I am sure that many of you will have seen Ben Law's house featured on Channel 4ís Grand Designs programme, first shown in 2003 and repeated in 2004 (and probably every year since! This is a truly low-impact and beautiful building sited within the woodland from which most of the building timbers came from.
The chestnut timber-framed woodland house (featured in detail in Building for a Future magazine, Vol 13, No 4, Spring 2004) is in-filled with local straw bales and plastered using clay from the site and locally sourced lime. The roof is of chestnut shingles, the weatherboard of local, hand-milled oak and the window frames from hand-planed ash.
The whole structure cost just £28,000 as it was built by Ben Law himself and the help of volunteers and used no crane, no waste, no skips and no mains electricity. Power comes from the sun and wind; heat from wood and solar panels, water from a local spring and rainwater. Greywater is purified using reedbeds and the compost toilet feeds the fruit trees in the orchard. For those of you that saw this inspirational programme, and for those that did not, here is the book that describes the building of the house in detail.
The book provides information on the design process, materials used, costings, project management and the building techniques used. Some superb photos of the building process and finished house accompany the text.