How Does One Design A Dome Home?

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How Does One Design A Dome Home?

Postby Ula Oh » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:08 am

I have a really good idea of what I want. I've already completed my word picture and I want to design our home my self, with input in the final phases from an engineer.

The problem is every time I start drawing it out- to scale mind you- I just draw a blank. Or a shapeless lumpy mess. Or just a big mess.

I love the beauty and shape of the dome. I came for the disaster resistance and stayed for the shape (circles are my favorite). But it seems to be the shape that stumps me. I can almost picture the place in my mind's eye, but when it comes to drawing it it doesn't stick to paper. I even tried to use one of those programs but it hates circles, no help there. :evil:

Does any one have any suggestions on where to start?
What are the ways a dome can be partitioned by interior walls?
How expensive would it be to put each room in it's own dome?

(We want the project to be initially inexpensive)

Is it worth it to have a second floor if you don't particularly find two story domes beautiful?

Even though I'm not an architect I feel kind of helpless. Especially after drawing so many square houses that would work but I didn't love, I would think I could draw a round house that could work and I would love.

HELP!
:!:
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Postby Missouri Dome Builder » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:07 am

Many people like the advantages of a dome, then they do a lot of planing and end up wasting builders time, before they discover that they can not get financing for a dome. So first, don't give up on your ideas, just remember the more time you have to plan, you have a better chance of getting the plan you will be happy with. Second, find out what new homes are selling for in your location per square foot. Divide that into the money you have and this should get you close to what you can build. Third, just do the planning with graph paper. measure furniture and cut there shapes out on graph paper. Measure your rooms you have now. Don't forget that depending on the dome shape you select you may hit the wall with your head, so graph the vertical dome shape so that you can draw a circle the size where you can stand up straight. Try to plan the entrance room so that you can enter all the other rooms without halls. Just experiment moving the graphed furniture around until you get a placement you like. The bigger the dome the easier it is to plan the rooms, so if on a tight budget you must be careful in the planing for a small dome. Due to the shape of a hemisphere it works out that after you know the square footage you want the cost will be nearly the same if you build one big dome or two smaller domes connected together. With the two smaller (or more) domes there are less interior walls to build. If only one story is needed this may the best way to go. If a second or third floor is wanted then opt for a single dome. Let other people jump in as a lot of dome owners have went through this process and will have other great ideas of how they planed their domes.

Best wishes in dome building

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Planning the home

Postby Baker » Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:35 am

I went thru the same problems of trying to figure out how to design our home. I've done drawings for several "conventional" homes and thought that doing my own dome would be a snap. I did drawings and planned for a couple of years but just couldn't get it to work. :roll: I did a word picture and knew just what I wanted but, like you said, when I went to put it inside a circle I just couldn't get my mind around it. We finally gave up and have had Jim Kaslick do the design and it is exactly what I want! We are waiting for him to finish the construction drawings now and then it will go to the engineer but the more I look at his drawings and computer renderings the more I can "feel" living in my house. He has done a great job and everything in the design works together so well there is no wasted space. He is not that expensive especially since we are planning to live there the rest of our lives. It is worth it to get the design right. I highly reccommend that you check out http://www.cloudhidden.org

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One dome flew over the California code-nest

Postby hitssquad » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:05 pm

Ula Oh wrote:Does any one have any suggestions on where to start?

I am still in the "Design and Dream" stage, but Jim Kaslik's observations on the design process have always seemed to me to carry impressively practical insight. Here is most of one from January 2007 that I think might help you:
http://bbs.monolithic.com/viewtopic.php ... eeds#14028

you've heard the joke that a camel is a horse designed by committee? :) Focus on your wants and needs. Design follows from that (form follows function). Your needs/wants relate to the spaces you need and how you'd use them. Also the stuff you have, the type of entertaining you do, the hours you keep, your work, and a bunch of other stuff. That, with the land and budget and some other things, is the start of the design process. Without that info, the rest is pretty difficult to do.

A turnkey residence today will be somewhere in the $125-$150/sf range for an average fit and finish. It will vary based on location, site conditions, design, finish. Plain and simple could probably lower that to $110 while greater luxury or sophistication should budget $180 to $200 or even more. And notice I didn't say "dome". That's turnkey, custom housing today, and not specific to our form of construction.


If -- right now -- I were planning or designing for California (for building-code, acceptance-by-neighbors, financing, and insurance purposes), I would shortlist Jim Kaslik's recent ICF-capped-by-dome idea:
http://bbs.monolithic.com/viewtopic.php ... +icf#13859

I can imagine entire subdivisions of that design in California -- like this, but with stone-veneer walls and spheroid roofs:

Image
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Thank you all

Postby Ula Oh » Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:17 am

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. However my reasoning for wanting to design the floor plan of my home isn't because I can say that I did it my self. My DIY pride dissipated in the 8th grade and now I only do things my self to $ave.

