Curlew Keep*

Dome Home of Dianne and Bryan Bremner

* Curlew  (1) a medium sized shore bird, extinct throughout much of its original range, (2) Curlew Lake and Curlew Creek, boyhood home of Bryan Bremner.

*Keep  (1) Anglo-Saxon, archaic, a fortress, a castle, (2) the central most secure part of a castle.

We first became interested in a monolithic dome when friends of ours told us they were planning on building one and lent us some videos that they got from this company in Texas. After visiting numerous times while their dome was being built we sort of got hooked on the idea and started planning our own. We were nearing retirement and had several lots on Curlew Lake in North Eastern Washington and were contemplating a home on the lake. Our first design was a 45 ft diameter full hemisphere dome with a partial second floor. We liked the basic plan but ran into problems when we "placed" it on our site. We wanted every room to have a view and some rooms just got left out.

View looking south up Curlew Lake.
View looking west across Curlew Lake.
View looking north to Mt. Elizabeth and Canada in the distance.
View looking east, county road and hillside - boring.
We tried a couple of elliptical designs but they just didn`t seem to work for us. Then we carefully looked through the Dome Dwellings book from MDI and took a liking to the Hyperion DP336 on page 47 (p 103 in Dome Living). We modified that plan to suit our needs and came up with a plan that we really liked. We took another hard look at it and decided that the Hyperion is a very "lumpy" design, we liked smooth better, so we just smoothed out the bumps and indentations and came up with a partial torus. After passing this idea through a family friend who is an architect, Robert Bissett who has designed many domes and is a friend of our builder, Walter Burnham, and Larry Byrne at MDI, we came up with a final design for our partial torus dome.

Main living area ( including 2 car garage) is approximately 2800 sq. ft.. The 3 bedroom, 3 bath design, which is mostly wheelchair and gurney accessible, incorporates all essential living areas on the main floor.

Main floor of our dome.

Loft area is primarily for storage and some mechanical placement. It contains mainly library, reading room when you just want to get away, and neat place for grandkids. The loft is open over living and dining rooms, walled off over bedrooms, bathroom, and garage. At some future time the loft could be extended over the garage and guest bedrooms.

Loft area of our dome.

Our first major problem came when we went to the building inspector and he said that he would require an engineering stamp, as it was a "non-traditional" building. We were expecting this and the preliminary estimates were in the $2,500 - $3,000 range. Then the engineers got the plans Oops! back off and recalculate. It seems that nobody had ever done the engineering analysis for a torus before: the only way to do this was a finite element analysis. The estimates were all a consistent $10,000 and it would take a long time to get set up for this. We finally, with the assistance of MDI, came up with an engineer who made some fairly conservative assumptions and was reasonable in his cost.