a point where they desperately needed materials and seemed to be out of options, solutions or materials appeared.
  •  Just as beams were needed at the house, a defunct building materials contractor showed up with a load of beams.
  • Just when they needed to move a very large dead eucalyptus tree from the far side of the property to incorporate it into the house as a roof support, a contractor grateful to Kris for allowing them to park on their property asked – “Anything we can do for you?” And soon the tree was moved to its new location!
  • Just when they needed more straw bales and were appalled at the financial and environmental cost of shipping them, Kris drove by a seasonal pumpkin patch used for a church fundraiser. Workmen were about to load the straw bales into a dumpster and were happy to give them to Kris—thereby solving both their problems.

Kris Spitaleri is using an artist’s eye to make his house fit into the Canyon. The undulating roofline mirrors the ridgelines of Laguna Canyon, and the final colors will echo the eucalyptus trees and sandstone outcroppings of the hills.

 

 

Earlier Event: July 26
Design Review Board