Yurt Stories

Guest posts from real yurt owners.


Guest Post: Adventures (Part 2)

Here is part two in a two-part guest post from Fisher. (In case you missed it, click here to read part 1!)

Determined to build her dream yurt on a remote island in the San Juan Islands nestled just below Canada on the Pacific Coast in Washington State, Fisher is now sharing her yurt complete with all the amenities of home.


It has been one year since we came to Orcas Island. Pretty amazing. It has been a very busy year for me: building a road, putting up the yurt, moving in, getting utilities. I have all of the comforts of home now. We are completely moved in and settled. The wood stove is all that is left to install.


View from Crescent Beach in Eastsound.


Now that I had electricity and could build the closets, kitchen, bathroom and shelves in yurt using my power tools and no generator.


Brian installing the propane heat stove.




Here is the pump by the yurt, outside of the kitchen. The plumber connected to the bottom valve to bring running water into the yurt. That was a VERY exciting day!


And there it is. A beautiful sight.


It took three more days of plumbing to get water for my bathtub which is really a 100 gallon Rubbermaid livestock trough. It is 53″ long, 31″ tall, 25″ wide at the top. I fill it halfway and have enough water to be completely underwater (not the head, though). The most splendid bath EVER. I almost started to cry. Real bath-lovers know!


Now for the inside of the yurt. It is a bit of a challenge to put square furnishings in a round yurt. I have a living room, kitchen, bathroom, two VERY big closets (4′ x 10′ x 7′ tall), an office, a shop, a bedroom and a sitting room. They are really all in one big room, but the division is done with walls and furniture. So, here is the floor plan. The yurt is just shy of 900 square feet. It is 33 feet across. It is very cozy and homey.


This is the living room looking from the center of the yurt towards the French front doors and picture windows at the west end of the yurt. You can see a little of the table and closet in the upper right of the picture.


In the kitchen is the stove (brand new flat-top with convection oven), the counter top workspace and the big double sink. This side of the sink is a set of drawers with a cupboard for the trash and beside that is the black refrigerator.


Here is looking into the bathroom. There is a closet to the left and here you see the awesome bathtub, the composting toilet I took out of the RV and the vanity my dad gave me from upgrading his RV.


And around the corner, left of the tub, is the propane tankless water heater which produces hot water on demand from whatever is calling for it. Hot water, all of the time. The water pressure here isn’t that great. It takes 1/2 hour to fill the bathtub, but that’s OK. There is also the washer/dryer (both in one) that came out of my dad’s motor home – and it is amazing! I just hang things to dry, though. See the clothesline in the bathroom? Also one outside.


To the right of the back door is a long table (used to be a door) that I use to construct my books. Back-to-back of that table is another table (also used to be a door). That is my desk with my computer and my chair. The propane heat stove is right there (that’s my dog Molly’s favorite spot). To the left of the stove is the table that looks out over the pond. That is where I do my writing. The rocking chair is in the space I call “the sitting room.” It is a really cozy place to read.


Thanks for sharing your yurt, Fisher, and have fun writing your next books!

Enjoy the journey~Dana


Guest Post: Adventures (Part 1)

“Everyone who visits me comments on how peaceful and cozy my home is and how wonderful the energy is,” says Fisher, a pioneer woman with a can-do attitude. Here is her story in her words …


I bought a yurt from Rainier. It is very high quality and comes as a kit ready to assemble. Before that can happen, I had to build a foundation of cement pylons and wood and hardware under-structure.

In the midst of creating the foundation for the yurt, the five crates containing the yurt pieces and the SIPS platform pieces were delivered.
Then the puzzle pieces of SIPS platform are put on the supports.
Platform covered to protect it from the two days of rain. Amazingly, the rain stopped the days before the guys came to construct the yurt.Now for the construction of the yurt. I hired two guys to construct it. That is all they do – construct yurts. They know what they are doing!