As for the Graph Paper Idea, this is my posted problem.

Is building several domes really the best (Most cost effective) way to go? I don't like partition walls, they are not an enjoyable part of the building process, and I prefer the round walls over straight.

I know Mr. Kaslick does excellent work and I know that his cost is well worth the expense. It is because I will live in my house for the rest of my life that I don't want his or any other architect's services. I can't have a mortgage that I have to pay the rest of my life. (Some people here are acctually getting 100 year loans!)

I have my word picture completed, it is flexible to allow for design innovations but it is very specific to my needs and wants, down to measurements, proximity/location to other rooms, furniture, and window placement. I would post it here but it is 5 pages long. What I need is how to put those rooms together. Any suggestions other than having some one else do it?
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Postby BWARDEN » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:55 am

Ula Oh,

My only caution to you against doing the design DIY to save money, is that home construction is expensive. MD home design and construction is very counter intuitive relative to all your experience in conventional rectilinear homes. It is all too easy to make a design error that may cost you a bunch in a difficult construction implementation or design error work around.

In my opinion, experienced designers like Jim Kaslik can save you money, even after his very reasonable fee. Especially if you do plan to live in your house the rest of your life. That's a long time to live with a design mistake, or a large cost overrun. Guys like Jim take design issues into consideration that you may not even think about.

I'm not saying don't do it, because many have done it. Just make sure you put some serious thought to it, as a lot of money is at stake. Seemingly small design mistakes or oversights could potentially result in huge unanticipated construction costs.
Bob Warden
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Stop financing a government that doesn't support your values. Sell your U.S. Savings Bonds and Treasuries. Money talks.
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Postby 3dO » Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:33 am

Ula Oh,

I, like you, have designed homes for decades. Conventional (square) homes seem easy but I can find what I consider "poor design" in almost all "tract" homes. A Dome just compounds the design issues. I also like the idea of a dome for each room. I can design wonderful, efficient individual rooms but have come to "a wall" when trying to connect them in a practicle way. After trying for several years (decades ?) I have decided that when the time comes I will hire a professional (most likely Cloud Hidden) to create the final design. Not only does he create wonderful designs, He also provides construction drawing with all the information needed for planning, permits and construction. There are many things required for permits that "amateur" designers, like myself, do not know about. Having the services of a professional can save time, money and headaches. Seeing all the headaches that Su-Z has had with building Fenixdome (even with professional help) I want to avoid as many as possible. Being so close and having the opportunity to watch her progress has really opened my eyes. Building a home, of any kind, is more involved than most non-builders realize. I'll take all the help I can get. :D
John Donohew

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Postby Baker » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:19 am

Ula Oh,

I don't want to belabor the point but just reemphasize what Bob said about saving money. Bob's house and mine are almost extreme opposites. Its been very interesting watching his house come along. Both houses have been designed by Jim Kaslick. Bob's house has, it seems, every conceivable latest system available and lots of beautiful details and extras. My house is very basic and we are taking the approach of using as few mechical and technical systems as we can get away with - no heating or air conditioning sytems, etc. Jim is very creative and very flexible but the main reason we had him do the design is that we felt that even with paying his fees we would probably have less cash out of pocket spent by doing it right the first time than fumbling around and getting it wrong. He has also given us a design that has alot more efficent use of space than I could come up with. He was able to get every thing that I wanted into the square footage that we had budgeted. With my drawings I was going to have to give up somethings or go to a larger design. With costs at $100 to $150/sq ft he doesn't have to save you much space until he has easily paid for his fee.! :D Good luck which ever way you end up going!

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Re: One dome flew over the California code-nest

Postby GreginAlaska » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:30 pm

hitssquad wrote:"...If -- right now -- I were planning or designing for California (for building-code, acceptance-by-neighbors, financing, and insurance purposes), I would shortlist Jim Kaslik's recent ICF-capped-by-dome idea:
..."


That's what I am looking at right now. I was going to do a straight MD but got tired of trying to find a subdivision developer that would let me in...I had given up on financing long before. I took a few pics that Jim sent me and I took them to a few of the subdivision developers to look at. I still haven't gotten a "yes", only one "no", but they didn't seem to be too put off by it and received it better than a straight MD...except for the guy who said "no". He wadded up the pic, threw it at me and said "Don't you get it, if it's not made of lumber or logs, then it doesn't fit in this subdivision." sheesh

I also took it to the bank to see what they would say, they had no problem as long as none of the rooms are round. The only thing they said was it might not get a fair appraisal because the materials are more expensive than a wood house. Thing is, the bank is Wells Fargo and they seemed eager to get involved. They got me approved in a few hours and the next day a guy who does construction loans called at 8 AM...isn't that early for a banker? He was wanting to get me rolling on a cost breakdown, he seemed disappointed when I told him I don't have a lot or a solid design yet. The other banker didn't tell him that. strange....I still might build it out of pocket though.
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