Broken Branch Dome Home Project: Getting Started

Everyone has a dream home. It is unique and different for everyone. Ours ended up being a dome. We searched a long time after we got married for a piece of land that would have what I wanted (acreage, trees) and what we needed (location location location… specifically a sane proximity to T’s work).

We finally found 13+ acres that had a nice building site and bonus, a stream! As with everything, there are also things we had to accept. Heavy clay soil isn’t the best for building and septic fields, but good luck finding much else in the area!

The next step was getting some plans laid out for the dome. T had thought about dome houses for a long time, and we decided to go with a Timberline Geodesics dome, because they were able to be customized, among other considerations.  We worked with their architects, which was way more headache than it should have been, but that is a story for another post.

Long story short, we finally had our plans. Next came the search for a builder. Timberline designs their kit so you can build them yourselves, but unfortunately Toby isn’t retired so in order to get it done in a timely manner we needed help. St Clair county is currently having a shortage in the skilled trades fields, and the deck was stacked against us. We finally found a custom home builder that had experience with a many-sided house, if not a dome. John of Steffy Builders is who we have trusted with our home.

The process of building is so much hurry, then wait wait wait. Hurry up and get the septic permit before the fall rains, but then have to renew it after a year. On and on. Your vision narrows to the dirt and debris, the rocks and mortar and block that will transform into a basement. The piles of fragrant pine boards become walls. And every now and then, you stop over after a day and it looks more like a house. Those moments it takes your breath.

I am starting this blog about midway in the process. I will be adding past photos and commentary in between normal real-time updates. Our dome is now a skeleton of a dome, and though it is a long way from being our home, we’d love you to join us on this journey.


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