Bolting the lattice pieces together.
Connecting the lattice to the door frames.
Positioning the rafters in the corresponding lattice sections.
Setting up the scaffolding.
Final rafters being placed.
Rafters are all set in place. This is the end of day 1.
View from inside the yurt through the roof & ring.
Spreading the first layer of insulation around the outside of the rafters.
Lifting the second layer of roof insulation through the ring to the outside.
Putting outside layer of yurt in place. Then it tucks under the edge of the yurt and a cable pulls it tight from underneath.
All finished. End of day 2.
I brought my rugs from storage, brought in my plants from the greenhouse and friends brought my mattress from storage. It is so awesome to have room! The dogs spent about 10 minutes just running around inside.
On to the utilities…16-trench

A 450’ trench is dug from the east end of the property and three conduits are placed in the trench – one for water, one for electricity and one for cable for phone or TV or whatever I decide later. It’s easier to put it all there now than to dig it up and put something else in the trench later.


The electricians are working on the electrical line and will be finishing the fuse box outside the yurt. Next week the electrician will put outlets inside the yurt. I will have a 4-outlet box under each window, running around the base of the latticework.

I bought a Jenn-Air stove/oven from a friend who is selling his house. I also bought a refrigerator, small chest freezer, and propane stove for heat. I bought a wood-burning stove from the lumber yard here on the island. My dad gave me washer/dryer unit that he took out of his motor home. I’m set for appliances.

I have to have the woodburning stove and the propane stove installed. Rainier sells flashing to vent the woodstove through the wall. Then we will have heat. It is getting chilly here.

I built a pantry, a big closet by the open bedroom, and constructed bathroom walls (just studs right now). I am using the plywood from the crates that the yurt came in for the walls instead of drywall. I am trimming the walls with 1x4s that were part of the crates, also. Then paint.


What a great story. And there’s more to come – check in next week for more about Fisher’s experience living in her yurt!

Enjoy the journey~Dana


Guest Post: Phase Two

A few months ago, we shared a guest post from Savannah, a new yurt owner in rural Texas. Savannah is documenting her family’s yurt experience on her blog, riding yurty.

I’m happy to share the next chapter from their yurt raising: “Phase Two!”




This past weekend Chris had completed installing all Eagle blocks (see below) and we were ready to begin Phase Two of yurt raising. The Eagle blocks were a Rainier upgrade. They are beautiful little wood blocks that add stability to the rafters. They were super easy to install and look great.


You can see above that our roof liner is already in place. Seams up, of course!


First Chris and Jeff had to spend some time messing with the door to get it just right.


Next came the roof insulation- these pieces came ready to tape together to make the large circle. We folded it in half and then in an accordion fashion to be able to unfold easily on the roof. Then we extensively tacked down the insulation (after a few wind mishaps) to the rafters with stainless steel staples.


Next came the roof. Due to our own inability to ask for help, we did not have the support we did the previous weekend. This meant the boys had to get creative- including shimmying on the stinking rafters to spread the roof in place. Luckily the boys are part monkey and no one was injured.

Having less hands on deck also meant having to be creative in how we would actually get the roof up top. It is a long story, including a really kind hearted quote from yours truly that “we have gone backwards by 24 hours”, but we actually hoisted the roof on top of the rafters twice. The first time with a “come-along” and chains and Chris trying to kill himself up at the ring. The second time we only folded the roof in half once and then used ropes to (way more) easily hoist the roof and then spread it out.


The “center tag” aligned with the center of the door. Big success!


Insulation panels up! These were super easy to apply and come with the white inner liner attached on the inside.


Wall going up! Our insulation and walls did not match up perfectly, but it was very easy to just adjust the insulation panels from the inside. The windows are fun- you can lift the wall panel and then the clear vinyl panel so you only have screen in place.


Sun going down, dome going up!


We stopped here for the day. Accomplishment!


One of our biggest helpers – Cooper!

Guest Post: Experiencing an Eclipse in a Yurt

I’m a big believer that when Mercury is in retrograde (like it is now!) weird and unusual things are bound to happen. Mercury is in retrograde three or four times a year, and some astrologers will warn you not to travel, sign important contacts, buy electronics, or marry during Mercury’s retrograde cycle!

