Chris and Shehla Hyser Plan Four Steps Ahead with Three-Dome Home

The Hyser Family's Monolithic Dome Home.

Chris and Shehla Hyser’s Monolithic Dome house is nestled in the Catoctin mountains of Maryland.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

In Maryland, a triple dome home rises, named The Tatooine of Catoctin Mountains. Star Wars fans will recognize the name Tatooine as the home planet for Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker, and the first planet featured in the original film in 1977.

When Chris Hyser and his wife, Shehla, started thinking about what they wanted most in a forever home, they thought ahead to what would be most durable, practical, and comfortable for their future. The Monolithic triple dome home they imagined reflects their strong values with a touch of whimsy.

Patio and Outdoor Dining Space.

The Tatooine of Catoctin Mountains dome home has a large deck with plenty of space for outdoor dining.

Chris Hyser / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

“My motto is, never start something you’re not willing to finish immediately, and always think four steps ahead,” Chris Hyser said. “We planned for old age, with walk-in tubs, and there’s not a step in the house. We ran conduits and extra tubing, thinking ahead to what we’re going to need.”

Chris can feel trouble brewing and solves problems before they happen. As a Maryland state trooper, he received the Governor’s Citation for Valor, the profession’s highest honor, and retired with honors in 2000. Working as a state trooper gave him discipline, critical thinking, and the ability to read whether someone’s genuine and how they’re going to react.

“I love to serve,” Hyser said. “I get pleasure from giving.”

His life and the lives of others often depended on his ability to read a situation accurately, respond immediately, and think ahead. For the last twenty years, he’s been a contract investigator, police trainer, police mentor, and K9 handler. He served seven tours of duty in Iraq and three tours of duty in Afghanistan, often protecting generals. What he experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan inspired him to get a master’s of divinity degree when he got home. He became a chaplain, and he’s still looking ahead.

Beautiful Custom Kitchen.

The Hyser’s home features a beautiful custom kitchen with marble countertops and backsplashes, a huge island with bar seating, and gorgeous maple cabinets.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Hysers’ home consists of three domes. Two domes are 36 feet (11 m) in diameter and 16 feet (4.9 m) tall, with an 11-foot (3.4 m) arch where they connect. One of the double domes contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms, while the other consists of a living room and kitchen, open and inviting, with a utility closet. Natural light flows through the domes. They have two 3-foot (1 m) by 6-foot (2 m) windows in the primary bedroom, another 3-foot by 6-foot window in the living room, a 7-foot (2.1 m) by 12-foot (3.7 m) sliding glass door, and a 3-foot by 6-foot window in the kitchen. Their nearest neighbors include deer, opossums, and a black bear.

“It’s great to see the wildlife here,” Chris said. “We are about two miles from the Appalachian Trail. When I was a Boy Scout, I hiked from Susquehanna to the Potomac over ten weekends.”

The third dome is 36 feet (11 m) in diameter by 15 feet (4.6 m) tall. It connects from the main living area via a seven-foot wide, 12-foot-long (3.7 m) tunnel. It’s a three-car garage, though it currently holds two cars along with Chris’s motorcycle and tools. They have 1890 square feet (175.6 m²) of living space and a 1000 square foot (93 m²) garage.

A Spacious Living Room.

The great room includes this spacious living area with his and her recliners, comfy couches and sliding doors out to the patio.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Chris and Shehla, vice president of a timekeeping software company, cited their home in Frederick County, about ten miles from Camp David. The three-dome home also serves as a gathering place for the couple’s blended family. Together, they have four grown children and three grandchildren, ages 13, 10, and 10 months old.

“During winter, on a weekly basis, we have family dinners with whoever’s in town, and they love it here,” Chris said.

Chris started his career as an HVAC technician and has designed Data Centers, including their structure, power grid, HVAC, raised floor, fire protection and card key access. One of the things that attracted him to Monolithic Domes for the design of his permanent home was energy efficiency.

“It has about one-third the footprint on energy consumption on cooling,” he said.

The Great Room.

