About Dain's & Amanda's Earthship

Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2021

Today marks the 11th year of building this house. Our personal interpretation of independence day. So much blood, so much sweat, and so many tears. From the ground up with all four earthship DIY books. We had plenty of encouragement to guide us, and the discouragement to propel us even further. It’s an ongoing project but the end is near. We started to pour the last floor today. It would have been done a month ago but we are installing a stone/light feature which will be well worth the time it’s taking: pictures of that to come in a week or two!! And two more coats of plaster on one more wall…the dome interior.. and well done? Really? I think that’s it. We are still building a studio though, so a few more years of hard labor for that giant 600 sq. ft addition.. We have an indoor, self watering tropical paradise. A flushing toilet. A magical shower. A completely self sustaining water system. Solar power. Earth Based, bermed into the ground natural air conditioning. Passive solar heat.. A community. A work at home life. Friends. Non-stop laughs.. And yes, we did celebrate today by working on this house all day. Also, I’m proud to say I’ve had the same pickaxe for 11 years, and used it again, today.




Images courtesy of the photographer, Amanda Speer

Feeling burnt out on city life, artists Amanda Speer and Dain Daller moved from Chicago to northern New Mexico in 2010 to seek a more economically and environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Around the same time that they purchased a plot of land, they learned about Earthships, a holistic home/life design developed by architect Michael Reynolds. To build an Earthship, you must adhere to strict tenets regarding materials, energy sources, garbage and sewage treatment, etc.; however, Dain and Speer work continuously to infuse their Earthship with creativity with the inclusion of decorative elements throughout the home and property.

Much of the artwork built into the home is inspired by the materials that Dain and Amanda scavenge that they repurpose as mosaics, woodwork, curated collections, textiles, and more. Though the duo believe they will eventually complete the home, they are already planning for additional structures, like a separate Earthship studio and then a kiln, as well as development of the surrounding property with outdoor sculpture and landscaping. Dain and Speer’s studio practice is based on fiber work (Warp Zone Weaving); however, Speer describes the home as their “masterpiece.”

Statement from Amanda Speer, August 2019:

We are Amanda Speer and Dain Daller. We identify primarily as artists, musicians, and homebuilders. We became disillusioned with the city life after living in Chicago for almost a decade. It was primarily the lack of prospect for home ownership. We wanted a freedom that urban life was prohibiting. A life with less daunting bills, and people not living on top of people. We took a giant leap and left the city in a tiny muffler-less car in 2009.

We are both self-taught builders. We are influenced by mud building techniques from all around the world and all throughout all periods of time. We built our home in the Earthship stye with the help of an Earthship internship and the four DIY Earthship books written by Michael Reynolds. We have built every component of our house—plumbing, cabinetry, framing, couches—you name it, we built it with our hands. We have dug every bit of dirt out by hand, which is a far less destructive method than using large machinery, and it is also much more peaceful and gratifying.

Dain and I will most likely continue to build into the sunset. We do very much intend to finish our house, yet there will always be something more to do or decorate or embellish. We are currently drawing plans for a huge weaving studio to be added on to our house. We don’t cut corners, so our projects are usually quite slow to develop. It will be another Earthship around 700 square feet and have its own water system for a full dye kitchen.

The work sometimes feels endless and daunting, but we realize we have built an amazing life and environment that even feels unbelievable to us at times. We are fortunate to have been able to do so. We’ve created an environment that only gets closer and closer to being our personal utopia every day. We live and work at home, and remain grateful for this opportunity and try not to take any of it for granted.

Amanda has a BFA from Columbia College, Chicago, and Dain has a BFA from the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. We learned to weave in 2012 at the local Española Valley Fiber Arts Center and have now shown our work around the world. We continue to work, teach, and build in Northern New Mexico.

Materials: adobe, tile, brick, wood, other scavenged materials

Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019

Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2019

Building an earthship in New Mexico with Amanda Speer

Amanda & Dain's Chicagoclimatefest Video

Published on Oct 27, 2016

Earthship video... 6 years into the project.... check back in three years and maybe we'll be done... :)

2017 - 360° tour of earthship

2017 - 360° tour of earthship upstairs

Here's Amanda's blog website:

RaiseHighTheRoofBeamCarpenters.blogspot.com (most recent)

Starting from the beginning (I like to read from the beginning)

And Amanda's YouTube channel:

YouTube - combatbilly

Woman Made Gallery Earthship; New Mexico

Amanda J. Speer with Dain Daller

Earthship; New Mexico

various natural and manmade materials

This Earthship project creates an affordable, sustainable, home in the Southwestern U.S. The entirety of the project has been conceived and executed purely by myself and my partner Dain Daller. As artists and builders, we have a goal of making a positive impact on the declining health of our planet.

The Earthship is made of rammed earth walls, and a glass front. The glass front face is almost completely south facing. This allows full sun in winter, and no sun, during summer. The tire walls are filled with rammed earth which creates a thermal mass. The house is completely buried on all sides besides the glass front. The structure soaks in heat like a charging battery.

This home is self sustaining. It will use its water five times before it is put back into the earth’s atmosphere. After the water is collected off the roof, it is stored in a cistern. It is then filtered for drinkable water. After the water is used in sinks and showers, it is filtered into the indoor green house. The water then drains into a separate tank. This storage tank is for flushing the toilet. When water is flushed, it drains into a standard septic tank. There is no leach field. Human matter is decomposed and then put into a ground level black water planter, creating a fertilized soil used for landscaping.

For more information visit: http://raisehightheroofbeamcarpenters.blogspot.com


Doug & Katie's visit to New Mexico 2017

Doug & Katie's visit to New Mexico 2014