From Ancient Greek: Kirkos (Circle) to the Mid-Century Modern Round House

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Medieval scholars believed that there was something intrinsically divine or perfect to be found in the geometry of a circle. Indeed, on the west end of Galveston Island, there exists a round house, whose use of space is prized by its current owners, TJ and Dan.

This island structure is not a yurt, and it is not a geodesic dome, and as a round house built in 1968, it is a classic example of mid-century genre. Mid-century architecture refers to buildings designed in the 1950s to 1960s. At its construction, this was one of the first houses in the west end subdivision of Sea Isle. Its aero-dynamic shape has helped it withstand storms, including Hurricanes Alicia and Ike.

The present owners of the round house were pleased to have the opportunity to acquire the property from the wife of the original owner in 2007. In deference to its unique character, they have changed very little about it, except for paint colors, which have been a dramatic and exciting improvement. The addition of an in-ground pool; a perfect circle, of course, is a wonderful compliment to the already dynamite site, a strategic corner with canal views in three directions.

The structure is raised on piling construction like most every other house on the island, however, any similarities end there. From the moment you enter the ground level foyer with its massive timber and bolt constructed stair open to the floor above, you realize you are experiencing something unusual.

The living area at the top of the stair is central to the house, with kitchen open to one side, and porch open to the opposite, and benefits from a wide circular skylight above. The owners found an ‘oh-so appropriate’ semi-circular sectional sofa to outfit the living room, making a perfect conversation area around the fireplace. Track lights lend a modern touch that fits right in to the overall theme.  House fires аrе оnе оf thе mоѕt common causes оf property loss аnd homelessness іn mаnу parts оf thе world. Althоugh easily prevented аnd readily remedied, left unchecked, іt саn саuѕе devastating damage tо bоth property аnd people alike – costing homeowners thousands оf pounds іn damage costs аnd repairs. Hоwеvеr, keeping one’s home safe frоm thе possibility оf fіrе оnlу takes a fеw simple steps. To know more about the fire protection, visit site.

The original structure had fewer windows, with windows only just below the roof gables, than it currently enjoys, and the additions are an apparent improvement. The kitchen boasts one of these. Dan particularly appreciates the position of the kitchen in proximity to the living area, and finds it the easiest kitchen to work in that he has experienced. Both TJ and Dan cook, so the two stainless steel sinks come in handy when both are working in the kitchen. Its original features include built-in blender, warming drawer, can opener, as well as built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. If уоur refrigerator оr freezer won’t cool properly, аn impaired evaporator fan соuld bе thе саuѕе. Fіrѕt, try tо unblock оr straighten оut thе fan blades. If thаt fails tо correct thе situation, аnd уоur refrigerator’s door switch іѕ working wеll, thеn it’s tіmе tо саll іn a refrigerator appliance repair specialist. Rеаd оn tо fіnd a fеw pointers thаt саn help ensure thе A1 Portland Commercial Refrigeration Repair| A1PCRR company уоu hire іѕ uр tо fixing уоur refrigerator.

Its angled bar, fitting into the wedge that is the kitchen, places the cook in the middle of the action, facing guests at the bar and views through the living area, and out to the wide porch overlooking the canal system and pool.
TJ and Dan had to make a big investment with replacement of fridge and freezer shortly after acquiring the house. After removal of the appliances, a long undetected leak was exposed, along with the resulting rotting of the floor boards beneath. This is why it is important to maintain and repair appliances frequently. One can find additional info about how to do so in the link. The floor repair was an immediate priority, however not quite as easily solved as running down to the lumber yard for a stock replacement, as the floor was discovered to be constructed of 3” x 6” tongue and groove timber. After special milling, the repair was made and new fridge and freezer are safely ensconced in the kitchen.



The rooms on the interior of the house are designed in wedges and attention to detail is obvious (or not so obvious, in reference to its hidden doors) in everything. Interior walls are extra thick and laid-up in board and batten style cedar. The battens are not traditionally constructed, but are closely spaced, for an appearance completely reinforcing the mid-century theme of using geometric shapes to tease and stimulate the eye. Doors throughout are treated to the same battened effect, and without casings, when closed, are virtually invisible along the wall. Even the mechanical closet shares this unique treatment.
It would have been interesting to see actual construction of the house in 1968, because there are elements of the structure that can only be surmised. The wide skylight sits atop a banded, round steel collar, with wood beams supporting the ceilings and roof, radiating off at angles. Even the roof is a marvel, in that supporting radiating beams alternate carrying a valley or a gable ridge of the many peaks.

The house is unique to the island and is in good hands. The owners have been entrusted with its care, and are sensitively making only minimal changes to maintain its distinctive characteristics. Thanks to TJ and Dan for sharing their island treasure.
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact, or 409-632-0381.

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