February 23, 2015

Kids in a Yurt

A new playhouse, swing, and climbing wall in a 30-foot yurt; precious!

This is super to have while adults work in another section of yurt. Pictured herein waxing snow skis.

Check out the floor and loft plans, as well as a slide-show tour.

Also, a YouTube video helps planners with kids.

This yurt was constructed 2008 in Eagle River, Alaska on top of a 30-foot square garage. There is a roof over-hang of 2 feet on three sides of the garage to form a deck around the perimeter of the yurt.

Read more from the family blog on http://movingtoak.blogspot.com/

November 13, 2014

Roam for a Dome?

The purpose of this article is to consider how to repair or replace your yurt dome.

As a sales rep for Hawaiian yurts, I get lots of queries for dome replacements. That reminds me of a builder who said that skylights and domes eventually have problems and to not purchase them if you can't deal with repairing leaks.

My 24-foot yurt kit from Colorado was erected 2009 and never seemed to fit properly onto the compression ring. I didn't think it was a problem until it leaked. Several people tried various solutions from weather stripping to styrofoam, but there was always a gap between the dome and ring. Because only the rare south wind caused some rain to land on my floor, I was able to just cope with the misfit.

In this low-altitude tropical setting, I typically opened the dome during the day and closed it at night. As most yurt kits from the mainland, a dome opener is required. Unaware my latch and screw was off track, a fine crack formed in the acrylic dome. Opening and closing daily made the crack worse, but it took me months to realize it.

Well, the crack expanded a lot during 2014 Hurricane Iselle and my little occasional leak turned into a waterfall. From part time carpenters to commercial builders, help was sought. Yet each strategy proposed was stuck short on how not to step on the fabric roof between the rafters, which would cause serious damage.

There were so many complications (scaffolding included) I'll not detail here. I came to the point of wanting to remove the dome and build a cupola to replace it. But I couldn't afford options and was still stuck on how to prevent labor damage to the roof.

Creative woodworker Peter Frost of Puna came up with a solution pictured here that I'm very happy with. He repaired the crack and inserted a wind turbine from Home Depot. Peter jokingly calls it "the nipple" and suggested a glowing hula hoop around the exterior of the dome.

Nathan Toler of Backyard Yurts was super helpful with repair instructions, yet he didn't have the dome mold to fit my 24-foot design at the time. Shipping a new dome from Colorado was not an affordable option I wanted to pursue. Afterall, it may fit as poorly as the original.

I hope my story helps those that need to fix their dome. Fortunately, Nathan does have 4 or 5-foot dome molds to fit on the compression ring. He hand-blows the acrylic in Hawaii and the result is stronger and thicker than what competitors offer.

Each fourth-inch flat acrylic sheet is heated in a large commercial plastics oven until pliable, then placed in his round blowing forming table. Compressed air is pushed into the center of the dome form until the correct height is achieved. Then the dome is set in place to cool and harden. The domes are made perfectly clear, or choose from an array of tints for an extra fee.

Because Nathan design-customizes yurt orders, there is no need for the awkward dome opener. The windows and air flow are tailor-made for your particular climate and location. A fan can be added under the dome, if desired.

So whether you are fixing a dome, or ordering a new yurt, know that there is a competitive offering in Hawaii that cannot be matched from the mainland!

Yurt Living: Dome, Cupola or Spire?

July 27, 2014

Hawaii Properties, Puna + HOVE Regions

Introducing Jacinth DeLuz III, who sells properties with owner financing -- only $500 down and no credit check!

Most of the properties are vacant lands, located in Puna and HOVE regions.

While you check out the site, be sure to view the Puna sheds available.

May your dreams come true for small living in paradise.

July 19, 2014

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

by Lloyd Kahn
Here are some 150 builders who have created tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.). There are some 1,300 photos of homes on land, homes on wheels, homes on the road, homes on water, even homes in the trees. There are also studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses.
Photo from book.

Find more great reads on the Bookstore page of this blog.

July 13, 2014

Loveable Loo Concept Designs

Self construction of the Loveable Loo design concept was accomplished with the help of "Women Working in Wood" -- located in Keaau, Big Island, Hawaii.

Never touched a table saw or held a nail gun before!

Good idea for yurt builders who want to avoid plumbing, or construct bathroom/s outside of the yurt.

View the Milkwood site for separate bath house design ideas, and more.

July 7, 2014

What's a Chic Eco Toilet?

Love this design, as seen on a recent Tumbleweed Tiny House story where I read this cute space saver can be constructed with a 5-gallon bucket for less than $50.

Wonder how to properly compost poop and pee? The Humanure Handbook is a must for anyone interested in an off-grid simple lifestyle.
Check out the rave reviews. And if you wish, follow me with this toilet mission for my school bus conversion. Below is a summary of my research ...

A great product video by Loveable Loo is on YouTube and illustrates how to do this without plumbing.

So, you can custom-construct the design for your space ... either DIY or look for less expensive help. Either way, creator Joe Jenkins provides a list of captivating videos on his site. This amazing guy consults and has an admirable record of traveling to natural disasters where he teaches others how to deal with human waste as they rebuild their homes.

