The house in the woods

And now for something completely different. After seeing all the technology displays during the Solar Decathlon, this low impact house in the Welsh countryside is a sort of back-to-basics counterpoint showing another way of thinking outside the box.


(Credits: Simon Dale)

Some key points of its design and construction:

  • Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
  • Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
  • Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
  • Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
  • Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
  • Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
  • Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
  • Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
  • Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring…)
  • Woodburner for heating – renewable and locally plentiful
  • Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
  • Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
  • Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
  • Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
  • Water by gravity from nearby spring
  • Compost toilet
  • Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.


(Credits: Simon Dale)
Simon Dale, the builder (along with his father-in-law) is a graphic arts designer and photographer. His pictures are mainly about landscapes and they are really beautiful, by the way, don´t miss them.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bioclimatic architecture

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5 Comments on “The house in the woods”

  1. KATHLEEN Says:


  2. Annette Says:

    Love it! When can I move in?

  3. Paulette Vanghel Says:

    AWESOME!!! I’d live here in a second…

  4. Dew Says:

    Ugh, people who spell magic with a K annoy me. Cute house though.

  5. Maia Says:

    Oh wow, this is gorgeous! It reminds me of the hobbit holes from Lord of the Rings! 😀 Haha
    I would CERTAINLY live here in a heartbeat- this is… wow. Abosolutely incredible! 🙂

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