Ionia Guest House

Luxury accommodation in the Aegean countryside

Straw bales, bar stools, and a trip to the lake

So, I have to be quick with this post — early start tomorrow. For once I’m going to try to let the photos speak for themselves and not talk so much.

Roof complete, straw bales going in.

As you can see, the roof on building two is now complete. We had 250 straw bales delivered a couple of weeks ago, and they’re rapidly being stacked into walls.

Interior with windows and straw.

Beams, columns, and bales.

The weather has still been a bit mixed-up, but hopefully now we’re in the final stretch towards the long, dry summer. All the rain should hopefully mean a good year for local farmers anyway.

Rain clouds looming to the east. Temporary plastic sheeting helps protect the straw-bale walls.

There were lots of 5 x 25 cm timber pieces left over from trimming the ends of the rafters, so we thought we might be able to make them into bar stools for the cafe. Here are the two prototypes. The legs are angled for stability, which seems to make them more comfortable as the rail for your feet is further forward than usual.

Home-made bar stools.

One size fits all, we hope.

You can’t build stuff all the time though, so one Sunday we took time out for a trip to Lake Bafa (Bafa Gölü). It’s about 40km south of us on the road to Bodrum. Normally we just take the main road along the southern shore and admire the views, but this time we went exploring a bit and found the lovely village of Kapıkırı at the eastern end. The village is built on the ruins of ancient Heracleia and is really worth the drive. Lots of strange rock formations and a very laid-back restaurant on the sandy lake shore.

View of Lake Bafa with some of the ruins of Heracleia in the foreground.

Village of Kapıkırı.

Lunch on the beach.

Fishing boat on the lake.

Sirem’s sister Çisem enjoying the view.

Some readers have asked for more dog photos: here’s one of Zeytin in a rare contemplative moment. And of course there is never a shortage of cats to photograph.

Zeytin having another lazy afternoon.

Sasha has made a new home on the straw bale stockpile.

Leila on the rug.

And finally, a big thank-you to Cees, Anne, and Rene: you must have had the worst holiday ever but we appreciate the help!


  1. I like the bar stools with the pre-shaped behinds milled into the surface!


    • Jason

      26 March, 2018 at 9:01 am

      You noticed the pre-shaping! I hoped it was visible. :)

      Dog pics coming, I just need them to stop running towards the camera whenever they see it.

  2. Love the bar stools!

    • Jason

      26 March, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Thanks! We were worried 25cm wasn’t deep enough front-to-back but they are really comfy.

  3. Hi Jason and Sirem
    It has been a while since we last responded but we have followed your progress via each of your Posts – and we have to say that we are very impressed. You should be very proud of what you have achieved and we expect you are looking to the stage when you can sit back and relax and admire your own handiwork.
    What is the timing when you hope to have your new home day to move into.

    Your handiwork in producing the new stools looks most impressive. We hope one of these days to get over there again to see the upgrade for ourselves.

    Hope all is well with you both and with Cisem.

    Lots of love and best wishes.

    Marg and John

    • Jason

      2 April, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Hi to you both and thanks, as ever, for the positive feedback.

      We’re hoping to get the new guest rooms ready for late summer. August would be good. Then after that the final push on finishing our place will happen. I’m not exactly sure when it will be 100% finished, but it would be really nice if our place was at least livable by next winter. So maybe the priority would be getting our bedroom and one bathroom in usable condition, moving in, and then finishing off a lot of the internal decorative work while being already installed in the house.

      Cisem and Sirem and I are all doing OK, thanks. Maybe Cisem would welcome a faster finish here so we can finally help her out with some improvements she needs at her place (turning a big veranda into a new kitchen, etc.)

      Would be great to see you over here again whenever you can make it. I would also look forward to seeing your reaction to all the changes. :)

      Love from us.

  4. Wow such a warm and inviting glow to all your building work. The bar stools are great, love the design, highly polished finish, honed out depressions for the buns, and the effect of them sitting on the lovely rustic brick floor. Such a lovely day of rest you planned too. So much to see in Turkey!! Hope you are both keeping as well as the animals look.
    Love Dot & Dick

    • Jason

      2 April, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks so much, Dot. I am happy that you spotted that design detail on the stools. :)

      We are doing pretty well, thanks. Need to stay energetic and motivated for the remaining parts of the build but the nice weather is here now and that helps a lot.

      Love to you both.

  5. Loved watching “Our Dream Home” program .I want to build myself a home just like the your’s but I am thinking every place that is built of mud/straw bale is unique well ,at lest starts out a copy of a plan but as it grows ,takes on twist and turns that are individuals way of working with the materials. I have always wanted a straw bale home.As well want to visit some day soon.

    Kid regards from New Zealand
    Gloria Clout

    • Jason

      21 April, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks, Gloria. I agree, everyone seems to have their own take on straw bale and mud construction. You get some happy accidents where you try something one way and it just works first time so you keep doing it that way.

      We’ve been really pleased with how good the insulation is and how welcoming and cozy the interior feels. And yes, please do come and visit and see for yourself! :)

  6. Hi

    We saw your hotel on “Our Dream Hotel”
    We like it.
    How is the programme going.
    Cheers Greg and Trish.

    • Jason

      22 April, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Hi, Greg and Trish.

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed the episode. The TV programme has screened in a few places now which has been great. New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. (Although in the UK so far it only went out at an early morning time slot so we’re hoping they might repeat it when people are actually watching!) I’m not sure about future developments: we’d love it if they came back for another look as part of a second series, but I guess that depends on how well the ratings turned out for series one. Whatever happens, it’s all been fantastic publicity for us that we could never have afforded otherwise.

      As for the building programme, well, it continues! :)

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