A five-year project
After retiring his position as an American Airlines’ flight dispatcher at DFW, Don Steelman enrolled in one of Monolithic’s hands-on Workshops. What he learned and did convinced him of the innate qualities of a Monolithic Dome home. Impressed by the dome’s longevity and energy efficiency, Don and wife decided to move to Mohave Valley, Arizona and build a Monolithic Dome home.
Because Don flew his own plane, he chose a 1.2 acre homesite that backed up to a 5-acre runway and had plenty of room for a 42-foot by 48-foot hangar and a dome home.
In 2004, work began on a Monolithic Dome home with a 60-foot diameter and a 35-foot height. Don said, "It’s built on a 10-foot stemwall that goes about four feet into the ground because we wanted to take advantage of the earth’s natural heating and cooling.
“It’s a large home with three levels,” Don continued. “We have 2985 square feet on the bottom level that has room for at least four cars. The second level has another 2985 square feet and includes living and dining areas, a kitchen, a bathroom and a wraparound staircase that encloses an elevator. The highest level has 1895 square feet, a balcony that overlooks the main floor, bedrooms and bathrooms.”
After contractors built the dome, Don began the finishing process. Though he had friends who helped, the work went slowly. “It really was a five-year project,” he said.
The WOW factor
Mohave Valley is a farming area for cotton and alfalfa that has a very low population density – just 17,092 people in 45.3 square miles. Despite that, the dome created a lot of curiosity during its building process. Once it looked completed from the outside, people began stopping by and asking to see the inside.
“They would drive by and stop,” Don said. "We’d get several cars every week – and we still do. People are curious. They really want to see the inside, so I give them what I call my 25-cent tour.
“And the reaction is always the same! It’s the WOW factor! They walk in the front door and they look 30 feet up to the top of the dome and it’s WOW! They are always impressed and they all like it.”
October 23, 2009