Assembling the solar panels



Fall 2013 harvest


The ‘monster’ inverter and completed battery box in the back extension.

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A working sink!


Working on trim on the ceiling



Sara working on staining cabinets & drawers


We haven’t made it to the dome as much since Neil bought a restaurant


Neil trying to get a better cell signal (it didn’t help)


Sara tending to garlic (from the front extension roof)


A view from above – within about a month of the picture above.  You can see the rows of garlic on the right.  We can tell the time from the garlic rows and the ladder we left leaning against the front extension.


Despite not making it to the dome much in the summer we ended up with a decent amount of garlic that grew mostly on its own.

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Preparing dinner


Completed kitchen trim


Water & Power

We had some bad luck early this year – our secondary septic tank popped up out of the ground (saturated soil + an empty tank)

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Staining bathroom and panty cabinets

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The first room with completed trim – the bathroom.  On the left is the instant water heater.

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The septic tank re-buried – with a boulder to hold it down for good.

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The well pump just before we started lowering it.

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Running water!


We finished most of the upstairs bamboo floor.

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Hooking up the water

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Power!  Each battery weighs 300 pounds!

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The view from the scaffolding we’re using to setup the solar panels.


Solar panel frame assembly


Our first completed cabinets – already full!


Floors & a toilet

Neil preparing the back extension floor for linoleum.


Sara spreading adhesive for the cork flooring in our bedroom.


Bedroom cork floor


Picture break after setting up the solar panel pole after some digging and rebar installation before a concrete pour.


Neil’s bedroom cork floor


Sara painting the front steps


Tile installation in the front entry & stove area


The septic drain field…

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… and the now buried septic tanks – and pump electrical components (our sandy soil requires using a pump)

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We tiled and side a small porch by the front door – we still have to tile the rest of the front porch.

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Inside completed tile

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The ‘Kitchen Queen’ – our fire stove/oven

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Nachos – our first dome stove cooked meal!

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A bed!  WAY more comfortable than a (slowly deflating) air mattress!


Thanksgiving dinner in/on the Kitchen Queen.  The Brussels sprouts were the best I’ve ever had – picked earlier in the day from our garden at home in Kirkland.


And we can finally make use of the septic system – we have a (partially) working toilet.  (no running water quite yet…)


More Work

In no particular order:

All of the downstairs bamboo has been installed. Here is a brief view which was promptly covered with paper and plywood to protect it.

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Here is the bamboo in the pantry:

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Freshly poured self-leveling concrete for the cork flooring in the bathroom:


The front steps before they were stained:


Painting in the living room/hallway:


And in Neil’s bedroom:



More to come!


We’ve got drywall in and are about to start painting!

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It’s taken a while to get everything insulated and put up vapor barrier.

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Back extension drywalled

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Looking in from the back extension – on the left – master bedroom, bathroom, pantry.  On the right – Neil’s room, living room, kitchen where the fan is.

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Neil’s room

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Master bedroom and bath/utilities

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Living room

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More visible progress and slammed by snow

The first few pieces of drywall we put up in the back extension.


A maze of septic lines.


Installing a ventilation fan.


Siding at last!


We took off today to get a wiring & plumbing inspection.  Two to four inches of snow was expected for the past 24 hours.  There was an inch on the ground this morning.

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When we left at 4:30 there was 10 inches.  The inspector cancelled.

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It took us about an hour to get out of this… problem.

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Four hours in to our normal two and a half hour drive and we’re halfway home, crawling along I-5 at 25 mph.

It’s starting to look like a real house!

We finally have some news-worthy updates to the dome blog. For the past 6 months or so we’ve been working on the inside structure, wiring, and plumbing, none of which makes for very interesting pictures (oh look, it’s the same wall, but this time there is a wire stapled to it!) The latest news is that the siding has been installed! It looks great and they even did some parts we were not expecting – like the fascia on the back extension and the inside of the front porch.


We are also getting close to having another inspection – this time for the interior structure, rough electrical and plumbing, and mechanical systems. We should have that scheduled in early November. After that, we can put up the rest of the insulation and vapor barrier. We’ll need another inspection before we can put drywall over it though. Hopefully the snow will hold off long enough to finish that up, because once it snows there is no hope in getting up our driveway with a vehicle.


At our current rate of progress, we should have a final occupancy permit by summer of 2011. The additional “big things” to finish include drywall, the septic field and tanks, the electric well pump, the solar power system, the shower and fireplace tile/brickwork, and the wood flooring.

Gradual Inside work

Finishing the second floor flooring, doing wiring, plumbing, and stub walls have taken up most of the year so far. 


We had several bonfires in the spring as we slowly burned one of the two brush piles.



A late spring blowdown that took a few hours to clear


We brought a sick chicken one weekend.





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We finally got around to painting the shed with a little help.


Plenty of wood for weekend visits this winter…



Our PEX plumbing central manifold where we can control individual feeds.



Next we’ll have pictures of the siding outside and septic plumbing inside!