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Man Builds Amazing Tiny Dome Home for only $9k

This is the story of a man named Steve who designed and built his very own tiny dome home for only $9,000. It all really started in 2011, when Steve visited his friend in northeast Thailand on their mango farm.

Thanks to his friend and their family’s help, he was soon able to build most of it in only six weeks time for less than $6,000. The details like doors, interior, landscaping, and such took a few more weeks of labor and another $3,000. So all-in-all, it only cost him about $9,000 and less than a few months to complete. And now he gets to enjoy 500 sq. ft. of bliss. Debt-free.

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Steve’s Debt-free Tiny Dome Home in Thailand


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen


Images © Steve Areen

Video Tour of Steve’s Tiny Dome Home

Read the original story: http://steveareen.com/domehome.html

See even more photos: http://steveareen.com/domehome/index.html


If you enjoyed this DIY, debt-free tiny dome home in Thailand you’ll LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with more!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 67 comments… add one }
  • Dominick Bundy
    August 19, 2014, 4:41 pm

    What a very cool place ,I like it..

    • Dominick Bundy
      August 19, 2014, 4:50 pm

      forgot to add , And the Price is right as well.. I never considered or thought about the color orange before . But this just seems to fit right in perfectly..Nothing I’d add or change..

      • Eric
        January 18, 2017, 4:42 am

        The price is right because it is in Thailand.

  • Dee Tuggle
    August 19, 2014, 4:46 pm

    This looks like a home built in a big clay pot. I love it!! It is so creative and beautifully done. Hooray to you for such an accomplishment!

    • Alex
      August 19, 2014, 9:17 pm

      Thanks Dee! Glad you enjoyed it too 🙂

  • scolley
    August 19, 2014, 6:05 pm

    A HOBBIT HOLE!!! I could live in that 😀

    • Alex
      August 19, 2014, 9:17 pm

      Me too. It’s awesome 😀

  • Comet
    August 19, 2014, 6:24 pm

    Very cool—-for a tropical place looks like the block construct might aid in cooling too—

    But if built in the States as an actual dwelling prob coast a bunch more than 9000$

    Where does he keep any “stuff” tho?

    • Alex
      August 21, 2014, 1:27 pm

      Yup. In the US it would be much more than $9k. Being in Thailand helped keep the cost down for sure.

    • Alex
      August 21, 2014, 1:28 pm

      And about the stuff…. I dont know. But I imagine he didn’t bring much with him to Thailand from the states. And I hear he wants to build one in the States next. So we’ll see.

      • Michelle
        January 18, 2016, 9:09 pm

        Alex, I’ve been enjoying your wonderful newsletter for months now. Thank you for sharing your passion with us. Could you keep us updated if he builds a tiny house in the U.S.? This tiny home is so Amazing I don’t even have words!

  • Cynthia
    August 19, 2014, 7:13 pm

    What an awesome home! I love the dome buildings and the casual and tasteful way things are done. How cool is that bathroom? Love the window loungers. I really can’t find fault with any of it, but I am envious. Could see myself living there very easily. Just love it. Great design!

    • Alex
      August 21, 2014, 1:29 pm

      Thanks Cynthia glad you liked it so much. I can’t find anything I’d change about it either.

  • alice h
    August 19, 2014, 9:47 pm

    That would make the most amazing space to do yoga, if you were into that kind of thing. I’m not but my friend that is would love it. I’d probably be up top reading and munching mangos, maybe sipping a bit of G&T, for medicinal purposes of course.

    • Alex
      August 20, 2014, 10:59 am

      Definitely a great space for yoga/meditation. I agree. Heck, I think just being in there would be meditative. And yeah– on a mango farm! Yum! Actually the domes look like mangos, don’t they? 😀

      …and what’s this ‘G&T’? ;D

      • alice h
        August 20, 2014, 1:41 pm

        OK, gin and tonic has a whiff of the old colonial days about it but definitely a nice little tipple once the sun has passed the yardarm. Not much quinine in today’s tonic water I’m afraid so the medicinal aspect is a bit dubious. Looks very cool under a black light. Pith helmet optional, as is singing “Mad dogs and Englishmen” when one has imbibed a trifle over the limit.

