Dream of saying “dome, sweet dome” each and every time, without fail, as you enter your North Shore property, a bit that will surely delight and never annoy your loved ones?
You’ve got a $797,900 option in Schroeder, Minnesota. Located midway between Lutsen and Silver Bay, 9480 Hwy. 61 W. is a rare geodesic dome home on the shore of Lake Superior. Built in 1983, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,758-square-foot architectural charmer sits on a 1.3-acre lot that includes 193 feet of rocky shoreline.
“There’s not a lot of geodesic domes, particularly on the North Shore,” Sandra McHugh, the former listing agent with Lutsen Real Estate Group, told me in 2019. “It’s a very interesting, unique home.” (LREG’s Inger Andress has the current listing.)
Among the dome home highlights: a retro woodstove, open-concept kitchen, fully finished walk-out basement, wrap-around deck plus bonus lakeside deck, two-car garage, and, of course, an embarrassment of spectacular Great Lake views.
The current owners purchased the place three years ago for $312,500, according to county records. Their recent renovation transformed it from an ’80s time capsule—oceans of beige carpet, bulky furniture, a goddamn tube TV—into the tasteful, mid-century-modern getaway you see in photos below. (The market for northern Minnesota cabins is blazing hot at the moment, as the Strib recently explored.)
That makeover allowed for an Airbnb price hike, sending the average nightly stay from around $400 to about $600. The reviews remain glowing. “The dome home is made out of magic!!” raves one recent vacationer. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, we must note that the dome home is made out of wood.) Further up the shore, a collection of geodesic dome homes exist as rentals, though they’re more yurt-like and don’t offer beach access.
The popularity of geodesic structures boomed throughout the ’70s and ’80s. Future-minded owners balanced the pros (structural strength, energy efficiency) against the cons (costly made-to-order updates, tricky interior design), according to this geodesic deep-dive from Popular Science. Take a look around your non-geodesic home and notice how the furniture, appliances, windows, doors, and HVAC all tend to conform to 90-degree angles, hence the issues with decorating and repairing dome homes. “It’s not for everyone,” McHugh told me in ’19. Back in Racket’s reader-less infancy, I wrote about this one-of-a-kind, Flintstones-y Duluth dome home that was made via the other once-popular geodesic construction technique—monolithic urethane foam.
Let’s take a photo tour of 9480 Hwy. 61 W., courtesy of the MLS.