How It All Began
After living in the smack-middle of NYC for 25 years, we decided to close-up-shops and on August 4, 2014, moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where we, five years prior, purchased a one-acre lot in one of the prettiest subdivision called Leilani Estates.
I have to mention that we didn’t just wake up one morning from a dream and decided to move, we have done some extensive research of what would be the perfect place for us to, eventually, retire. Although we are far from retirement age, we wanted to play and enjoy all the fun things we love to do before retiring. One thing was sure; we would like to live on an island near the ocean where we can snorkel and scuba dive and play in the water whenever we want to; all year round sunshine is a must, and it has to be part of the United States.
We traveled all over the world, but somehow we found ourselves keep coming back to Hawaii over-and-over. We read tons of books and posts and reviews on the Big Island. One book was, “Affordable Paradise,” particularly right on target of the area we were interested in. Long story short, we wanted to find out if, we would like to live in the jungle in the rainforest at all, with all the bugs and frogs and other creatures crawling around.
We booked an entire house for ten days in Leilani Estates, oh boy! we were hooked from the first moment we arrived. We walked and biked all over town, zigzagging the streets. We were looking to buy a house on the spot. Talked to several realtors, they were kind enough to show us a few homes that were on the market for sale. Gave us some pointers on what to look for when buying a home in the jungle. We learned a lot. We were very grateful. This trip worth every penny, we did a good thing!
Why Does a House Have to be Square?
What we learned from the realtors is, no matter what you are buying, you will have to fix it up, make it your own, you will spend more money on it that you anticipated. It is easier and rather cost effective to build one from scratch, from the ground up. Oh geez, really?
Anyhow, less than a year later we purchased a lot on Nohea Street in the lovely Leilani Estates. We always had this crazy notion of building anything but square. So the search for something different just began.
One day, I am in a yellow cab going uptown on York Avenue and 67th street when I shouted at the poor driver to stop the car, I needed to get out. I spotted a glass dome structure behind the trees. It turns out; it is a Caspary Auditorium part of Rockefeller University. I don’t care that’s what I want! I, also, remembered that a Hayden Planetarium and a New York Botanical Garden are also a dome structure. They became our weekend projects, and we visited them many-many occasions. I want to live in a dome. Not sure how we are going to pull this off, but we just have to give it a try.
While searching for geodesic dome kits and dome plans, we came across Natural Spaces Domes in Minnesota. They have a three-day dome tour and a dome school that we signed up to attend. You get to see other people’s dome inside and out, and they will answer all your questions plus, in the school, you can learn to build your future dome home. It was fantastic!
Mother Nature Knew Better
By the middle of May 2015, we’ve had a concrete foundation in place and waited for the dome to arrive from Minnesota. Our dome was standing tall and passed final inspections on June 29, 2016. Since our builders overbooked themselves with other projects, it took us longer to raise the dome than anticipated. However, in the
We were still working on the kitchen cabinets and about to start framing up the lanai when suddenly on May 3, 2018, all hell broke loose in Leilani Estates. Our newly built dream dome was taken by the lava river on June 1, 2018, gushing out of fissure eight from behind our garden.
Nothing Can Stop Us
However, long story short, we decided to stay on the island and give it another try. Quickly purchased a new lot (far away from the hotspots) fearing that we won’t be able to find any within our budget if, we waited too long. We truly loved our new dome and since we never had a chance to fully enjoy it, after several days of discussion we concluded that we are going to build it back. Well, perhaps with a few adjustments that we missed or were not fond of for the first time. We feel very lucky and fortunate to get a second chance.
In this blog, we would like to share our experiences with the sadness of the loss of our beloved dome, and the joy of rebuilding it, as well as of the nightmares of the construction of building a dream dome on Hawaii.
I hope you will enjoy it and it will be helpful if deciding to build one.
Thank you for visiting!
Stella and Andras