Dome Lady by Bev Magennis

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always something better. Here’s a unique house that will probably never be duplicated – but possibly emulated.

This 18-foot tall dome home was built by artist Bev Magennis. It’s located in remote Apache Creek, New Mexico and serves as a tiny guest space on a larger 10-arce homestead. The entire exterior is covered with mosaic ceramic tile – Bev’s medium of choice for many years. The form is similar to another sculpture series she calls her Garden Ladies.

I was fortunate enough to get to know Bev back in the early 1990’s while I was an art student at the University of New Mexico. Bev was one of my ceramics professors.  I even got lucky enough to spend some time one summer helping her tile one of her many public art projects in Albuquerque.

Tiling large mosaics from broken scrap tile is incredibly slow going and tedious. Having spent some time outside in the sun laying tiny tiles I know this house must have taken hundreds of hours and thousands of tiles to complete. But Bev has the patience of a saint and prey drive like no one I know, so for her I’m sure it was just a lot of fun – and something she had to do.

The structure of the tiny house is as unique as the design itself. A circular 12-foot diameter concrete footing was poured with rebar-reinforced PVC pipe inserted vertically every three feet. The pipe was then gathered together at the top to form the basic dome shape. Then the dome was lathed and plastered on the inside and out before the tile was applied.

I’m pretty sure most of the experienced builders reading the description of how this house was built just cringed. It’s an incredibly unconventional approach, but it sure seems to have worked.

Knowing Bev, a true rebel and experimenter, I doubt if she asked for permission to built it or had an engineer review the design. But I also suspect it’s perfectly safe.

I remember asking her 20 years ago if she had to get any special permits to tile her big house in Albuquerque (see photo below) or to store a field of tile scraps in her backyard – she just smiled a mischievous smile and said… no (innocently).

There were volumes of lessons in that grin and single word answer.

Incredible tiny house house Bev!

Bev Magennis -  The Dome Lady Interior

Bev Magennis - Tile House in Albuquerque   beverley-magennis-mosaic-interior beverley-magennis-mosaic-tile beverley-magennis-mosaic-wall beverley-magennis-mosaic Bev Magennis -  Garden Lady




Tile House by Beverley Magennis


Beverley Magennis was one of my favorite teachers in college. Over the years I’ve lost contact with her but recently stumbled into photos of the home she carefully crafted in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I actually house sat for her once for the good part of a week in the early 1990’s and got to spend some time living in this tile house. I found these great photos of Bev’s tile house on flickr (photo credit queenodesign).

The lower level was a ceramics studio and the upper floor was her home. It looks much bigger from the outside than it really is too. The living area has a very simple and compact floor plan. It’s not a tiny house but I wanted to share with you the idea of mosaics made from… well… anything.

The interior is covered from ceiling to floor in mosaics, and not just tile mosaics. Bev used everything from bottle caps to cereal boxes to match sticks. Don’t worry the match sticks were already blown out. The final result is an incredibly vibrant interior and exterior or patterns that flow around and through the house. It’s an amazing sight and ironically not that overwhelming once you’ve gotten over the initial shock.

She got all this debris from people all over Albuquerque. Bar tenders would save her bags of bottle caps. Tile shops would save her broken boxes of tile. Bev networked with everyone she could and eventually ended up with a backyard filled with tile and other bits and pieces of stuff and a house covered with beautiful mosaics. Today Bev’s daughter Erin and her husband Kyle like in the house and have a busy mosaic business of their own.

Now imagine being the first person to build a mosaic tiny house. It would take time, and it would be very heavy, but it would be a very cool sight indeed.