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My summer project - turn stone wall ruins into a lovely felting studio

 
sophie streit
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Hello,
I found this very interesting forum and after reading in it about a week I would like to show you my summer project for this year and hope to find some advise here.
And I hope you can follow my ideas as English is not my mother tongue and I am sometimes missing the right words

First a few facts:
- We are only renting - so I do not want to spend a lot of money for the building
- I never build before but I have looked through many books about straw bale, cob and earth bag
- I'd like to make a small felting studio as I simply have not enough room for it in the house.
- There was an old stone building on the place where I want to build ...there is a second building right next where the Landlord build a new roof on without fixing the walls first and the wall in the middle is shared by the two buildings.
- I am in Ireland (West Cork) - I know that is probably not the best place to build with straw bales but it should be fine for a few years. Also just want to see how straw bale buildings performe here to build our house maybe in the future - so it is kind of my test building as well.
- I would love to have a green roof.

So, here where my ideas and concerns:
- take down the existing walls (except the one shared with the building next to it) to a height of about 50-80 cm
Concern: I am not sure if the walls are in a good enough condition.... Where the walls are really thick (about 80 cm) you can see that there are many "airspaces"..... and many bugs seems to life in it. So I am not sure about either get a digger and remove everything and rebuild the stone wall or just grouting the existing wall after taking them down to 50 cm.
Especially the shared gives me some headache as it really leans into the place where I want to build and I do not risk to bring the roof down. So I thought I make my new building a bit shorter and build a separate wall.
The west wall is covert with the subsoil and rocks from the main house.... I will have to remove that as well.

Windows and doors: I would like to have a door in the east wall and 1 window each in the south and west wall.

I am not sure about building load bearing or post and beam. I would have the wood on the land but I would have to cut it first Here is a little forest of evergreens here and the landlord would like those trees to be cut as they got way to high and take all the sun from the house. So I would like to make the roof or posts (if needed/wanted) with round wood.
I would prefer the load bearing just because I think it is less labor intensive.

I could also imagine not to build with straw bale but with cob instead - only thing is that I do not have a subsoil with lot of clay in it....

I attached some pictures how it looks now.

Those are just my first thoughts...I am really at the start. I am open to any suggestion or ideas.

Thanks a lot for helping
Sophie



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Milo Jones
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Wow, Sophie, What a fun project!

I'd lean toward keeping as much of the existing walls as possible. Especially concerning the shared wall, you do not want to do anything that might weaken that.
I would be curious to dig down inside the walls to see if you can find the original floor.

I don't have any experience in a project like this, but I hope you keep us posted with your experiences.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Hello Sophie, welcome to permies ,your english is just fine. What a nice old building, must have a wonderful history. I don't have any advise but will be interested to see how it turns out. Especially if you can tell us how the straw bale does.
 
sophie streit
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Thank you for your welcome.

I started to day to take down the stone wall...well only a bit - there are big stones in and they are heavy. I decided to take them down to a height of 50 cm....the old walls are nice but they are just not stable any more.
I also try to dig out some dirt - there seems to be stone beneath...but I do not know yet if it it is concrete or just rocks.
 
Morgan Bowen
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With that old of a wall it must be a stone foundation. In the United States the Aesthetic value of a wall like that is very impressive. In my opinion you should save as much of the wall as possible and incorporate it into the buildout of your structure. It is an amazing project. Good luck with your efforts I would love to see pictures as you progress.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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