A $9000 dome home for early retirement in Thailand

Steve Areen $9,000 house A former flight attendant has grounded himself in Thailand in a masonry dome-home he built in just six weeks. The 500 square foot structure is simply constructed much like a tropical igloo, with cement blocks stepping in for ice bricks.  The best part?  It cost under $10,000!

Steve Areen $9,000 house Steve Areen hatched the hobbit-like home idea in 2011 while visiting a friend who was building dome homes for his Thailand retreat.  And what a friend!

Hajjar Gibran also offered Areen a small plot of land on his organic mango farm, and with an assist from Gibran and his son-in-law, six weeks later Areen was living in the finished building.

He took a few more weeks to install doors, window screens, and surrounding landscape – including a small pond.

Steve Areen $9,000 house Labor costs are low in Thailand, and the materials – cinder block, clay brick, and stone pavers for flooring and as decorative “tile” –  were locally sourced.  Plumbing is rudimentary, and the electrical system is basic. The building shell came in under $6,000; accessories and furniture bumped it up another 50%.

Steve Areen $9,000 house According to the Daily Mail, he’s been bitten by the dome-home-bug and is looking for more property back in the USA to build another.

“As much as I love my dome home, I probably would not have built it if was a long process. The low cost and time-efficiency of using blocks is what enticed me into building.  Because suitable compressed earth blocks were not available at the time, cement blocks and clay bricks were used,” said Areen.

Back in Thailand, Gibran is experimenting with more sustainable techniques. He recently built a compressed earth brick press and is planning to build a dome-home with cellular concrete, which offers better insulation. Hajjar conducts workshops in dome building at his retreat, The Gibran Center – link here.

His website bio implies a connection with the Lebanese poet and philosopher Khalil Gibran – it’s a read as interesting as this mango-colored house.

All images from Steve Areen

About Laurie Balbo

At university, she was annoyed that her architecture degree was called a Bachelor of Environmental Design. As a working architect, she was annoyed that projects weren’t designed with more environmental consideration. She’s a usually-annoyed architect and sustainability specialist who hopes that venting her frustrations will make a positive environmental difference. Her husband just hopes it makes her less annoyed. Born in the United States, Laurie has managed design and managed construction of ports and airports in New York, Dublin and now Amman. She blogs on knitting and other arcane topics at www.fibermeister.com Laurie can be reached at [email protected]

3 thoughts on “A $9000 dome home for early retirement in Thailand

  1. Pingback: A $9000 dome home for early retirement in Thailand – Green Prophet « Efficiently Green | Green & Efficient Building News Feed | © 2011 Geoffrey de Sibert

  2. Elle

    The overall design is fabulous, beautiful–I love it. What impresses me even more is the level of detail. Such attention was paid to the little things that the work reminded me of my great-grandmother’s saying, “God is in the details, missy.” Absolutely wonderful.

    Too bad the workshop to learn the specific technique is in Thailand!


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