Today, people take a range of measures to build their residences. Whether you go down the DIY route or hire a crack team of builders, there are more ways to create a home than we once thought. Americans may work with wood frame and plywood, while a Brit would use bricks and cement. One courageous woman decided to do things a little differently.
Move over Extreme Cribs, Katrin may have just beat everyone in the hunt for the most extraordinary dwellings! This woman was on a quest to make a house people would never forget, and boy, did she and her building team deliver! Popular Everything is taking a look inside this Costa Rican dome house made of the most unsuspecting materials.
Setting the Scene
The mastermind behind this unique place, Katrin, was born and raised in Austria. So, why did she choose to relocate to the Central American country of Costa Rica? After visiting numerous times, this adventurous woman had totally fallen in love with the idea of living in such an outdoorsy location. She immediately took to the surf-town of Montezuma.
On her website, Katrin noted an interest in the country’s “rivers and waterfalls, beaches” and so much more. Desperate to be at one with nature, the European felt there was no other option but to pack her bags and move into the beautiful country. Being the adventure-lover she is, Katrin was not exactly knocking on any realtor’s doors in preparation.
Getting Specific About Things
Here’s a little about Montezuma. If you take a trip to the southern edge of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, you’ll be met by what can only be described as a “charming hippie-surf-town.” Given the future homeowner Katrin’s free-spirited nature, we can’t help but feel like this was the perfect destination for the European to move into.
As a fan of the outdoors, Montezuma really seemed like the go-to option for Katrin. Long and stretched-out beaches, the Romelia Wildlife Reserve, and the Montezuma Waterfall; it was meant to be! So, if this woman wasn’t relying on realtors, how did she plan to move in? By building her own place!
A Little About the Domes
Keen to do make things modern, the idea of a dome home piqued Katrin’s interest. Four walls are overrated these days, anyway! They may be a new phenomenon, but the dome homes are already taking the property market by storm. For Katrin, it offered new possibilities: a stronger structure, and a more energy-efficient home.
Whether you’re a fan of the futuristic geodesic styles or have always admired the rotunda shape of historical landmarks, the dome homes are here to stay! Another thing that drew Katrin into the dome way of life is how easy and affordable they are to assemble. In this case, she’d be doing herself a favor!
Making Things Happen
Project Montezuma dome home was a go! Well, sort of. To get things up and running, Katrin would need a little help. Meeting her contractor for the first time, the European was immediately put at ease by his good humor. At first, the builder was a little taken aback by her grand proposal. Ok, he was extremely taken back.
Admit it, how many people do you know wanting to build three connected dome homes? It’s not something you hear every day. He may have laughed at first, but once the idea settled in, the contractor couldn’t help but feel fascinated by the concept; he was keen to get as involved as possible.
Building the Foundations
If you fail to plan, you’re essentially planning to fail. With this in mind, Katrin took no chances and ensured a step-by-step method was set up before she went ahead with things. How do all successful home projects begin? That’s right, by laying out the foundations! Only, these foundations look a little different from most of our homes.
We have to say, this picture of the team getting stuck into the initial groundwork leaves very little to the imagination, all we can confirm was that the round shape of the structures was certainly no mistake. At this early stage, it’s almost hard to believe that Katrin’s home turned out to be such a huge masterpiece. Hey, we all need to start somewhere!
The Hard Graft
Now the foundations have been laid down, let the construction work begin! We told you Katrin’s home was made out of unusual materials, but how unusual were they exactly? With all the safety procedures in place, the Austrian-born woman got to work by mixing concrete with dishwashing detergent foam form the blocks for the dome.
There’s thinking outside of the box, then there’s this inventive constructor over at Montezuma! You best believe Katrin was hitting all of the local stores to get her hands on as much dishwasher detergent as possible; any cashier would think she’d gone mad with power ensuring her plates and bowls were spotless for visitors!
As you can imagine, building your own home from scratch isn’t exactly an easy task, and for Katrin, creating such a unique one meant she didn’t have a ton of examples to base her work on. At various times while on the job, the European woman was faced with a multitude of setbacks. It would seem that some things are simply unavoidable!
What problems came her way? Primarily, the future homeowner struggled with finding the right foam density for the mixture. It took a lot out of the team’s day to weigh the foam and make sure things didn’t fall apart, but once they’d got it nailed, they were onto the next task! What did this consist of? Creating a total of 1,200 blocks to get things constructed.
Keep Molding On
So, here’s how it all went down. Once the two secret ingredients successfully merged together, they’d get poured into a mold, and then came the time to wait! After 24 hours had passed and the mixture dried into the cube impression, the mixtures got removed and were eventually laid out to cure.