What happens is that Mercury slows down in its movement, and appears to stop and move backwards (retrograde.) It’s an optical illusion, like speeding by a slow moving train – and since the earth’s movement stays the same, Mercury appears to move backwards! The other day, my husband and I tried to go see a movie in a brand new movie theater, but had to go home because the projector was broken and they couldn’t figure out why. Because Mercury is in retrograde, that’s why!


More pictures from the blood moon eclipse here!

This Mercury retrograde is important because it activates the October solar eclipse – and earlier this month, we had a blood moon eclipse. Last week, I had a call from Lynne, who is passionate about the moon and Mercury and explained some of the effects to me. It was so fascinating, I asked her to share here on our blog.

Hope you enjoy!

I have lived in my yurt for three and a half years now. I watched the eclipse last April, and the one on October 8 (last Thursday) from inside my yurt. I had never seen an eclipse before and its rare that we have four eclipses within such a short period of time, and even more rare that they are visible in North America.

I have a loft underneath my yurt dome, and was able to watch the eclipses just lying in my bed. It was like have a front row seat! I cannot tell you what an awe inspiring event it was, and I can say that I will never miss an opportunity to watch an eclipse again.

Did you know that a circle is the most basic form of sacred geometry? It should come as no surprise that indigenous peoples lived in round structures, like igloos, tipis, domes, and (of course) yurts! There is definitely a different vibe in a yurt, and it is very powerful to me, as I am someone who hears energy.

I was fascinated watching the first eclipse I saw. I could hear the energy get louder and louder as the shadow of the earth started to cover the moon – it was almost deafening! I heard the frequency go up, the pitch change, and it seemed that all of nature is focused on the event.

I live in a forest so it is usually pretty still at night, but this was different. As the moon becomes dark, the energy slows down. A transformation has taken place. Each eclipse has been different, and I highly recommend that you make a point of watching the coming eclipse – preferably from inside your yurt!

There is a solar eclipse on Thursday, October 23rd. (Note: find out more about the time you can see it in your area here.)

If you want a bit more information, this link is very interesting: http://www.mysticmamma.com/total-lunar-eclipse-in-aries-october-8th-2014/

I will be launching my own website about what I call “creating sacred space,” at the end of this month. If you are interested in high frequency environments, I hope you’ll look for it! (Note from Dana: Lynne’s website has launched and it is beautiful – click here to check it out! http://www.lynnelathamsustainabledesign.com/)

Guest Post: Phase One

Today’s post comes from Savannah, a new Rainier Yurt owner, who has started a blog to document her yurt raising. She originally published this post on her blog, riding yurty, and gave us permission to share it here.

Savannah is building her yurt in beautiful rural Texas – I’m so excited to follow along as she shares her story. I hope you will, too.

Happy yurt dreams!


By 9:00am on raising day, the platform was complete and the story strip (see below) was properly aligned. It was time for Burt to make his appearance.


Here the boys are assembling the lattice pieces. There were 11 “sections” that we had to bolt together to make one huge lattice piece.


There are no pictures of us stretching the lattice because all hands were on deck. After stretching and adjusting, it was time to screw the plates attached to the lattice onto the platform perimeter band. You can see the yellow “story strip” on the band in the pictures above and below.


This is a great place for a “frequently asked question” break.

Where did you buy your yurt?

We bought our yurt from Rainier Yurts … and thank goodness. First, Dana (the yurt girl) was so knowledgeable, easy to work with, and showed no signs of impatience with my dumb questions. The polar opposite was true when I called other companies. Second, they have their stuff together. The three shipping crates were organized. The lumber impressive. The hardware was perfectly labeled. The instruction and care manual is clear and informative. And this, the story strip, is the reassurance you need that you are correctly building this crazy thing. The story strip is a piece of material that you staple to the perimeter banding. It has to be within 3 inches of being exact and then you just follow the marks for lattice, rafter, cable, and panel placement. Y’all know how crazy type-A I am so I think you get my point that I would highly recommend Rainier.


Don’t let the beautiful sky fool you- it was 95 (and might as well have been 200) degrees at this point. With the tension cable in place on the lattice, it was time to begin setting the rafters in the ring. You can also see where we had started assembling the roof insulation on the platform.