Funny I didn't realize I would be planning the toilet construction before designing the layout.

Now I'm looking for my sawdust resource as I write!

DIY Workshops by Red Kite Yurts of Scotland

Yurt Making Workshop 9th August 2014

Learn how to assemble and dismantle the finished product... and so much more!!

Check out their video of full-range services published May 15, 2011. I'm so impressed how Red Kite Yurts provides stunning spaces for weddings, events .. and has been doing so for more than ten years.

The course will be held at the Red Kite Yurt workshop at
Cambusbeg Farm
FK17 8LJ

Cost: £75 per person

Email paul@redkiteyurts.com or phone 01877 330943 to book your spot.

March 13, 2014

March 12, 2014

Water Catchment Art

From before to after by pane:

Yea, my yurt home water catchment was painted by a work trader from Austria 2014 February; mission accomplished. Love it!

The tank was two-thirds full of rain water.

Algae and plant particles were siphoned from inside the tank with a water hose. The process took about an hour.

There is a water filter on the pump located under my yurt home. Although I do not drink this water, it is used for washing dishes, bathing and toilet.

The nearly five year old catchment cover has some tears, but is in good condition after clean up. It is on top of the new cover.

Why two covers? The old cover ($135 cost) blocks light, which prevents algae accumulation. The new cover ($155 cost) is much more durable, but does not block light so well.

The old cover had a three-year life projection. The new cover has a ten-year projection.

Would love a hard-top catchment, yet the cost is about $2,000!

Artist Renata Jett

December 1, 2013

Artistic Water Catchment

Well constructed and beautiful water catchment at Pahoa Transfer Station, a/k/a "the dump". 

Big MAHALO to artist Charlene Lofgreen!

With gutters on your yurt, gift yourself plumbing to a catchment with curb appeal.

October 5, 2013

On The Road

On the Road Perspective
Oahu-made yurt on custom built trailer.

August 23, 2013

July 20, 2013

Yurts + Feng Shui

Love Feng Shui Sister Feilani!

Feilani was a volunteer of this art and special technique on facebook. She described her consulting as very traditional and "un-intimidating" ― called the "Red Envelope" tradition.

In 2010 she wrote:

If cash is what you're looking for, then look no further! Try this money enhancement... take 9 paper bills, fan them out and place this anywhere in your Wealth Corner (as you walk in through your front door, it's located to the very far left corner of your home or office). That good energy we like to call "chi", will fan over some cash your way in no time!

So I asked Feilani ...

  • Do I still look left if my main entry is the back door?
  • Does my round yurt home make a difference?


  • Always use your front door as the "mouth of your chi." Even if you use the backdoor, you can "activate" the front door by simply opening it now and again. And place a bell on the front door handle (indoor or outdoor handle will do). Oh and a wind chime by the front door can do wonders!
  • As for the round yurt, try to anchor the corners of your bagua by placing planters by the "imaginary four corner's" of your yurt. The easiest way to envision this is to draw a square around your circular yurt, (it will look like a circle within a square) and those four corners are where you need anchors.

Mongolian Ger Front Doors
So good to know Feilani; thanks! Another tip I learned is to plant red blooming plants for prosperity near your front door or/and along your walkway.

For bells and chimes, see products below ...

Invitation to my YURTS board on Pinterest:

June 15, 2012

Shared on the Tiny House blog from

David Dees-illustration

April 8, 2012

Hawaiian Yurt Village Retreat

Looking for more luxury and services than the Chic Eco yurt in Pahoa?

Located on Big Island's Island's North Kohala coast is a full off-grid retreat. Five yurts offer a simple alternative to the boutique-style facility at Ahu Pohaku Ho'omaluhia in Kapaau.

See Green Lodging News story for details or visit the Hawaii Island Retreat site.

March 29, 2012

Weddings + Events Yurt-style

Fashioning Felt in Palace Yurt
Creative interior options for weddings and events are abundant in yurts.

Betz White photographed the Palace Yurt at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City for the Fashioning Felt exhibit. The lace-look opened eyes to visualize a ceremony, ― be it wedding, funeral, reception, etc.

Laurel Nest Vendor Yurt
Laurel Nest Yurts of North Carolina shares their vendor yurt to distribute information at festivals and conferences. Can't you also vision a crystal boutique, ― or something with spiritual and meditation tools? Shopping with a cozy-charm sense!

The Alaska Yurt Village is filled with artsy vendors who treasure sustainable living. Find seasonal yurt-boutiques who offer handmade goods that range from yarns to jewelry and more.

Viking Yurt
How about dinner ambiance? The Viking Yurt in Utah's Park City Mountain Resort offers a fine menu with a pianist ready to take requests.

Reserve a yurt for intimate dinning, or for a small party, ― an idea for most any location, but especially here in Hawai'i where organic and raw local foods are available year-round!

Interior Decorating Intro
Weddings + Special Events

March 23, 2012

Awnings, Gardening + Yurts

Morning Glories Climb Awning Hardware
Before ordering or building a yurt, one must decide if and where there will be windows.
Tropical Vines Climb From Ground to Tree Stump,
to Awning to Lanai

First you study the property: ― sunrise, sunset, typical wind direction. Next it's the interior floor plan.

