K.T. Miller’s vision for a round house was 50 years in the making. “I had met a man who built yurts,” he recalls.
“It was a big round house and had a square that rose through the center with the bathroom and utilities. The windows slanted out, and you could walk all the way around. And I thought, ‘This is about the coolest thing I had ever seen.’”
K.T. thought often about his aspirations, even pointing out ideal places to build a circular home when he traveled with his friend Brian over the years. Brian retired early and purchased acreage north of Greensboro, North Carolina, to build his own dream home.
“He bought a 12-acre plot of land next to his and said to me, ‘Here is where you can build your round house,’” says K.T., who moved from the Washington, D.C., area six years ago to realize his dream.
The 72-year-old retiree did not take the design of his round house lightly. His main goal was to take create a wooded and lakeview home that took in the surrounding vistas — a feat he accomplished by spending weekends on-site in a teepee when he traveled to North Carolina before making the move permanent.
“It allowed me to see where the sun came up and how far down the hill I wanted to build the house,” he notes.
K.T. also carefully considered the type of structure he wanted to build. He had looked into buying, relocating and refurbishing a barn — he’d even crafted a 3-by-2-foot model — but decided it would cost too much money. Then he returned to the idea of building a yurt, but wanted something larger and more permanent.
That’s when he found Deltec Homes — a producer of circular homes — in Asheville, North Carolina. The company provided K.T. a 2,500-square-foot prefabricated shell comprising cutouts for windows and doors on the wall panels, as well as a radial roof system that uses half-scissor trusses bearing against a center steel ring.
The home’s circular design, which has no load-bearing interior walls, allowed for an open concept floor plan that incorporates the dining room, great room and kitchen. “The ceiling goes from 8 feet to 16-and-a-half feet, and that makes the first floor really spacious and light,” K.T. says of the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath layout. “The internal guest bathroom is the only one square room in the whole house, so every room you go into is different from a traditional home.”
“We tried to minimize hallway space,” adds Deltec Project Manager Chad Moore, who worked closely with K.T. on the home’s design. Other than short hallways leading to two bedrooms on either side of the media room, the home is nearly free of corridors.
When it came to finding a builder to complete his home, K.T. didn’t have to look far: He hired his friend’s contractor, George Edmonds, after seeing his handcrafted work. “I would tell George what I wanted, and he would come up with something better,” K.T. says. For instance, instead of running the fireplace wall and adjoining media room all the way to the top of the home, George suggested leaving space above to take advantage of the vaulted ceiling.
The contractor used fir for the ceilings and walls, accented by pine trim, to create a warm environment. “The wood was really white when we first put it up,” K.T. says, “and now it has a really nice gold patina to it.”
For the cabin flooring, K.T. found narrow-strip oak remnants at 50 cents per square foot. “The hardwood runs clear through the house in the same direction, no matter what room you’re in,” he notes.
K.T.’s home and land are built to entertain, whether that’s hosting a plein-air artists’ event, welcoming friends he met through his days in the Peace Corps, or hiring a private gourmet chef to cook for a study group in which he used to participate.
“A friend from California once sat in one of the living room chairs overlooking the lake and said, ‘I can’t sit here without crying because it’s like coming home,’” K.T. recalls.
K.T. relishes the quiet times, too: taking his dog, Doodle, on regular walks throughout the land, reading poetry and listening to music. His round home affords the opportunities he had dreamed of during the past five decades. “I’m an old Kentucky boy, so I grew up with nature,” he states. “It is nice to sit here with 23 windows looking out at the woods and a lake.”
Square footage: 2,500 (plus full basement)
Builder/general contractor; cabinetry: Edmonds Construction (336-593-2399)
Designer; shell provider; roofing: Deltec Homes (800-642-2508; deltechomes.com)