After more than 15 years styling vacation homes in Massachusetts’ Berkshires, Jess Cooney and her design team have become specialists in combining clean-line elegance with a space where kids, house guests and dogs can play, relax and have fun. But taking on a geodesic dome in the tiny Berkshires town of Becket was a new challenge for Jess Cooney Interiors — a challenge that the team overcame with much success.
“This was the first we worked on,” Cooney told Inhabitat. “We liked the challenge of making the space really efficient while working with all the angles in the space.” Finding flat areas in the geodesic dome home for vanities and appliances proved especially tricky.
The 2,567-square-foot lakefront cabin was built in the 1980s and is owned by a Boston couple. A central spiral staircase connects the main level, basement and loft. Buckminster Fuller developed the geodesic dome in 1954, seeking to enclose maximum space with minimal internal supports. During the 1960s and ‘70s, dome popularity grew. Cooney faced the challenge of making what looked like a futuristic design in midcentury appear elegant and modern today.
When the Boston couple bought the geodesic dome, it was crying out for a makeover. Dark wood paneling, dated finishes and old heating and electrical systems were dragging it down. Plus, old wall-to-wall carpeting wasn’t friendly to the sandy feet of guests.
The team got to work stripping finishes and carpeting. Walnut flooring is a key improvement. “The lower level has wood plank flooring that are tiles in place of wood flooring that work really well for people coming in and out of the lake,” Cooney said.
The design team added radiant heat and new treads on the staircase. Cooney also saw the importance of balancing open space for family time with more private areas. The designer said the most interesting aspects of the project were “the windows and the different materials we brought in with bamboo, oak and the high level sheetrock we put in place of the old wood paneling on the ceiling.”
Instead of dark paneling, the dome’s interior is now a stunning white, which makes the most of the vaulted ceiling and the large, striking triangular windows. Daylight fills the main living area, and views of the surrounding trees are a blink away.
Cooney chose calming colors throughout most of the geodesic dome, such as a silvery velvet sofa and blue armchairs. Guests can relax around a fireplace complete with a floating oak mantel.
“The kitchen was the most challenging for us,” Cooney said. “But by creating a pantry in the back, we were able to make the whole space work well.”
The family can choose between eating in the larger main dining space, or a more intimate eating area with a circular table. Local, third-generation cabinet maker Erik Schutz custom-built both the dining table and the kitchen table.
Upstairs is the light-filled master bedroom, illuminated by a hexagonal skylight and side windows. A slate bed frame by Old Bones Co enhances the clean, modern look. The guest bedroom incorporates concrete nightstands by Fourhands with a woven chair from Orient Express. The bathroom is the biggest splash of color, with gorgeous teal tiles made all the more eye-catching because most of the design is so neutral.
The basement offers additional living space, with comfy chairs and ottomans. Cooney also fit in an office and mudroom. Now, the owners are adding an outdoor deck and new landscaping to truly make the most of the home, inside and out.
Photography by Lisa Vollmer Photography via Jess Cooney Interiors