Odds & Ends » Home Sweet Home

2079 Parkside Dr.


Start with a circle and then apply basic third-grade math to turn that circle into an almost-sphere by using a complex network of self-bracing triangular struts. Sounds easy enough. The result is the highest ratio of interior space per external surface and your very own geodesic dome. Back in the late '40s, Buckminster Fuller further developed the concept and benefits of the geodesic dome (something about it being super easy to construct, super strong and wanting to provide housing for all humanity). He was a man with a deep-hearted mission, but obviously the part about providing housing for all of humanity did not happen. Too bad. However, here in Boise is an example of a geodesic dome, and given its the size, it could accommodate a small portion of humanity.

The "Bucky Ball" (sorry, I couldn't resist using the term) is located in Foothills East, and sits on a relatively steep lot. The approach to the front door is up a tiered concrete walkway with a water feature to the left and landscape to the right. I ended up on a redwood deck where I could get a good sense of the structure and surroundings. The dome "walls" are clad in horizontal siding painted a minty green with darker green trim, and the "roof" is skinned with tan asphalt shingles. Several redwood decks project out from the house.

The door opens into a small entry space, where I got a sense of the overall volume of the dome but not so much of the overall construction, though there are several windows slit into the triangular components that begin to express the unique structural system. Far more obvious than the structure is the fact that the place needs some serious updating. Upon entering, I was confronted with blue carpet and oak leftover from the '80s. Immediately to the left is a large living room that transitions into the dining area (one thing about domes, wall placement and room configuration is a bit tricky). The kitchen, with plain-faced oak cabinets, an island and countertops clad in a marble finish, sits outside of the two-story volume of the living and dining spaces. Just off the kitchen is a small laundry room. There is access to a large deck off of the dining area.

The first floor has two bedrooms and a bathroom. I know geodesic domes create the most interior volume per external surface area, but portions of the volume are so small, only hamsters and stuffed animals can fit in some spaces. Some spaces in this home present challenges for human habitation.

Upstairs is a loft space that looks down to the living area and across to a window strategically placed for optimum viewing of the neighbor's house. This space transitions into the master bedroom suite, which is spacious and has a great soaking tub underneath a window.

Downstairs the dome surrenders to conventional standards. The walls are vertical, though they still correspond to the circular footprint of the house. The family room is currently receiving some new laminate flooring and paint. There is direct access to a lower patio and hot tub. A small, soon-to-be bar area (I don't know if it indeed will be a bar, but there looks to be plumbing and a bar would be ideal) sits off to the side.

Parts of the yard are heavily landscaped with tall coniferous trees and shrubs. One of the exterior decks looks down to a ravine/dry creek bed overgrown with vegetation and is probably a great spot for deer and fox watching. There is also some concrete pad areas for dogs and toys (the kid and adult kind).

PROS: The home has a unique structure in a great location. The yard and landscaping are well-established but with room for improvements. I would reconsider the Zen-like feature tucked under the redwood deck at the entry.

CONS: The interior needs updating, which means lots of cash. I would punch a few more holes into that exterior skin. I would also rethink the exterior colors and materials and find some way to integrate those decks with the house.