About us

Ahoy! We are Rob, Karen and wee Mia.

We returned to Canada after a decade in London, UK with a small child in tow and decided to set-up a sustainable (more on this later) 21st century homestead on 5.65 acres of fir, alder and meadow on Gabriola Island, BC, Canada.

On our menu is a site-cut roundwood timber framed house with light clay straw walls and a cob floor and a half a kilometre of vegetable beds. Down the road a few hundred fruit trees, possibly a cidery/meadery, bees, maybe a boat building shop and a grand sailing adventure to the south Pacific (so says Rob). Along the way will be plenty of home brew, bread, wood splitting and crafting from the abundance at our fingertips.

Wee Mia on posts from our future house

Wee Mia sitting on our future house

14 thoughts on “About us

  1. Wishing you guys the best of luck in your new endeavour. Got your blog from Francisco.
    I’m all for following dreams. Thank you for letting us be part of yours.

  2. Oh wow! Its a long way from the Straw Bale Building course we were on together in Stanmer Park.
    I am just in awe of you all. Great courage, massive commitment and tremendous vision! As many people can be heard to say “maybe one day I’ll do that” – there you are making it happen right now. Thank you for inspiring me and sharing your story.

    • Cheers Caimin! Nice to hear from you, I hope all is well and thanks for the encouraging words. The decision to do it was diffcult but once we made the leap the path has been clear and the work very enjoyable. I’ve found action to be the solution to most of life’s quandries. When in doubt, swing a hammer or stack some bales!

  3. Moved from Berlin to the Southern Californian Desert, bought a run-down house on five acres, thought: oh, cough-cough, what a lot of work. Best tool ever in the desert: a jackhammer. Good luck.

  4. Hi Rob ! Nice to see you again last weekend, took a little searching to find your blog, but very glad i did. What an amazing job you’ve both done on the home and the garden. Incredible, and thank you for all the detailed posts, very informative ! Hoping to help you with the walls if my visits to the island work out.

  5. Hi Rob,

    Wow, fantastic stuff your doing! I live on the Sunshine Coast and am starting a project using “slip-chip” wall infill (came a straw clay but with wood chips- easier to find here…). I am desperately seeking an engineer that feels comfortable with this style of wall system and lives in the area… Any leads? The one I am using now was a bust and had left me scrambling with looming deadlines. Would be very appreciative of any advice you could give me on this!



    P.S I highly recommend sailing around Van Isle if you have not done so already… Did it this summer and it was incredible. Would be a good warm up for the South Pacific 😉

    • Hi Ben. Try Kris Dick at Building Alternatives. Kris is my engineer and he’s engineered several slip-chip projects on the coast. You could also track down and ask Amanda-Rae of the Mudgirls. She’s building right now in Roberts Creek and is using an engineer. The round Van Isle trip is high on my list! Cheers

  6. Hello Rob,

    Brigitte here,
    I was also on that famous building with-straw-balls course and still looking for my own dream!
    What an achievement and thank you for allowing us to follow your work.
    All the best from East Sussex!

  7. Greetings

    Hoping you can point me in the right direction for Gabriola Island portable saw mill fellows?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.


    • Hi. Lots of mills on the island but I’m not sure if anyone is doing mobile on-site milling right now. The guy I used moved to Malcolm Island and the other guy moved to the interior. Maybe throw it out on the community facebook page?

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