Indiana’s Innkeepers: Crystal & Bill Britzman at Thyme for Bed B&B

Dome home an unusual setting for warm, welcoming bed-and-breakfast

It started 39 years ago when newlyweds Crystal and Bill Britzman honeymooned at a bed and breakfast in Galena, Illinois.

It was love at first stay. And they thought, “We could so do this.”

Fast forward more than 35 years and the Britzmans find themselves welcoming guests to their B&B in Lowell, in northwest Indiana. A most unusual B&B, perhaps even the only one like it in the country. Their Thyme for Bed B&B is in a monolithic dome.

“My husband loves architecture,” Crystal says. “He loves unique buildings.” And when he discovered the dome about 10 years ago, he surprised his wife with a weekend visit.

Crystal and Bill Britzman have loved B&Bs since their first stay during their honeymoon. In 2017 they became innkeepers when they purchased Thyme for Bed B&B in Lowell.

It had been built in the late 1990s as a B&B. About five years ago the original owners decided to sell. They hosted an online contest; entrants were to explain why they would be good B&B owners. Bill crafted a letter. But there weren’t enough contestants, so the owners closed the contest. Didn’t matter. The Britzmans went ahead with purchasing the B&B – Crystal calls it a leap of faith – and they moved from northeast Illinois to 10 acres just outside of Lowell where they’re surrounded by farmland. They opened Thyme for Bed as their B&B in time for Valentine’s Day in February 2017.

To prepare for their move, they visited the Monolithic Dome Institute in Italy, Texas, to learn about the unusual construction. The buildings started as potato structures, and then someone said he wanted to live in one and the idea of making dome homes was born. They’re scattered throughout the country; homes in Georgia and Tennessee even offer rooms through Airbnb. The structures are disaster-resistant, energy-efficient and cost-effective.

“We took a week-long workshop and we participated in building a dome because we wanted to know more about the structure, in case we decide to build another one on the property,” Crystal says.

The Pheasant Room is one of three guest rooms at Thyme for Bed. Its outdoorsy, rustic character is highlighted by the wood canopy queen bed.

Thyme for Bed is one large dome with the Britzmans’ living quarters and three guest rooms, each with a full private bath. The largest room, with a king-sized bed, is on the main level; two rooms with queen-sized beds are on the second floor. Each room is named. The largest is the In Your Dreams room; the others are the Pheasant Room and the Victoria Room. There’s a balcony off the second floor as well as a garden patio.

“People are in awe when they come inside,” Crystal says. “It’s spacious like a normal home, but it doesn’t look like it on the outside.”

She says it’s very quiet inside. “The building has a calming effect.”

Crystal likes to cook. “I always make scones for breakfast,” she says. “That’s a given.”

The favorites are orange scones. “Even people who don’t like orange have really liked the orange scones,” she says. Cinnamon scones are also popular.

To play up the theme suggested by the B&B’s name, the innkeepers have created a flower “bed” to welcome guests.

And she makes her own yogurt, often topped with fresh fruit.

Egg frittatas are popular, as is her cream cheese French toast casserole with blueberries. “In the fall people love my cream cheese pumpkin French toast casserole. It is a winner.”

There’s always some kind of meat – typically bacon or sausage.

The Britzmans encourage guests to sit and visit at breakfast, especially on the weekends. “We spend time with our guests,” Crystal says. “We think it’s important for our guests to feel comfortable and at home, and that they make new friends.”

She adds, “We appreciate and respect the business. We just love doing this.” 

Thyme for Bed B&B
12567 185th Ave.
Lowell, IN 46356
(219) 690-4150
thymeforbed.com