Yurts of America - Don't Be Square!
Nov 282008

Modern Green Yurt wins Design Award

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Award-winning yurt design

    Congratulations to  yurt builder and designer extraordinaire Howie Oakes of Go Yurt Shelters for being First Place Winner of a Portland Spaces Design Award for his Modern Green Yurt.

 The Awards article has this to say about the thirteen foot yurt:

    Inspired by innovations in sailboat design, Oakes has used breathable
canvas; curved, linseed-oiled birch; and stainless steel hardware to
build a functional and elegant hideaway. The structure can be assembled
by one person in an hour, and the heaviest component weighs a mere 30
pounds.

Howie & friends at Baja

A true family business, you can read the Go Yurt story here , but don’t try to reach Howie over the Christmas holidays. He’ll be camping with his family on the beaches of Baja–in a yurt, of course.

Tip of the week–don’t forget to pick up an extra hot water bottle at your local drugstore to keep your feet warm this winter! Throw it in your bed 30 minutes before you get in and your bed will be toasty warm.

Home is where the yurt is,

becky

Nov 192008

One of my favorite publishers is Shelter Publications of Bolinas, California. Remember the book Shelter (left), which inspired so many handmade houses in the 1960’s and ’70’s? Then came Home Work (right), the pictorial record of 35 years of those inspired handbuilt houses–the ultimate dream book.

Now there’s a new release, Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Reviewer Mike Litchfield says,
…on every page is something shocking and delightful. A boat with legs. A roof like a leaf. A caravan with eyes. A split-cedar woodshed shaped like a bird. Stair rails so sinuous and snakey they might come to life and grab you. Sculpted earth walls. Round windows and arched doors. Roofs curved like seagull wings. Grottos choked with ferns and flowers…
Check it out for yourself at www.shelterpub.com.

Tapered-wall greenhouse

Tapered-wall greenhouse

You’ll also want to see publisher Lloyd Kahn’s blog for more photos of this tapered wall greenhouse (Oct. 31 post), plus wonderful stories of his travels and lots of amazing shelter images.

Feb 042008

      One of the questions I get asked the most is, “Do yurts work in cold climates?”

Joining yurts together

Yes they do. All my yurt living has been done in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve found yurts to be very cozy and efficient to heat. Like any home, you have to do some insulating and cover up those drafty spots (I hang recycled theatre curtains over my yurt windows in the winter).

      If you want to get a glimpse of yurt life in a truly cold climate (“Our nighttime temps fall to -25 to -30 F…”), check out the amazing blog Yurts N Dogs, the ongoing story of a yurt family in Alaska. Right now hubby Rick is racing in the Iditarod (dogsled race), so it’s an exciting time to check in.

      And there’s a nice little piece on Mongolian vacation choices and The Concept of Havuu from a travelers’ blog.

      Be warm, be well, and remember…

                        Home is where the yurt is….

Jan 242008

And now…a word about Our Sponsors

Yurt Book Tour, Yurt Manufacturers, yurt resources Comments Off on And now…a word about Our Sponsors

    Yes folks, I was able to spend this past year traveling the country talking with all of YOU about yurts because I have SPONSORS. These are visionary companies who agreed that it was in everyone’s best interests for me to pursue spreading the news and answering your questions about this affordable, accessible, aesthetic and amazing shelter we call the Yurt.

    I went to these companies for sponsorships after my book came out because I knew them and respected their products and business practices. (I’ve owned yurts from two of the companies.)  And now I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my tour sponsors (drum roll, please):  Colorado Yurt Company, Rainier Yurts and Pacific Yurts. Without them it wouldn’t have been remotely possible to do what I did this past year!

    All three companies have also participated as sponsors for my yurtinfo.org website, along with GoYurt Shelters. This has enabled me to completely update and redesign the website, making it easier to navigate and adding information that is useful to everyone. For example, I’ve added a couple of excerpts from my book on "How to Buy a Yurt" and "Building Codes", plus new pages on Yurt Workshops, Yurt Financing and Yurt Consulting. Coming soon, to a laptop near you…(hopefully by March at the latest)!

