Interviewer: I’m pleased to say that we have Tom Williams with us in our studio today. Now,Tom Williams has built himself a very interesting home and he’s here to tell us all about it.Tom, thanks so much for coming. Tom: My pleasure. Interviewer: Well, first I suppose we should tell our listeners what is so unique about your house. Tom: I must admit, my house is unique. I just love inviting people to come and see it. I always make a point of being at the front of the house when they arrive.The look on their faces never fails to amuse me.
Interviewer:You mean because they are amazed at how attractive the house is? Tom: In part, I suppose. I mean, it is lovely, but that’s not what amazes them the most. What they really can’t believe is that the house is made of straw, but it looks so sturdy and well-built. Interviewer: I see. So the house is very strong, but it was very economical to build, wasn’t it? Tom: Yes, it was. And to tell you the truth, if I ever build another one, it will be even less expensive. The one I have just completed cost me about £4,000 altogether. Through talking to friends, and now that I’ve had some experience, I realise I could have saved about £1,000 if I had cut my own wood for the frame of the house. I didn’t think of doing that at the time, so I had the wood cut by professionals at the local sawmill. Interviewer: Right. So ... going back to the strength of the house ... how strong can a house made of straw actually be? Tom:Well, it’s all in the way it’s constructed. First things first, it’s very important to have a really good foundation, or base. I built mine with rocks. If you take time to fit the rocks together well, you won’t need to use any mortar to stick them together.You’ll find that once the bales of straw are placed on top of the foundation, they’ll be heavy enough to hold the rocks in place. Interviewer: And then you build the walls? Tom: No actually, not yet. Next you construct your floor.You won’t believe how easy it is. I used old wood to make a wooden frame and then nailed boards to that. Once the floor was completed, it was time to build the roof so that it was ready to put on as soon as the walls were finished. A friend cut some planks for me from a couple of fallen trees that we found in a near-by forest. Of course, I had to get permission to do that. Interviewer: So what about the straw? Tell me about that. Tom: Well, I used rectangular bales of straw – 200 altogether. If you can believe it, each bale only cost me one pound.Then, after the bales were in place, I covered them in plastic sheeting. It’s very important that the straw stays dry. If moisture gets in, the straw will eventually rot. Interviewer: So,Tom.We’re about to run out of time. So tell us ... apart from having a great place to live, what do you get out of all this? Tom: Good question.You know, I do care about what effect I have on the world. Also, I am very concerned about how much people are spending on mortgages, rent etc. But most of all, I’m just proud of the fact that I’ve built something on my own. I feel so content sitting there in my straw house in the middle of winter. The snow is falling outside, and yet, I’m inside where it is quiet and warm and I can’t help but think, ‘Yes, this is what it’s all about.’ Interviewer: Well, thank you Tom for being with us today. You really have accomplished something incredible. Just one last question, though. Is there any way our listeners can contact you if they would like to find out more about building a house of straw? Tom: Sure. You can email me via my website at www.tomsstrawhouse.com with any questions you have. It might take me a little while to write back because I’m getting a lot of enquiries these days, but I will write back eventually! Interviewer: OK, once again, thank you very much for being on the show,Tom.