A matter of time
After completing a 41-year career with DuPont, 63-year-old Jay – a bachelor who loves just about any outdoor, water activity – decided that the time was right for him to build his retirement home.
He had just the land to build it on: eight beautiful acres brimming with wildlife, about six miles out of Coletoville, a suburb of Victoria, Texas.
As a native of the Texas Gulf area, Jay had had first-hand experience with severe weather, hurricanes and flooding. In 1961 Category 4 Hurricane Carla killed 31 people in and around Victoria. More recently Hurricane Claudette (2003), with winds of 83 mph, planted a direct hit on Victoria, knocking out 90% of its power.
Jay said, "Sure, I was thinking about hurricanes and building something I could feel safe in. About 25 years ago I came across an ad about Monolithic Domes in an issue of Mother Earth Magazine. But at that point, I wasn’t thinking Monolithic. I was thinking Geodesic. Then I found out what a problem they can be when it comes to actually doing the roofing. I started having second thoughts. I had a friend who was a contractor, here in Victoria, who built a Geodesic and he said that it was a big pain.
“The next time I saw a Monolithic Dome ad,” Jay continued, “you all had a website. I got on your extensive website, and the more I read and the more I learned, the more interested I got in doing a Monolithic Dome.”
Taking the Workshop
Jay said, “I thought about the dome for some months. Then I decided I had some questions and the best way to answer them was through a Workshop. It can’t hurt a thing to take the training.”
Jay enrolled in the October 2003 Workshop. About it, he said, “The Workshop was a real eye-opener. It gave me a clear understanding. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it – both the classroom time and working at the job site. I sprayed foam, I sprayed concrete, I tied steel – I did all that stuff.”
By December 2010, Jay had decided on a three-bedroom, Miranda style, Monolithic Dome, with a living area of 1590 square feet (Dome Living page 104). He had only minor changes to the original design. In the laundry area, Jay wanted a door instead of a window and he added a floor drain.
In January 2011, Monolithic began constructing Jay’s Airform: 45′×16′ on a 3’ stemwall, fabric. Once the Airform was completed and shipped, a Monolithic Constructors’ crew, headed by Javier Figueroa, began building the dome shell.
Asked if he did any of the constructing, Jay said, “They were great. Very helpful and easy to get along with. They didn’t need me. But I did help. I ran errands. I saved them time by getting whatever they needed and sometimes that meant driving into town.”
Jay is not living in his dome yet but is excited about doing the finishing. With the help of friends, he’s personally handling most of the interior finishing. He said, “Whatever I can do, I will. The cabinets, for example. I’m planning on making some and having some professionally done.”
He will install an air-exchange unit (ERV); a propane-powered, tankless water heater; two split units of 18000 BTUs for air conditioning.
Jay sees himself relaxing in his Monolithic Dome retirement home, spending much time just observing his four-legged and winged neighbors. He said, “I will do my best to maintain this site in a friendly, wild state. Deer come through here two or three times every day. I’m going to install a feeder and an ornamental pond so the animals can come and drink. They are fun to watch.”