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Groovy geodesic dome in Lafayette listed for $889,000

Groovy geodesic dome in Lafayette listed for $889,000

Back in 1969, a Bay Area couple purchased a property in the hills of Lafayette with one acre of scenic pastoral land and a rustic hunting lodge.

Sheila and David Williamson lived with their children, then ages 2 and 7, in the uninsulated shack, while they constructed their dream home with their own two hands.

“We were living in a cul-de-sac in Concord and everyone knew everything about everyone else and I just said, ‘We need to get away,'” Williamson said. “We moved to this beautiful spot in the middle of nature. We had no money and so we had to do everything ourselves.”

Six and a half years later they had erected a stunning geodesic dome made from rich, gorgeous recycled woods at the end of a private, one-lane country road neighboring Briones Regional Park.

That two-bedroom, two-bathroom property at 1750 Toyon Rd. is now on the market for the first time for $889,000, offering the opportunity to live in an unusual home tucked away in a quiet rural corner of the Bay Area’s suburban sprawl.

“When you stand inside this home and realize it was all built by hand, it’s remarkable,” said listing agent Dina del Monica of Pacific Union. “You think it’s going to be in bad shape, but it has beautiful hardwood floors, a Bosch dishwasher in the kitchen, and updated bathrooms.”

The Williamsons followed the calculations used by architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller, who popularized the architectural design for the geodesic dome in the U.S. in the 1950s. They chose the design because is was energy-efficient and provided the maximum amount of space using the minimum amount of materials.

The Williamsons and their children, friends, and neighbors cut every piece of wood and hammered in every nail. Sheila made all the stained-glass windows by hand, and David eventually quit his job as a maintenance machinist at the Oakland Tribune to speed up work on the house, while Sheila became the main breadwinner, working in social services for Contra Costa County.

“He was very handy. He did everything. Nothing was already made. He cut all the pieces of wood. I did the staining and the painting,” Williamson said. “It was a learning experience. Those were probably some of the best years of our lives.”

The Williamsons remodeled their home in 1986, adding a family room and a bathroom, and del Monica says the home has been well-maintained.