See is the latest article published on Aug 22, 2017 by Florida Today here: FLORIDA TODAY: DOME SWEET DOME
Below the Aug 2 article we have copied the words of the Aug 22 article and will add the full article soon.
Written by Jessica Saggio, FLORIDA TODAY and Published Aug. 2, 2017. Also this video and article can be viewed on FaceBook. Below is the actual article and because the print is small, below the article we have copied the words in a larger font.
There’s no place like dome.
That’s the sentiment Terry and Ramona Schoonover echoed when talking about their unique geodesic dome house in Canaveral Groves.
It’s an unexpected sight among sprawling acres of wooded land in the semi-rural neighborhood just outside Cocoa. Three white bubbles peek through the trees, revealing what looks like something you’d read about in a Sci-Fi novel.
It’s a home they built themselves in 1992 from a kit. Yes, a kit, with pieces and instructions from Rockledge-based dome manufacturer American Ingenuity.
Terry flipped page by page through a photo album showing the building process, something he accomplished over a 9-month span with just the help of a friend, a few contractors and a lot of geometry. He beamed, telling stories of positioning panels to create his home, a structure that looks like three miniature versions of the Epcot ball.
And perhaps that’s what makes it difficult to leave behind. The couple listed the house for sale last week.
“At first I hated it,” said Ramona of the house, recalling that initially she was skeptical she’d be living in some kind of conservatory. “But I’ll miss this house. I got to love it.”
The couple is reaching retirement and has plans to move out west to New Mexico, said Ramona, whose love of the desert is apparent in her southwestern decor.
What they have to offer is truly unique, said Joel Rhodes, a real estate agent with the Jason Shinpaugh Team. The home is listed for $219,900 and features three bedrooms and two bathrooms, spread over 1,765 square feet. The largest dome is the main living quarters, which connects to another dome, a two-car garage. A third dome sits adjacent to the structure and serves as a workshop.
There’s already been a lot of interest in the home in just the few days it’s been listed, said Rhodes.
Skylights and tall ceilings greet guests when they enter the home, which is light and airy inside despite its hard concrete exterior. Furniture conforms with the circular design, something the Schoonovers admitted might be a bit of a challenge, depending on taste.
“People might think you’re a little limited, but you can do a few things,” said Ramona.
The downstairs features two bedrooms, a great room, a dining area and a kitchen, which connects to a laundry room and the garage. The upstairs includes a master bedroom, a walk-in closet and a master bath. A custom-made boat ladder-style staircase leads to the second floor.
Sounds echo throughout the house, as the round shape also makes for unique acoustics. You can whisper downstairs and still hear what’s said in the loft master bedroom, the couple explained, but “it’s a really good energy,” said Ramona.
But perhaps one the best selling points, the couple added, is the home’s safety features. Terry explained that the geodesic home is built to endure up to 225 mph winds, and is energy efficient. The couple said they have not paid more than an $80 electric bill since living in the home.
“We’ve never had to evacuate (during a hurricane),” said Terry. “And we’ve never had any hurricane damage.”
It’s one of 50 dome houses in Brevard County, said Glenda Busick, owner of American Ingenuity. The company keeps a log of all the kits it sells. American Ingenuity, also known as Ai Domes, debuted with its design and kits in 1976, and made the cover of Popular Science in March 1987. Terry said it was this magazine cover that inspired him to build the house.
Domes come in multiple sizes and floor plans, and diameter sizes range from 15 feet to 48 feet.
The company calls its domes “the building design of the future available today.” American Ingenuity touts that the houses can withstand F4 tornadoes and the design reduces the impact of falling trees. During Hurricane Andrew, the domes were put to the test.
“On Key Largo, just 20 miles south of the eye of the storm, an Ai 40′ dome faced the brunt of the storm,” the company’s website states. “Built on pilings near the Atlantic Ocean, it was exposed to relentless high winds and driving rain. Unlike houses and commercial buildings in the surrounding area, it sustained absolutely no damage.”
The company is headquartered on Holiday Springs Road in Rockledge.
As for the Schoonovers, this will likely be their last dome house. The two already inquired about building a dome on their new property in New Mexico, but were denied.
“It’s going to be weird going to a regular house,” said Ramona
Dome sweet dome: Would you live in a dome home?
