Archive | November 2012

Support Is Up

This shows the full size of the future cottage. The wooden support is the size of the interior, with the foam and concrete slabs resting on them until the seams are cured. The bathroom/laundry room will be in the smaller dome, which has not had any pieces set into place yet. It feels larger inside than it is, with the very tall ceilings in the living room/kitchen section. The bedroom will have a ceiling with storage above on the loft. The dome will be about 18 feet tall.


The Support Structure

After a holiday weekend with questions pending for our next construction move, we got answers and started back on progress. Our technical contact at the dome company was able to tell what we needed to change by photos I sent, and we are only a little off on what we should have done, not a hard fix.

beginning of temporary support structure

We also got more complete instructions on putting up the wooden support structure that goes inside while the concrete and foam panels are attached in place. Once the concrete cures on the entire dome, the support can be removed and we’ll have one big room inside. As shown, we are working with a set of hubs and 2x4s, working up to the top. Now that I see the first row of support in place, I realize it is going to be taller than I was thinking after we got the riser panels in place. Very tall ceiling in the living room/kitchen.

one row done on support

Rain tomorrow, taking a break, but expect to complete the support the next day. We should have some first row panels in place by the end of the week.


Today saw more progress on the front entryway. It will have a door on the left and 2 windows on the right, next to the dining table. A table for two next to the window, and I think I’ll have a small chandelier over it.

Front entryway nearly framed.

With the additional height, a better sense of size can be seen. It will be not quite twice that tall when done.

Slowly Adding

walls are growing together,

Not a lot of change, as we are still missing a member of the crew to illness and our weather has been relatively cool and windy, hard on the lungs. We have also run into a couple of questions about putting the kit together on this first row – not too serious, and we are keeping in touch with the company about it. It does cause some delays. The entryways are starting to go together, but questions are keeping us cautious.

On the first row, the 5 foot tall sections are on three sides, with 3 entryway sections: one for front door and windows, one for French door off bedroom, and one is the entry to the bathroom/laundry, which will be worked after the main dome is done.

We are hoping to visit another dome in NC, to let our foreman see details. For something this different from his past experience, looking at another should help him see the direction he needs to go.

One wet and cold day was spent putting insulation under the front half of Sharon’s house. We think it has helped with the heat pump running less. We’ll be more comfortable as winter settles in. It has been nice to be able to have the crew work on other things as filler work.

Starting to Take Shape

We are now gaining vertical dimensions! It is exciting to see walls starting. In this cottage, there are 5 foot high risers before the dome triangles start to slope to the center. This allows more usable floor space at the edges. There are 3 large panels, in the picture you can see the kitchen and living room are up, with the crew working on the bedroom panel. In between will be the entryways. In these will be the locally purchased doors and windows (cheaper than custom and shipped from the dome company – they design it for savings this way). It will be more work for the construction crew, but mostly standard framing for this. They will be applying the steel mesh and concrete around the doors and windows, over the foam pieces. Once the first panels are up and set, there will be a wooden framework built to temporarily hold the structure as each tier is placed and mortared and allowed to cure. Once it is done, no interior walls are load bearing.

Cottage is starting

As seen in the next picture, we are getting supplies ready to mix the mortar, lots of sand and some of the cement we’ll need.

sand and cement

Chilly and Slow Week

I spent most of a week back in Roanoke, voted, packed winter clothes and more things I need, and met with someone who might move into the guest bedroom this winter. So, I also spent time de-cluttering and cleaning. I ended leaving late afternoon and driving back in the dark. The big advantage I found was lack of traffic, even few big trucks on I-81 for a change.

October snow from Sandy – I-26 in TN

On my way up to Roanoke, I drove I-26 through NC and TN, spotted a lot of the snow that came with Hurricane Sandy. It was plowed and only at the highest elevations, but I still got a white chemical film on my car. I think my car gets washed more in winter than in summer.

Unfortunately, my construction crew has had a bout of serious illness, including pneumonia. It has allowed the slab to fully cure, and they should be ready to start the shell on Monday. It looks like we might be getting a young woman to work on it – she needs the job and the crew needs a fourth worker for the shell. It is good to help someone who we expect to be a good worker.

Next step is the dome

The big project in Sharon’s house is flea abatement – some rode home with the dogs a few weeks ago and have spread to the cats, too. We are trying various things, and researching online to find the best solution. At least the furry beasts are the only targets, no humans seem to have been bitten. This weekend is the next round of washing, sweeping, treating, and hoping for an end. We did read that fleas easily overwinter outdoors and that they live a lot longer than we realized, so the dog yard will be treated beyond waiting for a freeze.

A Before Dawn Start to the Day

My curtainless back bedroom faces the build site in the back meadow. I was rather surprised when a vehicle and a concrete truck pulled up well before 7, while it was still pitch black outside. We had not been told of the intended start time.

The pour started promptly, by the light of several vehicles’ headlights, tho it was light by the time I made it outside.


The pour and initial smoothing went quite rapidly. Our foreman was quite proud that we had exactly the right amount of yardage for the slab and a drainage fix in the front of the house.

finished slab pour


The concrete finishers will return later today for the finishing touches. Donna plans to use the polished concrete as her floor, with an epoxy coating.

I had our crew install curtain rods in my bedroom before they left today. I should prefer not to be discovered while still abed.