Headwaters Farm House

Residential - 2014 - Cobourg, ON

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 that make 1000 sq.ft. of floor were made 9km down the road primarily of local clay and sand. The earthen floor in the root cellar is made of clay sourced 300 km away. Two thirds of the house sits of a rubble trench foundation made of local aggregate instead of concrete.

Set amongst drumlins, acres of agriculture, mature forests and a stunning view of lake Ontario, this house is home to a family of eight and is base central for Headwaters Farm Many a meal were shared between crew and homeowners over the course of this year long build which helped keep the energy up and create friendships that have lasted beyond their move in.



Size (not incl. basement)

4400 sq.ft.

Structure, systems, finishes

  • Straworks Wall System No. 1 one storey walls complete with clay-lime plaster
  • Double-framed walls insulated with blown-in cellulose to R-40 for the two storey walls
  • Durisol (ICF) basement and a rubble trench foundation
  • Compressed earth block floor made and installed by Fifth Wind
  • Earthen floor in the root cellar/ basement
  • Pellet fired boiler / hydronic radiant heating system
  • Plumped for grey water re-use.
  • Timber Frame Porch by Whippletree

Services included

  • foundation
  • framing
  • straw bale walls
  • plastering
  • siding & trim
  • earthen floor
  • post & beam porches