Every time I start to think about the kind of house I would like to own one day, the idea of living in a yurt keeps coming up. I can picture myself in a 20 or 30 ft diameter yurt sitting up on a raised deck, somewhere in Colorado or New Mexico, surrounded by beautiful views and possibly a river. After many years of cutting back and rearranging my thinking, I have very minimal needs for my life – basically give me a roof over my head and food on the table, a reliable vehicle, an internet connection, a cell phone, my books, and maybe a few channels on the TV, and I would be a pretty happy camper. I don’t collect anything, hoard “stuff”, or have much need for things that don’t serve a purpose, so my storage needs are minimal at best. I imagine it looking something like this, from the Colorado Yurt Company’s website:
Wouldn’t that just be pretty cool? Nice and quiet, pitch black at night, and incredibly simple to both live in and also to maintain. I stayed in a yurt up near Big Sur, CA for a week and had an amazing time. Even though it was cold & wet outside, it was nice and toasty inside – and very home-y to boot. I just felt at ease while staying in the yurt.
Living in a yurt would certainly require you to minimize clutter and maximize organization, two things that I am getting very good at. It wouldn’t be like living in a tent, as you could have windows, heat, plumbing, snow and wind-load tops and sides, and you put them almost anywhere. Never mind the price – a fully-loaded 30 foot diameter yurt (which is huge, lest you think it isn’t – it’s giant inside), configured as I would want it for this area, would only run me a little under $16,000. Trying getting what amounts to a 900 square foot house for that much!
Find some land, drill a well, set up a few solar panels and boom – a very nice house for not too much money at all. Ditch most of the stuff I still am holding on to for some reason, pack up the cat and the computer, and move into a yurt near the mountains and a river. Sounds lovely and so very much like the simple and slow life I am after for myself…all things considered, who wouldn’t want to live like this:
Hmmm…time to make a dream a reality? Have you ever wanted to live in a yurt? Do you already? I would love to hear from you about it!
I would suggest talking to the people at Colorado Yurts or another yurt maker, to design/order a yurt that matches your climate. Good luck!
I am moving my vegetable farming operation from a dairy farm to a vacant 18 acre parcel owned by a friend. While I have permission from the landowner to put up any living structure I choose, I have decided on a 30′ yurt. Because I don’t own the land, it doesn’t make sense to build a house…and a mobile home would be fine, but a yurt is better by far. I’m still in the pre-planning stages and don’t know what obstacles I’ll hit with the township/zoning/etc, but here’s the plan: a 30′ yurt from Blue Ridge Yurts in Floyd, VA (I live in PA) with 10′ walls so we can build a roomy loft. We’ll run our gray water to a dry well and have a composting toilet so there’s no need for a septic. Eventually, we plan to add on 1 or 2 more smaller yurts as “bedrooms.” We’ll heat with a corn stove (burns cleaner and more efficiently than wood in my experience) with portable, electric quartz-infrared heaters at backup. Wish me luck!
i want to live in a yurt but my idea would be even simpler than that. its a dream really but i dont know if i will ever accomplish it the way i want to. the kind of yurt living i would want would probably be quite hard as i would have no plumbing or most of the modern things. i would want internet but thats easy. i think there are wifi adapters you can get and get internet anywhere, you just have to pay a bill but thats ok. and solar panels could solve the problem of power i think although thats kind of a long shot. i would like a yurt that i can easily move by myself but on every site i go to it says that a good sized and good quality yurt needs at least 2 ppl setting it up. i wonder though, if its possible to live alone in a yurt and be able to set up and move it by myself. but one that i could live in all year around.
yeah im going for the most simple nomadic kind of yurt, but so far this dream seems to be out of reach for many reasons.
I was interested in this recently, and asked my mother for her opinion on yurts.com (she’s more knowledgeable about alternative housing). Here’s her response — hopefully you find it helpful!
Enjoyed looking at the site.
1. The prices listed where deceptively low… meaning they didn’t include the pretty big cost of the foundation construction, electrical hook-up, plumbing and various options. Also, for the price listed, you get the kit. I’m sure it costs a pretty penny to have the company assemble it for you. My guess is that after all of the real costs, you’d pay closer to $20,000 for a ready-to-move-into yurt, than the $5000 listed for the smallest one. And if you didn’t go for the whole set-up and just bought the kit as is, why not just buy a tent. For $5000 you could get several pretty impressive, warm tents.
2. For twenty thousand, you might as well buy a trailer. You could for sure get a used trailer for less than that. Trailers have straight lines and thus more easily used space. For instance… it’s tricky to put furniture or kitchen cabinetry up against a circular wall. You would have to have custom built for them to not look odd. The circular wall would not hold any weight at all… for anything…. like pictures, art, sconces, shelves. That’s okay. I’m just saying it has to be considered. Also, you need to like the look of lattice because that’s what you’ll be looking at.
3. I also put yurts in the same category as trailers when it comes to safety. Meaning… they’ll be carried away in a whirlwind or smashed to smithereens by even a small tornado. In Missouri it would be most unwise to live in a trailer or a yurt and only the poorest people do so at their own risk… because they can’t afford a safer option.
4. Living in a yurt would be like a vacation cabin in the woods, or by the lake… I guess. But, it’s not an option I would go for year round. And, it’s not an option I would put a family through full time. It’s a novelty that would be fun on occasion, but would quickly wear thin if it were my permanent living conditions.
