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Success Story: A mountain guest house in Canada

  • 5 min read

Imagine walking down a path on your mountain property with trees surrounding you, and you come to a clearing. Then you see it, your 22’ Terra Ekodome guest house.

That’s exactly what Ryan Courtnage and his partner built on their property in Canada. They created a space where family and friends can stay when visiting, and they can use it as an office as needed.

But that’s not all… The long term vision includes adding 1-2 more Ekodomes on their property for additional projects such as a workshop and more!

Here’s a brief interview with them about their 22’ Terra Ekodome project.

We’d like to start by having you share what you created with your Ekodome.

In a remote area of our mountain property, a short-term accommodation and office.

Would you please describe your previous experience with designing and building projects like this one?

Ekodome is my first exposure to geodesic domes. All past experience has been with traditional buildings.

Can you share the backstory of your Ekodome project?

Our property has a somewhat remote location that is a significant elevation drop from our house. Just an old skid trail winding down to the site and no services of any kind. A very beautiful spot we wish to share with others.

Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to use a dome?

We considered many options, including building a simple cabin, moving in a prefab, parking an old Airstream trailer, and non-traditional options such as yurts and geodesic domes.

How did you find Ekodome and why did you choose it?

Ultimately, we decided something that came as a prefab kit would be our best option. Geodesic domes are very unique and would attract interest. There are many dome options in the market, but most amount to a fabric material pulled over an aluminum frame. The fabric will have a lifespan and would likely not survive many seasons before needing to be replaced.

Ekodome was extremely appealing due to its unique approach to a frame, which allows for any type of hard material to be used as panels, and in any configuration one wishes.

We chose inorganic materials – there is nothing in our Ekodome build that can rot over time.

What was your build experience like?

I tackled the build by myself. Upon uncrating the frame, I was impressed by the attention that went into the packaging, and the quality of the aluminum struts and hubs.

The instructions, while minimal, are graphical and easy to follow. Reminded me of the “Tinker Toys” set I used to play with as a kid. I did have a couple of questions while working with the door, and Ekodome was quick to reply with helpful answers.

For the panels, I sourced ACM (aluminum composite material) and clear polycarbonate “windows” from a local supplier and had them CNC cut using the drawing files Ekodome provided me. Working solo, this was a bit more challenging, but after figuring out a repeatable process, went fairly easily.

Would you do it again the same way?

Generally speaking, yes I would do it the same again. It would go much more quickly now that I’ve done it once.

How do you feel about the dome now?

We are very excited about the dome. Before making it available to guests, we intend to use it as an office, which will give us the opportunity to understand what it’s like to be in it for extended periods and help us invest in the most impactful comforts and conveniences (such as solar power, ventilation, wifi, furnishings, etc).

Would you buy another one?

We’re already thinking about how we might use a second dome, and I’ve definitely become a fan of the Ekodome product and team.

What would you like people to know about your project that you haven’t already shared?

The dome is extremely cool and sets a very high bar for competition. We’re so happy we don’t have a geodesic dome “tent”, and instead have a sturdy building.

When choosing Ekodome over building a small cabin, one of the factors we considered was permitting. We’d need a permit to build a traditional structure, but this project can easily be described as a “temporary building” and be exempt from bylaws (depending on your jurisdiction).

What is your next project?

I’d love to use another Terra as a workshop closer to our house, or perhaps even a Stellar with a customization that adds a garage door. Also considering another accommodation, but this time built for cold winter months (insulated panels, platform, stove).

Photos courtesy of Ryan Courtnage