Take this Illinois ‘dome home’ for a whirl

by Emily Mack

Just an hour from outer Chicago, sits a spaceship-like structure: Illinois’ famous rotating house. Commissioned by local psychic Joe Tufano (stage name Joe Who), the dome-shaped home is true to its eccentric origins. Built atop a motorized turntable structure, it can actually spin around!

“I always wanted to live in a dome, but I hadn’t seen one that didn’t leak. So, I read about this manufacturer in Canada [Sunspace Rotating Homes] and I went up to see it. It was run by a shipbuilder, so I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t leak. I wound up buying it,” Tufano told Special Finds. Eventually, the house was constructed over a three-year period in in Somonauk, a small village in Dekalb County, near Sandwich and Lake Holiday.

Tufano bought the largest single-family model available from Sunspace Rotating Homes: 4,018-square feet in all. It features four bedrooms (including a master bedroom with two closets), three full bathrooms and two half bathrooms, plus a living room, dining room and kitchen. And completing the house, of course, are dome’s characteristic cathedral ceilings.

However, it’s the motorized turntable which makes this house truly unique, allowing the structure to turn at the simple push of a button. Speaking with Architecture Week in 2002, Tufano described what causes him to turn the home: “When I get tired of looking at the woods or the open space of the site from my dining room window, or if I don’t like the way shadows are created inside during daylight.” The so-called “Dome Home” is also especially energy efficient; Tufano reports that, due to the shape, it requires half the heating and air conditioning of similarly-sized house.

This feat of engineering is currently on the market for $599,900, listed by Realtor Don Wiley of Swanson Real Estate. You can find further information on Special Finds.

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