Handcrafted Geodesic Dome Home on a Hillside
It must be hard to say goodbye to a home you built with your own hands after years of daydreaming about the perfect nest for you and your family. The reason Sheila Williamson is putting her beautiful geodesic dome home on the market is a sad one, but whoever buys the house will be inheriting a real gem infused with a whole lot of loving attention to detail. Located at the end of a private one-lane road, this home in the small town of Lafayette, California sits on a one-acre hillside property overlooking a valley. In a feature on Zillow, Williamson explains that the process of building the house was a long and arduous one.
“Just getting the permit was a bit of a challenge,” she says, “because [the building department] had no idea what we were talking about.”
What they were talking about, as it turns out, was a geodesic dome: a structure inspired by the creations of 20th-century architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller. Enlisting the help of an engineer, they were eventually able to gain approval from the city and start construction. It took seven years to carefully plot every detail of the design, from performing the initial calculations to handcrafting each triangular piece that makes up the dome. These pieces are lined with beautifully aged wood from a nearby warehouse that had been torn down.
The home consists of three interconnected spheres on a platform built into the hillside. One acts as the entryway, one holds bedrooms, and the third hosts all the home’s common areas, like the kitchen and living room. This third dome opens out onto a spacious balcony and features a gorgeous skylight and glass panels for better views of the dramatic landscape around it.
“With characteristics found nowhere else in the area and highlighted by its geodesic dome structure, the home presents countless architectural features to complement such unique design, including wooden interior walls made of recycled wood, large windows & skylights providing ample natural light, magnificent handmade stained glass accents, colorful cabinetry and decor, and shingled exterior siding — neatly tucked against a one-acre private hillside overlooking the Diablo Valley,” reads Pacific Union Realty’s description of the property.
“Entering from the front handcrafted wooden door you’re met with features befitting of the home’s unique architectural design namely an expansive, triangular window wall in the main living area overlooking the large deck & outdoor setting. Updated kitchen with custom cabinets, stainless steel appliances, sizable bedrooms and bathrooms, living and family rooms.”
Williamson’s children grew up and left the nest, and then last year, her husband passed away, leaving her feeling like the home was too large for just herself to live in. She put it on the market for $889,000, and a sale is currently pending. If the home is ever dismantled, Williamson hopes the people doing the demolition will take the time to carefully disassemble the triangular panels, because there are small treasures hidden in the framework. During construction, neighborhood children helped put the panels together and hid messages inside some of them.
Photos by Todd Taylor of the Taylor Photography Group.