Find Property That Agrees with

Allow yourself some room for intuition when choosing property. If a particular site feels good and meets your price and location needs, go with that choice. Similarly,if a site meets all your requirements but simply doesn't turn your crank, then let it go and keep looking elsewhere. If possible, visit your potential site several times and over a few seasons; seasonal changes can radically transform the land of your dreams. Anticipate the view when the trees are with and without leaves. Examine the ground for signs of spring flooding and water movement.

Right: The Cook home sits on the edge of one of Canada's fastest growing urban areas, yet retains a country charm that combines the heritage designs of the area with a modern presence. Cook residence, Kanata, Ontario

Below: Settling a home into its landscape so it looks like it belongs is one of the great challenges to designers. Form and color must work together seamlessly, as with Pat Marcotte and Sherry Smith's owner-built home. Marcotte/Smith residence, Bancroft, Ontario

Below right: Natural light loves the slightly irregular surfaces of natural materials. Dilschneider residence, Ferndale, Ontario.

Right: Round log timbers act as floor joists for the second floor of this two story, load-bearing bale home, and were harvested from the property where the home was built, lowering the building costs and blending well with the plastered walls.

Greg Magwood residence, Eldorado Ontario

Right: Found objects often find new life in bale walls, in this case as a "truth window" into the bale wall of Jan Cohens owner-built home. Jan Cohen residence, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Bottom: A thickly plastered window sill makes a light-filled home for plants. Greg Magwood residence, Eldorado, Ontario

Bottom: A thickly plastered window sill makes a light-filled home for plants. Greg Magwood residence, Eldorado, Ontario

Right: Wood, stone and plastered straw complement each other as natural materials.

Below: Straw bale walls can blend perfectly with timber framing techniques, as evidenced by this home in Routt County, Colorado. The main house is a bale-wrapped timber frame, while the garage in the forefront is conventional frame construction. Both photos Routt County, Colorado home designed by Robert Hawkins, Architect

Right: A home settles subtley into its surroundings without being shy of colour or form. Warburton residence, Hockley Valley, Ontario

Below: Uneven wall edges catch and bounce interior light in a soothing way. Joy Allan, Bert Weir residence, Parry Sound, Ontario.

Melinda Zytaruk

Right: New straw bale buildings can recreate architecture of the past. This home echoes the churches and school houses of the early settlers. Wise/Jansman residence, Centreville, Ontario

Below: The soft shapes of plastered bales can inspire playfulness with other building materials. Bringing the bale wall half-wall into the room provides division of space without stark delineation. Designed by Robert Hawkins, Architect

Jan Cohen's home blend well with its snowy surroundings.

Cohen residence, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

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