In Marlow, Oklahoma, retirees Darrell and Jerrilyn Strube own a 50-foot-diameter, two-story Monolithic Dome home, with a 3000-square-foot living area, that successfully survived a wildfire and provided shelter before it was even finished.
Darrell and Jerrilyn first learned about Monolithic Domes at an Oklahoma State Fair. They met a dome builder there who gave a presentation about Monolithic Domes. That was 1984.
They were so impressed with the energy efficiency and disaster resistance of the Monolithic Dome that they hired Architect Don Price of Lawton, Oklahoma to design a floor plan. But they never did anything with those plans because they were not able to secure financing for a Monolithic Dome.
Then in 2004 they revisited Don Price and made changes to the original plans. The changes included more open space and – since they were getting older – a downstairs with wheelchair accessibility.
After their Monolithic Dome was re-designed, they looked at Monolithic’s website and learned about Monolithic Workshops. They found Andy Barnes, a builder in Oklahoma, and hired him to build their Monolithic Dome.
Construction began in November 2004; the shell was finished in January 2005. During all of 2005, the Strubes continued working on their dome’s interior that they planned to occupy in the Spring of 2006.
In the meantime on January 12, 2006, some kids started a grass fire on the Strube’s 60 acres that they share with Jerrilyn’s sister, Nila Kappely. The fire reached the Strube’s Monolithic Dome first but only slightly scorched it .
But Nila’s country farmhouse, sitting just across the road from the dome, burned to the ground along with four other homes. Nila and her family moved into the still unfinished Monolithic Dome, where dishes had to be washed in the bathtub, since there was no kitchen yet.
Nevertheless they were grateful. During that cold January they had a roof over their heads in a Monolithic Dome. At that point the dome’s heating system had not been completed but the dome maintained an interior temperature that never dropped below 65F degrees.
Once their home was habitable, the Strubes moved in, continued working on it and finally finished, except for very minor things, such as baseboards and some fine tuning.
Their home is designed with a ground floor of mostly living area, kitchen and bathrooms. The upstairs has a bathroom, two large bedrooms, a library and another smaller room. The top level is a partial floor that overlooks the lower living area.
Instead of windows, the Strubes installed four sets of full french doors and two skylights in the bedrooms. They have no problem moving large furniture in or out of their house!
A couple of years ago, an ice storm cut off their electricity for a week. Darrell and Jerrilyn keep their thermostat at 69 degrees during the winter; during the brown out their temperature only dropped 10 degrees by the end of the week. Their home is all electric, including the well pump. They heat and cool their garage part time, and their average monthly electric bill is only $125. They would eventually like to go off grid with all renewable energy.
One time when the Strubes were at their home working, a tornado passed over their dome but did not touch down. It was so close that it sucked the water out of the commodes. But they were not worried when they spotted the tornado because they felt completely safe in their Monolithic Dome.
The Strubes do not have a mortgage on their home. They pay cash as they go, building their retirement dream home.
Periodically they receive a knock on the door from curious passers-by wanting to look at their home. Darrell and Jerrilyn invite you to call them at 580 658-7174 if you are in the neighborhood and wish to tour their home.