We combine contemporary building methods with old-school
craftsmanship, to create unique buildings with natural materials
Straw Home HB is a trading name of RM Strawbale Ltd which was established in 2014
This is what we offer
We work closely with our clients, either as the main contractor or subcontractors on parts of a project. With your inspiration and our hands, hearts, and minds, we endeavour to bring your ideas into tangible reality. Warm, healthy, unique spaces built with safe materials. Using old-school wisdom and modern building knowledge, our constructions are enduring, made for generations to enjoy.
Our buildings have been predominantly strawbale constructions with lime and clay plasters and timber-work. Where possible we source our material locally and support alternative NZ -grown timber suppliers.
Knowledge of vapour movement and energy efficiency is incorporated in design and construction elements.
We use local clay and lime to plaster over many different substrates.
Clay and lime are wonderful materials that help to create a healthy indoor environment with optimum humidity. They lend themselves to myriad creative possibilities and will always be unique in appearance.
Staircases & Timberwork
One of Nil’s passions: to use traditional German methods to create elegant, ergonomic, bespoke stairs that are a furniture-feature in themselves. These are glue-free, so elements can be dismantled and reused.
Building tricky rooflines on pitched roofs is the heart of a German carpenter’s field! And we relish opportunities to work in creative, cunning ways with wood that deliver well-expressed results.
Working with NZ-grown timbers fits with our philosophy of favouring natural and local materials. Timber and natural plasters are materials that work beautifully together.
Our knowledge as builders, our expertise in the practical use of alternative materials, and our passion for enduring, build-able details are all integrated in the plans we draft.
Nils holds a NZ LBP Design Licence, with experience in bringing plans for alternative building through the Council consent process. He’s also a qualified Zimmermeister (German master carpenter) and has a background in architectural studies.
Consultancy, Workshops and more....
Looking for a consultant? We are happy to share our knowledge and experience in working with strawbale and alternative construction methods. Just call us and we can evaluate how we can assist you with your project.
We have run several small-scale workshops and been involved with organising several larger conferences and workshops, including the 2016 Earth Building Association (EBANZ) conference in Hawke’s Bay and the 2018 SOL Design North Island workshop. If you want to hold a workshop and need assistance, or would like for us to participate at an event, do contact us.
Pat is a registered WWOOF host, and over the years we have had ‘wwoofers’ join us for a stretch on our builds, as well as internees and those seeking some work experience in alternative methods. Such opportunities will always depend on our workload and the timing of projects, but we are always open for requests and have had some great experiences in the past.
Meet Straw Home Hawke's Bay
We have been building together since 2009. Pat, wanting to move away from standard building practice, undertook to build a strawbale house for his parents-in-law. Nils, who had just arrived in New Zealand from Germany with his NZ-born wife and kids, was keen to get involved.
Our vision is to make natural building, using natural materials, a standard building method (at least for us!). We believe homes should be healthy for the people living in them and built in a way that keeps us, as tradespeople building them, healthy, and the environment too.
Our different perspectives on building methods and design details are our strength – we often question each other, and believe that out of that come the best results. We work closely with our clients, encouraging them to be involved in the building and design process as much as they wish to be. This extends to supporting owner builders create their own homes.
If our approach and vision resonates and you feel we could help bring your ideas into reality, we look forward to hearing from you.
Local Experts Committed to Natural and Enduring Building Methods
NZ LBP carpentry and the plaster master of our team.
Pat, as the Kiwi-trained builder and self-taught clay and lime plasterer, brings the necessary can-do attitude to get the job done and make things work.
Pat grew up on dairy farms around Hawke’s Bay and Northern Wairarapa, before starting out in forestry and commercial fishing. Looking for ways to live a little more lightly on the earth, a visit to a rammed earth house in Taihape and a trip to Wales working on a historic watermill in the early 2000s provided the motivation needed to change direction. An adult building apprenticeship followed with the end goal of working in the field of natural building.
Pat’s main passions in building are working with natural materials and supporting owner builders.
NZ LBP Carpentry & Design, German Master Carpenter
Nils likes to question things and to look at them from different perspectives. Planning a construction with buildable details in a way that it works well for years to come is a key aim of his.
Nils grew up in the big smoke of Berlin. Following a three-year carpentry apprenticeship and work as a registered carpenter, he studied architecture for two years. But he missed being up on the roofs of Berlin, swinging the hammer, so returned to building.
He met his kiwi wife on a working holiday in NZ and in 2006 they moved to Freiburg, Germany where Nils trained as a Master Carpenter: a one-year, full-time course, which included exams in wood structure design, engineering, building physics, and more.
Nils emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 2009 where he met Pat and embarked on the journey of strawbale and natural building.
The little and big gnomes
Builder, traveler, skater, biker, ski teacher, masseuse, earth plasterer, plasterer, Zimmermann....
To tell you the truth it was not only us who build these houses.
We had a lot of different wonderful people helping us. There is not a photo of everyone but we want to thank you all for helping on our builds.