Curing time had completed, and voila! You’ve got yourself your very own building block, it may sound pretty simplistic, but Katrin will be the first to tell you how much of a chore this proved to be. Moving swiftly on, and it was time to put these blocks to their rightful use in building the domes!
Setback Number Two
It would appear that finding the right consistency to form building blocks was only the start of Katrin’s troubles! The process generally took a lot longer than initially planned, and the numerous purchases spent on materials such as dishwasher detergent left the European with very little cash remaining.
Ok, so Katrin splashed the cash a little, but can you really blame her? This type of home project isn’t exactly common, so the team pretty much had to work through trial and error. With all things considered, a little overspending is probably one of the smallest things that could’ve gone wrong!
In Good Hands
We should probably mention to you now that at no point was Katrin left completely on her own device to complete the dome task. With an initial core team of 3, several passers-by in the area couldn’t help but show Katrin some support and give her a helping hand with the construction.
Before the building work had even begun, Katrin consulted her architect friend who attended workshops on developing a dome structure; in turn, he shared his pearls of wisdom with anyone who was willing to help with the task. If it wasn’t for these kind strangers, who knows whether the dome home would be up and running today!
Carrying on the Work
Another day meant more work on the dome dream! Most days, Katrin and the team woke up at around six in the morning and got their heads down on the construction. They say that teamwork makes the dream work, and we bet the European would certainly believe that now! In her own words, the group “didn’t just build a house, they made magic happen.”
On her personal website, Katrin noted that every single time the crew was faced with a new challenge, she was surprised by not only how well they handled things, but the creativeness they showed in finding a solution to the problem. When you’re involved in a project as unique as this one, a quick-thinking attitude is absolutely paramount.
Adding Necessary Features
Once the building blocks were set in their rightful places and the three domes were beginning to take shape, it was time to make them a little more advanced! Here come potentially the most exciting features of these little houses, their tremendous windows. Of course, these additions had to keep with the circular theme.
We’re starting to see a lot of progress now! With holes as large as these ones, gazing into the jungle has never been a more simple pursuit. We’re sure at this point, Katrin was excited about the concept of getting lost in some of the most stunning views Costa Rica has to offer; we know we would be!
Getting Word Out
It appears news was spreading fast in the Montezuma community about Katrin’s dome project; everyone wanted to get involved! The team was often met by a visitor keen to get the lowdown on their latest, most extravagant new resident. With a team as dedicated as this one, it was hard to simply pass by the house!
Through her home construction work, Katrin was becoming quite the household name, if you’ll pardon the pun! With this newfound respect, features such as her uniquely shaped windows quickly became the ice-breaker for the new European resident and her neighbors. Exciting times were ahead.
Making the House a Dome
Here comes the fun part! Once things neared completion on the window front, Katrin and her crew took a minute to sit back and admire how far their tremendous work had got them. By the looks of things, the dome plan had worked out perfectly! We’re sure passers-by had to take a double, and maybe even a third take after coming across this remarkable structure.
Things were looking good, but they were nowhere near completion. The building structure was only half of the construction worker’s journey! To turn this place into a livable and inviting home, the design team needed to step in and work their wonders.
A Pop of Color
For the dome home construction workers, days off were simply not a thing! Once the spherical structure was up, did the team go on a little vacation to celebrate? Not exactly. In fact, it was straight onto the next building chapter! Pass us the paint buckets, is all we can say.
If there’s one word that defines this construction process, it’s commitment. Throughout her journey, Katrin kept her out-of-the-ordinary theme going. What did this call for when it came to painting? Luminous green walls! Standing out from the crowd had never been in such a hot pursuit.
Location, Location, Location
You hear stories of people traveling to places situated in the middle of nowhere, but Katrin’s residence is probably the closest any of us have got to actually seeing something like that in real life. It may be a little different from our own dwellings, but the homeowner’s closest neighbors are monkeys, and maybe the occasional parrot or two!
This place may look remote, but don’t be fooled! What we’ve not yet revealed to you, is that the dome home is actually just a three-minute uphill drive to the beach and city center. You’re nearby to all the local conveniences of Montezuma, while still being able to escape it all once you reach the front door. What more could you want?
Top Relaxation Venue
Here’s a little inside fact for you. Proud homeowner Katrin admitted that sunset is her favorite time of day to be at the lodge, and we can think of a million reasons why! Just imagine how lucky this woman must feel to know that through her own hard work and a few helpers, she’s now able to experience such picturesque views from her own home.
Yes, it’s a very pretty sight, but we’re forgetting one huge point! Being situated right in the middle of the jungle makes the dome home secluded from any other dwellings. Why is this a good thing? It provides the place with a real vibe of tranquility. Who needs a spa when you’ve got your own front yard?
