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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 3/13/2008

Yurts: Four Season Living Made Easy

(ARA) - Do you like to ski, snowshoe or snowmobile? Maybe you just enjoy the outdoors, even during the colder months. If you are looking for a way to enjoy nature in all seasons, but don't want to build a costly cabin, vacation home or addition, you do have options.

We all know that building a home is costly. Even a small cabin, cottage or addition on an existing home comes with a price tag that will make most of us cringe. Because so many people are looking for options but don't want to spend the money for traditional construction, yurts are growing in popularity.

What is a yurt? A yurt is a tent-like structure that has been around for hundreds of years. They are recognized by their round shape and lattice frame. Used to this day by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia, yurts are very sound structures used for living in a variety of seasonal elements.

Today, yurts are embracing the demands of modern living and can withstand intense weather conditions. Elegant integration of tension and compression components allows the yurt to withstand heavy wind, rain and snow. Acclaimed by Architectural Digest as an "architectural wonder," the yurt is remarkably strong yet lightweight and as versatile as your imagination.

In the United States, yurts are made with traditional elements that have been enhanced by modern technology. For example, Rainier Yurts in Seattle, Wash., use the ingenious and beautiful design of traditional yurts, but have refined the construction details and added many options and features, including a skylight, large windows, tall walls, locking doors with insulated glass windows, high-quality, fire-retardant materials, insulation and excellent hardware.

The price is attractive as well. Building a traditional structure of similar size could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Rainer Yurts start at about $5,500. Easy to set up, yurts can be wired or plumbed and are designed to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Many people have discovered the versatility of these outdoor living structures. They are used as beach houses in ocean communities and cabins in thick wooded areas.

Even in harsh winter climates, yurts are popular. They are used on ski hills as warming houses or as vacation homes for winter hobbies. When Ross Mayfield was looking at housing options for his property in McCall, Idaho, he needed something that would work for all seasons. He decided that a yurt was right for him.

"We looked at a number of different ideas but we had some problems getting a building permit. A resort near the area was using yurts while they developed the property. We saw them and decided to search for information," explains Mayfield.

He looked at the various sizes and decided a 24-foot yurt would fit his needs. He ordered the materials and erected it with the help of his family. A road was built so that during the summer he can drive to his property, but during the winter, he accesses it by snowmobile.

Mayfield says that during the winter the temperatures get as cold as 31 degrees below zero. He heats his yurt by propane, which powers his stove and outhouse.

When he purchased his yurt he decided to get the maximum insulation and heavy-duty roof to accommodate the snow fall. He says that the yurt works great for all weather conditions, and often during the winter the snow slides off the roof, "slick as a whistle."

He also commented that he has a terrific view of nature, one thing often embraced by yurt owners. People tend to like the round shape and the positive energy of having an open space. Because yurts leave such a small footprint in nature, many conservation-conscious people enjoy them as well. Courtesy of ARAcontent



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