It’s hurricane season and OOTS is doing some fantasy traveling/real estate shopping, for some terrific hurricane-resistant structures we’d like to spend some time in:
Dome of a Home, Pensacola Beach, Florida
This is one of Pensacola’s novelty houses – and we always love novelty houses, especially ones built to withstand 200 mph winds. The Dome of a Home was built by Mark and Valerie Sigler, on the Gulf of Mexico, after Hurricane Opal in 1995 did a number on their previous house. This house, built in 2002, is 3400 square feet. It’s won acclaim for its energy efficiency and its resistance to hurricanes (Mark Sigler spent 2004′s Hurricane Ivan in the dome with a television crew; the house suffered only cosmetic damage). It also just looks fantastic – luxurious and futuristic and beachy, all at once. It’s available for weddings, and it appears to be for sale – $1,250,000, fully furnished!
Xanadu Island Resort, San Pedro, Belize
This resort is on the beach, a short walk to town – its marketing materials entice (and how) with promises of delicious food, clear water for snorkeling and SCUBA diving, the exact right balance of relaxation and pleasure and activity – and of hurricane-resistant accommodation: the rental condos are contained in six domes, built to withstand 300 mph winds, as well as extreme storm surges and earthquakes.
Katrina Cottages, available anywhere
Built as a well-designed alternative to FEMA trailers for Hurricane Katrina victims, Katrina Cottages – designed to withstand 140 mph winds – are small and sturdy and adorable, not to mention affordable (they cost around $70,000 to build). We at OOTS are fans of small houses and these hit the spot. Andres Duany, a leader in the New Urbanism movement, came up with the idea for Katrina Cottages – New York designer Marianne Cusato designed the first model, in 2006. And they’re a hit, even beyond their original use on the Gulf; Lowe’s now sells Katrina Cottage kits, with 19 different plans ranging from 308 to 1807 square feet.
Los Altos de Eros Luxury Inn and Spa, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Yes, we like small houses – we also like the looks of this grand, decadent, adults-only, five-room hotel/yoga retreat in Costa Rica, built to stand up to hurricanes. The rooms run from $395 per night to $595 per night – guests are assigned a “personal assistant” for the duration of their stay. Amenities include organic spa treatments, an ashram with an ocean view, swimming, jungle walks, day trips…le sigh, it’s almost too beautiful to contemplate. Almost!
Solaleya Domes, available anywhere
Solaleya is a company that builds eco-friendly disaster-resistant domes, that are stunning to look at. One model – the Pearl – is a passive solar structure (that’s the practical part) that looks like the coolest, awesomest beach shack you’ve ever seen (that’s the fun part); white and covered in windows, it’s got an open layout, and can be built from 400 to over 5,000 square feet. The other model – Domespace – manages to look both rustic and futuristic, all at once. It rotates, so that you can take advantage of the sun (or turn away from it, when it gets to be too much), and is built off the ground. Perhaps tellingly of the sorts of people who buy these wonderful-looking structures, the marketing materials suggest that the smaller versions of these domes make good mini-lofts or maid quarters. Prices are from $200k-over $800k. Buy one, and we’ll come be your live-in maid for a bit, eh?
What’s your favorite hurricane-resistant structure?