Saturday, March 31

Color Your Yurt

It was a tough decision. I'm glad Mom was in charge of making it instead of me. I hate decisions that involve picking colors because I will forever believe a better option existed that I failed to pick. Luckily, I think Mom made the right color decision for her yurt. It looks great on the property - it stands out, but not too much.

We spent a long afternoon prior to ordering our yurt, sitting by the pond. We clutched our free yurt fabric sample sheet, held up at arms' length and folded over and over on itself, trying to envision the perfect color combo.

Colorado Yurt Company didn't, at the time, have a super-fun-add-colors-to-a-white-yurt video-game-like page on their website. If they had, our lives would have been infinitely easier. This "Color My Yurt" site is really cool, a lot of fun, and I recommend you check it out. Click around until it's just right, and then envision yourself in the perfectly colored yurt.
Oh, The Possibilities!
Go to it, kids.

Tuesday, March 27

Top 5 Places to Stay in a Yurt

I recently came across a site for glamping (= glamorous camping). I've heard of the term before and it never sat right with me. This is probably because we'd been "glamping" for the last two years, and it kindof lost the glam aspect. Yes, there are amazing moments when you realize that frogs and crickets lull you to sleep every night, and you know exactly what time it started raining last night, and you gain a true appreciation for heat that manifests without wood and matches. Nice, but hardly glam.
Anyone have a spare bathtub?
We love camping. Any opportunity to get out of dodge and set up a tent is usually capitalized on, and camping in a yurt would definitely have seemed glamorous before we lived in one. Strangely, once we moved into the yurt, the jonesing-for-camping phase died out in favor of hotels, motels, and BnBs - anywhere with indoor plumbing and heat that started with the touch of a button.

Do not get me wrong - staying in a yurt, whether for a night, an extended vacation, or living there for a few years, is an amazing experience. I highly recommend it because it's unique. Depending on where you glamp, you will most likely have a to-die-for view, heat, kitchen facilities, and someone else will clean out your composting toilet, which really puts the 'glam' in glamping.

Mmmmm...crank up that hot tub! Glamping at its best.

These are, in order, the top five places I would choose to Glamp in-the-round:

1. Baja Wilderness Retreat - Baja California Sur, Mexico
2. Orcas Island Cabins - Seward, Alaska
3. Bjorklund Ranch - Santa Barbara, California
4. Bell Lake Yurt - Harrison, Montana
5. Treebones Resort - Big Sur, California

Know of any others I should add to the list?

Wednesday, March 21

Yurt Floor Plans

Our yurt has an open floor plan. Yes, we could have added walls. We could have added a loft. Coulda Woulda Shoulda, right? As it was, mom never planned for her yurt to be permanent housing. She envisioned it as a ping-pong-art-studio-yoga-room-temporary-guest-quarters. After 3 years and four months, the yurt finally sits empty (minus some random furniture and ping pong table), awaiting further inspiration from mom.

While the open floor plan for the yurt is nice, I believe the overall feel of the living space could be greatly improved with a few carefully thought-out walls. Obviously, bedroom walls create a sense of privacy, even if they don't go all the way to the yurt ceiling. Closets create a space for your clothes and other belongings, evoking a sense of permanence (as opposed to a camping-feel). Kitchen counters and basic kitchen plumbing make cooking a pleasure instead of a chore.

In hindsight, I'm surprised that we put up with a "camping" feel for so long. This could all have been greatly improved with a few walls and some basic kitchen set-up. Behold:

Oh my Lord. This is a gorgeous yurt kitchen. Photo credit.

This yurt floor plans designates about 1/3 of overall floor space to bed/bath. Since our bath is outside, imagine the bath space as personal office space, or a second bedroom. Image Credit

Our 30 ft. diameter yurt has a lot of space that I don't think we utilized to its full potential due to lack of a proper floor plan. The idea of real rooms, a few walls, and an actual kitchen really up the appeal of yurt-living to me. And how 'bout a loft? Lofts are just fun!

AWESOME! Photo Credit
 But where would the ping-pong table go....?

