A Trio of Dome Homes Offers Off-Grid Living in Arizona for $280K – Realtor.com News

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A unique trio of dome homes constructed by hand using sandbags and barbed wire is now on the market in McNeal, AZ, for $279,000.
Homeowner Marcia Gibbons built them in 2008 after studying under CalEarth founder Nader Khalili, who developed the SuperAdobe form of earth bag architecture.
The layering technique starts with sandbags filled with earth that are placed on top of one another and then secured by barbed wire between each layer for stability. It is then plastered over with a cement mix.
“Marcia Gibbons has been recognized for her tile work that can be seen in these earth domes,” says listing agent Kim Ewing, of Bisbee Realty Inc. “As rural as the property may feel and being off grid, it is still close to Bisbee, which is very attractive.”
The homes are part of the 18-acre property known as Ransom Ranch. The ranch includes two solar systems, two humanure outhouses, a straw bale pumphouse, and an outdoor kitchen. Twelve fruit trees and a mature organic garden can also be found on the ranch. A vintage Shasta trailer is included in the sale.
“It’s so cozy inside that you feel so protected, but it’s not for everyone,” says Ewing, who wants prospective buyers to understand the limitations of the property.
“As far as power goes, there is no electricity,” she explains. “It would be rather expensive to get it to the property. There is well water on the property. You can easily get romantic about this property, but you need to be realistic. It’s designed for someone who wants to live modestly and get back to the pioneer days. That’s the appeal. It’s not for someone who appreciates having a washing machine and a refrigerator.”
Ewing says the seller hosted a monthly open house for folks to learn more about the dome construction process.
“She would invite people who had an interest in building these on their own properties,” Ewing adds. “It was essentially a gathering place for people looking to do something similar on their own property.”
This is a “cash only” listing, says Ewing. It offers an array of possibilities for its future use.
“It could be used like a Hipcamp situation that would make for a funky vacation rental,” she says, referring to the online marketplace for campsites. “It could also be a cool property that a school could take over and have their students build these structures. That would allow them to appreciate how far we have come. It would be a neat avenue for a younger generation to build and work on a garden and let them learn about true living instead of gaming on the couch all day. That could be so beneficial.”
Ewing wants potential buyers to be sure to think through an investment in off-grid living.
“Ideally, it will be someone who will appreciate what is there, and continue to make the property grow while keeping it as raw as possible,” she says. “I think it would disappoint the seller and devalue what was started there if it was changed too much. Someone has to have the passion to take it over and can commit to that sort of lifestyle, but the romantic notion needs to be eliminated, and reality needs to be addressed.”
Kellie Speed has more written for a variety of publications, including Haute Living, U.S. Veterans magazine, DiverseAbility, and JustLuxe. She can be reached at kkspeed@aol.com.







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