I Used A Mix Of Concrete And Dish-Washing Detergent To Build This Amazing Dome House In Costa Rica
A little while ago I moved to Montezuma, a charming hippie-surf-town in Costa Rica. And I decided to build a dome house. But not just a regular dome… no, I wanted it to be something extraordinary, unique, and stunning. Something that takes your breath away.
No one here knew about the material I wanted to use or how to construct a dome, let alone three connected ones. I remember first meeting my contractor, with his muddy work boots and leather hat and being taken by his personality and humor right away. When I told him about my project he laughed and told me I was a little crazy. But he was also curious about the idea and agreed to help me. My architect friend went off to a workshop to learn about this building technique, so he could teach me and my workers.
We made all blocks for the domes ourselves, using a special ‘aircrete’ mix of concrete and foam from dish-washing detergent, and handcrafted molds. I bought the town’s whole stock of dish-washing detergent to make the foam and inject it into the concrete mix. Getting the foam density right was one of the most tricky parts, so there was lots of foam weighing, mixing, blocks collapsing, and molds leaking. But eventually, we got there and set out to make the 1200 blocks needed for the construction.
I started most days with the workers at six in the morning and often worked alongside them on the construction. We faced many challenges but the guys impressed me with the creative ideas they came up with to improve processes. My heart always jumps a little when I think about them. They were so dedicated to the project and worked incredibly hard. They didn’t just build a house, they made magic happen.
Things took longer than expected, I spent more money than budgeted, and worked harder than I had thought. But I enjoyed it very much. We were creating something outstanding and word spread in town about the strange Star Wars domes being built uphill. Many people approached me and were curious to check out the construction. Those domes definitely earned me a lot of attention, respect, and admiration in the community.
I really enjoyed coming up with design elements and artwork for the house. I did a lot myself but I am also happy that some friends contributed with beautiful artwork – paintings, welded iron doors and windows, and my beyond awesome roof that opens up to gaze at the stars at night – directly from bed.
And now we’re done! I feel so proud, happy and still cannot believe what a stunning place we’ve created. And I have so many stories to tell from this project…
Green Moon Lodge is now bookable on the website (and can also be found on Airbnb). Introductory offer of 65 USD per night for 2 persons for a limited time.
Looking forward to welcoming you to this magical place!
More info: greenmoonlodge.com
The bedroom dome with large lounge windows for jungle gazing
Set in the middle of the jungle, only 3 minutes from the beach
Under the starry night sky.
That’s me, Katrin. So happy with that wonderful place
And this is how it looked at the beginning. Foundation work
My contractor and architect
Testing, testing, testing the foam. And some bubble fun
Mixing the foam into the concrete… full power!
The handcrafted molds for the blocks. Pouring in the aircrete and after one day the blocks can be removed and laid out to cure
The first layers of blocks are done! Getting the hang of it
Things are taking shape…
We cut out the holes for the windows
Dusting off and finally adding some color
We did it! Me and my incredible helpers. The core team was three of them, the rest supported a little here and there
And this is it, the Green Moon Lodge in Montezuma, Costa Rica. It is a stunning one-bedroom home for design lovers and now available for rent
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