The story

When artist Gordon Smedt began planning his Mediterranean-style home in California's Santa Cruz mountains, little did he expect that his finished dwelling would consist, in the main part, of straw.

"At first I thought it was kind of a joke," he told CNN. "But I did more reading on it and I liked what it did environmentally, using a renewable resource."

Far from leaving him vulnerable to the Big Bad Wolf, Smedt's 'straw-bale' home protects him and his family from cold winter nights, the hot summer sun -- and even from earthquakes. Read full article »

Don't Miss