When most of us undertake a home renovations project, it takes months of budgeting, planning permission and traipsing around dusty, nail-covered floors to complete. But enterprising flight attendant Steve Areen built his dream property - a Thailand-based "dome home" - in just six weeks and for under £6,000.
Steve constructed the enchanting 500-square foot terracotta enclave on a mango farm in northeast Thailand three years ago.
"I had a wonderful visit with my friend Hajjar Gibran," the entrepreneur explains on his website. "For years he has inspired me with his creative ideas. This time he was building domes at his retreat centre in northeast Thailand. He and his wife offered me a spot on their mango farm to build my own dome.
"With Hajjar's guidance and design ideas, along with my own, and his son-in-law Tao's masonry skills, I had my dome home up and painted in six weeks. "
The overall cost for the basic structure of the dome - made from clay and concrete bricks - came in at around £3600, with Steve spending an extra £1800 on doors, screens, shelves, a gazebo, stonework and landscaping. He sourced materials from the surrounding landscape to help build the dome, which is shrouded in tropical flora and fauna.
As you can see, the results are breathtaking: there's a grass roof, a thatched gazebo with a hammock for whiling lazy days away and a glass screen overlooking a pond flanked by palm trees.
Inside, the dome is filled with subtle, ethereal design details that give the whole place a dream-like, tranquil quality. The bathroom is a relaxed, open space with over-sized palm trees and a (hot water) shower that hangs over a pebbled seating area. There's also a bamboo faucet that funnels water into a large terracotta bowl, and an indoor toilet.
The windows are oval-shaped (meaning you can perch within them) and cutouts in the roof allow for natural cooling during the day. The dome isn't entirely without electricity though; water is heated and there's also lighting.
"I do have a small kitchen from which I love to cook, with a fridge and swing out stove," notes Steve.
Steve's job as a flight attendant gives him the flexibility needed to tend to the dome. But he also offers the hideaway out for home stays when he's away, in exchange for a small donation towards costs.
"As wonderful as my dome home may look, it's nothing like actually being in it - and on it," he says. "You can also take on a wonderful project, like creating a garden, making improvements, or maybe even adding your artistic touch."
Beautiful as the dome is, it seems that Steve has not yet found someone to share it with him - as he joked to us, "Maybe I'll finally meet the woman of my dreams."
In the meantime, he's set his sights on creating a similar project in Oregon. But this time he hopes to use more sustainable earthen bricks, rather than clay and concrete bricks.
Tempted by the look of these photos? Maybe it's time to ask about that stay...
"I love living in my dome home, but I also love travelling," says Steve. "If you wish to get off the beaten tourist track and experience rural Thai life, while living in a wonderful dome home, feel free to contact me."
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Steve Areen