Round House Withstands Katrina

A sales brochure for Deltec Homes says "round for a reason".

Dale and Carolyn Medley of Pass Christian now understand the reason, courtesy of Hurricane Katrina. The couple's unusual home withstood the storm's fury.

"We've had several people come by and look at it since the storm," said Dale Medley, while giving a tour of his unusually-shaped home.

The round house in Timber Ridge proved its worth in Katrina.

"My son's an architect and he advised that a round house, he explained to me, that the wind goes around it and it's safer with high winds than a square house," said Carolyn Medley.

Dozens of nearby houses in the Timber Ridge subdivision gave way to Katrina's wind and water. The Medley home survived the storm's wind with very little damage. And it's not exactly round, but rather a series of walls, joined at an angle.

"Seventeen sides of eight foot panels. Every house they build comes only in the eight foot panels. The bigger the house you want, the more sides you get. And it's delivered on two 18 wheelers," said Dale Medley.

The pre-fab house did well in a showdown with the wind. But even nine foot high pilings weren't enough to halt the water.

"So the water was this high," said Carolyn, reaching an arm above her head, "And of course, this is the second floor, so altogether the water was between 24 and 28 feet high."

Dale Medley says he used to swap stories with a group of retirees at the neighborhood gas station. Some were more than a little skeptical when he told them his round house could withstand 150 mile-an-hour winds.

"As soon as the storm was over they said, 'We all ran over there to look at it,'" said Medley.

They found a house that did quite well, given the circumstances. And owners who always believed it would withstand a storm.

"And thinking how lucky I am, because on the way here, so many houses were down, completely knocked down or floated off the pilings. And our house stood fine," said Carolyn Medley.

The Medley's have owned their round house for five years. It was pre-manufactured at a plant in North Carolina, then trucked to Pass Christian and assembled in about a week.