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NEW VENTURES: Naturally built home is first for Lehigh Valley; more planned

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Construction workers use hay bales to line the walls of a naturally built home in Nazareth.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTISANAL STRUCTURES Construction workers use hay bales to line the walls of a naturally built home in Nazareth.

One of the newest homes in the Lehigh Valley has been made the old-fashioned way.

And after speaking with the Lehigh Valley Builders Association, the man who built it said the old-fashioned new house is the first of its kind in the area.

Mark Southard, owner of Artisanal Structures LLC in Fountain Hill, is hosting an open house March 17 at Little Pond Arts Retreat in Nazareth where other builders, architects and the public can tour the Lehigh Valley's first naturally built house.

The house uses mostly natural and recycled material in its construction, while most of the building techniques are of the traditional hand-crafted variety.

For example, the beams and flooring come from recycled barn wood. The insulation is hay bales and the walls are constructed of lime and earthen plaster, which can be taken right from the earth. But in this case it was taken from a large amount of clay being disposed of from the art studios at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem.

“It was still recycled but it saved us the process of having to sift the clay from the soil,” Southard said.

The plasters were then mixed by hand – and sometimes foot – and spread onto the walls using a hand trowel.

Other features include a live-roof attached greenhouse and a rubble-trench foundation.

Southard said the demographic he's aiming for is families who are more eco-conscious.

“People who are aware of their footprint,” he said.

Also, he said people just looking for the more natural feel of a house built using traditional materials and techniques also are attracted to the concept.

“It's for people with the Zen mindset. People who want a home that breathes,” he said. “It has an entirely different environment than the feel of modern homes.”

Southard said the cost of one of his company's naturally built homes is in line with other custom-built homes. He said they cost about $200 to $250 per square foot or $400,000 to $500,000 for an average 2,000-square-foot home.

While this home is Artisanal Structures' debut of the naturally built home concept, Southard already has plans for the construction of three more, one at Lake Nockamixon and two in Emmaus.

For more information on naturally built homes and the open house, visit www.artisanalstructures.com.

Indian restaurant opens in Pottstown

The Tri-County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting March 3 on a new Indian restaurant in Pottstown.

Cuisine India specializes in kebabs, tandoori and naan bread. It also has vegetarian dishes.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m.

Cuisine India is at 232 King St., Pottstown.

For more information, visit www.cuisineindia.net.

Dickey’s opens in Palmer

A new Dickey's Barbecue Pit has opened in the Greater Lehigh Valley, in Palmer Township.

It is the second Dickey's opened in Pennsylvania by franchisees Ken and Kathleen Lynch. They also have a Dickey's in Stroud Township, just north of Stroudsburg.

The fast casual barbecue restaurant is in the 25th Street Shopping Plaza at 2411 Nazareth Road.

All Dickey's restaurants offer eight signature meats, which are smoked on-site, barbecue sauce and sides.

“We plan to make Dickey's an integral part of our community and look forward to what the future holds,” Ken Lynch said.

The Dallas-based family-run barbecue franchise was founded by Travis Dickey in 1941.

The chain now has 600 locations in 44 states.

Editor's note: We want to hear about your new business or product. Contact Stacy Wescoe at 610-807-9619 ext. 4104 or send an email to stacyw@lvb.com. To be considered, a new venture should be less than 60 days old or starting within 60 days.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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