        • Alex
          August 21, 2014, 1:28 pm

          Thanks Alice 🙂

  • Susie M
    August 19, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Wow! now that’s a different way of living!! no possibility of getting down in dumps there! the whole place has such a happy laid back – no worries vibe – big time cool beans!

    • Alex
      August 20, 2014, 10:57 am

      Definitely has that ‘no worries vibe’ I just love it. Looks like a dream or out of a story book. Unbelievable that it’s actually a possibility to do it, isn’t it! Thanks Susie

  • Beatriz
    August 20, 2014, 12:18 am

    This is so delightful, best small house I have seen. Good to see construction details also.

    • Alex
      August 20, 2014, 10:51 am

      Thanks Beatriz glad you enjoyed it too 🙂

  • LK
    August 20, 2014, 10:24 am

    It made me feel more relaxed just looking at it. I can imagine waking up there and feeling so in tune with my surroundings – love it. And I also wonder how much it would cost to build in the states, and how much of the cost would be in getting the permits and maybe getting plans that would fit zoning laws, and.. Oops, I feel myself tensing up again.

    • Alex
      August 20, 2014, 11:01 am

      Plans, zoning, and gov’t do cause tension. LOL. Loved your comment. Thank you

  • August 20, 2014, 11:20 am

    This home is inspirational! And, as I was looking at it, realized it fits my own desire for a round, hobbit-type home, in the mountains of Colorado. So, I figure radiant floor heating, solar panels, and building them home into the ground (ram dirt style), would make it hospitable in the cold and hot climate here! Truly, this is a home with distinction and character!

    • Alex
      August 20, 2014, 12:49 pm

      Thanks Mary! I’d love to see something like this in Colorado. Glad you liked it too!

  • David
    August 20, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Great looking house!

    Question about CISTERNS: When I was in Thailand in 2012 I noticed that many cisterns were above ground AND elevated. But I was unable to find out why. Where I live we have to collect rain water in cisterns which are buried beneath the house in concrete vaults. Is there an advantage to having an above ground and elevated cistern?

  • Cindy
    August 21, 2014, 3:15 am

    He’s created his own little paradise. What a relaxing and amazing place!

    • Alex
      August 21, 2014, 10:25 am

      I get relaxed just by looking at it. Can’t imagine living there! Bliss.

  • Kelli
    August 21, 2014, 10:31 am

    This is one of my favorite tiny homes so far. It makes me think of Spongebob’s pineapple under the sea… but a luxury version… and I do mean that as a huge compliment!

    • Alex
      August 21, 2014, 1:19 pm

      I never thought of that! That’s just awesome. Thanks Kelli 🙂

  • Barb B
    August 21, 2014, 1:24 pm

    Wow! Just think…he gets to wake up INSIDE the sun every morning! I love the orange color. This little house is truly spectacular in every sense—also might add Steve has a great decorating gift. Nothing was overdone–just perfect!

    • Alex
      August 21, 2014, 1:30 pm


  • Rebecca
    September 2, 2014, 5:24 pm

    Prettiest house ever. Who needs stuff? Glorious life inside a mango.

  • Lorraine
    September 15, 2014, 3:20 am

    I was fully prepared to not like this home-I mean, I typically don’t care for the yurts, hobbit and dome-shaped small and tiny homes (not sure why, I guess it’s a matter of personal preference), but I watched the video and reviewed the pics and even visited Steve’s site, and…I don’t know, something about the…vibe, I guess, of this house just speaks to me…just its style and the layout, it’s very welcoming, calming and soothing. I do believe I’ve been converted, lol!!

  • October 8, 2014, 11:08 pm

    Love it. Especially the bedroom.

  • October 20, 2014, 1:39 pm

    I’ll just say what everyone else has said: FANTASTIC in every way. I’m stunned that it took only a couple of months for all to be said and done. wow. I wanna move to Thailand!

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 20, 2014, 3:17 pm

    This is one of the most amazing homes ever! I love, love, love it! There are no words to express how unique this house is, so l will quit babbling now.

  • zenLoki
    October 21, 2014, 1:01 am

    this is about as perfect a tiny house as I’ve seen. domes have consistently appealed to me and this one is exquisitely crafted and decorated. the construction looks very solid too. kudoos Steve.

