Go Geodesic Today: Dome, Sweet Dome, Along Florida’s Space Coast

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Florida’s Space Coast is known as the launching pad for trips to the moon. And this futuristic, three-dome home for sale on the Space Coast looks as if it might be right at home in outer space.

But homeowner Jim Conant had much more earthly designs for the property in Brevard County, FL, when he purchased it a couple of years ago.

“We were selling our old home because we had eight kids and needed to downsize,” says Conant when asked why he bought the geodesic delight. While a 3,224-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home isn’t exactly downsizing, the family still had four kids at home. Real estate agent Joyce Hathaway showed them the home in 2013. At the time, it was in foreclosure and had been vacant for over a year.

“It was different, and it looked kind of neat. It needed some work, and we liked it,” says Conant.

You’d think this kind of home would attract a buyer specifically searching for dome homes, but that wasn’t the case with Conant. He had heard about dome homes, but after some research and a visit to the dome—well, domes—he was sold.

When you enter through the double-wide front doors of the main dome, you’re hit with the feeling of wide-open space.

To the left is the living room, where a fan swirls from the 25-foot vaulted ceiling.

Directly ahead is a modern kitchen, with its marble countertops and a bar with stools.

To the right is space for an open living room.

A staircase leads to a loft area where the bedrooms are.

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“If someone wanted an open floor plan, this is it,” says Hathaway.

A hallway equipped with a pantry and laundry room leads to the second, smaller dome, which functions as a media room above and a three-car garage below.

But it’s the third dome that truly stands out.

In the back, a web of black aluminum triangles fitted with outdoor screens wraps around a 10,000-gallon, amoeba-shaped pool, forming a skeletal dome that keeps the view clear and the bugs out.

A Cinderella balcony overlooks the pool and rural, wooded community of Canaveral Groves.

Conant says it’s a five-minute drive to the Indian River and 20 minutes to the beach in downtown Cocoa. Speaking of water, Cocoa’s roots are rich with liquid—fishermen founded the small city in 1860. Residents enjoy the pleasures of waterside living, but that also means they have to endure its issues. Namely, hurricanes.

However, the dome laughs in the gusty face of hurricanes. It’s constructed from steel-reinforced concrete; that sturdy build coupled with its geodesic shape makes the home resistant to earthquakes, hurricanes, and brush fires. The dome doesn’t rust or warp, and termites can’t chew it. Those were all pluses for Conant.

In fact, he hasn’t seen many downsides to dome living. Even though the dome is airy, the energy-efficient heating and cooling systems work together with the concrete walls to make for rock-bottom energy prices.

“It’s really energy-efficient,” says Conant. “Our old house was a wood-framed house, and we were spending $400 to $500 a month on electricity. Now we spend about $100 a month.”

If there’s one turnoff, Conant says, it might be the shape of the walls. The geodesic design makes for dozens of huge triangles, which can create some odd shapes on the interior and make it hard to hang pictures. Other than that, the house offered no unpleasant surprises and he’s enjoyed his dome home. But as an empty nester, he’s looking to downsize again.

“I really don’t see any disadvantages—especially when you live in hurricane country,” Conant said, adding that impressing visitors is a plus, too. “Even people, like the UPS guy—their mouth hangs open for a few minutes.”

The dome is listed for sale at $298,327—an oddly specific price. Hathaway says they arrived at the final price because the Conants are “determined to sell.”

Finding a buyer might be tricky, but it won’t be impossible. Hathaway says there are a handful of domes in the area, and a single-dome house recently sold a few miles away.

The home was built in 2009 by American Ingenuity, a Rockledge, FL-based company that has been building prefabricated dome buildings since 1976. Dome homes had fleeting brushes with popularity in the ’60s and ’70s, but their history goes back several more decades.

The origin of the geodesic house design—that is, a series of triangular shapes fitted together to form a spherical shape—can be traced to the late 1940s. According to BBC.com, American inventor Buckminster Fuller envisioned dome-shaped homes made from interlocking shapes that could be preassembled and shipped anywhere in the United States.

His vision didn’t quite enrapture home buyers, but the military took a liking to it. According to the BBC, the U.S. Marine Corps “commissioned thousands of small geodesic domes that could be delivered to the military anywhere around the world by helicopter. Larger Fuller domes were put to use as weather stations, long-range radar stations and storage depots.”

Despite the dome’s futuristic design and military history, Hathaway says entering the house feels like going into any other house with a wide-open floor plan and high ceilings.

“The initial impact isn’t like [you’re in] a spaceship,” says Hathaway.

Published by Craig Donofrio on realtor.com.

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