The Straworks Difference

Straworks Inc. is one of Ontario’s few straw bale-building companies, and we work within a 60 km radius of Peterborough, Ontario. Since 2004, we have designed, estimated, and built 15 straw bale buildings from start-to-finish, and done the bale work or the plastering on another 20. We take pride in our work and showcase it at every opportunity because when built properly, straw works.

Straworks is a different construction company because we “do well by doing good.” That is what the founder of Engineers Without Borders, Bernard Amadei, asks of today’s entrepreneurs. We are proud to fit that description. We build carbon-storing, high-performing buildings of primarily natural and local materials, and we do this by forging and maintaining excellent working relationships. Crew members are inspired and challenged by their work in an ever-changing field. We involve, empower and educate our clients in the process. Meals enjoyed together are the testimony of our success and the fuel for it.

Straworks respectfully acknowledges that we live and work in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagig Anishnaabeg.

We strive to honour the Treaties our ancestors signed and to attempt to see them from the First Peoples’s perspective. We pay attention to ongoing issues caused by colonizers, colonialism, and the government and are committed to decolonization.

Straworks’s is grateful to live in this beautiful place and is committed to working respectfully with the land and each other as stewards and good neighbours.

“Straworks was my choice of builder because of Deirdre’s thorough approach from the start of the project and ease of working with.  She designed my passive solar straw bale house and had a relaxed approach to the nuts and bolts of the house layout and what would work best.

The results were a solidly built house, naturally beautiful and built to a match a human scale. The house has become part of the landscape and locals driving by often stop to ask about it.  She has designed the passive solar aspect to the extent it contributes roughly half of my winter heating and cool and dry in the summer. The earthen plaster feels right somehow when compared to drywall. The solid walls and large window sills give a feel of solidity and perminance that is not present in modern constructed houses.

Deirdre and the Straworks team were great to work with, professional at all times and exceeded my expectations daily. Great communications and discussions on options and providing information for me to make decisions during the process.  A pleasure to deal with and if I ever build again I know who I would choose.”


“We had the pleasure of building our home with Deirdre this past summer (2009) and from the moment she arrived on-site we felt we were in capable hands. Her easy going manner but meticulous planning made our project very enjoyable. Her crew, which comes and goes depending on the task at hand, were as professional and hardworking as she was. Working with Deirdre allowed us to complete our project on time and budget, with no surprises. We couldn’t have been more delighted with the outcome.”

Donna and Andre

“Deirdre from Straworks completed her first Straw Bale building in the Centre Hastings Skatepark. The building is a fully functional canteen with two washrooms and a family washroom. Deirdre gave us the encouragement to strive for an environmentally friendly park. What impressed me the most about Deirdre was her work ethic and her pride in her workmanship! Although not a part of her job, she also took a real interest in the young people in the park. Thanks Deirdre for playing a big part in our unique community park.”


“Deirdre designed and built a beautiful straw bale building for us. During the course of working with her, we found Deirdre to be a very dedicated, thorough and honest person. First, she teamed with us to do the design. Then, she and her crew built a superior product from the design. The result is a building that is impressive in character and one that is built to exceptionally high standards. It is admired by many for its fine workmanship and thoughtful incorporations of design details. I would most definitely recommend Deirdre as a designer and builder to anyone who wants to build their dream straw bale building.”


“When we first met Deirdre we were in a bit of a state because we were moving and a lot of budget items hadn’t been finalized. Dee’s calm, cool manner put us completely at ease and we felt we could trust her. And she didn’t disappoint. Dee is thorough, dependable and unflappable which is amazing given the unpredictability of natural building. She led us through each stage of the process making sure we understood what was happening and would help us work out creative solutions to some demanding design challenges we had. D also works very efficiently to save the client money and seldom did her costs vary from what she had quoted us. It was very exciting working with someone so skilled at this type of building and seeing the beauty of the craftsmanship come to life!”


“Deirdre McGahern is thorough, hard-working, and knows her stuff. She did an expert job on design and consultation for our straw bale house.”

“She and and the whole Straworks crew did a great job with our plastering; they were fast, tidy, and pleasant to work with. We have been very happy with the results and have been cozy in our house for five years now. We heartily recommend Straworks to those interested in straw bale and green building.”

Emily and Aric, Frontenac County

Recent Projects

photo of addition


This is the addition that every growing family who purchases a Century home could use: A mudroom, bathroom, laundry room, garage with living space above and lots of insulation in contrast to the home’s double brick walls. This is one of our only design-estimate-build projects that is not straw bale. The existing footprint left only…Read more

photo of outside


Our largest and most involved project is also our most natural and locally sourced. The 300 straw bales used to insulate the exterior walls were grown across the road. The same farmer felled pine and cedar trees on the property and milled them for the exterior porches and the cedar shingles. The compressed earth blocks…Read more

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