Man builds his own home for less than £5,500 - in 6 weeks

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exterior painting

Steve Areen was on holiday in Thailand when he hit on the idea of building his own home. His friend Hajjar Gibran was in the process of building a number of properties on his mango farm, and offered Areen a chance to build one of his own.

The result is striking and comfortable, but came in under £5,500 and was finished in just six weeks.

The home

It's a dome home - built from two domes huddled together. The main dome is the living area, and on one side is a second smaller dome which houses the bedroom.

The domes were built from concrete blocks and clay bricks, which were quick and simple to assemble. Areen tells the story on his website. He says: "As much as I love my dome home, I probably would not have built it if was a long process. The low cost and time-efficiency of using blocks is what enticed me into building."

He had some help from Gibran and his son-in-law, but did most of the work himself, and had the main structure up and painted within six weeks. The structure itself costs just over £3,500.

Over the following few weeks Areen furnished the home, and built lots of interesting and quirky touches - including the doors, a screen, a pond outside, and steps up the side of the dome leading to a small roof terrace. There is also a grass roof on the bedroom.

He admits that he benefited from the fact there are few building restrictions in Thailand and that materials are very budget-friendly. However, According to Inhabitant magazine, Areen is building on his success. He is currently looking for somewhere to build a similar property in Oregon - using environmentally-friendly bricks.

Even cheaper

And he's not the first to take a hands-on approach and build a small home on an incredible budget. Perhaps the zenith of this approach was taken by Michael Buck, a smallholder from Oxfordshire, who built a 'cob house' at the bottom of his garden for £150. He kept costs down by using an ancient building technique to make the single-roomed, single-storey home from earth, clay, dung and straw. He also recycled much of the contents - including floorboards from a skip and an old lorry windscreen for some of the windows.

In 2008 Steve James built a home using a similar ancient technique. However, he added a few more mod cons, including a kitchen from a cedar that had blown over in a park and a Moroccan marbled shower room. He runs lights from a car battery and keeps the rain out with a turfed roof. He spent £4,000 on his home.

And for those who like their homes more traditional, there's always the tiny home built by Macy Miller, an Idaho architect who spent just over £6,500 building a beautiful 196 square foot home on the back of a trailer. The finished home may be small, but she says there has been plenty of room for her and her Great Dane.