Information and Services

Sustainable Building Practices For the Modern World.

Goals & Purpose

Tallgrass Vernacular exists to educate and provide living examples of sustainable building practices to students, clients, code officials and municipal building departments. It is the hope that these techniques can be widely utilized in the modern building and architectural world, where the advantages of working with local and sustainable materials far outweigh the costs and limited applications of more conventional options.


Services include but are not limited to:

  • Workshops (Weekend to Weeklong workshops to teach communities different techniques of the natural building trade)
  • Heaters (Residential, code approved Rocket Stoves and Masonry Heaters)
  • Ovens (both commercial and residential, Brick or Earthen)
  • Blueprint and Design Services for Heaters and Ovens
  • Earthen Floors
  • Clay Based Plasters and Paints
  • Strawbale Outbuildings (Cottages, Sauanas, Chicken Coops, Etc)
  • Cob Benches
  • Earthen Garden Walls
  • Privacy Fences


Jim Schalles is the Founder of Tallgrass Vernacular. After receiving his Bachelors of Environmental Sciences in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, he traveled through Patagonia where he became enamored with Natural Building in the town of El Bolson, Argentina. Upon returning to the United States, he headed out for Oregon where he began his education at Aprovecho School of Permaculture. He has taken classes and workshops up and down the West Coast of the U.S. and began his own building career by practicing with Cob Ovens which has turned into a passion of wood-fired devices. He is now a member of the Masonry Heater Association of North America and is well versed in numerous natural building techniques. His hope is to start a School of Natural Building for the Great Plains in the Loess Hills of Western Iowa and to one day have a baby bison grazing on his Tallgrass Prairie planted living roof.