Then regardless of the kind of window/s you select, consider exterior awnings. Why go the extra expense? Because they're functional.

Yurt awnings provide privacy and weather protection. My particular location has windows open most the time, but seasonal high winds and heavy rains are common. Yet with an awning, the need to close a window is very rare.

Gardening is my thing and I get a kick out of seeing blooms climb up to my windows. Pictured below are morning glories germinated and grown with the help of awning-rainwater runoff.

Hence, I discovered the awnings very useful for starting plants. Those hard-to-germinate seeds come alive with this method. Not pictured are impatiens that thrive in the heat under another window due to the consistent moist ground. There's an inside blooming view from every window now.

My location is in the rain forest, so of course required maintenance will vary. But typically, the usual daily rain will bring beautiful benefits with minimal effort.

Last, but not least reason to love awnings, ―ambiance!

There are awning downsides illustrated below. All it takes, however, is some periodic mildew cleaning and rust preventive measures on your awning hardware. For yurt dwelling lovers, it ain't no big deal, ― just a little forewarning.
Rust Development on Right Rod

May 18, 2011

Red Kite Yurts in Scotland

Red Kite Yurts released a short video demonstrating their perfected wedding and event services. Think candles, linens, wood-burning stove, rugs, and imagination!

Daily hire begins at £200 GBP, the British Pound, for a 3-day event. That's equivalent to about  $325 USD at the time of this writing.

This company happens to be the largest hand-crafted manufacturer in Scotland with an abundance of out-of-the-box event services.

Check out the new "Barn Yurt" that's perfect for events. The Red Kite Blog is under creative development with details at the time of this writing.

October 11, 2010

Yurt Living: Solutions to Mold Fears

No doubt about it, the best mold prevention anywhere on anything is air flow and sunshine. Actually yurts have less mold issues than most conventional buildings.

Read more ...

June 16, 2010

Financial Help

You know the proverb, if there's a will, there's a way. And determination with will is certainly a required combo to produce creative financing. I guarantee, Colorado Yurt Company, (CYC) is at it.

It's exciting that Sam Kigar of CYC shares his findings of peer-to-peer and social lending options on the company blog. Since every loan differs, it's a challenge to summarize expectations. Yet Sam explains the process, requirements and precautions well.

"The Loans Marketplace" Prosper, is Sam's first recommended site. It's all about appeasing both lenders and borrowers. With today's frustrations, it can be a refreshing option to step out of the traditional bank lending process.

Also recommended is the Lending Club. Their motto is: "Investors earn better returns, borrowers pay lower rates." Both companies are headquartered in California.

The interest rates are typically better than a bank, but good credit is essential. Sam says your loan request can hang one to two weeks so you can comparison shop interest rates.

Cash payment is every wise person's preference, but credit card payments are most popular for yurts. When goods are shipped out-of-state, you can submit a credit card purchase order without sales tax. Another tip a financial comrade recently told me is that credit union banks honor better credit card interest rates than conventional banks. So if you do use a credit card, shop around for the best interest rate.

As you can imagine, there are advantages to not having a mortgage. Yurt makers are networking and realizing there are better methods for the industry. Additionally, buyers are finding alternatives to conventional insurance without a mortgage. They customize the security of their assets by improved means.

Financial structures are changing rapidly and globally this year. And this year will be the second annual yurt makers conference in Hawaii during August. Networking on this topic will be a good thing, so stay tuned.

February 12, 2010

Yurt Living: Book Review

Author Becky's thoroughness with excellent photographs is amazing. Hard to believe anyone knows more about yurt living than she does and I can't think of a detail she's omitted in this wonderful book.

Read more ...

January 26, 2010

Yurt Living: Solar Power Potential

John notes the solar panels are on a sled-type contraption. He created that so he could move them around during construction. He wants to find the optimum year-round location before permanently mounting them.
Read more ...

December 20, 2009

Yurt Living: Interior Clay Wall Decor

The natural colors are rich with texture and depth not found from other finishes. Earth tones range with green and blue titles like Kentucky Blue and Savannah Moss.

Read more ...

December 9, 2009

Yurt Living: Interior Decorating Intro

Like green merchandise, yurts are riding a trend wave to last. There's no doubt in my mind that professional interior designers will be catching on to those waves soon.

Read more ...

November 7, 2009

Yurt Living: Window Shopping

With most yurt manufacturers, three windows are in the basic price. Those windows typically include screens, storm windows, and zippered privacy flaps.

Read more ....

October 16, 2009

Yurt Living: Creative Flooring Suppliers

The final yurt floor consideration I recommend is parquetry. This is a style, rather than a material, but incorporates natural resources beautifully.

October 10, 2009

Yurt Living: Floor Options

For a temporary event, the floor is made in small interlocking panels, in either smooth or non-slip tongue and grooved boards. This is good for portability and storage. Custom finishes may be applied.

September 26, 2009

Yurt Living: Platform Design Options

Some yurts are constructed as a second or third floor, ‒ perhaps topped on a conventional type building.

Read more ...