The Hottest Vacation Spot
With such a unique abode, Katrin felt there was no better option but to make a little money off of it! After all, she’s worked hard enough on the whole thing. So, what does this mean exactly? The Austrian homeowner frequently rents out the dome for private rental, hosting for both long and short stays.
If you’re in the mood to take a little vacation that satisfies all your nature cravings, while keeping things unorthodox from the typical holiday spot, then you’re in luck! The dome home is open to anyone with a bit of time free out of the year. We strongly recommend paying it a visit to see what the hype is all about.
A Helping Hand
As a brand new housing host, Katrin is keen to make her visitors as satisfied as possible, but how does she manage this? Sure, it’s nice to spend a couple of days out of the year at a unique address, but to get the full experience you need to explore beyond those four walls; or circular ones in this case! For this reason, Katrin did her research.
On her website, the European makes it clear that visitors are free to ask her anything about the extra activities they can get involved with, in this area. From surfing to yoga classes, Katrin has got you covered. This woman takes the term “hostess with the mostest” to a whole new level, and we couldn’t feel prouder for how far she’s come!
Going Down Well
Katrin’s dome home support has now gone global! Let’s expand a little on this. It would appear that the friendly Montezuma locals are not the only people that have been caught raving over this woman’s three-part abode, but it’s proven to go down a treat with everyone who chooses it for their next getaway.
In the review section of Katrin’s rental page, visitors have expressed nothing but positivity about getting the chance to stay in such a beautifully designed home, in such a tranquil location. Who would’ve guessed that after those long days Katrin spent working on the home, it would end up racking up this much success for her?
An Explorer’s Paradise
If there’s one thing you need to keep in mind when taking a tour of Katrin’s unique home, it’s to expect the unexpected! Indeed, you’ll find a lot of traditional rooms doubling up for slightly not-so-traditional purposes, so without further ado, we present to you Katrin’s dome home bedroom!
This is quite breathtaking. What was once an ordinary bedroom has been spruced up through the picturesque window designs; only a true art-lover would have such an eye for this style! These additions make this room act as one of the best jungle-observing spots in the whole house.
The Most Enticing Entrance
There’s nothing better than receiving a friendly welcome, and if you love all things artistic, you’ll feel right at home here! Just paying a quick look at the dome home’s entrance, you get a real feel for how much creative thought went into the design of the place. Katrin will tell you first hand making this house a home wasn’t a simple task!
This was quite possibly one of the most important weldings you’ll see in Katrin’s humble home, for the simple reason that it’s the first one that your eyes will be drawn to! First impressions totally count, and boy is this artwork making for a good one.
Kitchen Fit for a King
Moving swiftly on! All of you food-lovers would be thrilled to hear that the largest dome out of the three was converted into a kitchen, and it’s an impressive one at that. If like Katrin, you’ve dreamed of cooking up a storm in the middle of the jungle, the dome home crew were quick to see that dream materialize.
Katrin’s in luck, as Montezuma could not be a better location for foodies! Why? The place is stocked full of fresh fruits. So, if the homeowner ever finds herself in search of some ingredients but doesn’t feel up to trekking to the city center, she’s free to just pop outside to the backyard and do some picking!
There are hidden treasures everywhere you turn, both inside and outside Katrin’s dome home. Our next section of the tour takes us to the lounge area, and as you can see, it once again reflects an artist’s paradise! We seriously think Katrin should consider a career as an interior designer after witnessing this beauty.
We wonder what Katrin’s favorite color is! When the Austrian painter was looking around the stores for new furniture to put in her unique home, it’s clear she wanted to keep that nature vibe going all throughout the house. Even when you’re inside the dome, you’re still very much aware that you’re in the jungle.
Continuing the Sustainable Legacy
Now that we’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know about Katrin’s innovative Green Moon Lodge, let’s shift out attention to another member of the dome home community! This section takes us all the way to Norway, where we introduce you to the eco-friendly Hjertefølger family. These people are not the typical neighbors you’re probably used to!
How did this glass dome come into being? Benjamin Hjertefølger and his wife, Ingrid, were desperate to match up to the standards of the natural houses they saw scattered across the globe, each protecting the planet in their own special way. Taking a trip to the Arctic Circle’s Sandhorney Island, the couple settled on land to create their new, sustainable way of life.
Introducing the Family
In order to get a better view of the Hjertefølger’s vision, let’s make our acquaintances! After both receiving upbringings around Sandhorney Island, the Norweignan’s parents to three were certain they wanted to return to the Arctic Circle. It offered a sense of tranquility like no other place they’d ever seen before!
