For Boulderite Andrew McBryan and his family, living in “The Dome” in Vail is like perching in a bird’s nest.
“You get 360-degree views up and down the valley. It’s pretty amazing,” McBryan said.
McBryan owns the top two floors of the raised geodesic dome at 2940 Basingdale Blvd. The property, built in 1976, is visible from Interstate 70 and was listed for $4 million.
“Forget the dime-a-dozen, square-box ski condos. This is unique. It’s a really fun space to be in,” said McBryan, who drove by the property for more than 20 years before buying it in July 2022.
“It’s one of those places in Vail that everyone knows.”
The dome, built when Vail architecture was more whimsical, resembles a paper-mâché project.
Domes were built across the country in the mid-to late 1970s in an effort to create more energy-efficient homes.
But the spherical design poses some construction challenges. Most building materials like windows and pipes are designed for traditional homes, so dome homes require custom products or retrofitting. Chimneys can be challenging to place, creating rooms and divisions is difficult, and it’s impossible to expand dome homes.
As building regulations became more stringent, dome construction slowed. “I suspect in Vail in the ‘70s you could do whatever you wanted, but now the building codes are different,” McBryan said.
McBryan and his family, who live in Boulder, spend part of their year staying at the three-bedroom top floor. He purchased both units in July 2022 for $2.4 million.
McBryan then spent $300,000 to renovate both the third floor and the four-bedroom second floor, which the family rents for short-term vacation stays. McBryan added new windows, floors, and custom kitchens in both units.
Another owner rents out the first floor.
“We had fun restoring it and bringing it back to its glory, in a way,” McBryan said. “Now that we’ve done that, it’s time to pass it on.”
A new owner could rent out the second and third floors, live in one or the other, or combine the two into a single unit with an interior staircase. Combined, the 2,960-square-foot space offers seven bedrooms and four baths.
“There are three of us, and we don’t need that much space,” said McBryan, who owns Cedar Home Loans. “We think someone can maybe use the space better than we can.”
The property is unusual and likely will appeal to a specific kind of buyer, who wants something different, said listing agent Jack Affleck with Slifer Smith & Frampton-Arrowhead.
“It’s not like other houses. There are no sharp edges,” Affleck said. “It lives like adobe. It’s cool in the summer and cozy in the winter.”