Grand Designs Australia

Episode Guide

Pipers Creek Strawbale House

Series 5 · Episode 9

Like many people, Dean and Sherril Lamb yearn for a simpler existence, for them and their three children. But unlike most people, they’re actually going to try and make it happen. They’ve sold their successful fruit shop and home in Warragul and bought 40acres in Pipers Creek in country Victoria ….all in the pursuit of total self sufficiency. 

Designing a four pavilion structure themselves, they plan to minimise their carbon footprint whilst building it. Interested in natural building options, they’ve settled on one with excellent environmental properties and perfect credentials for Australian conditions. A house made of straw.

Straw bale walls will be complemented by rammed earth flooring, something that Dean thinks will better channel the earth’s energy.  Every element will utilise natural alternatives wherever possible. They’ll be making their own paint and all their windows and doors will be recycled.

To help bring it in for the tiny $350,000 budget, Dean and Sherril will be doing all this themselves. They’ve absolutely no experience, but at least they won’t be alone. Dean plans to run straw bale house building classes with his own home as every student’s project! 

With a finish time of a year it could be that Dean and Sherril have found the perfect balance in pursuit of treading more gently on the planet and living a more sustainable existence. It could be. But it’s not.
A well intentioned goal as it might be,  but it is unfortunately, unrealistic. Focus soon turns to merely keeping their dream afloat.

When you lack experience, man power and money….. the inevitable response is to compromise. The question is, by how much?


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