We repurposed (look what I did there) the main crate as “scaffolding”. Disclaimer: It worked well for us but is obviously not legitimate scaffolding.


… and finished in the dark. We are so thankful that we had some crazy family and friends to help us complete phase one of assembly on one of the hottest days this summer!

– Savannah

Guest Post: It Takes A Village To Build A Yurt

Today’s post comes from my new friend and new yurt dweller, Steven, who shares his story about how to build a yurt. His was the first yurt in his county with a building permit! Steven found out that he couldn’t get his yurt off the ground alone – he had a great support team. Here’s his story.


I am sitting in my Rainier Yurt, a fire blazing in the stove. It is clear and cold out tonight, and the stars are shining brightly through the dome. My yurt is not completely finished, but I am enjoying a bit of rest now.

My journey to get here involved many twists and turns, but it was worth it. My yurt is the first yurt in Box Elder County, Utah to be built with a building permit. It seemed impossible to get a building permit, but the key is patience, willingness to learn the requirements, and “pleasant perseverance.”

The key to my success was to build a relationship with the building inspection department that allowed them to see my situation and desires, while I understood their situation and needs, too. I wanted the building inspection department involved at every step of the way and made sure they were comfortable with the direction I was going.

In the county where I live, a stick built home requires R30 insulation in the walls and R45 in the ceilings. I originally planned to build a log cabin. To meet these requirements, there had to be dual log walls. This put the cost out of reach for me. I started looking into a modular home, but they only had R30 ceilings and walls. I asked them about R45 in the ceilings, and they said they could engineer it for me, for a fee and additional cost at the factory.

I went back to the county building inspection department and said that the modular homes only have R30 ceilings and asked how they were meeting the requirement. The answer was the key that unlocked the door for me.

He said, “modular homes are controlled by the Federal Government, not us.”

pic1-e1387402068210Meaning that different types of structures have different code requirements. This led me to the yurt and the membrane covered frame construction building and the code requirements that govern them.

I gave the building inspectors a copy of Becky Kemery’s book Yurts, Living in the Round. I think this helped the building inspectors see that this is something happening all over the world. People love living in their yurts. They are a practical way to live economically. For slightly over $40,000, I am living in a new house, with new appliances, and all that anyone could really need.

Dana “The Yurt Girl” was another member of my team. She became my confidante and I could share with her my frustrations and setbacks. She was always positive and encouraged me to seek solutions and made helpful suggestions. This customer/suppler relationship is something that enabled my yurt to come into being. When you are searching for a supplier, look for that relationship.

Another member of my team was David Kirkhhof. He is a brilliant person who helps others build their yurts. When you need advice or help, his experience and knowledge is there for you. He even came and helped me erect my yurt in three days. It could have been done in two days if I had brought in some additional help. I had a crew of four, including me. I had poured the concrete piers and built the beams that attached to the platform before the yurt arrived.

pic2The first day of construction, we installed the SIPS (Structural Insulated Panel) floor system, which I bought from Rainier. We assembled it to the beams and put in the perimeter blocking, a 2×6 that we bent around the perimeter of the platform (when you know what you are doing, like David and the folks at Rainier, it is not as difficult as it sounds!).

The second day we put up the lattice walls, the rafters, and the compression ring. This went quite smoothly, once again, with the help of David. Rainier makes a “story strip,” which is really cool and makes putting up your yurt so straightforward. It is basically a label that your wrap around the perimeter of your platform that tells you exactly where everything should go. It’s as easy as putting together Legos!

pic3-e1387402089129The third day, we put on the liner, the insulation and the outer coverings. Once again the story strip, the organization, and the excellent design made this easy to do. It helps to have many hands to grapple with the cover and hope you have a calm day. The insulation is easily blown around in a breeze, particularly when you have a swirling breeze like we had!

