Steve Areen, a world traveler who has been visiting remote locations around the world, decided to put down a few roots in northeast Thailand. These roots grew into one of the most beautiful dome homes you may ever see. This work of art (that only cost $9,000 to build) sits in the middle of a mango farm that belongs to Steve’s friend Hajjar Gibran.
Hajjar had already been building dome homes at his retreat center on the farm and taught Steve how to build this cement block and clay brick home that uses local materials and lets in light and fresh air. Hajjar’s son, Lao, helped build the home with his masonry skills and the dome was completed in just over six weeks. Steve added his own details with the handmade front door, pond, upstairs hammock platform and the stonework and landscaping. Some of the most beautiful features of this home is the shower/greenhouse from local river stones and the natural bamboo sink faucet.
The home’s large, round windows are screened against insects and act as curved seating areas, and when Steve heads off to travel again, he seals up the round windows with rat proof inserts. A handmade wooden staircase ascends to the roof where a steel rod and palm frond covered hammock platform offers fresh air and views, and screened skylights on the domes let in even more light. Continue Reading »
While the film version of the Shire sits in New Zealand, a real accessible version of the home of the Hobbits can be found in Montana. However, if you come to stay in this small house you’ll have to share it with fairies, trolls and dwarfs. The Shire of Montana includes not only a 1,000 square foot house built into a hillside, but also a Troll House and several fairy homes built into tree stumps.
This whimsical 20-acre property owned by Steven and Chris Michael is located near Trout Creek, Montana and is available as a private rental for lovers of Tolkien and the outdoors. The property contains a monolithic dome Hobbit house built into a hillside, a troll house in an old stump and various fairy homes dotted throughout the garden. The main house is 1,000 square feet and contains modern granite counter tops and etched glass windows, two bedrooms, a cozy kitchen, rustic woodwork and even the One Ring hanging from the ceiling.
When the home was being constructed, the owners found a 700 year old cedar stump with a roof and door in a nearby town and decided to make it into a home for trolls. Steven said that once the word got out about the Troll House, other residents of Middle Earth decided to move onto the property which includes the Elven Village and homes for dwarfs and fairies. Various regional artists worked on making the property a haven for these otherworldly creatures which includes waterfalls and creeks, murals, bird houses, a wishing well, a troll bridge and mine as well as a 2,000 lb. carved stone bench made from a rock from Bali that is rumored to have once been a troll.
Guests can stay in the Shire of Montana from spring to fall for $245 a night.
Photos by the Shire of Montana
For someone who wants to be close to nature, but doesn’t mind a little less privacy, a new bubble hotel/campground has been built just outside of Paris by designer Pierre-Stephane Dumas. Each of his “rooms” are transparent, air-filled plastic bubbles placed discretely in the garden of the Chateau de Malmaison, which is the former home of Napolean’s Josephine.
“I think nearly everyone of us has dreamed of something like this,” Dumas said. He built these bubbles primarily to stargaze from the comfort of bed without having to set up a tent. Continue Reading »
When I was twenty-six I went to live in a Tipi at a nature preserve, to escape the rat race and find some peace of mind. I soon discovered that it really did not live up to all my expectations. The mosquitoes were constant, water dripped from the poles, and the smoke was real bad. Even after installing a wood stove the experience was not what I had in mind.
After many moons slipped into oblivion, I decided to study and design a new system. I bypassed the traditional Yurt design, because I felt the lattice walls were too weak and cumbersome to make. Instead, I went with the Geodesic design which is vastly stronger and offers more versatile space and comfort.
Lodge Tech now manufacture some of strongest and most economically priced Domes and Yurts around. These can be made into homes if one is far enough off the beaten path and knows how to work around zoning ordinances etc. Or if you need a great farm building, or to rent them out to hikers or campers. Continue Reading »