John and Letha Small have been on a journey to a Monolithic Dome home for 20 years. After living in tornado-prone areas of the midwestern United States, they wanted a storm-proof home. Construction on their dome home began in the spring of 2016 and the structure was completed in 2017. The family has recently completed the finishing touches and has moved into their home to live full time.
Shalom Dome, as the family came to name it, has been home to the family for two months. A three-dome structure, the home has 3,000 square feet of living space plus a loft, with 1,000 square feet for the garage. There are three bedrooms and three bathrooms as well as an office and a theater.
The structure is on top of a hill approximately 18 miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri. Their property has 40 acres, giving the family some privacy from the neighborhood located next to the property.
The biggest thing to get used to, according to the homeowners, has been sound in the dome. “The TV is on one wall and you hear it better from the other side of the room,” John Small observed. “It’s just a crack-up because we can hear everything. It kind of surprised people.” Carpet has been put in the bedroom areas, which has helped tame down the echo.
Another observation from the family has been the energy difference between a conventional home and a dome home. In the time they have lived in the home, they have noticed that the temperature inside the home has increased by four degrees in two weeks. “It’s about a half a degree a day when there’s a 20 degree difference with the outside,” Small said. “And that’s with dogs inside and doors opening and closing all the time.”
As for their children’s reaction to living in a dome, “they’re very excited,” John said. “It’s been very positive for the kids. They really love to show their friends and their friends’ parents.” Letha reported, “we do a lot of showing of the house.” Even strangers have taken an interest in the home, driving up their driveway because they think it is a government building and not a private home. “People drive by just to see it,” Letha said.
The homeowners are happy with their home and how it has come together. “It’s a really nice layout and comfortable,” Letha said. “I sit here and I feel so peaceful. It can be so relaxing. Most people who come in feel the same.” John said he likes looking out the windows onto their property. The comfort of the home is also boosted by the technology in the home, including 4K TVs in every bedroom and solar panels outside.
As to the future, the owners plan to introduce their home to their neighbors. Once they have all the boxes unpacked and settled they will hold an open house. As for their land, the plan is to eventually put in fruit trees and berry bushes, adding to the comfort on their property.