Steve Areen is not your typical builder. After a long career as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, he had an opportunity to build his own dome home on an organic mango farm in northeastern Thailand. Taking cues from his brother-in-law's brother, he used a pivoting arm technique to create a perfect sphere and then built his little Dome House using locally-made concrete bricks. Despite having just two helpers, Steve completed construction of his tiny home in just six weeks, and it only cost him about $8,000.
Truth be told, rules are a little lax in Thailand, so Steve wasn’t required to obtain building permits for his 500 square foot home, which naturally shortened the process. Then he added his own finishing touches once the main building was complete, including doors, screens, shelves, a pond and a gazebo, stonework and landscaping – all of which he did himself using materials sourced within the direct vicinity.
Although he wasn’t able to take his tranquil abode off the grid this time, such that the water is heated and the house is illuminated with electricity powered by conventional sources, the home is naturally cooled and lit during the daytime thanks to cutouts in the roof. The bedroom dome is capped with a beautiful grass roof and the bathroom, like an atrium, is filled with plants and completed with subtle touches such as a bamboo faucet that funnels water into a beautiful bowl – like cupped Buddha hands.
The terracotta paint meshes beautifully with the lush tropical fauna, while small ponds add even greater serenity to the site and design. This is Steve’s first Dome House, but the experience has inspired him to help others achieve something similar, so he is currently scouting out property in Oregon with a group of people so that he can build another – except he hopes the next one will be constructed using more sustainable earthen bricks instead. Meanwhile, he doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll be building one for us next!