Shelter reconsidered

Since my daughter and her family and I purchased a property with only one house, I needed to decided how, with a limited budget, I could create a living space to suit my life. I first considered beginning with a tiny house. I was familiar with them and had watched more than a few videos of couples and even families creatively claiming their spots in the tiny house nation. I had even purchased one for my former property to replace the rental that was destroyed by the land sliding. It was a great little house and we added a porch and a small but functional kitchen that made the tiny house less tiny and much more functional. So, a tiny house was not out of the question.

The problem was, it was too tiny. Even with a small kitchen and porch added it was not enough space for me to be me. I was not looking for a hermitage, but a new living space that encouraged visitors and shared meals and enough room for some of the treasured books and furniture I had stored. A dining table to fit a crowd was high on my list. A full-size stove and an actual bedroom. So, what if I began with a tiny house with the thought of ultimately using it for a bedroom and bathroom, and then added another structure later? Back and forth I went, keeping in mind the upward-spiraling costs. I began to think further outside of the conventional housing box…and made the leap to a YURT. Maybe I could add a yurt for the main living space with kitchen? Back to youtube with yurt videos being the focus. I began to mention the thought to friends and family, receiving the full gamut of responses to the idea. My daughter-in-law was enlisted to draw up a possible design for connecting the structures (tiny house and yurt), based on my thoughts. I liked it. It seemed it could work. Yes, it was unconventional, but that wasn’t ringing any alarm bells for me.

Adding up the costs of two structures, along with the build out that would be necessary inside of the yurt, I began to realize my budget was too small for the dream. I won’t tell you it didn’t disappoint me to let go of the plan–but having built and remodeled a number of homes over the years gave me an understanding of just how expensive things can get. And the costs always go up…often way up.

Ultimately, I decided to buy the largest yurt I could from The Colorado Yurt Company. As it turned out it was the same company we had purchased a full-size tipi from when the boys were in their teens. They used it to attend Mountain Man re-enactments and it was still in great shape except for the poles. Along with my 30′ yurt I ordered new tipi poles so that I could have a private guest room too! So, no tiny house and no instant path to housing. But the 30′ yurt has 706 sq. ft. which allows me to have a bedroom and bath built into half of it with a loft above, leaving a large semi-circle to create a kitchen/dining/living space.

This is an example of what I am thinking.

Steve, my daughter’s father-in-law, has graciously offered to help me get this yurt built. He and Schyler, my son-in-law, have teamed up to figure out the platform upon which it will rest and Schyler is clearing the site of trees. I could not do this without them and am very grateful. Below, is a full size drawing Steve and I drew out one Sunday on the parking lot of the local junior high. It was very helpful to “walk around” in the yurt and get a sense of actual dimensions. (Wish I could have been there Monday morning when the teachers arrived at their parking lot, ha!)

Getting the big picture


Here is the working floor plan for the yurt. At 9 o’clock is the door at the kitchen. A small French door is at about 5 o’clock.

I plan to bring you along on this build, answer any questions that arise, and perhaps you can even help out at some point!


  1. This is so exciting! I am happy for you that you continue to be happy with your changing plans! The Yurt looks like it will be a wonderful home and the extra guest space tipi is a perfect addition. Glamping at its best!


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