Feeds

Software engineer builds straw house for £4k

Cheap and cheerful Scottish ecogaff

Security for virtualized datacentres

A 52-year-old software engineer has built a habitable house for just £4,000 - albeit with a lot of hard graft and a certain amount of scavenging.

Steve James slogged for "10 months of actual building time" over four years to put together his Galloway straw domicile, dubbed "The Gatehouse" and constructed with a timber frame, straw walls protected by lime mortar, and a planet-hugging turf roof. Amenities are basic - water supplied purely by rainfall and batteries for 'leccy - but James describes the fruits of his labour as a "cuddly house".

The Gatehouse. Pics: Envisioneer.net

James told the BBC: "I have never built a house before but I have done a bit of joinery and have done a lot of practical work. Most of my life I have been a hands-on worker."

Among the items James didn't have to stump up for were a Velux roof window, shower tray and front window - all picked up from other people's unwanted building materials - as well as a "Tudor-style" panelled wood ceiling assembled from solid pine changing cubicle doors "salvaged from old Victorian public baths in Govan". From the bargain basement department came a 50 quid wood-burning stove, £100 in batteries and £150 worth of reclaimed joists.

The total outlay was, the BBC explains:

  • £600 supplies for volunteers
  • £500 sarking (wooden roof boarding)
  • £400 floorboards
  • £400 pond liner
  • £300 straw
  • £200 plumbing
  • £150 reclaimed joists
  • £150 plywood
  • £150 equipment hire
  • £150 glass
  • £100 quicklime
  • £100 wiring
  • £100 tarpaulin
  • £100 paint/varnish
  • £100 batteries
  • £100 fixings
  • £100 miscellaneous
  • £100 fuel for power tools
  • £70 water pump
  • £50 water heater
  • £50 stove chimney

James reckons his DIY straw house points to an affordable solution in the face of inflated house prices, and that a three-bedroom version could be yours for just £10,000.

He concluded: "It is something that anybody could easily learn to do most of, with help. The real cost of a house is fairly small. It is always the land that makes about 85 per cent of the cost. Adding the compound interest to the final cost of a mortgage reduces the actual house price component of the total to as little as two per cent."

There's more on The Gatehouse here. ®

Bootnote

For a more refined design of straw-bale, timber-framed house, try this example from C4's Grand Designs. Impressive stuff for a mere £28,000.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.