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.
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%.
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