5. Only two reasons I can see for buying a yurt kit, and those are… a yurt gives a feeling of open head space more than a traditional trailer, or, a person wants to buy into a cultural connotation… like dressing in a certain way to be part of a certain group which in this case is the “environmentally minded”.
6. So true yurt living to me is someone who builds it from scratch themselves. Then you have someone really interacting conservatively with their environment… plus, you could possible have it “live-in ready” for $5000. That means a less permanent foundation, make shift electricity, an out house or composting toilet and maybe one water faucet (cold only). But you’d have to have some skills.
I love your blog. Absolutely brilliant. I have a friend name David who moved to a yurt years ago in Hamilton, Ontario. I was so impressed by his decision to make a yurt his permanent dwelling that I made a documentary about it. Let me know what you think. Here is a trailer: http://www.roadslesstraveled.tv/trailer. Let me know what you think? I’m looking to transfer to an unconventional lifestyle of my own. How do people find living in a yurt as a permanent dwelling? Any advice? I’m interested.
I live in a little tiny house the size of a studio apartment with separate laundry and bathrooms. People make fun of me for it but I love it!! One of my uncles and his wife actually do live in a yurt. It’s really fantastic. They actually have two, one is a very small one that they use as a bedroom and the other they use as their living space. With a sky light and wood stove, it is super toasty in the winter .. much cheaper and easier to heat than a normal home. My dream is to just have a simple, humble cabin-style home or a modest Victorian .. but I’ve always thought of a yurt guest house.
Both yurt living and tiny houses sound appealing to me. Before seeing this post I’d never actually considered yurts an option. I wonder what zoning rules are like when it comes to putting up a yurt in the city?
I really, really want to live in a yurt – I will make it happen. I have a calling to live closer to the earth, and be in sync. with the natural rhythms and cycles. I have just started researching what it will take… I anticipated the cost of land being the most daunting, but I am finding the cost of installing solar energy is no walk in the park either! I have a vision in my mind of what it will look like, now I just need to figure out the logistics. Your blog is fantastic, and is giving me a lot to think about. Many thanks to you, and everyone who has posted!
Natchi… I watched the trailer to your documentary – it looks fantastic and I can’t wait till I can find a way to watch the whole thing!
Natchi…that documentary trailer looks great! How and where can I watch it? Karla – I hear ya! I totally am thinking of buying an acre of land that backs to national forest and building a small, simple cottage, log cabin or possibly yurt! I so want to be surrounded and connected with nature…it’s like a spiritual thing for me when I’m surround by nature!
I just spent seven months in a 12′ diameter yurt in New England. I was living and working as a campground assistant and it was a very cool experience. I wrote about it on my blog Kim in a Kayak here at http://kiminakayakblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-seven-months-in-yurt_1.html
I also went through a long period of yearning for the simplistic and cozy structure that is called the yurt. Spent a few years cleaning out a place on our 6 secluded acres, got water well drilled, ran power to the site. When it was time to purchase the yurt however, I realized that a stronger and cheaper “tent” was available… I had a 24′ by 30′ pole barn built. It has a 4″ concrete slab, r13 insulation, 4 real windows (2 on each end), and two residential doors. The metal is painted and has a 20 year warranty, I have 10′ walls and the inside is completely open, all 720 square feet. Here’s the coolest thing… it only cost me $12,300 to have the thing built. Cheaper than a yurt, stronger than a yurt, and it will last much, much longer than a yurt… Eventually, I would like to have another built beside it a with and tie them both together with a hall. Please, PLEASE consider this before you spend so much money on a structure that will not last very long.
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I can’t overstate how critical it is to maintain proper tire pressure for your car. If you spray a product into the core, it is necessary to first drill a tiny hole into the top of the plastic heater box under the hood. AFCThe purpose of this device is to generate electrical power by using the lifting power of air rising in water.
I live in a small two bedroom home (750 sq.ft.) Love it! Lived just outside the city for time when I was younger. An accident left a few fingers on the floor. It was late. Luckily our local doctor was still in and Chief Surgeon. That was a twenty minute trip. He preformed the surgery in his office. The nearest hospital was another half hour away.
Rural living has many advantages. Access to emergency care is usually not one of them. Just one of those things I never gave much thought to until…..
There is something special about living in the round.
Do we live in a yurt that we built ourselve? Yes! Since september we’ve been living in a our yurt home (23ft diameter, some 415 square feet) that was constructed from mostly repurposed materials. We put in just over 4,000. Check out our blog for inspiration, ideas or just for fun: theyurtisborn.wordpress. We’d love to hear from yall. About organizing space… After living in the yurt for some 6 months through the winter we’ve come to realise how important it will be to build custom storage units in 2014 – indeed! The time spent through the winter has reinforced how having less material possessions and consuming less of the earth gifts is a first, before over focusing on organizing things we can gladly live without. Thanks for your thoughts. Cheers, Sarah
We (young family) have been living in a yurt for 4yrs now. Year round were temperatures range from -40 to +30C.
The list of positive rewards are truly endless but the challenges are huge!
If I may offer advise to someone considering this lifestyle, go for it but plan well! If you are hardworking and handy, you can make it work! ;). Best of luck!
Loved this piece – and having lived in a yurt I can definitely relate with so much of this here. Really recommend for anyone that’s searching for a more simpler way of living!