Round homes of­fer square deal

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties -

As­tan­dard bun­ga­low was not in the cards when Charles Mar­ion and his wife, Anne Bishop, de­cided to build a new lake­front home for them­selves and their two sons not far from their home in El­gin, about a 90-minute drive south­west of Ot­tawa.

“We wanted some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent,” says Mar­ion, an an­tique dealer.

Dif­fer­ent is what they got when they bought a cir­cu­lar home from North Carolina-based Del­tec Homes ( www.del­te­

The three-bed­room house, which ar­rived as pre­fab­ri­cated wall pan­els and roof com­po­nents on a cou­ple of flatbed trucks, is still be­ing com­pleted.

But al­ready, says Mar­ion, “Ev­ery­one loves it. When peo­ple drop by, they go: ‘Wow! Look at that roof and ceil­ing.’ “

Thanks to its curved walls, the house af­fords a spec­tac­u­lar panoramic view, while its hur­ri­canere­sis­tant en­gi­neer­ing is re­as­sur­ing in a world where the cli­mate is chang­ing faster than Kirstie Al­ley’s dress size.

The Mar­ion-Bishop fam­ily plans to use the 2,000-square-foot home as a cot­tage for now, trans­form­ing it into a per­ma­nent res­i­dence over the next cou­ple of years. They’re in good com­pany, as an ever-grow­ing num­ber of North Amer­i­can home­own­ers de­cide that, if you’re not round, you’re def­i­nitely square.

In Nel­son, B.C., Man­dala Cus­tom Homes (man­dala­ man­u­fac­tures pre-de­signed and cus­tom cir­cu­lar homes.

The com­pany has seen a slow­down since the hous­ing mar­ket cooled off, says pres­i­dent Lars Chose, but that just means the fac­tory is now op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity in­stead of be­ing run ragged with over­time.

“The de­mo­graphic for these homes is just so wide. We sell to ev­ery­body: yoga teach­ers, re­tired po­lice chiefs, a pro­fes­sor at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity,” says Chose.

“We’ve shipped the homes all over North Amer­ica, even to Alaska and Hawaii. Once they’re up, peo­ple fin­ish them with any­thing from Home Hard­ware kitchens to cus­tom cab­i­nets.”

A Man­dala home costs $50 to $90 per square foot. Depend­ing on ship­ping dis­tance and lo­cal labour costs, that num­ber will dou­ble or triple by the time a home is com­pleted.

Add some op­tional fea­tures, and a cir­cu­lar house comes in at roughly the same price as a good cus­tom-built house.

Lau­rie Mur­ray and Ge­orge Kerr, with son Si­las Mur­ray, built a round house out of cord­wood.

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