Round homes offer square deal
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.deltechomes.com).
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 (mandalahomes.com) 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.