Tuesday, January 5, 2010

By request: Pt. 1 of Yurty Dreams and the Madness of downsizing!

Super M requested that I tell all of you of my yurt-y type dreams and to basically describe what a yurt IS and how to get your things INTO said yurt. Just read that sentence out loud and add a few more yurts for fun. I know, it's a terribly fabulous word, right?

Anyway, a yurt is in the simplest terms I know is a traditional Mongolian roundhouse (no, not a martial arts *kickkick* to the face, an actual round house). The structure is made up of a lattice of wood pieces wrapped in canvas or furs then bound with large ropes to anchor the cloth or fur to the wooden structure. I know this model doesn't sound very safe and secure, but it holds up to the high winds and freezing cold temperatures of the Mongolian climate and it travels quite well, great for the nomadic population there.

There are many ways to design a yurt but the most tested and true seem to be the wooden lattice structure, the simple slat ceiling with vent, on a platform wrapped in either traditional cloth and furs, modern canvas, or overlayed in wood. I prefer the modern order-to-fit yurts that you can design to your specifications at companies like Pacific Yurts, Spirit Mountain Yurts, or The Colorado Yurt Company. I'm adding pictures throughout this post so that you may see exactly what I'm talking about without trying to guess. My writing sometimes lacks the necessary details. For yurt-y type vacations you can stay at one in many of the Ohio state parks and also at the beautiful Willow Bend Retreat in Mechanicsburg, OH.

That being said I suppose I should mention how to get all of your "things" into this alternative home. First and foremost, one should downsize the number of objects you want to shove into this 24'-36' in diameter all rooms in one living space. Walls are sparse for a reason. Traditionally in the more modern home yurts your restroom is walled off and plumbing/electric is piped up through one of those walls. On the backside of the wall where your shower/toilet are located with be the main water/electric for your kitchen/dining room area. Therefore many people tend to butt their cold storage or fridge and oven up against that wall *add a dishwasher if you're feeling luxurious*. Also keep in mind that most yurts are heated with wood burning stoves piped either through the vent in the roof or through the side of the canvas.

The bedroom can be "walled" off with some sort of storage shelves so you can keep up that illusion of separation and feel more comfortable when guests stay over. Book shelves add some nice storage for both the living room and bedroom especially if you add baskets for odds-n-ends. If you were to continue the book shelves all the way around the other side (be cautious of the width of the shelves) you would have a nice enclosure and all the storage pods one could ever dream of. Also if we take a tip from the Tree Huggers you can insert your television and/or computer in one of these shelves then drill holes through the back so you can hide all the wires that will be connecting (again) at one of the walls surrounding your bathroom.

If you want to add some space and maybe create a second bedroom area you can add a loft and put one bedroom on top of the other OR make a reading area just below your loft. Another good idea is to make that a child's play area. Making an adult loft bedroom space with a child's play area/bedroom below is a dream of mine. I'd also like an enclosed restroom just next door and the kitchen/LR/DR all open to the front door area.

Security in a yurt...sounds like an oxymoron, but I assure you security is all in your own mind. Sure the walls are canvas and wood and the windows can either be real or simply clear thick plastic. Your doors do lock, however. Just remember that you are as safe as you make yourself so installing motion sensitive lights on the exterior and keeping some sort of guard dog who will alert you to intruders is your first line of defense. Also remember that most yurts aren't built out in the open or along very public roads so most people won't even know your home exists.

Remember to do an epic amount of research before you buy and you can save some hella money by doing the set up yourselves. You'll need all your handy friends and relatives. I'd love to have a purple canvas yurt with a dark gray roof...but we'll see. But, for now, thanks for reading and Pt. 2 will include downsizing madness. Something we should all strive to do! For our own mental health!

Blessings until later!


  1. Did you learn something new about Yurts? I mean, I think it's important to point out the part that you actually learned that day, so at least sometimes I can feel smarter than you.

  2. I learned about Willow Bend Retreat. It sounds like an awesome place to stay in a yurt and overall. I didn't complete pt. 2 to publish so I'll highlight the new to me info next time just for your benefit :P. Pt. 2 should be posted in the next couple of hours. FYI

    ~The Incredulous C Monster~!