All of these drawings are just conceptual drawings. They can be changed to meet individual needs. I figured all along that people would want to change things anyway, so why spend lots of time drawings lots of details. So yes, you can use a wide variety of roof styles, no problem — shed roof, gable, hip, whatever. Shed roofs are usually easiest for owner-builders, but many prefer simply to buy pre-built trusses.
Curious about this home in a desert climate (AZ). Our temperatures often reach 120 degrees F +. What do you think the ambient temp of interior would be ? Would you recommend any specific models/plans ? Could these homes be cooled just with evaporative coolers ??
There are dozens of techniques that can help keep your house cool. It’s difficult to say exactly what the interior temperature would be since there are so many variables, but you could definitely make a very comfortable home, especially with evaporative coolers.
Besides general research on the Internet about how to design cooler homes in the desert, take a look at the articles on our Articles page about hot, humid climates. Much of this information will help you, too: http://www.earthbagbuilding.com/articles.htm#climate
This is a fascinating challenge. Email me at strawhouses [at] yahoo.com and I’ll give you a special deal on this plan if you are willing to share the results on our Projects page. http://www.earthbagbuilding.com/projects/projects.htm This assumes you don’t live where there are ridiculous building restrictions.
Hi there…fascinating website and lots of potential for where I live here in South America almost on the equator. Can you tell me what the price on the Mediterranean plans would be? A couple of very simple changes that I’d want to make, but basically I love the simplicity of it and the fact that it is mostly open and airy. Thanks very much.
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Thanks so much Owen. I am in the process of building this plan in Nicaragua, very exciting.
We have all the walls up and are putting the concrete crown on the house right now.
On the Mediterranean will the naturally curved be strong enough to hold a steel beam roof, without putting too much outward pressure on the walls of the house?
Do you think it would be wise to use a buttress?
Another thing I am curious about is the final coating for a exterior finish.
The first base is adobe, straw, cow poop and a bit of sand.
I still don’t get the concept of lime plaster.
I was thinking of a concrete exterior but then read that would be such a good idea.
Can you direct me to a link where they explain the lime exterior finish in depth?
Thanks so much for your knowledge and great site.
The bond beam (what you call the crown) will tie everything together. If you did a good job of building (straight, vertical walls, etc.) then it should be very strong. No problem with a heavy steel roof if you built correctly with a good bond beam.
There is some risk in putting lime on top of earthen plaster. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I think it depends on the soil. Sandy soil is probably best. Plaster mesh would likely help. I suggest buying a good book on lime plaster and/or hiring professionals who specialize in lime plaster. I don’t know of any website that explains all the details.
Do not put cement plaster on top of earthen plaster or you will have bad problems.
Cool, thanks so much for the reply Owen.
I thought I would get an email when someone responded… maybe I missed it.
Thanks so much for a cool design and your insight!
We are going to do the bathroom a little differently, but other than that my place is pretty similar.
So excited, it’s my 1st house, that I will be able to call my own.
I could not have done a “regular” house at this point in my life.
If it wasn’t for earthbag building, more than likely there would not be a house.
Even without any experience before in home construction, I think we did pretty well. We were lucky to have great material below our feet to work with. It seemed once we got everything in line, the building of the walls and the form of the house was pretty fast.
The hard part was picking away at the side of a hill for 2 months with picks and shovel.
I was worried we were not going to have enough earth for the whole house, so we kept digging and digging… now I think we have enough earth left over for another house. (seriously)!
Would you like some images of my place as an example, or just to check out?
It is not done yet, and is being built in Central America, but the form is there, and we are the just about to put on the roofing. The roofing is the only thing I am concerned about is that we are going to have to use long steel beams, and different from I see in you image of the house. Maybe you could show me how to do a better simpler design… but you have already helped a ton, thank you.
Thanks for all the good you are doing Owen, myself and many others you have probably have never heard from are benefiting from your ideas and work.