The Hyser family’s great room is large enough for their kitchen, living room and an office tucked into an alcove behind seating area.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Chris helps as a chaplain to the homeless community in Frederick, Maryland, and they’re looking at ways to create a sustainable community of affordable homes. Chris said he thought a community of Monolithic Dome homes could be an attractive option.

“High winds cross the mountains, and strong winds come through here,” he said. “We’re looking at ways of making homes safer.”

The project’s in its planning phase, and they’re looking for donor land in the city, close to social services and bus routes. Chris lived in a trailer with a shared bathroom when he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he wants some different, more durable options for affordable housing. Most of all, he wants to make things safer and better, not only for himself and his family and community but also for his district, his state, and the country.

“Something must be done in order to stop the fabric of our society from ripping further apart,” Chris says.

The Perfect Family Office Space.

The office in this home is tucked away in an alcove, but is still a part of the great room.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Chris and Shehla have lived in their new place for a little over a year. Chris jests that his wife encourages him to run for Congress so he won’t start building another house.

“I like to keep busy,” he said. “I hope my next chapter will be a seat in Congress.”

He’s running for Congress in Maryland District 6, in a diverse community that includes parts of urban Montgomery County and rural Garrett County, plus Allegany, Frederick, and Washington Counties.

“I’m fed up with political tensions,” he said. “It’s like people no longer listen to each other, and we need to listen to solve the problems that face us. As a chaplain, I know how to sit down and listen. I believe in less taxation and a small government, but I don’t care who sponsors a bill, Democrat or Republican. If they want to help benefit my district and my state, I will sit down with them.”

In their triple-dome home, Chris and Shehla blend their lives together seamlessly. Their peaceful oasis at the Tatooine of Catoctin Mountains gives them the strength to rise up for the work they want to do.

“We love it here,” Chris said. “It’s an area to unwind, relax, and chill. We all need self-care in life in order to be able to deal with all the other stuff.”

A Shady and Inviting Setting.

The Tatooine of Catoctin Mountains dome home is nestled amongst the trees of Maryland in the perfect shady and inviting spot.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Bright and Clean Entry Hall.

The entry hall is painted white, creating a beautiful contrast which highlights the gorgeous wood floors and furnishings.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

From the Entrance Looking In.

When you walk into the Hyser’s Monolithic Dome home, you are ushered immediately into the great room. Even though the great room is very large, it has a warm and cozy feel because of the beautiful wood floors, maple counters in the kitchen, the oriental rugs and the soft textures of the living area.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Another View of the Kitchen.

From this angle, the view of the kitchen lets us see the built-in cooktop and the enviable marble island that easily seats five people at the bar.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Peaceful Primary Bedroom.

This primary bedroom is a peaceful oasis for Chris and Shehla Hyser. It includes an large walk-in closet and ensuite bath.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Primary Bedroom and Ensuite.

The dark wood headboard and matching furniture contrast beautifully with the neutrals of the primary bedroom. The door to the ensuite bath is seen here.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A Luxury Primary Bath.

The primary bedroom’s bathroom is luxurious. Some of the features include double sinks, a marble counter, a huge vanity, lighted double mirrors, and a soft place to relax at the end of the day.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Water Closet and Walk-in Tub.

The luxury primary ensuite bath boasts a semi-private, wheelchair-accessible water closet, a curbless shower, and a walk-in tub. These features were included with the many possibilities of the owners’ far future in mind.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The First Guest Room.

This cute guest room has a big window and sits underneath the beautiful arch of the dome.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Second Guest Room.

The second guest room is a mirror image of the first, but decorated in a more rustic fashion.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Guest Bath.

The guest rooms share this gorgeous marble shower and upgraded toilet. The vanity in this room is the same marble as the primary’s ensuite.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Laundry and Utility Closet.

The laundry and utility closet is handily located right off the kitchen.

Chris Crummitt / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Possibilities.

The sunlight dappled driveway leading away from the Hyser’s dome home makes the future seem full of possibilities.

Chris Hyser / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A Backyard View of *The Tatooine of Catoctin Mountains*.

The Hyser family will enjoy many summers in the backyard of their beautiful new Monolithic Dome home.

Chris Hyser / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0