Interior Finishing Page 3

bare library shelves
The library shelves, four two-sided stacks in all, were always intended to be one of the main purposes of the addition. Each stack began with a frame of two-by-fours attached directly to the concrete floor with Tap-Con screws. Then as you can see (center) a set of four boxes per side -- ranging from very small to 7 feet tall -- was custom built to fit the curve of the dome at each point. The boxes were built of 1x8 inch pine boards and a thin plywood backing was placed between the two rows. With the boxes individually squared and leveled, attached to the bases on the floor and to each other, the structure was time-consuming to build but extremely sturdy. Small pieces of trim board were used to cover the seams between boxes.
Left: another view of one of the two audio-visual cabinets, attached to the floor in the same way but made of plywood with wood veneer surfaces and the edges taped with matching wood veneer strips.
The house addition was generously wired, since we're fond of well-lit rooms and gadgets. Our eventual plan is to have an upward-pointing light on top of each stack, wired to a switch mounted on the stack itself, with a set of electric plugs also available at each stack. Since this dome may be used for anything from theater-style DVD watching to reading to parties, we want to be able to adjust the light levels in every part of the room.

stained shelves
We chose a stain color called Sedona Red (Minwax) for our stacks and AV racks to compliment the warm tan color of the walls. Each  unit was stained and varnished as a whole before any shelves were added.
Center: the square opening between the two library stacks is designed to fit a second window air conditioner (the first is under the east window) to keep the space cool. During the entire summer of 2004 we did not find we needed this air conditioner; one window unit plus air flow from the main house with its central AC were plenty to keep us comfortable. We did fill the opening with a piece of foam during the winter of 2004-2005, since only the outer membrane of the dome separates it from the outside air.
add from roof
This picture of the house addition was taken from the roof of the main house. The concrete block steps at left lead to a door in the library; the window shown, with its small air conditioner below, is in Russ' study. Over the summer of 2004 this smaller window AC was almost never used, so it was later removed and the hole permanently closed.

Picture not available: after pricing both berber carpet and real wood flooring for the addition, we decided to do something more affordable. The two studies were floored with linoleum tile, which is not cold underfoot in the winter in a dome. For Russ's study, resistance to everything from model paint to occasional drops of hot solder was also a consideration. For the connecting hallway and the main library/TV room, we installed interlocking laminated flooring that looks like wood. (Pergo is the best known brand of this material, although we used a different one.) We found this material pretty easy to install ourselves, attractive to look at, and comfortable underfoot. We did find it necessary to put an 8 x 10 foot area rug in the main room, plus runners in the hallway, to damp down the echoes. Dome acoustics take a little thought and time if you're used to dealing with rectangular rooms, but those problems are easy to solve.
shelf finishing The actual shelves of our bookshelf stacks and AV units were cut and finished as separate pieces. We then mounted them inside the bookshelf and AV boxes with metal tracks which made the shelves fully adjustable. The process of cutting, finishing, and installing shelves took several months. After we had finished about 1/3 of the shelves a lack of time to stain and varnish caught up with our need to get all of our books and videos in one place. The remaining shelves were cut and installed as bare wood, with the intent of staining and varnishing them later as time allows.
To the left, see an example of a fully finished stack. Because of the curving dome wall and the different heights of the vertical wooden boxes, there are a couple of triangular open shelves between the frame of the bookshelf stack and the wall. These spaces are being used for the storage of oversized books and other items, such as laser discs and record albums. (For you kids in the audience, think of a 'record album' as 12 inch in diameter, low resolution analog CD made of black vinyl.)
nice stacks

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