As we finished up, the sun broke through the clouds and gave us a sign of approval with a bright sunset that lasted about a minute. Here the yurt from the street at the end of day 3.

pic4Working in the round is challenging sometimes, but there’s always a way around problems. For example, according to the plan, the walls and everything would be parallel with the beams. It was great on paper until we laid out the story strip and saw that the back door lined up perfectly with the clean-out for the septic system. Ooops! I rotated the whole design 55 inches and everything went as planned. The total delay was only 15-20 minutes.

For the interior, I put all the plumbing for the kitchen and bathroom in one 12 foot long wall. I built it out of 2×6’s so all the plumbing and electrical could get around each other. On the outside of the other wall of the bathroom, I put the washer/dryer and hot water heater, along with the electrical panel.

Another challenge was the cold winters here in northern Utah. I didn’t want the drain P-trap for the tub to freeze, so I built the tub on a 10 inch platform and kept the P-trap above the floor. Now I have a nice step up to get into the tub.

I have survived a week of below zero cold now (-20 degrees F), and I’ve learned many things already. One is that the temperature varies more in a yurt than a stick built home. You are closer to the natural cycle of cooler nights and warmer days. In the below zero weather, the temperature in the yurt gets down into the 50’s at night. I leave a load of wood burning in the woodstove and add a log or two during the night. In the morning, I build a fire in the stove again and it heats right up. During the days, the temperature inside is in the mid-70’s while the outside temperature is in the high teens or low twenties — I am working in my T-shirt!

I am totally comfortable. The feeling of spaciousness and the light from the dome make yurt living very pleasant. I love being self-reliant and living a more simple life.

Thank you, Rainier!

Yurt Survives Wildfire!

I received a call from a concerned yurt owner yesterday.


This Rainier Eagle Yurt customer had to vacate his yurt home due to a raging wildfire in the Utah wilderness! Unsure what to expect when he returned after the “all-clear”, he came home to his yurt standing – unharmed.  A dirt road  separates his yurt from the burned vegetation that was his backyard.   His call was primarily to find out what I recommended for removing the fire retardants that the helicopters had dropped that resulted in a residue on his roof.

The Rainier yurt proved to be flame retardant and while the brush 20 feet away and for acres around will be evidence of the traumatic episode for years to come, his home is still stands proud as his beloved project and sanctuary.

I was fascinated by his story so I asked him to take pictures and write for our Yurt Blog. He graciously agreed to the challenge and I am pleased to share his story with you…

Appropriately titled: MY RAINIER YURT


It is located in Wanship, Utah, about ten miles northeast of Park City.  My original objective was to get myself a yurt home that would be debt-free (and that has happened), but early on in the project I became more and more intrigued with doing something totally off-grid.  There is a water system in the area but I am not connected to it (it’s a long story).  Electricity lines run to most houses, but since the nearest one to me is nearly a half mile away I decided it would be better to not seek a connection.


The yurt is in a development called Lake Rockport Estates where the original concept was for summer cabins on one-acre lots.  In recent years the escalating cost of housing in Park City has caused a shift in orientation so that now the area is mostly seeing new structures that are intended for year-round living.  This in turn has encouraged the home owners association to more rigorously oversee each new development.

When I started the yurt project I just read the CC&R’s and then began to do my thing in such a way as to not violate them.  In other words, I went to work without getting the blessing of the home owners association.  I wanted to put the yurt on a deck, so I went to the county and obtained a permit.  They asked me if I was going to have electricity and I told them that it was too far away for me to connect.  They asked about plumbing and I said that I had no plans.  In other words, I finessed both questions.  They ended up giving me a permit to build the deck and telling me that no permit would be needed for the yurt itself.

My lot is quite steeply pitched, with a perfect southern exposure, and the access road runs along its uphill border.  The first summer I built a railroad tie retaining wall to create parking space off the access road and then built the deck (which is 42’ square).  The deck is sloped very slightly so that snow melt and rainwater can run off its southern edge.  The long term plan is to use this for a significant part of my water needs.

The second summer I built the 30’ circular platform offset towards a back corner of the deck.  Then you folks sent me the yurt and in September a friend and I erected it in two days.

The third summer, I framed out a room underneath the southwest corner of the deck.  Late in the summer, representatives from the home owners association showed up and began to express some “concerns.”  Since then, our relationship has been a struggle – but I just keep doing what I think is in conformance with the CC&R’s and contending to them that I do not violate them.

