In general, yurts were meant to be an open round structure without a traditional ceiling and an abundant amount of headroom. In some cases, however, folks may consider installing a loft. If you are on the fence about adding a loft when you first put your yurt up, my recommendation is to try living in the yurt for a year and then make your decision. I find that most people learn to live within the allotted square footage and prefer to leave it open.
There is no right or wrong way to incorporate a loft. Mostly you will want to build the loft from the perimeter of the yurt to 1/3 or 1/2 of the way to the center. This minimizes the options for the ladder or staircase, as it will need to be as close to the center as possible to allow for headroom as you gain access to the loft area. From the perimeter, you won’t be able to access the loft due to the pitch of the roof.
Keep in mind if you want a ceiling fan, you will want a smaller loft to avoid head injuries on the fan. And a secure railing is a strong recommendation. Some lofts have access ladders while others may have circular staircases, regular stairs, or a narrow staircase. Some choose to use organic material found on their property for the railing and stair balusters.
Some of the main reasons to consider incorporate a loft into your yurt:
- A growing family
- Need for office space
- Need for craft space
- Master bedroom
- Guest bedroom
- Music room
- Yoga space
I know of one family with 9 kids, and number 10 on the way! They added a full-coverage loft with a hole in the center, the size of the compression ring. They have a ship ladder for going up and a fire pole for coming down! Each of the 8 older kids have their own “pie” or wedge separated by screens which allows for the right balance of togetherness and privacy.
One factor to keep in mind when designing your loft space is that the smaller yurts don’t offer enough head room to stand-up in and would be better used for kids or storage space. That said, the larger yurts offer plenty of headroom and can accommodate a bed, dresser, and closet with no issue. The perimeter is going to have limited use as the roofline creates a low clearance zone around the circle. This can be used for storage. I like the idea of using baskets (the ones that have the chalk board tag and you can label the contents with chalk like, “mittens,” “undies,” “craft supplies,” etc.) You can then use the hand crank designed to open the dome to grab the basket to get into your things. Then when you are done, turn the telescoping hand crank around and use the handle-end with its flat edge to push the basket back in place. These baskets will look amazing and fit neatly between the rafters along the perimeter of the loft.
Lofts also provide a great deal of options for the main floor of the yurt below. It makes it possible to run electrical wires to bring in lighting to the rooms or areas under the loft. It also is a great place to mount the AC unit if you are going with a mini-split. Lastly, it is a great way to structurally tie in vertical studs for interior walls, which give the loft support.
The only noticeable drawbacks of the loft are:
- There are no windows in the lofted area – only light from the center dome
- Hot air rises – you’ll need a fan for air circulation
- As we get older the ladder and stairs may be an issue
- Think safety first if you have small children who will use the loft space!
- Takes away from the Zen or magic of the open yurt
If you have questions about lofts, please give us a call and I’ll be happy to discuss the pros and cons for your lifestyle.