Dome-shaped home fills bill for one family


Goal: Twenty years ago, a couple, then living in Virginia, saw a geodesic house and decided they wanted one like it. Now they have one, in the woods near Taneytown.

July 21, 2002|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Cindy Ringgold-Goble tells friends she lives in a dome home, she is often given puzzled looks.

"I just tell them to think about Walt Disney World's Epcot," she said of one of the most famous geodesics.

The geodesic-shaped home a few miles outside of Taneytown is a dream that took 20 years to realize. Ringgold-Goble said that she and her husband, Kent, saw their first dome home at the World's Fair in Tennessee in 1982. Since then, she said, she always has wanted to live in one.

At that time, they were renting a house on a tobacco farm in Virginia.

"Then we bought 18 acres in Virginia and thought about building our own dome home," said Ringgold-Goble, who teaches special education. They bought blueprints from Timberline Geodesics.

In 1986, her husband changed jobs, and they moved to Carroll County. The dome-home idea was put on hold. Instead, they rented an apartment in Westminster and later bought a townhouse in the development. But with a teen-age daughter, they realized they needed more space. So the search went on.

"We looked and looked and looked," she said. "It seemed like every time we looked at houses, they were out of the school district. At that point, we were looking at any home."

When their daughter graduated from high school in 2000, they were freer to expand their search. In the spring of last year, they heard about the dome home and drove out to look at it from the road.

"Originally, [the sellers] were offering it for $225,000 because they were offering land with it," Ringgold-Goble said.

By fall, the owners had reduced the price to $178,000 for the home without the additional lot.

"We realized that if we wanted it, we were going to have to pay the price," she said.

When she first saw the home, nestled deep in the woods, she was overwhelmed.

"I just fell in love with it and the openness," she said. "It seemed like a piece of art instead of a home. The townhouse felt so cramped compared to this."

The dome home exudes an airy feeling.

"The dome [construction] supports the weight and everything," Ringgold-Goble said. "That's why there's so much room. You don't need supporting walls like in a conventional house."

The home, on 1.62 acres, has 1,939 square feet. On the first floor are a dining room, living room, a full bath, a half-bath, a laundry room, and what was designed to be the master bedroom, but is used as a den.

The area above the living and dining rooms is open to the domed roof. The kitchen is tucked into the middle of all those rooms.

The second floor has a full bath and three bedrooms, though one of those was in the blueprints as a library, Ringgold-Goble said. At the top of the stairs is a sitting room. The upstairs rooms have partitions, but no ceilings. If ceilings were added, one could conceivably have a loft for another floor. Instead, you can view the domed ceiling.

Adding to the airiness are the many windows and the doors with full-length windows that lead to a wraparound deck.

"There are eight windows and three skylights," Ringgold-Goble said. "There's a wraparound deck so that from every major room you can look out into the woods."

The full basement contains five rooms, one of which is the garage. A pentagon-shaped room sits inside the rooms and serves as the computer room.

The dome home sports cedar shingles that blend with its wooded surroundings. Floors are hardwood.

The Gobles are the second owners of the home.

Dennis and Penola Lord started building the house from a Monterey Domes kit in May 1984. Monterey Domes no longer exists.

"It took me three years to build," said Dennis Lord, also a teacher. "It took an entire summer just to put the shingles on."

The shingles went on from the bottom up to a middle point. Then he put a ladder through an opening in the ceiling and worked from the top to the middle from there.

"That was the most complicated part," he added.

The Lords have moved on to another residence, but the Gobles said they plan to stay in the dome home.

"We'll never move," Ringgold-Goble said.

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