The fourth summer, I finished off the downstairs room and also built two other below-deck enclosures: an insulated room in which two 550 gallon water tanks are installed and a small storage room.


The fifth summer I built out the interior of the yurt and finished off the stairway connection between the yurt and the downstairs room.  The stairs were a problem because there was not enough room for anything standard and because the downstairs room is located under that part of the deck where the yurt is not located.  I dealt with the issue by building a ship’s ladder which has alternating steps for the left and right feet.  Each stair tread is twelve inches broad and each step up or down is about seven inches (close to the standard for normal stairs), but each of the alternating steps overlaps 50% with its immediate neighbors.  This makes it possible to walk up or down stairs in a normal fashion and yet fit the entire stair system into half as much space.  Then at the end of the summer I also built two more enclosures under the deck: a small electrical room and a shop.


So this is now my sixth summer.  But the project is so far along now that I did not feel motivated to work very much.  Instead I have spent my time enjoying the space.  I have done projects around the place, but my week-to-week productivity has been very small in comparison with previous summers.


Because of my age (I’ll be 70 on Saturday) and the lack of wood in the immediate area, I decided to heat the yurt using propane.  In addition to the propane heating stove, I have a propane cooktop and a propane refrigerator.  This means that my need for electricity is very small.  At present, I have a small Honda generator, an inverter, and four Trojan 6-volt batteries.  The generator can recharge the batteries in about 3 hours and when they are fully charged they can keep me in electricity (without the generator running) for about a day.  This summer I built a platform for solar panels, but I won’t buy them and hook them up to the inverter until next summer.  Once they are operative, I think I will rarely need to use the generator.

beautiful-bathroom12It is hard to describe the floor plan for the yurt, but maybe you can get some idea from the photos.  The yurt itself is mostly a “great room” in which I have organized a living room space, an office space, a dining room space, and a kitchen.  One S-shaped wall partitions off about a fifth of the yurt space for a bathroom and a pantry.  The pantry is open, but because of the S-shaped wall is only visible from the kitchen counter area.  The back of the pantry is a short, straight wall running from the yurt wall to the S-shaped wall, and this also acts as one wall for the bathroom which has the curved yurt wall and the S-shaped wall to form the other sides.

The downstairs area is on two levels.  The larger, lower level is a study and beside it – two steps up and separated only by a low wall so that light can flow through the space – is a bedroom.


The bed sits beside a picture window and the top of the bed is at window sill height.  This means I can look out at the night view while lying in bed … nobody, but nobody, lives out there!


#wow! Thank you Spike for sharing your photos and the love you have for your yurt life.  If any of you have a yurt tale you would like to share – give me a call!

My direct line is (425)981-1203

Blessings abound!



Guest Post: Massage Sanctuary in a Rainier Yurt

Today we have a guest post from Jennifer Rosendale, who uses a Rainier Yurt to house her massage practice, Avalon Yurt Sanctuary, and a meditation group. Her clients love the relaxing energy of the yurt, and Jennifer is truly enthusiastic about the space. Here’s her story.

Avalon Massage Studio

Avalon Massage Studio

The Magic of a Circle

I am often asked, “Why a yurt?”

I wasn’t quite sure how to answer that question when we began to pursue the idea of a yurt. Our intention was to create a space appropriate for healing through massage, yoga, and meditation, which called for something very Zen.

The answer today simply unfolds itself to me effortlessly: It’s just the magic of a circle.

A circle is sacred and complete in and of itself. The space inside the yurt is pure, and reflective of bringing oneself back to a state of completion. The practices that an individual pursues in their personal healing have as much to do with their state of being as it does with the space they hold around them.

A Rainier Yurt holds the potential for sacredness with its beautifully crafted wood lattice walls and peaked ceilings.

Whether my client is lying on their back gazing at the clouds through the dome, or in deep meditation listening to the sound of nature outside, I know that my massage clients are truly being nurtured by the space that holds them so closely to the earth.

