Ecological Buildings

Straw Bale with Frame
Straw bale home with a timber frame
renovation of manor manor with darrell, siddiqqi, julius, andrew and leah
renovation of manor manor with darrell, siddiqqi, julius, andrew and leah
new roof on manor manor
new roof on manor manor
tiny home kitchen view of manor manor yard
tiny home kitchen view of manor manor yard

Manor Manor: the first renovation at Wild and Radish



4781 Hilltop Dr.: notes from architect Bob Theis on the Renovation and Construction of Carolyn's Cottage:

"The building industry is changing rapidly, because we have to! It is essential that we shift to living within our solar budget, and not continue to depend on fossil fuels. Rethinking both new construction and renovation are essential. And both are demonstrated

here at Wild and Radish.


The first priority in green building is NOT solar panels and other sexy hardware, but decreasing the energy demand of our buildings. Our buildings have been like open coats, we first need to button up. Our winters will remain mild, but our summers will likely be getting less benign. We start with the roof, because that’s the largest source of heat loss. To keep that lightweight, we use fluffy stuff. Insulating the walls is an opportunity to increase their personality. We love walls with

character, and it’s the walls that describe the house: we say stone house, brick house, log cabin. But we’ve been told thin flat walls are all we can afford.

The retrofit: the best way to lower our carbon footprint, because we recycle carbon investments already made., in the foundation and structural frame. AND the house is already plugged into the common infrastructure: utilities, but also roads and community.

So we plan on including:

1. recycled newsprint in roof

2. straw bale walls

3. new windows

4. heat pump heating

a. both heating and cooling

b. much more efficient than resistance electric heat

c. get off natural gas

5. conductive cooktop - safer, no gas

6. heat pump water heater

a. more efficient

b. no gas

7. exhaust will cool pantry


Carolyn’s cottage

1. First, increase the density that shares the infrastructure

2. Designed for aging in place, and those aging to afford a live-in caretaker.

3. Utilize a new bale system that combines the ease and familiarity of stud walls and the super

insulation of straw bales.

4. Create a flex space in the attic for spilllover uses

5. Gigantic porch to encourage outdoor living


We love to work bits of natural wonder and beauty into everything we create - why should our homes be any different?! Ecological Building is both a design process and the structures that result from it - centered around taking cues from nature's patterns and other wisdoms. Our homes have and will continue to be built with nature in mind at every step of the way, without sacrificing comfort. We're taking great care in choosing our building materials that incur minimal environmental impacts in their production, use, and eventual disposal. When possible, we plan to make use of recycled or re-used items first - before seeking out virgin materials. We're of course minimizing the use of any building materials that off-gas or could otherwise threaten our health. We've designed buildings that are altars to the sun: maximizing incoming light and heat through windows on the south sides of our buildings which will heat thick thermal north walls. We'll use straw bales (because they are renewable and locally available) for our first floor walls. We'd love if it we could build straw bale load-bearing walls (as many people are) but this isn't allowed by the county in our area... yet!