  • Denise
    October 21, 2014, 4:46 am

    I love this, especially that ‘living’ shower.

  • November 5, 2014, 6:36 pm

    Love it!

    After checking out the build pics, I’m not sure aboutall the construction methods used as far as strength, but then I’m not a contractor. Either way. I found it fascinating.

    The end result is beautiful, hands down one of the more earthy feeling home designs once combined with the decorating and landscaping chosen.

    My kind of place for sure. Or one of them that I’ve seen here and other sites, as I like a few, but they’re all along the working with the landscape as opposed to against it design styles as Steve’s is.

    I’ve emailed him hoping for some insight on how some of the things were built. Thailand does have some really interesting design aspects I really like. Commonly seen by them I’m sure, but rare to see in the states. Which makes it that much more interesting.

    This would make a great bachelor pad or college apartment, or get away place. With some mods I’d add, like to the kitchen. I do like to cook so I’d like to see larger appliances. If not full scale added.

    Curious in what the cost might be in the States, I have two figures. If using today’s cost comparison of the US to Thailand. One being Consumer Pricing including Rent if 75.28% the $9,000 he spent would come to $15,775.20 in the US.

    If using the Purchasing Power difference of 266.80% then the cost goes way up in the US to $33,012.00. Ouch!

    I’m not sure which to use, so I posted both figures invade anyone was curious as I was/am to what it might cost to build State side.

    I’m sure outed one was inventive and used reclaimed materials, you could a dent in the cost and bring the build cost to a minimum. Though I would think there may be more involved, like the use of rebar enforcement in the walls, and other construction differences that would add to the cost… or not?

    I’m glad to see it built though, it has a character all to is own. Not something all these square boxes the developers bulldoze the forest and natural surroundings down to mass produce can say they have.

    I guess that’s what makes home designs like the one above stand out in such a grand and desirable fashion.

    • Al
      August 30, 2015, 7:29 pm

      To reduce cost I believe this type of structure could be built out of ferro cement , for insulation you could use spray foam over a balloon ,then place reinforcement mesh and spray on gunite on outside and inside due to shape this should be extremely strong even with a cement thickness of 1 1/2 inches on outside .

    November 12, 2014, 3:56 am

    hayalimdeki ev tasarımı .. ilave oda yapılabilir ve huzur verici yaşam için muhteşem…. emekli olduğum zaman yapacağım ilk şey olacak….

    my dream house design additional rooms can be done .. and great for peaceful life …. I will be the first thing I do when I ‘m retired ….

  • Andrea Hardy
    January 14, 2015, 4:16 pm

    not my personal taste, but i love the pic of him sitting in the window with his guitar! lol–that’s the life!

  • Lisa E.
    January 14, 2015, 6:05 pm

    Love the bathroom!

  • barb
    January 16, 2015, 10:01 am

    i have long coveted any sort of dome home. deciding that i could never afford one brought me to the tiny house newsletter. now i see that maybe, someday, i can have both.

    if you haven’t watched the video or visited steve’s site, i heartily recommend that you do. even if you have no interested in the type of home, some of the ideas are stunningly clever (the bathroom faucet and the shower head support alone are worth seeing).

  • Rachel
    March 15, 2015, 4:15 pm

    How much was the land?

    • Large Marge
      August 23, 2016, 3:06 pm

      According to his ‘About’ section on his webpage, he built on a friend’s mango farm.

      Mangoes! Yum!

  • Bruce CG Gallagher
    January 18, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Fills my heart with a smile!

  • Janp
    January 18, 2016, 4:02 pm

    What an interesting place. Love how the furnishings fit in so well. This in Arizona would be my dream. Love,love,love and love that one can enjoy the view from those ledged/ seated windows. $9,000 what a deal!!!!!

    • Alex
      January 18, 2016, 4:20 pm

      Thanks Jan!

  • Elizabeth Rubio
    January 18, 2016, 6:04 pm

    Dreams of paradise… Reminds me of Roald Dahl’s story “James and the Giant Peach.” Long ago, I painted my living room, dining room and kitchen in a shade of orange, and it was a most livable color. Very satisfactory to see a young person living his dream.

