Some folks dream of creating a glamping business, but Christie and Thane are actually doing it!
Christie and Thane are environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for tiny living and tiny footprints. During covid, they purchased a nine-acre parcel of land in Silver Creek, Washington overlooking Mayfield Lake, near the base of Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.
Before long they created The Lookout at Mayfield Lake, a private glamping oasis with expansive views of Mayfield Lake at every camping site.
Here’s a brief interview with them about their 16’ Luna Ekodome project.
We’d like to start by having you share what you created with your Ekodome.
We created the ultimate glamping spot with the dome; we added it to an existing campsite on 9 acres of private land that we own and rent out to campers called The Lookout. The site is in the foothills of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier in Washington state, sitting on a bluff that overlooks Lake Mayfield. We had a stationary Airstream for sleeping, and the dome allowed us to extend the outdoor living space. Now we’re able to support larger groups on-site and provide a unique environment for stargazing, yoga, dining, and just hanging out bug-free.
Would you please describe your previous experience with designing and building projects like this one?
Thane is a licensed architect in the state of Washington and has spent his career in design-build projects ranging from private remodels to public sector redevelopment projects. We started our company, ecotecture, ten years ago to explore environmentally-conscious development and remodels. We’ve designed and remodeled homes, and have just started a new chapter in our own journey of land development; though we’ve never built a dome.
Can you share the backstory of your Ekodome project?
As an architect, Thane has always been inspired by biophilic design and geodesic dome structures. So we started researching dome-building options. We spent months researching products that could endure the harsh climate of the pacific northwest mountain region. This is what led us to Ekodome.
The design and durability met our requirements, and the company’s vision was strong. We were hoping to find a manufacturer that we could eventually scale more domes with more sites, so we placed an order for the 16’ Luna dome to serve as our initial test pilot.
We built the dome out earlier this year for the 2023 camping season. We finished in April and since have hosted over 40 campers who have experienced the dome.
Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to use a dome?
Yes, though we weren’t sure if we’d be doing the design ourselves, or if we would be able to source a durable, all-weather dome kit.
How did you find Ekodome and why did you choose it?
We’ve been looking at dome manufacturers for years but didn’t find any that could meet an all-weather use case for a climate like the pacific northwest. After we bought the land, we sought to specifically source a dome for the primary structure.
Durability was a key driver, so with those specs in mind, we spent a lot of time researching manufacturers online and found Ekodome. The material options were the most durable we could find at the time for an all-weather dome, and the overall design was far beyond what we could find from other manufacturers.
What was your build experience like?
In April 2023, we carved out a week to build the dome ourselves. Thane designed a foundation that would allow the dome to sit flush with the decking structure. Unpacking the dome was like a huge IKEA project!
Overall there were a ton of lessons learned that will shore up some of the challenges we experienced in assembly, at times it was frustrating, but the team at Ekodome was responsive, and overall we’re satisfied with the prototype.
Would you do it again the same way?
We learned a lot and would likely approach things a little differently now that we’re familiar with the process and construction details. Nothing monumental in terms of change, but we’re now familiar with the details, the build process, materials, and how everything comes together, so we’d likely just approach the process a little differently.
How do you feel about the dome now?
We love it. We haven’t gone through the winter, so that will be interesting to experience with rain and snow, but so far, it’s been a great addition to our camping site, allowed us to attract new segments of campers, and it’s just an overall awesome structure.
Would you buy another one?
Yes! One of the things that was really important to us in sourcing a kit vs. designing a custom solution ourselves was to find a manufacturer that we felt was in it for the long haul. Where we could learn the installation process and scale up projects faster through a standardized model and products. We’re planning our next addition to the site, as well as exploring new development opportunities.
What would you like people to know about your project that you haven’t already shared?
From our perspective, we don’t think this is a DIY kit. We’ve spent 15+ years as DIYers and professionals in the building space and it was a bigger project than we had anticipated with a lot of improvisation during assembly.
What is your next project?
We’re looking for our next land development project, we’d love to explore a dome as a primary living structure with the new PRO series. And we’re evaluating another add-on at our current site, likely with a Seed.