Maria Sonnenberg, For FLORIDA TODAY Published 1:12 p.m. ET Aug. 22, 2017 |
Rockledge company sells dome home kits for do-it-yourselfers
Pay attention to Buckminster Fuller and forget the square or rectangle when building a house, and instead go for a geodesic dome.
The forward-thinking Fuller, responsible for giving the name geodesic to the polyhedral dome, championed the dome as the perfect structure for its strength and efficiency. This ideal building form is being created daily in — drum roll, please — Rockledge, home to American Ingenuity, aka Aidomes, builder of dome home kits that are shipped around the world.
Ai founder Michael Busick launched his company in Brevard in 1976. Instead of wood and shingles, which can rot and tear off, concrete, galvanized and expanded polysterene were Busick’s materials of choice for his domes. He was granted a patent for prefab panels that make construction easier than stick-built and can be easily organized into kits that can be assembled by proficient do-it-yourselfers.
You need not sacrifice space with domes. Interior footage with Aidomes ranges from 172-square-feet mini-domes to 2,992-square-foot residences that share the dome’s inherent durability. The Rockledge company’s domes have been erected in 47 states and 15 foreign countries.
“As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest built by man,” said Glenda Carlin-Busick, vice president and plans coordinator for American Ingenuity. “The partial sphere (that is a dome) is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. Domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.”
Th Ai domes carry a 225 mph and F4 tornado guarantee and are super energy-efficient.
“Our domes have 30 percent less exterior surface than box-shaped houses and have R28 insulation on the prefab panels with no wood to interrupt the insulation,” Busick.
She noted the electric bill for the company’s 3,700-square foot office of two attached domes averages $72 when the place is kept at 74 degrees during the peak of summer.
The houses are solid as a rock, perfect for whatever Florida weather can throw at it. The concrete construction, reinforced with galvanized mesh and fibers, has no rooftop to blow off in high winds.
One of Ai’s domes went through Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage when the rest of the neighborhood was destroyed,” Busick said.
Builder Ray Vince hopes to tap onto the dome’s excellent efficiency in the community of homes he has planned for Titusville.
The Schoonovers built their geodesic home in Canaveral Groves in 1992. Watch the progress of its construction. The house is now for sale as the couple reaches retirement and looks to move out west.
Video by Jessica Saggio and Tim Shortt Wochit
“I had originally thought of going with conventional prefab homes until I discovered that Ai was in Rockledge,” Vince said.
Vince hopes to start his project, aimed to further energize Titusville’s housing market, with a two bedroom/one bath 27-foot dome home that is linked to a 12-foot dome hosting solar panel battery storage.
Throwback: Unusual homes in Brevard: Dome home
“It will be a super dome home,” said Vince, who is searching for a large parcel of land to build a community of dome homes in North Brevard.
With a price tag of around $160,000, Vince’s dome home is affordable, secure and efficient housing that won’t cost much to maintain.
“He wants to build the dome to be as close to off the grid as possible,” Busick said.
Although structurally very different than traditional houses, domes nevertheless are very cozy inside and are naturals for the open floor plan favored by today’s homeowners.
“Geodesic dome construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable building that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials,” Busick said. “The building concept of a dome expands the range of simple and economic building options.”
Malcolm and Eva Jewell live in an Aidome on Pineapple Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District. The Jewells were not looking for a dome particularly, but the house’s location and its river views sealed the deal. The energy efficiency and strength were just nice bonuses.
“I had known about dome houses and I knew they were very good with hurricanes and wind,” Malcolm Jewell said.
The house is a 34-foot diameter two bedroom/two bath Aidome with 1,171 square feet on two levels. It connected to a 22-foot diameter dome that serves as a one-car garage dome with attic storage.
Settling into dome living for Jewell was a cinch.
“It was surprisingly easy,” she said. “The furniture fits very well.”
About the only drawback in dome living for Jewell is hanging pictures on the outside walls, since their concrete construction makes driving nails something of a bear.
With substantial increases in the cost of construction and energy, dome kits provide significant cost-savings, so expect more to pop up along the Space Coast.
“In the past decade, many people have discovered that the dome design offers a viable solution,” Busick said.
It looks cool, too.
For more on domes, visit aidomes.com.