As self-confessed nature lovers, the couple knew one thing about building a house; if they wanted to do things an eco-friendly way, the solar geodesic dome route was the best option for them to take. Without further ado, let us take you through the process of how this family made their dreams of living sustainably into a daily reality.
Making Big Decisions Happen
Once the decision was settled on where their new, dome-shaped residence would sit, the Norwegian couple couldn’t wait to get started! Benjamin and Ingrid began building their dome in 2012, and it certainly wasn’t an easy process! Every measure was taken to ensure their new home was just as beautiful as it was eco-friendly.
In total, the building process took this European couple a year and a half before they could officially move in. That’s 18 months of technical construction work, team building, and planning. It was all in the name of saving their environment, so they were willing to take on the lengthy challenge!
The Final Product
Here comes the exciting part. Over a year’s worth of hard work, et voila! The new home had been constructed, and it looked better than these two could have ever anticipated. Benjamin and Ingrid installed 360 glass panels around their new family home while climbing up to extreme heights to ensure that round, dome shape.
While we’re sure it was fun for Benjamin and his wife to get stuck into such an exciting task, they had to keep in mind that this unique-looking dome would soon be their place of residence. For that reason, they needed to ensure the structure was a good size. In total, the dome reached 7.5 meters high, and 15 meters across.
A Real-Life Igloo
What’s the one thing that comes to mind when we think of home? A place where we can find comfort and warmth! Among the several things Benjamin and Ingrid had to consider when creating their dome home, one requirement that stood out was ensuring their eco-friendly dwellings offered their family shelter from the bitterly cold temperatures.
We’re not just talking about the occasional rainy day, this is the Arctic Circle after all! The couple needed to build a rigid structure that would handle the harsh snowfalls on Sandhorney Island. Keeping up with their eco-friendly vibe, the dome requires very little energy to start up the heating. It must be a good thought keeping toasty while knowing you’re saving the planet!
True Lovers of Nature
It appears this family’s eco-friendly ways don’t stop at the building work! How do you think the Hjertefølgers put some food on the table every day? Rather than paying a weekly visit to their local supermarket, the European couple takes the DIY route to feed their family. In fact, getting some grub doesn’t even need to require stepping outside of the house.
Want to save a little cash on the weekly food shops? Do things the Hjertefølger way by growing your own! From fruits and vegetables to wild herbs, Benjamin and Ingrid have all the snacks they need growing in the greenhouse part of their dome home. Just imagine how much better off the planet would be if we all did things the DIY way, like these people.
Multi-Purpose House Plants
While the majority of us may buy plants to give our homes a little added decoration on the windowsill, for the Hjertefølgers, the possibilities are endless! Only a family as sustainable as this one would be able to utilize plants to provide a source as vital as water. Here’s how the creative Europeans have managed it!
Reduce, reuse, recycle! We’ve never known sustainable living like this family. Once the Hjertefølgers use a little H2O in their home, it gets pumped via tanks into the greenhouse. From this point, the used water gets filtered and cleaned through the many plants in this section of the dome, and then it’s available to get used all over again! A genius concept, if you ask us.
Living in a Natural Environment
As you could probably guess by now, the materials used to construct every room in the Hjertefølger’s unique household are 100% au naturel. What does this mean exactly? For starters, there is absolutely no air pollution inside, and there’s not a single sight of a man-made shape anywhere. It’s really the best way to live if you care about the environment!
If you’re a fan of rustic look when getting into some interior design, this eco-friendly dome home would be a little like stepping into paradise! Now, here’s where things get a little more technical. The main material used to construct the Hjertefølger’s interior contains a mixture of clay, sand, and straw, as well as trusty timber. If it’s man-made, it’s not making the cut!
Teaching an Important Moral Message
For a lot of this story, we’ve been describing the building process to be solely down to the work of Benjamin and Ingrid as a couple, but in actual fact, they had a couple of helpers along the way! Because this husband and wife are so passionate about saving the planet, they wanted to teach their children as much about sustainable living as possible.
The oldest children from the Hjertefølger family helped out as much they could when constructing their new dome home, like building their bedroom walls. This was a great way of getting the whole family to bond. The project also allowed the parents to teach their little ones a little about saving the environment, in the hopes that they’d follow suit when they grow older!
The Lasting Impact
We bet you’re wondering, how much did this whole ordeal cost. Accounting for every piece of natural material, every machine needed to construct the dome shape and every piece of measuring equipment, the Hjertefølder’s building process ended up costing a total of £340,000. If you consider all aspects of the glass dome, we think it’s an absolute steal!
What’s not to love about this place? It’s in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, gorgeous nature around you, and every part of your living is going towards making the planet a better place. Not to mention, the spectacular views you get right from your bedroom window of the Northern Lights! Those blizzards certainly have their upsides.