Natural Building


Shelter By Hand Inc. believe in using locally available, natural materials whenever possible. Straw bales are great fit as infill, or as a wrapped wall system around a timber frame. As owner of Camel's Back Construction, Tina Therrien has had over fifteen years of experience working with straw bales. To find out more about straw bale construction, please visit our Camel's Back website, or the Ontario Natural Building Coalition site. 


Shelter By Hand are available to teach workshops and consult on a variety of natural building techniques, including straw bale, slip-straw, cordwood, earthbag, and natural plasters. We continue to expand our knowledge of clay plasters, and lime plasters including a very specialised Moroccan plaster, tadelakt. We often work with one of our esteemed colleagues and master plasterer, Michael Henry, of Natural Plaster, for some plastering expertise. 


Tadelakt is an extremely smooth, waterproof plaster. 

First straw bale home built 

in Haiti with Builders without Borders

Earth plaster in Thailand.

Reclaimed timber frame/straw bale home, Burleigh Falls, ON


Wood chips mixed with a clay slurry can be tamped into a wood lath frame, and then plastered for a beautiful and affordable wall system. 

Many hands help apply this lime plaster at Morninglory Farm in Killaloe, including the owner!

Chopped straw mixed with a clay slurry form these thermally sound walls. 

These straw bale walls are neatly prepped and awaiting plaster. 

An organic farmer, John Wise of Wise Acres grew his own house- it is made of organic spelt.