Steve’s Thailand Dome

by Christina Nellemann on March 24th, 2014. 31 Comments

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 »

March 24th, 2014and filed in Dome
Tags: beautiful, brick, clay, Dome, farm, home, Retreat, small, Thailand, tiny, tropical

Ethan’s Tiny House

by Kent Griswold on October 18th, 2013. 23 Comments

This 100 square foot tiny house which my girlfriend and I built is now our beloved home. We live on a farm with several other tiny houses in central Texas. For the construction of our tiny house we utilized only readily accessible and simple materials, such as roofing aluminum, plywood, and dimensional lumber. All of the framing and support lumber was reclaimed from a previous project we had worked on, and the bookshelf, desk and counter top are constructed from stud, loft and floor scraps.

Ethan's tiny house

The floor was made from 1x12s and the walls are simply painted plywood, excluding the plywood in the kitchen, which had aged in our friends back yard and we felt would add an interesting texture to the kitchen. We were really surprised at how it turned out. As for utilities the only concession we have is electricity, we do not utilize running water or indoor plumbing. The majority of our furniture is moveable because we do like to redecorate and change things up from time to time. We have braved the hot and humid central Texas summer and so far have loved every minute of it, now that the weather is becoming cooler I can only imagine our love for tiny living will continue to grow.

living area

Downsizing our clothing was an interesting task, I never realized how many items I never really wore. Our rule of thumb for clothing was if it has not been worn in 6 months it can probably be donated. As far as our running water and indoor plumbing “experiment” is going, we have an outhouse on the property with a plumbed toilet, and we shower at our city rec. center. A yearly membership at the center is actually cheaper than having a water bill and keeps us active.


Having to collect water for our bottles and canister is somewhat of a chore, but is still nowhere near what some people in the world have to go through to get water and we realize now how those luxuries can be over looked.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, because we sure do love our little home.



loft bed

Tiny House in a Landscape

by Kent Griswold on September 14th, 2013. 11 Comments

Rhonda Kivlin of Westwood, Massachusetts sent in this week’s Tiny House in a Landscape feature. She says:

“I snapped this picture of three abandoned tiny houses while hiking near Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, Maine. Because there was a fence, I couldn’t get any closer, but I sure wanted to sneak inside and check them out.”

tiny house in a landscape

St. Croix Expat Home

by Christina Nellemann on October 22nd, 2012. 15 Comments

Not that I’m looking to move to a tropical island anytime soon, but when winter comes along…sometimes it’s nice to dream about becoming an expat in paradise. Instead of dreaming, this is what Nate Olive of Atlanta did. After a few life changes, he moved to the beautiful island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, met an equally beautiful woman and opened up a sustainable farm and restaurant.

Nate and his wife, Shelly, also live in an interesting small home they’ve dubbed the Cozy Shack. In this episode of Ex-Pats by the Reserve Channel, the host mostly discusses Nate’s reason for becoming an expat, but the location and Nate’s home really caught my attention. Continue Reading »