Texas Hill Country architecture has long made use of the natural elements from the beautiful countryside they call home. The limestone walls, cedar posts and furniture, and rustic architecture all celebrate the organic beauty of the Hill Country. A growing trend in home design sets its gaze on blending the iconic style of historical Hill Country architecture and the eco-friendly benefits of natural building. Many natural homes cleverly build using materials most homeowners would never consider like cob (sand, clay and straw mixture), straw bale, and cordwood.
Going Natural: A New Wave of Creative Construction in the Hill Country
Bastrop resident, Carol Jones, decided to do a natural build after their home and property were destroyed during the wildfires of 2001. The Jones family decided to go away from the traditional brick and mortar house, choosing instead to build with straw bale. Several factors went into the decision to use straw bale, “After researching different types of alternative building, straw bale seemed wisest for Texas weather because of its isolative value,” Carol Jones recalled.
Carol took a more hands-on approach with their build including acting as the general contractor while sanding, oiling and working with the builder on every detail of the family’s new home. During the construction, one of the family’s greatest challenges was keeping the straw bales dry. “The hardest part was keeping it dry. It obviously has to be delivered prior to insertion and it cannot get wet,” Carol said.