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Construction of La Casa di Paglia in 10 photos

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La Casa di Paglia

Straw is something that gets inside you and stays. When you decide to self-build a straw bale house, it has already begun to change you, to make you taste the charm of simplicity and sustainability.

The Straw House B&B is unique and is the result of an interesting self-building experience full of dreams, hard work, relationships and a different worldview. The realization involved the whole extended family, old and new friends, and therefore became first and foremost an intense and rewarding human experience that transmitted an indescribable positive energy to the place.

In 2010, we bought the two ruins where the B&B and our home now stand with the intention of recovering a beautiful place that seemed destined for abandonment.

While the house was preserved with its original stone walls, for the B&B, since the old ruin had almost completely collapsed, we had the opportunity to rebuild with different materials. The straw bale technique seemed immediately the most fascinating and suitable for self-building.

It is a type of construction that was born in the nineteenth century in Nebraska due to the lack of availability of other materials and then fell into disuse with the advent of cement. In the seventies, it was then resumed and optimized thanks to some European architects and slowly spread throughout the world, remaining, however, a niche construction type. In Italy, there are over a thousand constructions.

It then turned out to be a successful choice given its qualities of energy efficiency, sustainability, healthiness and economy. Qualities far superior to traditional buildings, even with regard to durability. Just think of the many buildings built almost two hundred years ago and still perfectly preserved and habitable. Internally, the walls were plastered with clay and straw (raw earth) guaranteeing natural hygrometric regulation. Clay tends to capture any excess moisture (releasing it outside) and vice versa. The external lime plasters allow the transpiration of the walls that every house would need, without having to resort to expensive mechanical ventilation techniques.

The lower room, which is partially buried in the back, was built in a more traditional way using the stones from the old ruin and local woods as internal cladding.

Almost all the woods inside the straw house are in fact the result of recovery and restoration. The bathrooms were made of cocciopesto, an ancient technique dating back to Roman times used to waterproof surfaces in contact with water. It is a mixture composed of old bricks and tiles ground into powder, lime and sand. Thanks to a special technique, it is spread until it becomes smooth and without pores.

The application of Marseille soap or Moroccan black soap while drying allows a chemical reaction that creates a permanent waterproof layer, on which, after a drying period, two additional layers of bees wax and carnauba are applied.

Everything has been designed to make the straw bale house an example of how to build with very low environmental impact, using cereal processing waste and creating a healthy, quick to build, efficient and economical environment.

So, all that remains is for you to come and visit!