Inside the peaceful massage studio

Inside the peaceful massage studio

In the yurt, we are not severed from nature by thick walls, electrical conduit, concrete, and sheetrock.

Building a yurt does not compromise the integrity of the land that it is placed upon. It’s simple, affordable, and has minimal maintenance in comparison to a house. The space flows with the natural beauty around it.

I’m not sure if there are any Dr. Who fans out there, but for those who are, our mediation group has begun to refer to the yurt as “The Yurdis,” after the Tardis on the show. The Tardis is a time machine that looks from the outside like a small phone booth, but inside is an incredibly huge ship. The Yurdis shares that same illusion, and has become the place where we transcend time and space.

Throughout our indigenous history, gatherings have always converged in a circle where everyone is equal and all ideas are shared. It seems to me that the circle is a worthy space for finding connection, completion, and wholeness.

Jennifer Rosendale, Licenced Massage Practicioner
Avalon Yurt Sanctuary


Yurt Yoga Retreat Featured by Oprah

OWN recently published a great video showcasing Yoga Instructor Seane Corn’s yurt retreat on the Pacific Coast. Check out the video below for a glimpse into the Sacred Space she’s created in Southern California.

(And keep an eye out around the one minute mark for original Rainier footage from one of our own yurt raisings!)

From oprah.com:

Sacred Spaces: Yoga Teacher Seane Corn’s Pacific Coast Retreat

Yoga expert Seane Corn travels 250 days a year teaching. When she’s home, she finds peace nestled in nature on 14 acres of land in Southern California. But she doesn’t find it in a huge home. Instead, she finds it in a tiny yurt. Take a tour of her sacred space!

see original post >>


GUEST POST: There’s No Place Like Home

I am often asked if I live in a yurt. And to be honest – it feels like I do! I spend so much time in our model yurts in our Yurt Village being “yurty.” I clean them, I decorate them, I have a garden around the yurts, I host visitors every day of the week and… I spend all day on the phone talking to you about them.

But truth be told – I don’t actually live in one. That is why I am very excited about our guest blog this week. Please meet Erin who has a wonderful way of sharing her experiences of yurt living.


– Dana

“Wow, this is cool!”

That is the comment we hear most about our 30 ft yurt, usually expressed in a tone of shock.

We’ve heard it from local redneck hunters, known for being just a little close minded about new things, that openly acknowledged they’d choose a yurt for their next home, to yurt guests who were worried about “sleeping in a tent” and left saying it felt like a luxury spa vacation.

yurt7Our parents thought we were crazy to buy a glorified circus tent for full time living, and now? They beg us to leave town, so they can come yurt-sit for us. A business client in NJ is always asking about our most recent yurt update, and another talks us up to HIS clients because he’s now an avid yurt advocate, and loves educating people about “living in the round”.

What this says to me is that yurts are experiencing a huge resurgence, not just among hippies, state parks and back-to-the-landers, but also people that don’t want to jump into a huge mortgage, people that are looking for a lower impact or smaller square foot existence, people that want something different. And, they are finding their answer in yurts.

yurt3Quick to raise and amazingly flexible in usage, yurts are a great answer for a huge number of people. We operate our web design business, and live full time in our yurt with three cats, and a cute hound dog. We never feel cramped for space, or regret our decision to live in a yurt. I can’t imagine ever not having a yurt in my life, it’s so much more comfortable than most homes with the high ceiling, open floor plan and sense of peace.

Oh? You have a family, and think a yurt can only work for a couple? Not true. We have good friends that are erecting a triple decker yurt with a full basement, another level with bedrooms and bathroom, and then the top level is their yurt, which will include living space and kitchen. They have two young kids, and the whole family can’t wait for their new home to be completed!

OK, that’s all well and good, you say, but you like entertaining and throwing dinner parties? So do we!

We’ve hosted parties with 15 people, which is usually a claustrophobic experience in the 100 year old farm houses that proliferate in our area of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.

