Surely Yurt a Tiny House Alternative

first yurt

by Steve Reed

Surely Yurts was established in 2009. I was living in a 20’ yurt in Jeffersonville, Vermont at the time very near to Smugglers’ Notch when a couple friends asked if I could build a yurt for them. They liked our setup so much that they wanted their own yurt to start a new life together focused around a massive garden, a small farm, and producing and serving food at the community kitchen (near Barre, Vermont).

Our First Yurt:

The first yurt we built for a friends in 2009:

yurt

After building that first yurt I loved the work so much that I closed my photography studio in town, changed my business plan, and went into the yurt manufacturing industry. I started by designing & building a workshop, traveling and learning from many other yurt builders, building a website, and marketing our product.

Our Website:
www.surelyyurts.com

Link to recent article about our workshop written by the www.yurtforum.com

Our Workshop in Taberg, New York:

workshop

workshop interior

Now in 2014 Surely Yurts has a crew of several part time helpers and one full time manager, we have developed several proprietary technologies and built over twenty five custom yurts for folks all over the North East and I’m proud to say that I now make a full-time living as a professional yurt builder. Last year, I bought a used u-haul box truck for deliveries (included in all sales), and now traveling workshops. We install solar panels and rainwater collection systems for folks and share whatever knowledge we have about our experience living off the grid for the past 5 years.

I currently live in a ten foot yurt at the workshop, but have just bought a ten acre patch of land where we’ll be putting up a 20’ tri-wall yurt connected to two 10’ yurts for my new home this year. I’ve always wanted a round home ever since I was a boy. When I heard about yurts I was already living a nomadic lifestyle traveling for education and so on, so it was a natural fit. When I began living in a yurt with that wide open view of the sky in the center and all that natural light in a round room. I just fell in love with the structure and have devoted all of my time for years now living in yurts and trying to spread the word and help others get into yurts if that is in their dreams too.

My Ten foot Yurt:
10 foot yurt

completed yurt

yurt interior

This Spring, I will be teaching a 3 day yurt building workshop (Date: TBD begin~May 30) hosted by : The Local Living Venture group in Canton, NY.

http://www.sustainablelivingproject.net/workshops-groups

Participants will learn to build a 10′ yurt from raw materials and by doing so, hopefully be encouraged to create their own yurts or personal building projects. Please visit the link for more info & to enroll.

Yurt Workshop

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Phil - March 16, 2014 Reply

Great story! Love your work. Hate the pop up ad to dowload candy crush on your webpage.

    Steve - March 23, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Phil,

    As far as I know there aren’t any ads on my site… I hope others aren’t getting this ‘candy crush’ popup whatever that is?

Dorothy - March 16, 2014 Reply

Is there no way to make a yurt pretty on the outside? I love the concept but the ugliness of the outside really puts me off.

    Rob - March 17, 2014 Reply

    Actually yurts have tremendous potential for beautification, the entire outside can be embroidered or quilted or be sewn from different colored swaths of fabric. The awesome thing about a yurt is you can make it simple to start, and over time change the outward appearance to your liking. You could even have different coverings for different seasons.

    Steve - March 23, 2014 Reply

    Well put Rob,

    One big advantage of a lattice frame fabric yurt is portability, there are thousands of possibilities for more attractive fabric coverings.

    For those who don’t care about portability, yurts can be constructed of all wood like the Bill Coperthwaite yurts.

    Other companies out there have also been making modular ‘panel yurts’ which are still portable but are constructed more like a traditional stick frame home, with no fabric involved.

    I’ve even seen a yurt frame reinforced and sprayed with ferrous cement making it permanent with anything from a metal roof to a living roof.

    The exterior options are as varied for a yurt as any other structure, ultimately it is the owners idea of what is attractive and useful to them.

Surly Dave - March 16, 2014 Reply

Dorothy, do you mean make it look less like a yurt?

    Heath - March 17, 2014 Reply

    I can understand what Dorothy means. Perhaps it is less yurt like is correct, but while the interiors are usually quite attractive with the geometric wood slats, the outside often looks like it is covered in a tarp. I don’t think any other abode (other than a tent) would get many positive reviews on aesthetics if its exterior was covering in a tarp.
    But otherwise, they are lovely and congratulations on successfully turning it into a business for yourself.

connie - March 17, 2014 Reply

Do yurts offer protection from wildlife? I have only seen pictures..it looks as though it would be quite easy for a wild animal to invade. Love the concept.

    Steve - March 23, 2014 Reply

    Connie,

    As long as one keeps the yurt clean and the food properly stored the chances of an animal problem are slim (leave food lying around and the chances go way up). People all over world live in yurts with no animal damage problems to the structure. Even in the bear country of Alaska.

    That being said, where I live we’ve have had mice inside the yurt and even a squirrel here and there. While living in a cabin (not a yurt) in the woods I’ve had both of those and a couple of birds that made their way in as well. I suppose, it just comes with living in the woods with all of the critters. 🙂

handyhusband01 - March 17, 2014 Reply

I agree with Dorthy. A dirty gray tarp by itself isn’t aesthetically pleasing. That’s a real downside to wider acceptance. Yurt upsides are it is a low environmental impact house, portable/moveable, easy to construct on a variety of surfaces and it’s unique. I have seen some fabulous yurt interiors but few exterior enhancements. I’d also suggest that improvements to see out and let the sun in need to incorporated in any design. Congrats on your business – looks like you are headed in the right direction – just add some color.

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