Prefer your living quarters more rotund than rectangular? For $399,900, this five-bedroom dome home in Lowell, IN, offers comfort and security inside its concrete walls -- as well as a thriving bed-and-breakfast eager for new ownership.
Unlike the more common geodesic dome home, a monolithic dome is constructed like a giant, livable papier-mache ball. After pouring a ring of cement foundation, a custom-made balloon is inflated and then sprayed with a layer of cement.
Fire isn't the only anxiety you'll be free of: The home is also termite-proof, earthquake-proof, tornado-proof (they "see it as a hill, and go up and over the home," says McCaleb), and -- in case Indiana's climate changes drastically -- hurricane-proof. And while its locale is rural, the dome home is just over an hour from Chicago.
You'll also stop sweating your utility bills -- in fact, you can stop sweating completely. While the dome does have in-floor radiant heating, you'll "rarely have to turn it on," she says, and the spray foam insulation cools the interiors during the summer.
Buying a dome home can be tricky, but McCaleb has gone out of her way to ensure the process is smooth for any qualified buyers. She's spoken with local banks and brokers specializing in "unique homes" to ensure anyone who wants to take out a conventional loan can do so. The B&B business, sold with the home, could make paying down your mortgage easier than poaching a perfect egg.
"The home's uniqueness draws visitors," says McCaleb. "What they make off the bed-and-breakfast is enough to cover the bills."
Part of that uniqueness comes from the quirky decor. You'll find pink armchairs and chandeliers, animal-skin rugs, and bold patterns and funky wallpaper throughout -- and the sellers are willing to negotiate if you're keen on the decor. The current owners dedicate three of the bedrooms to the business, but there's plenty of opportunity for buyers to remodel.
Take the spiral wrought-iron staircase to the little top-floor loft, a "neat little space" that could be turned into a lounge or office. The dome's second story overlooks the lower level and offers an otherworldly look at the apex. (Near the top, it "comes over and encompasses you," says McCaleb.)
That's not the only potential renovation: Monolithic, the company that designed the dome, also sells floor plans for tiny cabinlike domes, which could be scattered across the 10-acre spread to expand the B&-B business.
Inside, many of the bedrooms feature pre-installed exterior doors and windows that lead to storage spaces ready to be transformed into beautiful balconies.
"It's ready to go, they just never cut them out," says McCaleb.
One of those potential balconies is located on the top floor, and future buyers that open it up will be blessed with a stunning view of the surrounding fields -- including nesting wild pheasants and a small apple orchard. And we recommend a new buyer take the time to deck out the dome. Just like this Midwest monolith, the land that surrounds it is extraordinary.