The Yurt: Day 1

I live, as previously mentioned, in a 16 foot yurt with my husband, our cat Kenobi, and our puppy Loki, although the latter will soon be in a kennel as he is growing at a disconcertingly rapid pace.
We get our water piped in from the farmyard, propane for our gas cooker, and a single solar panel fulfils our energy demands (3 LED lights and laptop/phone chargers). We have been living like this for a year now, and despite the various challenges that arise with this lifestyle, we are happy. I will eventually post photos of the yurt in its current state, but I thought it best to go back to the beginning and show our progress from then until now.

Myself and Simon unpacking the chestnut pole walls.
Myself and Simon unpacking the chestnut lattice.

We ordered the yurt from the UK based Yurt Workshop as their yurts are designed for this wild Atlantic climate. That and their quality was significantly superior to all of the other producers we looked into as most yurts are built for seasonal ‘glamping’ rather than full time dwelling.

The bare base and outhouse
Laying out the lattice on the base. The smaller shed there is our outhouse.

Simon built our base from several old power lines, 2×4’s, reclaimed insulation, and marine plywood. We never put down proper flooring to seal the plywood as our move came unexpectedly early. It is uncertain whether we’ll ever finish the floor as this year we intend to start building our permanent home- more on that later.

The solid oak door was a major selling point for us as it is both functional and gorgeous. There is a glass pane in the window and an inner shutter, along with a triple bolt.
The solid oak door was a major selling point for us as it is both functional and gorgeous. There is a glass pane in the window and an inner shutter, along with a triple bolt.
The inside when it was still outside.
The inside when it was still outside. To give you a sense of scale- Simon is 5’11.
The full length glass window with inner shutter was another major selling point. Most yurts on the market come with plastic sewn into the canvas cover.
The full length glass window with inner shutter was another major selling point. Most yurts on the market come with plastic sewn into the canvas cover.
This is where the two main lattice walls were joined together.
This is where the two main lattice walls were joined together. Simon is tying the knot here.
The beams laid out  and ready to lift.
The beams laid out and ready to lift.
The two tall poles in the middle are called baganas and are there to hold up the crown. Each roof beam slots into a corresponding hole in the crown.
The two tall poles in the middle are called baganas and are there to hold up the crown. Each roof beam has a bit of rope that attaches to the lattice and then slots into a corresponding hole in the crown. This part was more complicated than it should have been and took AGES to complete. It didn’t help that midway through a beam popped out of the crown and landed on my unprotected head. Always wear a hard hat kids.
A closer look at the beams.
A closer look at the beams joining the lattice.
The nearly complete roof.
The crown and nearly complete roof.
We had a good deal of trouble while hanging the inner lining as we picked an especially windy afternoon to pitch the yurt. It blew off several times before we were able to secure it.
We had a good deal of trouble while hanging the inner lining as we picked an especially windy afternoon to pitch the yurt. It blew off several times before we were able to secure it.
This is the felt insulation layer. Most yurts used for glamping do not include this layer, which is what makes them uninhabitable year round. This layer makes an enormous difference- when the fire is going we are warmer and drier than most houses in this climate.
This is the felt insulation layer. Most yurts used for glamping do not include this layer, which is what makes them uninhabitable year round. This layer makes an enormous difference- when the fire is going we are warmer and drier than most houses in this climate.
This is the final photo taken that day- we never took a finished outside shot!
This is the final photo taken that day- we never took a finished outside shot!

That’s all folks- for the nice Nikon photos anyway.

Forgive the low quality- I took this photo on my phone earlier today. Here is the yurt as it is now- solar panel in the herb garden, outer cover all wonky after several wind storms, and the weather beaten prayer flags dangling.
Forgive the low quality- I took this photo on my phone earlier today. Here is the yurt as it is now- solar panel in the herb garden, outer cover all wonky after several wind storms, and the weather beaten prayer flags dangling.

So there you have it- our little home.

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9 thoughts on “The Yurt: Day 1

  1. Very exciting! I’m looking forward to following your adventures! We live in a renovated barn apartment above the actual barn overseeing a horse boarding facility so I absolutely love peeking in on others unique living situations.

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    1. Thanks! Oh sweet! I am with you on that- I’m always digging around pinterest and instagram for unusual home inspiration. I’ll be posting interior photos soon. We’ve had to rearrange a few times already! 204 square feet is quite the challenge.

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  2. Hi! I liked reading your blog. Thank you for liking my post earlier 🙂 I live in a very normal house in a very normal town but sometimes feel that I do things so differently to people around me that I may as well pitch a yurt somewhere and be done with it 😉 Will enjoy following your journey. Lisa x

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  3. Hello, I am really interested in the fantastic way of life you are living. We are working our own way to sustainability, so I love reading about others who are achieving their goals! We are going to be renovating an old stone barn to live in, have a veg. patch, polytunnel and an orchard that we hope to turn slowly into a forest garden. We hope to re-home five ex-battery hens soon – in fact we are going to be building their coop today. We are only beginning our journey so learning along the way. Can I ask you – what advice do you have, looking back on your year of living more sustainably, for others who are working towards doing something similar? I look forward to following your progress. Best wishes, Elizabeth

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    1. Hi there! In many ways we’re only beginning our journey towards sustainability as well. We have been living in the yurt for a year, but we only got chickens a month ago. We also only recently planted our forest garden and only the trees- no shrubs or ground cover yet. We’re caught between trying to create the world we want to live in and running a conventional tillage farm.
      I suppose the only advise I’d be qualified to give would be to keep it simple and take it day by day. Sometimes we get down about where we’re at in our journey, wishing we were further along, but then we look back and see how far we have come.
      Are you planning to live off grid?
      I’m loving your blog by the way- there is so much to be learned from other people’s experiences!
      Ruth

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      1. Thanks, Ruth. We should definitely stay in touch as we progress. We are not going to be living off-grid but we hope eventually to create a home which is a net energy contributor (though that is a long way off). I agree that it can sometimes be frustrating that the world can’t change in a day, but we too are taking things a step at the time. It is important to remember how far you have already come! It is a lovely day here today so I am going to get out there and get on! Best wishes, Elizabeth

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  4. How exciting! I saw my first yurt at Shambala (Festival held near Nelson, BC Canada) in 2008. Yours is beautiful. I am so glad you popped by and liked my post. I will be back to see more of your posts and your yurt. Kindest Regards Cheryle

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  5. Glad to have found your blog!! It’s very helpful to see the set-up stages and photos, so thank you for taking us back to the beginning! My husband and I are slowly working our way in the same direction. We’ll be relocating to the Santa Fe/Taos, New Mexico, USA area next month. We plan on renting an apartment for about a year as we continue to save up money for our yurt and land. We found a reputable yurt company here in Colorado that we’ll be getting ours from – and as you pointed out, we’ve included the extra insulation and structure-support to withstand the cold winters. I’ll be interested to hear how you went about with the interior structure and design. Looking forward to future posts!

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