by Adey Bell
There is a lot to consider when you’re thinking of building a studio. My dome is my music studio/work space/bedroom/temple. It’s temporary, cost effective, eco friendly, and beautiful. But the most inspiring thing about my dome is the feeling of being in a sphere; it’s almost indescribable how I perceive my surroundings. I’ve been living in right angled structures my whole life without giving too much attention to how the shape of my house affects my mood, my creative process, and my life. Now I am becoming more aware of the fact that what we’re enclosed by greatly influences everything we do and how we go about doing it. Living and working in this dome is my aesthetic dream, it is filled with light and open space, with the feeling of unlimited potential.
I bought my 20′ dome from DomeGuys International, near the end of July, 2011. The incredibly fun, smart, professional team helped me put together the frame in less than 3 hours! I felt totally taken care of in every step of the process. Since I was mainly building the dome to be my music studio and would be putting a baby grand piano in it, I had lots of questions and concerns. The DomeGuys have been most excellent and very helpful.
My 20′ geodesic dome.
The first priority is insulation. With the help of the DomeGuys, I have achieved a good level of temperature control. About 100 custom cut Styrofoam triangles fit into the spaces between the struts, along with floor insulation and heavy polar fleece curtains, a radiator heater and a nice propane back up makes this space comfortable as we head into southern Oregon winter. Having a piano means keeping a tight grip on humidity, and I have a de-humidifier running 24/7.
The late summer months were tricky to manage temperature- wise, especially because we had just begun the project , but it was not impossible. If I didn’t have the piano in here, a nice box fan paired with my screen “roll up” windows would be fine. But next summer I’ll install an AC unit to keep the baby grand happy.
Acoustically, playing the piano in the center of the dome is incredible. And with the zip- off bay window, I have a built in amphitheater! Since the dome skin is made of vinyl coated canvas, there is not a lot to block the sound coming in or out, however recording is not impossible, and it actually adds a quality of life to the tracks I am enjoying.
Things you might want to know if you’re planning on buying a dome:
- Source of Power- Ultimately I will be solar powered, but for now I’m connected via extension cords to my house. It works, and I’m very aware about how much electricity I’m drawing so as not to trip the breakers. Yay for being more tuned into power usage!
- Insulation/ Heating/Cooling: If you’re setting up your dome and living in it anywhere where there’s seasonal climate change, you’re gonna want to think about how to stay warm/cool.
- Placement: My dome is situated beneath two giant willow trees that do a great job shading in the summer. This is key. You do not want your dome set up smack in the middle of a field without shade, as the dome responds to sunlight favorably, meaning when the sun hits the dome, it warms up. This is great in the winter, on sunny mornings I don’t need to run my space heater. Not so great in the summer, but with the proper use of curtains it’s completely doable.
- If you’re trying to maintain a good temperature in any season, you’ll need to draw curtains, have a space heater or wood stove, and run a fan, insulate the flooring, etc. Because I’ve got a piano that requires lots of attention to details like humidity and temperature, I find myself needing to be near the studio a lot of the time, as the temperature can and does change frequently and rather quickly. For example: If I leave the studio on a foggy morning and come back to it 2 hours later and the sun has come out I often come home to a pretty toasty little studio and need to open the door a crack or start the fan.
You will love it. If you’re someone who enjoys creating in a beautiful and inspiring space, this could be a great option for you. Changing my living space from squares to a circle has been one of the best decisions I have made! Throughout this entire journey I have really loved this space and continue to love it more every day.
The 30′ geodome offered by The Dome Guys.
If you would like to learn more about the Dome Guys and the geodomes they offer, you can visit their website at domeguys.com or call them at 541.482.2961. The Dome Guys offer financing on their geodesic domes so that might be an incentive for someone looking to purchase one.
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