Dome In The Desert

You may recall this incredible dome from one of our recent styling stories, Dome Sweet Home.  During the shoot we fell completely in love with the zen-like space, and I wanted to find out more about it, and it’s owner, the lovely Kathrin Smirke!  Kathrin divides her time between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, where the dome is located. As an avid DIY’er and lifelong student of interior design and fashion, she is always on the search for inspiration in unique and creative ways. When she is not traveling and working on personal design projects, Kathrin acts as owner and creative director of Gypsan, an online bohemian clothing site featuring some of her own, desert inspired fashion designs.

dome decor

dome decor

Hi Kathrin! What made you want to live in a dome, and how long have you lived there?

Believe it or not, I never actually thought about living in a dome until the dome found me. You see, my husband and I wanted to buy a second home in Joshua Tree because we loved the area and wanted a weekend escape from Los Angeles – the wide-open spaces, cool desert nights, and star filled sky all deeply contrasted with our life in the big city. So, as part of my search, I placed an ad on Craigslist searching for a secluded cabin and the dome ended up in my email. It was love at first sight…what better place to own a geodesic dome than in Joshua Tree, CA? As of today, we have owned the dome for a little over a year, spending close to nine months renovating and decorating the home.

What makes it different from living in a typical house?

Obviously, the main difference is the shape of the house…the dome has rounded interior and exterior walls so finding an intuitive location for furniture and wall décor was a challenge. But, because of the unconventional design of the dome, it made us think outside the box to create a space that was unique and inspiring.  Also, because of the dome shape, the house feels more like a loft space than a typical house. The ceiling reaches its peak at around 16 feet and is accentuated with five skylights which illuminate the main living space with lots of natural light.

dome decor

dome decor

The décor is incredible, and I hear you’ve made a lot of the elements – can you tell me about some of your DIY creations?

Thank you! Both my husband and I created a lot of the elements inside the dome. Because we wanted to stay within a budget, we found ways to re-purpose materials and use inexpensive elements to create interesting art and furniture. For example, we cut back and refinished an old 1920’s door to create a small table for my typewriter. I utilized the recessed door panel by placing a few of my poems under a piece of glass. Another DIY example is the large tree stump side table – originally, it was sold as firewood, but after a cleaning, sanding, and fresh coat of finish, we had a beautiful, one-of-a-kind side table. Some other DIY projects include the triangle shelf in the bedroom, chalkboard wall art, painted wall murals and framed collage art, painted accented deer skull, “stained glass” window decals, reupholstered chair, and custom bed frame.

dome decor

dome decor

What is your favorite thing about the dome?

My favorite thing about the dome is the meditation loft. I love spending time there listening to music and playing some of my vintage fortune telling games and reading books.

What is the area around the dome like? Are you completely surrounded by nature?

The dome is very secluded with the closest neighbor around half a mile away. The nights are very quiet and the sky is canvassed with stars since the area is free of light pollution. We also frequent the Joshua Tree National Park since it is so close to our property.

dome decor

dome decor

I know the Dome is available to rent, what type of experience can people who visit expect to have?

We wanted the dome to be a place of solace and a creative retreat from the city. We want our guests to have the same experience; leaving with a sense of personal inspiration and mentally recharged. This comes in part from the dome, but also from within…mostly by escaping all the distractions they are inundated with on a daily basis – it’s very therapeutic.

What does free mean to you?

Free means being to true to yourself; pursuing your passion and expressing yourself in an authentic way.

dome decor

Thanks for having us over Kathrin! If you’re interested in renting the dome, click here.

You can find Kathrin on instagram here, here, and here!

Leave a Reply

20 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Oh my goodness this is beyond ideal….. Stunning interior decoration!

Great interview! What a time that would be to spend a week (or more) there!

I love that you stayed within a budget. The decor seems to really reflect you.


Love the deer skull, I have a cow skull with incredible horns (it helps living on a ranch-and it was free!) I plan oon painting, and wrapping the horns with colorful yarn, tassels and pompoms!

This is ridiculously cool! I would love to live in a place like this!

Amazing space! It’s so beautifully decorated!


Wow I want my own dome to live in now!
Sarah x

I’ve always been so intrigued with domed spaces!!! Thanks for sharing!

Dream home, totally. The DIY projects are really inspiring as well. I wish I could be just unique and creative one day.

Thanks for all of your nice comments! XO! :-)

I love the patterns and her interior designs!

Beautiful… Thanks for all the inspiration while I’m redesigning my studio space. You gave me some super wonderful ideas!


This is my DREAM roadtrip/vacation! Definitely need to stay there someday soon! So unreal, so dreamy

xoxo Sara

It looks cool but… seems like every time you cover someone’s home you just showcase pictures of small details and never of whole rooms. She talks about the meditation room but you can’t really get a feel of how it looks like. The photos are too much about the details and not enough about the big picture. I’d love to see more photos of the actual spaces and the art she mentions in the interview.


I would prefer a look at the dome as a whole, all we see here are vignettes, and while beautiful I would prefer to get the feeling of the whole space. Some photos of whole rooms would be amazing!


where did you score that yellow floor lamp with white shade? Grazie.

Hi Steve, I bought the floor lamp at Ikea and then spray painted the base yellow. XO!

I recognize that door. If I’m not mistaken you just recently turned another Joshua Tree property into a desert gem, right? Great work…

Thanks Ken! :-)

This is awesome, Kathrin. Love it.