Karen and Randy South and their seven sons and two daughters have liked their Monolithic Dome home since they first moved into it in 1996.
After all, what was there not to like? Their nearly 4,000-square-foot dome home adorns a 1,260-acre butte that overlooks the beautiful Snake River in Menan, Idaho and provides them with a unique area for observing and enjoying wildlife.
Then too, although their family included eleven, they certainly did not lack space. Their home consists of three, interconnected Monolithic Domes: a center dome 40’ X 17’ and two flanking domes, each 34’ X 15’. That gives them five bedrooms, several bathrooms, an extra large kitchen, a living room, family room, library, utility room and a loft made into a playroom big enough for a ping-pong table.
Nor do the Souths have any comfort complaints. Since they have no air conditioning, they keep the domes cool during the summer simply by opening windows at night.
During Idaho’s freezing winters, the Souths use an in-floor hot water system that requires just one water heater. In 1999 Randy said that their heating costs averaged $27.00 per month. Asked about those costs in 2006, Randy said, “They’re averaging about the same — maybe a little higher, but nothing significant.”
The New Look
In 2003 Randy and Karen decided on a “stucco look” for their home’s exterior. “Just to make it look even nicer,” Randy said. They chose to cover the Airform — which had not been previously coated — with a durable, stucco-like finish coat in a sandstone color.
That coating is an EIFS product. According to www.eima.com, EIFS stands for Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems that “are multi-layered exterior wall systems that are used on both commercial buildings and homes.”
Usually, an EIFS finish consists of three products: an insulating board; a reinforced base coat; and a colorfast, crack-resistant finish coat. Those first two products provide insulation and strength.
“But since this is a Monolithic Dome, we didn’t need more insulation or strength,” Randy said. “So we just put the top coat on.”
Asked how he and the family like the results, Randy said, “Oh, we love it! It really looks good.”
In addition to the stucco-like coating, the Souths enlarged their front entry and added a connector between their dome-home and the garage.
Note: The information in this article was updated for its original presentation in September 2006.