HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE DOME OF A HOME!!!!
The Dome of a Home has had quite an exciting first year!
Most thrilling, perhaps, is the visit from the Travel Channel’s film crew in May 2004. We really enjoyed the crew and had fun traipsing across the island showing them the sites. The Dome of a Home was chosen to be included in the Travel Channel’s new series, Amazing Vacation Homes, airing the fall season of 2004.
Filming was quite the experience. We will see the results of several hours of filming and the magic of editing on September 13, 2004. We were told that every hour of film shot usually produces about one minute of actual footage. Wow!
Coconut’s Hugging Post Restaurant (400 Pensacola Beach Road, 850-932-6887) on Pensacola Beach was gracious enough to host a beautifully prepared dinner for our guests. After a selection of amazing appetizers, each of us was presented with a feast for our eyes, as well as our taste buds. The array of delectable dishes will not be forgotten. Thank you, George Nagel, for creating a beautiful atmosphere for our very special evening.
The Dome of a Home has also caught the interest of the music video industry as a unique setting to film a video. The dome is also currently being reviewed by The Weather Channel with a possible interest in a future story. Much excitement brewing — keep your eyes open for the Dome of a Home on your TV screen! AND ON OUR NEW T-SHIRTS, for sale very soon on the website!
The Dome of a Home is also making an appearance on the Monolithic Dome Institute’s calendar next year. www.monolithicdome.com
IN A YEAR, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
I have received much correspondence concerning what we learned, what we would do again, and what we would not do again. Quite honestly, I am only now able to look back and contemplate those issues. I had been told that building a house was stressful. I thought I was prepared; I was not. It’s eerily reminiscent of the difference between hearing about childbirth and experiencing it.
So, first and foremost, don’t forget to include the padded cell in your floor plans! But, don’t be mistaken and think the cell is only for dome home owners. While commiserating with other home owners that have built, I discovered that my sanity was not being singled out, but what I was experiencing was “the nature of the beast”, as my friend so aptly stated. Please don’t let me leave you with the impression that our frustrations were dome specific.
What we would do again or would do differently:
* We would hire a local contractor and sub-contract the building of the shell with a dome contractor that would “blow and go”.
* Request a list of references. Interview them extensively.
* Get several bids to compare. The least expensive isn’t always the best deal, and the most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best quality. Interview extensively.
* Never, ever, ever pay your contractors ahead of the schedule or the final draw before the work is complete.
* Never, ever pay the contractors ahead of schedule. Did I say that already? Well, it is the most important lesson we learned and it bears repeating.
* Be aware that many estimates will be bid high just because the house is unusual, even if the shape has no bearing on the work being done. We found two extremes: People who would charge double because it is a dome and people who were thrilled to work on the project in any capacity for a reasonable fee.
* Definitely have your architect stay on the project at least until the openings are cut. Have the architect approve the openings’ positions before the contractor continues.
* I would not have spent the time and effort to save items out of the old house. Saving doors, cabinets, etc cost more than just dozing with the structure and buying new.
Products we would definitely use over again:
* As of now, the exterior coating of polyurea (also known as Rhino Liner placed in truck beds) appears to be an excellent idea. It is easy to clean and seals the shell. Since it is a new technique to use in this fashion, only time will tell if this is truly a viable coating. Hope so!
* The Flex-C Trac was one of the best products we could have ever found. Without it, we would have never had the beautiful curved walls that flow throughout the dome. http://www.flexc.com Our top pick for products that really lend themselves nicely to a dome home.
* Georgia Pacific’s sheetrock Dens Technology products are absolutely a must in a humid environment. They are constructed to not absorb moisture, thereby eliminating the horrible problem of mold and mildew. Even without hurricanes, the high humidity levels on the beach cause mildew to be a constant companion. However, we have had none of the issues with our GP Dens Technology sheetrock. They even make a product to use on the exterior surfaces. Amazing products! www.gp.com/gypsum
* The cork flooring adds a coziness and warmth to the home that we truly love. Everyone that enters the home comments on the floor favorable. Of course, we love that the cork is harvested every 9 – 12 years off of trees that live over five hundred years. www.amcork.com
* The SETS Tankless hot water heaters are convenient and provide savings on your power bills because you are not paying to store hot water continuously. The SETS units heat the water up as you need it. Their newest units eliminate the fluctuating temperature that occurred in the original units. http://www.sets-systems.com
* Using sprayed foam as insulation between the interior walls has made the dome quiet and eliminates the sound traveling from room to room through the walls. We do not have any duct work with our air-conditioning system for sound to travel through. Thus far, we are pleased with the sound deadening qualities of this feature. And in a moist environment, sprayed foam has many advantages eluding the more conventional rolled insulation.
* Being able to adjust the temperature for each room individually is one of my favorite features in the home. The Hydro-Air units eliminated traditional duct work, which is always a challenge in the dome. And they allow the guests to keep the rooms a comfortable temperature, regardless of whether they are a Freezing Frannie or a Menopausal Mary. www.bio-radiant.com
* Tempur-Pedic mattresses are wonderful! For once, a company advertises qualities of their products that are absolutely truthful. These mattresses are heavenly and provide a sleep that is peaceful and restful. The only trouble is leaving your home and sleeping on a mattress that is not a Tempurpedic. http://www.tempurpedic.com
* I love my Hunter-Douglas blinds! Many of them drop from the top of the window down, allowing me both my privacy and a view. The patio doors have blinds that function the same way a patio door does, opening the same direction. A vast improvement in function ability over the vertical blinds, which I always find to be a pain. http://www.simply-blinds.com
* We found the Kraftmaid cabinet company wonderful to deal with.
Products we would not use again:
* The verdict is still out on the Andersen Windows. Their representatives misrepresented the heat gain and other aspects of the windows we selected. (At the time, Florida had incorporated new wind codes and the selection was limited.) As of now, we are in negotiations. Because we loved the Andersen windows in our previous home, we chose to use them again. Although we had a great product before, we are not pleased with the windows we were advised to buy. And I am not pleased with Andersen’s current stance on our situation. Stay tuned. Final verdict: I would not use Andersen windows again.
* The Metal-Shield paint we used in the garage did not adhere to the metal and we have a rusting situation. Not an unexpected situation on the beach. We did have to scrape peeling paint off and paint over with a different type of paint. The company seems to think we got a bad batch of paint. That’s too bad because it would be an amazing product to have on the beach if it was effective.
THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SUPPORTERS AND CLIENTS
The last year has been an amazing journey. We have communicated with thousands of people about the dome. There seems to be an abundant interest in this type of structure for a wide variety of reasons. I want to thank all of you that have written, called, or stopped by to express your support. To say it was an adventure would be a gross understatement. All of the highs and lows have been worth it as we see minds expanding and possibilities opening as people are exposed to the dome.
We opened our domicile (pun intended) to over 2000 people last year with tour attendance and the clients that rented the dome for their vacation. The response has been extremely positive and makes it all worthwhile.
Having the Travel Channel deem the house interesting enough to include on their new series, Amazing Vacation Homes, was also a tremendous boost to the morale.
Again, thank you all for your support and interest.