Welcome — A soft-pink front entryway greets and welcomes visitors to the O’Dell Monolithic Dome home in Harrisonville, Missouri.

Welcome — A soft-pink front entryway greets and welcomes visitors to the O’Dell Monolithic Dome home in Harrisonville, Missouri. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>


Downsizing Has Advantages

A Monolithic Dome home is completed in Missouri

Theresa and Patrick O’Dell have always been interested in energy-efficient structures, but their interest peaked in 2000 when they saw an ad for Monolithic Domes in Mother Earth News.

Patrick said, "Our last house was a conventional, 2000 square-foot home. It was all-electric and our utility bills averaged about $120 a month. As we got older, we decided it was more than we needed. We were tired of the stairs, and it was too much to keep up. I also worried about losing everything in a fire or tornado. I did not want to go stick-built again so we spent a long time looking at all the alternatives I could find: straw bale, ICFs and geodesic.

“After finding the Monolithic website, I think I spent about two days on the site. I explained the concept to my wife and asked her if she would live in a dome and she said she would. I must say that the amount of information available at the website was probably the deciding factor in choosing to build a dome. Another factor was the Dome bulletin board. Whatever structure I built I was going to do myself, and I could see on the Bulletin Board that there was help available. When I ran into problems other dome builders could help me.”

Learning the Monolithic way at a Workshop

Patrick attended a 2001 Workshop. He was told, as are all Workshop attendees, that he could call for help and talk to Gary Clark or Larry Byrne at any time during construction and he did that several times.

Patrick said, “When you have a crew lined up and the weather could turn bad at any time and you are having problems getting the concrete to pump, or can’t quite figure out how to build the round topped buck for an augment — well, if I hadn’t been fairly confident MDI would back me up once I started this project I probably wouldn’t have started it.”

A 40-foot diameter dome-home

The O’Dells new retirement home has one spacious master bedroom and an office that could easily be converted to a second bedroom. The home is completely wheelchair accessible.

An attached 28’ diameter dome functions as a garage where their two dogs and three cats have taken residence. The home is set on a 10-acre tract with a pond and is located just outside Harrisonville, MO — just 30 miles south of Kansas City. Even though the O’Dells have downsized from 2000 to 1200 square feet, Patrick said, "This house just feels like there is a lot more space.

“I didn’t build this home because I thought it looked cool,” he continued. “I built it because it is one of the most energy-efficient houses available. It won’t rot, burn, be eaten by termites or blow away.”

The project

The O’Dells did most of the construction themselves, but contracted out the plumbing, the metal stud-work and sheetrock. Jim Kaslik with Cloud Hidden Designs helped with the exterior design, the finishing touches of the augments and the cat enclosure. Mike Anderson of Skylight Construction worked closely with the O’Dells to be sure the foam work was done properly and in a timely manner. The entire building process, from initial design drawings to final landscaping touches, took approximately two years.

In October 2004, the O’Dells opened their completed Monolithic Dome home to visitors during the 4th Annual Monolithic Dome Home Tour. They were pleased with the amount of visitors and anticipate even more next year.

Note: This article was originally written and published in November 2004.

Living Room — The dome-home’s 1200-square-foot living space includes cozy, conversation areas.

Living Room — The dome-home’s 1200-square-foot living space includes cozy, conversation areas. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>

Kitchen — Theresa O’Dell enjoys cooking in her easily maintained, efficiently arranged kitchen.

Kitchen — Theresa O’Dell enjoys cooking in her easily maintained, efficiently arranged kitchen. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>

Office — This Monolithic Dome home is totally wheelchair accessible, including the office.

Office — This Monolithic Dome home is totally wheelchair accessible, including the office. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>

Bedroom — The master bedroom has light, easy-to-move-and-maintain furniture.

Bedroom — The master bedroom has light, easy-to-move-and-maintain furniture. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>

Master Bath — It includes a shower/tub combo.

Master Bath — It includes a shower/tub combo. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>

Comfortable Living — Theresa and Patrick enjoy the patio between their dome-home and attached dome-garage.

Comfortable Living — Theresa and Patrick enjoy the patio between their dome-home and attached dome-garage. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>

Floor Plan — After much research and attendance at a Monolithic Workshop, the O’Dells began planning their retirement home.

Floor Plan — After much research and attendance at a Monolithic Workshop, the O’Dells began planning their retirement home. <cite class='credit'>(Patrick O’Dell)</cite>