Saturday, March 17

Behold the Beauty of the Earth

It's not often I can't peel my eyes from an internet video (hello double negative). Erin found this one today and I was rendered speechless by the beauty. Hope you've got the bandwidth to handle the HD.

Tuesday, March 13

Is There a Bathroom in Your Yurt?

Yeah, it's a good question.
Technically, no. It's not in the yurt, it's on the deck.

By the end of 2009, we had dug more holes, added more support structure under the deck, and built a bath house. Build it right on the deck, Mom decided. Just fine, we said. We'd made plans to temporarily move into the yurt while we began construction on the barn, so a bath house sounded like a good idea.

But first, we decided to take a road trip to Oregon, backcountry ski in Yosemite, sail our way down the interior coast of Baja in our outrigger sail-canoe, and climb the Middle Teton.

When we were done, we ended up back at the yurt.

First we built the "pergola"
Then the bath house framing took shape.
Recognize that flooring? Extra planks became our custom bamboo counter top.
We covered the bath house with polycarbonate sheeting.

Walkway to the bath house got covered too - good idea!
Custom-built redwood door with polycarbonate panels - see through!
Trial run for the door.
We found a bitchin sink at Urban Ore in Berkeley.
Details, details.
Gross cabinet we found somewhere (?) for bathroom shelves. Don't worry, I fixed 'er up.
Custom door track made from an aluminum bar and skateboard wheels.
Door in action.
Our bath house siding (and all lumber for the pergola) came from Anderson's Alternatives, our local reclaimed lumber business. Nate Anderson is a great guy, does business all over California, and has a deaf dog named Guiness.
Come together.... right now....
Over me.
Shower walls are see-through polycarbonate sheets. Because we obviously do not value our privacy.
Old double-hung window reclaimed for the bath house
And this is the corner for the composting toilet ....

We have compiled a small list of things we'd do differently if we had to do it over again which, thankfully, we don't:
  1. Don't use wood counter tops in an un-weatherproofed building unless you varnish and re-varnish the crap out of them.
  2. Speaking of un-weatherproofed, Erin spent 80,000,000 hours, give or take a few, that first rainy winter trying to weatherproof this building. We were cheap and bought the 8 foot sheets of polycarbonate. They are impossible to tie together in a rain-proof way, so our advise is to buy the sheets exactly as long as the area you need to cover, and buy the U-channel for butting them together.
  3. DO NOT BUY AN ENVIROLET/SANCOR COMPOSTING TOILET! I wish we had seen this page of negative reviews before purchasing ours, but you do not want me to get into that right now. Hundreds of people with nothing but bad things to say.
That is all.

Sunday, March 11

A small face-lift... and more blog to come!

I've been doing a lot of research on blogs lately.  My research yielded one basic result: time to update.
So as you can see, this blog got a little facelift this morning. Things are looking up. No swelling, no stitches, no scaring. I like it so far, and hope to add more improvements over the next few weeks.

In any case, the theme of this post is transition. I recently turned thirty, and along with it, quit my part-time job of 6.5 years. We moved out of the yurt and into our house, re-started a small eBay business, and are looking towards the future with empty pockets and super-exciting ambitions. Like I said -- transition.

Blogging has become quite an epidemic, and the amount of information on how to monetize a blog is prolific! I've had ads on this blog almost since its inception, and have amassed a grand total of $11. This amount of money is obviously pitiful, and is the result of 30 minutes total-time-invested over the past four years. I know - I can do better. Right?

So in an effort to revitalize this blog, I'm going to keep posting about yurts, and answering questions about our yurt. I LOVE yurts, after all! I'm also going to post about Building Our House/Mom's Barn. Erin and I built this structure, our home, with just our four hands (we admit regrettably to hiring an additional four hands to help with framing). It was an epic adventure spanning the two years this blog was mostly silent, and I'm really excited to try and fill them in. I'll also keep you up to date on the monetization of this blog (if its legal - need to do some more research!), as well as the status of our life dream, eBay business, adventures, empty pockets, etc.

So keep yourselves posted as this blog re-shapes itself, and please feel free to ask questions and comment, and help me stay updated!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...