    • Alex
      January 18, 2016, 6:21 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth! Orange is a great color (and a tasty fruit, too) 😀

  • Gabrielle Charest
    January 19, 2016, 1:01 am

    What an extraordinary, magical dwelling! It is a perfect synthesis of serenity and energy. If Steve or anyone else wants to build a dome shaped structure, I suggest you consider superadobe homes, developed by the late architect Nader Khalili. In 2004 I visited his site in Hesperia CA and heard him talk about constructing easy, simple shelters all over the world. His sons now carry on his work. You can learn about this visionary and see his designs on http://calearth.org

  • Nanny M
    January 19, 2016, 10:42 am

    A sculpture. Work of art. Masterpiece. Most beautiful tiny home I’ve seen. I imagine a resort of these. Maybe it’s in heaven. I better shape up to ensure I’ll qualify. Words fail. The bathroom is beyond all my fantasies. Even the pyramid skylight to give extra healing energy. I love the twist out burner, the gorgeous stairs (which I could never attempt without a rail). In one word, inspired. Sublime work, James!

  • Ken
    January 19, 2016, 12:13 pm

    The block building technique is awesome and I plan to build a one room half dome next year using their method.

    Just this weekend Steve sent me an email, he and the guy who showed him the dome block technique are selling a new tool to make filling forms with concrete and it looks *AWESOME*

    Small batch AirCrete system. Look at the video on how it works and feel free to buy me one so I can build with it and give a review here 😉

  • Sandi B
    January 19, 2016, 8:41 pm

    This is way beyond awesome! Such an ingenious place — this would be a home a person would be excited to come home too. It reminds me of “the Mud Ball” I believe you had it on here at one time — if not you should check that out — the technique she used to build her home could certainly be utilized in the one with careful planning and would bring the cost down considerably! Her book “the Mud Ball” is more than worth the read as well. If I had the land, in an unincorporated place I would seriously consider using the Mud Ball technique. It is always amazing to me, not to mention exciting to see how creative people can be in the designing of their own little “Nirvanas”! Keep them coming Alex.

    • Alex
      January 20, 2016, 11:17 am

      Thanks, Sandi!! 🙂

  • Crissie
    January 20, 2016, 7:09 pm

    This is the niftiest thing I believe I have ever laid my eyes on! Love it!

  • Rob the potter
    August 7, 2016, 4:32 pm

    Way cool!!….love it…

  • Sandy
    August 7, 2016, 4:36 pm

    I love the site !! This dome house is right up my retirement ally..beautiful I just need to park it on a nice rolling hill.

  • CP
    August 7, 2016, 7:07 pm

    Wow – I really like the layout and enjoyed the video! Very cool.

  • Large Marge
    August 23, 2016, 3:39 pm

    In addition to the usual advantages of concrete and aircrete construction == low cost, quick build, structural integrity, pest exclusion == these structures are quiet! New visitors first impressions is always “It’s so peaceful inside”. Road noise, air traffic, neighbors… all are left outside a concrete or aircrete building.

    Thumbs up to Steve and Kari and Mister Gilbran and the rest of the crew.

  • January 16, 2017, 1:12 pm

    Is Funny, Fanciful, Fun, Modular, Well-Deployed, Artistic. Materials, Shapes, and Colors, “Excellent Symphony”!

    • Natalie
      January 17, 2017, 11:29 am

      Totally agree!

    January 16, 2017, 9:34 pm

    I’ve seen this house some time ago, and I fell in love with it’s terracotta wall color and it’s unusual design.. I could only wish to be able to live in a house of it’s kind, and I would be in heaven…!

    • Natalie
      January 17, 2017, 11:16 am

      It sure is fun 🙂

  • jm
    January 17, 2017, 3:43 am

    Yeah it LOOKS sturdy, but that cement block thing…I’m just not sure it is. I would feel better with some vertical reinforcing steel, horizontal wire mesh every other course…all tied together. I know the parging gives it some strength but mortar but itself isn’t designed to hold an arch…used more as a leveling course. The concrete(?) in the blocks is batched in small quantities and who knows about psi consistency? And the opening in the blocks is so small–I doubt the concrete would go very far. You do know you don’t want cold joints…A collapse could/would kill. Just one crack develops and you’re probably done as far as living there. But neat to look at.

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