Jan 152008

My Yurt

Winter Yurt Musing...

Snow is falling, and falling… and falling… here in the mountains of north Idaho. It’s a great time to think, to write, to reflect on what has transpired this past year.

It’s been over a year since my first blog entry.  A year of traveling the country and sharing my slideshow, “YURTS: Big Life, small footprint,” with readers, builders and yurt enthusiasts from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine.

In these next blogs I’ll look back at some of the questions you asked me while I was out on the road, and some that have come through on my yurt website and forum.

I’d also like to share some of the new yurt resources I’ve found while updating the website. Like, for example, this YouTube yurt video of a multiplex yurt in the UK all decked out Krygyz-style for a party! And these fun scenes from Simply Yurts, an event rental company in Devon, UK.

Thank you for joining me on my yurt blog, and please do continue to leave your comments and questions. I’ll do my best to answer what I can and find other experts to contribute as well…

Aug 092007

More highlights from my East Coast tour…

When I spoke at Yestermorrow Design Build School in Warren, Vermont, a lovely woman named Renee came up after my talk and told me about seeing some unique yurts in Budapest. For those of you who don’t know, in Hungary yurts are considered a part of their heritage. The yurts (or yurt-inspired buildings) Renee had seen were in a kind of museum park.
I asked Renee to email photos, and here’s what she said:

I found this yurt about 30 minutes outside of Budapest, in a semi-rural neighborhood just outside the Socialist Monument Park. Rather than destroying the statues that commemorated their changing history after the war, the Hungarians raised enough money to collect and transport all the monuments from Budapest (get them out of mind of the population) and re-established them in a large walled park.

In this photo, I’m inside the wall that surrounds the park.

Aug 052007

Just arrived back from my East Coast tour, and what a great tour it was!  I love meeting yurt people and hearing their dreams and their stories. Here are some highlights from the tour…

My first stop was Northshire Books in Manchester Center, Vermont, voted 2006 best independent bookstore by Publisher’s Weekly. They deserve the title! An old Victorian house full of books and meeting spaces with an adjoining café, it’s at the heart of the cultural life in this southwestern Vermont town.

Stanley's yurts

Stanley's Tapered-Wall Yurts

Stanley McGaughey was at my Northshire talk. He’s still finishing up the final details on an amazing set of tapered wall yurts. Look for his story in our upcoming “Yurtspeak” newsletter!

Dec 142006

    Todd and Monica have a 30′ fabric yurt, but unfortunately they purchased it a couple of years ago from a company that advertises cheap yurts. There were so many problems with their yurt when it arrived (six months late) that it took them an additional six months to put it up. The good side, they said, is that they now know enough about yurts to build their own.

Felted wool insulation

        The most amazing thing about Todd and Monica’s yurt is the insulation. In addition to a layer of the usual Reflectix bubble wrap/foil insulation, Monica added a complete inside layer of real felt. The felt, imported from India, came in 7′ rolls. Monica hand stitched the wall sections, with cutouts for the windows, and had a friend machine-stitch 6 large pie-shaped wedges to go on top of the rafters.

    The Reflectix layer, which is sandwiched between the felt and the outer covering of the yurt, functions as a
vapor barrier as well as providing additional insulation (and reflecting out the sun’s heat in the summer). Monica pointed out the importance of keeping the felt dry, as it can easily mold or rot if it gets wet.

Dec 012006

I had the loveliest dinner last night. A true “Yurt Dinner”, there were three couples who live in yurts, one couple that has spent the last 7 years building a hexagonal, yurt-like strawbale home, and two couples seriously considering yurt living.

Valley view

Kim and Russell, our hosts, recently purchased a magnificent yurt  from a couple in their 70’s (heading south to escape north Idaho’s cold, grey winters). The yurt sits on a bluff with a view of valley and mountains for miles around.