Yorkton, Sask. –
A Yorkton artist lives in one of her art projects, an approximately 1,600 square foot monolithic dome made of steel rebar, concrete and polyurethane.
The round structure has a skylight and multiple windows with the light reflecting off the curved walls, making the concrete house very bright.
“In Saskatchewan, we have so many winter and snowy months that it’s nice to get up in the morning and have your coffee somewhere sunny,” said owner Tonia Vermette.
At first, the rough surfaces of the walls posed a challenge for interior design.
“I was like, ‘Oh, how am I going to integrate this?’ “, she said.
Inspired by her travels, Vermette decided to base the design on a Spanish court. The artist painted the texture on the walls to look like old stone and added two murals, one of roses and the other of a window.
Tonia Vermette designed the dome house taking inspiration from a Spanish courtyard. (Stacey Hein/CTV News)
“As an artist, I started painting the walls, so not just creating the exterior but changing the interior all the time. I’m always adding new stuff,” she said.
New guests often find the house breathtaking and it sparks curiosity as to why Vermette built the house in the first place.
“We really liked the open space because you get this big open span that you don’t normally get without having to put in a lot of posts or beams and so it’s a compressive structure,” she said. .
“You can build very tall buildings with the dome and you don’t need to have any supports inside.”
The energy efficiency of the building was another attractive aspect for Vermette. The round design stores heat, which regulates the temperature in the house.
“A dome home in Saskatchewan will require about two watts per square foot to heat up, so you don’t need a lot of heat to keep the dome comfortable year-round,” said Rob Phillips, president of Canadian Dome Industries.
He said it costs about $85 per square foot to build the dome structure in Saskatchewan. In Alberta or Ontario, it’s about $110 per square foot.
Canadian Dome Industries built Vermette’s house 18 years ago. The monolithic dome is one of three in Saskatchewan, according to Philips.
Three years ago, Vermette installed a 10 kilowatt solar panel system. Now his monthly electricity bill is about $40, which is the cost of renting his meter from SaskPower.
The domed house was never a new concept for Vermette. She grew up in a four-tiered geodesic dome. It is a wooden dome reinforced with triangles that are bolted together.
Living in a spherical house shaped who she is.
“From an early age, I have always been interested in architecture, construction and creating objects,” she said.