It has been referred to as the Vermont Earth Home, the Dome Home, the Vermont Mud Hut…
A dwelling — No, a piece of art unlike any other in the world.
It has been photographed and written about in publications around the globe, and now it needs a new owner — a buyer as unique as the structure itself.
Award-winning architect, Bob Chappelle designed and hand-built the one-of-a-kind Vermont Earth Home from polystyrene, coated with mud and cement. The oval windows looking out into the wooded surroundings are designed to require no frames and are built directly into the walls.
Truly a work of art, Chappelle hand-built the cherry-slab furniture. Granite columns blend beautifully with the artistic design and keep the living space open and intriguing.
The Earth Home needs restoring. The dwelling has water and electricity and a source of heat but some cracks in the roof coating allow water to seep through in some areas. The roof requires some patching. Leading Vermont preservationists believe the structure is worth preserving. Never again will there be a place such as this.
As reported in Seven Days Vermont
Speaking to a group of preservationists gathered for a tour of his home in August, Chappelle recalled an initial building effort that used too little sandy loam. “I dumped the whole thing in the woods,” said Chappelle, who leans on a cane but is otherwise mobile, sharp and cheerful.
When he finally found the right mud mix, he built the insulating polystyrene core up from bedrock, applied the mud and coated the exterior with two different waterproofing substances. Those have since begun to fail, and some of the mud is crumbling as a result of water damage.
This problem is what gave rise to the tour, organized by Vermont state architectural historian Devin Colman. He led a group that included Lisa Ryan from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, James Duggan from the state’s Division for Historic Preservation and Helen Whyte of the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation — the body that evaluates and recommends Vermont sites for the National Register of Historic Places.
All of the experts agreed the house is worth preserving; the only question was how to waterproof without significantly altering or damaging Chappelle’s creation. Chappelle’s hardworking assistant, Monique Gerbex of Hyde Park, whose day job is at High Mowing Organic Seeds, must constantly patch and repair under Chappelle’s worried direction.
For the architect himself, preserving the Vermont Earth House would help combat what he considers deeply disturbing building trends that result in lifeless living spaces.
“Our country is so wedded to studs, sheetrock, plywood, plasterboard,” Chappelle declared. “All you get is a box.”
The design of the Earth Home was derived and crafted after African mud huts where Chappelle lived for many years. He made the Dome Home and the 47 acres on which it sits, his personal residence until 2018. In an article in Popular Mechanics, Chappelle stated that the walls have an insulative value of R-40,
Inside the rooms flow with soft curves, rounded windows, rounded skylights, and a floating staircase. The craftsmanship, making use of local granite, cherry wood, and concrete is beautiful, compelling, and unusual. There’s a huge wooden soaking tub, cherry dining room table, cherry kitchen screen, gorgeous cherry bed headboard, and rough-hewn granite floors and walls.
There are stone patios, a small goldfish pond, and many cement and granite sculptures. The private property, includes a large pond, open fields, and woods. The surrounding area is scenic with shopping and restaurants within 20 minutes.
It isn’t a requirement that the structure is restored but to carry on the architect’s legacy could be a dream project for an engineer, architect, or even an architectural student. It is a once in a lifetime chance to own a piece of art and a fabulous opportunity for a getaway, lucrative Airbnb, or both.
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|Address:||5415 Hollister Hill Rd|
|Condition:||The house has water and electricity and a source of heat but some cracks in the roof coating allow water to seep through in some areas. The roof requires some patching.|
This is stunning….I have been searching for a HOME such as this…I am reminded of a dream I had 30 years ago and THIS HOUSE, THIS HOUSE was in it. I can buy this home and care for it the rest of my life but, I would have to figure out a way for it to be loved for the rest of ITS LIFE. The architect has put his life, his dreams, his desires and his joy into this house and he deserves to know that it will be taken care of long after he leaves this space. Does anyone know how much it would cost to restore the property? Is there a town anywhere near the property? Wow, I have not been this excited in a long time. I wanna know everything about it please.
I also love this house. I’ve been planning something similar in my mind and on scraps of paper for years. Unfortunately, I don’t have the funds right now and live on the other side of the country.
The reason I’m leaving a note is to suggest the use of “concrete canvas”, a concrete imbedded fabric, might be the perfect way to reseal the home without changing the shape and basics of the structure. Basically, you place/ drape and wet the material and in a few hours you have a new outer shell. They use it mostly in diverting water out here, but I have seen it used for inflatable emergency tents.
Best of luck, I hope the new owners appreciate the labor of love and work of art!
PS. I think the closest town is Marshall.
We’ll need to craft 21st century solutions to save this badly aged, but honorable effort from the mid-20th century. So worth it!