Letter From: Nori Lamphere, Onalaska, Washington

I’m back from the Monolithic Dome Dome Builders Workshop, and I learned a lot. While part of what I learned was how much I already knew, the seemingly inconsequential little bits were what made the workshop so valuable to me.

Touring the facility and seeing all the various domes was excellent. There’s nothing quite like hands on, first person to bring things into clarity. Meeting people I’d only dealt with via email was instructional. You don’t really know who someone is until you sit across the table from them one on one. If you want to meet “im the Tool Man” with ethics and religion, you must meet Gary Clark, the principal instructor for the workshop.

I got the opportunity to meet with Larry Byrne (onstaff MD dome architect) and go over our house plans (not the room layouts but the grosser aspects, the barrel vault, the arc of the barrel vault, stem walls, earth sheltering) and it was time well spent.

If you are considering a Monolithic dome, I sincerely recommend you attend a Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop. The Monolithic Staff are sincere in their desire for attendees to be successful in either starting a business or building a home. The instructors go to great lengths to give you as much information as possible in the amount of time available. An instructor is there before class starts and until 7 at night to discuss, answer questions, share successes and failures. The workshop was time and money well spent.

Tips if you plan to attend an MD Workshop

  • Don’t stay at the Italy Inn. It is NOT a Monolithic Dome and is NOT soundproof. It’s right above a truck stop/restaurant/fuel stop, and trucks come and go 24/7. Rooms don’t have refrigerator or microwave. I know of one attendee who got no rest due to the noise.
  • Do stay at the Ramada Limited in Waxahachie. Maintenance and repair there isn’t the best, but with a Triple A discount, the single room price is the same as the Italy Inn. The 12 mile drive is worth it for the peace and quiet, microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator, pool and ability to connect to the internet.
  • Check out the barbeque at AJ’s, right around the corner from MD headquarters. It’s awesome.
  • Grandys (same place as the Italy Inn) has great inexpensive and fast breakfasts.
    MD headquarters (and Waxahachie) is in a dry county. If you like wine with your dinner, this is a heads up and you’ll need to plan accordingly.

Nori Lamphere, Onalaska, Washington