In a yurt? There is plenty of space for three or four groups to form and still interact with one another, rather than being forced off into the kitchen, living room and backyard. Obviously, this is dependent on your floor plan. We chose a very open plan, with the only enclosed space being our bathroom. And, rather than thinking it’s odd, people LOVE hanging out in the yurt and are always impressed by its stability, “feel” and comfort.

In fact, at one party, we had an unexpected hail storm. The golf ball sized hail was falling so thick, you couldn’t see out the door and the sound in the yurt was almost deafening.

Every single guest said it was an amazing experience, and they were beyond impressed at the yurt’s resilience. Adding to that, our neighbors had thousands of dollars of damage to their shingle roofs, we had zip, zero, nada damage. Same story for several extreme wind storms. At first, our neighbors would visit after a storm, worried we had blown away. Now? They don’t even bother, since they assume the yurt fared better than their home! Yep, our yurt is pretty famous around these parts.

yurt6Since we spend a large amount of our time in our yurt, we chose to build an internal walled bathroom that houses a full size shower, toilet and sink; plus, our full size stacking washer and dryer, and our chest freezer. You might assume that means our bathroom is uncomfortably crowded.

Nope. It’s another thing that people are shocked by. It’s spacious and comfortable inside, and from the outside, it doesn’t feel like it’s taking up the whole yurt.

Our kitchen shares the “wet” wall of the bathroom (where the plumbing for the washer/dryer and shower are), and we have a full size propane gas stove, oversized sink and full size dishwasher along that wall. We love to cook, so our kitchen takes up a quarter of our yurt floor space, and I have never enjoyed cooking in a kitchen more. We’re still working on our storage options, but there is no rush, since it’s our home that we’ll live in for years to come. It’s a good feeling after renting for years.

Speaking of, when you rent… you can’t put up a rock climbing wall in your home, now can you? Too bad, it’s pretty fun. Just another benefit of owning your own home, which is something we couldn’t have afforded for years without a break-your-back mortgage. Our yurt, with all of the interior work, beautiful deck and appliances, came in at $56K total. We were able to pay for it with cash, and a few small family loans, that are almost paid off in the first year.

Nice, right?

And, that price could have been significantly reduced if you’re not in a hurry, if you can do your own electric/plumbing, if you don’t want internal walls, if you already have your appliances or enjoy hunting for deals, etc.

We were in a rush, so we bought full price new appliances, and paid contractors for all of the work. The deck was also a significant cost, so you can always avoid that entirely with just a yurt platform.

yurt2So, thanks to our choice to live in a yurt, we now live on 22 rural acres, with a flock of free range chickens clucking around outside, and the best sleep we have ever had. It’s a common quote that you’ll never sleep so well as in a yurt. It’s true.

OK. I’ve talked about all of the positives, maybe you want to hear the negatives that we’ve experienced? There are only two.

One: In our experience, yurts are easier to heat than cool. We live in a mountain climate, with cooler, sunny summers and icy cold, windy winters. Our wood stove kept us toasty warm in our insulated yurt (walls and roof) last winter, but in the hot summer sun, our fully exposed yurt did heat up. In retrospect, we should have chosen a slightly shaded spot, but we’re planning on adding an arbor around the sunniest side for next year. Lemons into lemonade, right?

Two: We live in one of the windiest areas of the US, with frequent gusts up to 40-50 mph, and it can get loud in here. But, with that said, our neighbor’s thick walled log cabin isn’t exactly silent either. It’s just that windy here. And, I STILL love my yurt, so that should speak volumes.

Now that I’ve gotten you hyped up about living in a yurt (or using one as a studio, guest house, store front, etc etc), where should you go for more information? Lucky for you, there are a number of great yurt companies sprinkled throughout the US. Due to proximity, we chose a yurt company in our backyard; however, I highly recommend Rainier Yurts based on both their reputation, and my own personal experience with their staff.

When you’re buying your new home, and raising it yourself, you want great customer service. Rainier has that. They are polite, friendly and have an impressive drive to create the best customer experience possible, from start to finish. Give them a call at (800) 869-7162 or check out their website for more information – HERE

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience buying and building a yurt, please check out the eBook I wrote, called “So, You Want to Live in a Yurt?” which is available on Amazon – HERE

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