When you write poems? I’ll give you a minute to finish groaning and rolling your eyes.
Back yet? Good. A couple weeks ago, I posted an entry in which I mused about building a geodesic dome greenhouse. As nifty as that would be, as I took a closer look at the postage stamp that is our back yard, I couldn’t find a spot that we could realistically plant an eleven-foot diameter dome. In this corner it wouldn’t fit between the deck and the fence. In that corner, it would obstruct my archery range. In this other corner we’d have to move the smoker. And the peach tree. And it would block our view of the roses. And it would be directly over the sewer line. Nope. The dome greenhouse is out. A couple of commenters (thanks Ruth and HTRN) suggested clear plastic film over a PVC frame, and this is likely the direction we’ll go. It’s cheap to build, reasonably effective, and we can pitch the whole thing in the garbage if we get sick of it. As soon as my brother gets done fixing Grandpa’s old tiller* we’ll use it to turn up most of the yard and I imagine that will be a good time to erect a PVC greenhouse.
So, I’ve put the domes behind me, right? Well, not entirely. You see, we have been dreaming for years of building a big house in the country. When we bought our house, it was intended to be our starter home; our five-year house, if you will. That was fourteen years ago. As our baby grew into a teenager, the place got smaller and smaller. Now that I’m running a business from it, it feels like living in a closet. Suffice it to say, we’re overdue. Over a decade ago, laying in bed, Jennifer and I would talk about different features we wanted our house to have. It was clear even back then that our current house wasn’t our permanent home. I always kind of envisioned a roundish structure, but never once even thought of a geodesic dome until poking around on the internet for dome information regarding the greenhouse concept. One of the websites I linked to on that post was domekits.info.
This is a neat website for any aspiring dome owner. It tells you what angles you should cut the ends of your boards for a proper wood-to-wood fit in a dome, or it provides information on hiring a company to build your dome on sight, and everything in between. I am particularly fascinated by this page, which offers several different dome kit options, ranging from a twenty-four foot entry model to a behemoth sixty foot diameter structure. It appears that these are largely all-inclusive, pre-cut materials and plans for a do-it-yourselfer to build the structure on their own. The forty foot wooden model that they offer would evenly replace the 1,100 square feet we currently live in, not counting the 1,200 square foot lower level which I suspect could make a garage and a leather shop. That kit is listed at $13,500, even with the optional 5/8″ external plywood. Moving up the scale, ultimately we see their palatial sixty foot dome which boasts a combined 5,500 square feet of floor space, made from 8″ steel i-beam and finished in 3/4″ plywood for a price tag of $47,000. I understand that the price doesn’t include a foundation, doors and windows, plumbing and wiring, but these prices just seem cheap to me for the amount of space you get.
On the website, they do claim that they give you the least expensive structural option for the space available, and I’m prone to believe it if their pricing schedule is accurate. Even if it cost that again to finish it out, it’s still cheap. We have been planning to make a move for a while now, and we’re within a couple years of a realistic time for that. I wonder what it would cost to pour a round, concrete garage/basement under that big one. I may have to email them and get some more information on these kits. I’d like to see where they orient floors and exactly what comes with the kit. Besides that, it could make for some great blog fodder! And who knows? Maybe this will lead to a good old fashioned… …dome?… …raising. Anyway, I’ll probably be doing some homework to try to figure out soft price ranges of what I can expect to pay for everything else. Even if it came down to living in a project for a while as we worked on it, I think I could live with that.
*That thing is a monster! When it is running again, it shouldn’t take us very long at all to till up the yard.