New Prairie Construction logo

Urbana Straw Bale House

*Traditional Construction Heritage Award Winner*

This lovely stuccoed and plastered house in Historic East Urbana boasts many unique features in addition to its straw bale building blocks. Sustainably – harvested wild-cherry windowsills, century-old maple flooring salvaged from the Sidell Elementary Grade School, and gorgeous panel doors from the University of Illinois’ Harker Hall make for a beautiful and environmentally-friendly home. Lime plaster and clay paint softly enhance the organic shape of the bale walls.

The kitchen/greatroom also features a woodstove, blackboard slate countertops, cherry cabinets, energy efficient appliances, and a custom tile backsplash. Both the greatroom and the master bedroom open onto the screened-in back porch. Natural materials offer the chance for creative expression: Stones embedded in the final coat of plaster decorate the wall above the sliding porch door. The back steps lead to the garage/art studio building, also constructed with straw bales.

As with most straw bale structures, this home has a “truth window,” a small framed area left unplastered in order to see the straw.

The large, open basement space is perfect for the office of New Prairie Construction. The floor is stained concrete. The dog is Henry. We love him.

CCnet and the University of Illinois’ Office of Public Engagement produced a short video tour of the home with an interview of Julie Birdwell, co-owner (with Jill Mulder) of New Prairie. You can watch below.

Click or double-tap images to see them in larger lightbox format.