Fruita Man Builds House Out of Straw

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

It sounds like something out of a popular children's story, but one Fruita man is really building a house out of straw.

Jonathan Cooley says when he thought about building his home, he wanted something that looked like a traditional adobe house -- but with a twist.

"I didn't feel like building those adobe bricks and stacking them up," said Cooley. "That's a huge amount of work, so straw bail was something I looked into."

After doing some research, Cooley says his mind was made up. He was going to build a house of straw bails.

"People who hadn't heard about it thought it was kind of crazy," said Cooley.

After working with an engineer to make sure his house would be structurally sound, the construction began. Using straw bails from local farmers and wood from trees on the Grand Mesa, he got to work on an 800 square foot house. After two and a half years of construction, he had a place to call home.

"It's a comfortable space to live in," said Cooley. "It's pleasing visually and acoustically."

Cooley says he liked it so much, he's decided to build another one that's twice as big. He's been working on his new house for about four years. Even though it's coming along at a much slower pace, he says the end product will be worth the wait.

"There's a number of things I've changed in the larger one and improved upon," said Cooley. "I made thinhgs easier in some ways."

So does the story of the Three Little Pigs hold true?

Cooley says you can huff and you can puff but won't be able to blow his house down. He says the wall are reinforced with plaster and stucco and wooden beams on the interior of the house support the weight of the roof.

"Believe me, even with the winds we get out here, the house doesn't move at all," said Cooley. "It's rigid and solid."

Cooley says the straw bails provide great insulation.


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