I discovered Louis Johnson’s yurt on facebook and contacted him and he agreed to let me share some of his photos of his home. Louis will tell you a little bit about living in a yurt in upstate New York. Their yurt is built by the Colorado Yurt Company.
This winter has proved to be a cold one as well, but we had a better handle on our wood harvesting this year and are in good shape. We estimate that we will use between 3 and 4 cord this year… only one more really cold month to go.
Our PV system is small and has a generator plug in to supplement power when needed. We have not used a generator yet however ~ we choose to reduce our usage instead. We only use our microwave and toaster on very sunny days and supplement our lighting with a propane light and candles if necessary. We save a lot of energy by cooking on the wood stove.
This past year we have made a couple of low tec improvements to the yurt. Earlier last fall we finally got our mulch pit (for gray water) in place, that has been a very big help in getting water out of the yurt, and that enabled us to get an operable shower in the yurt. It may just be a bucket with a bulkhead, but it’s strangely empowering. We continue to heat our water in small batches on the wood stove. (In the summer we heat it in black shower bags and we shower outside.)
This year we are going to try to tackle a passive solar hot water heater and maybe a solar oven.
We continue to have the time of our lives living the way we do, and hope that others will realize the joy that comes with living a smaller, simpler way of life.
Our loft design was inspired by pictures we saw online. We worked with our carpenters and decided to build a wall across the back third of the yurt. We added a three foot overhang to the center just wide enough to accommodate a mattress above. This allowed us plenty of sleeping room and put our heads nearly under the dome, a real treat.
For kitchen cupboards we use antique fruit crates and our old clothes dresser.
The loft overhang above the kitchen serves the added purpose of defining our kitchen area below and storing canned goods in the underside.
Notice the heat shield behind the wood stove.
The hearth under the wood stove. A creative touch that meshes style and functionality in the yurt.
Two interior doors, our sink and faucet, and kitchen table support came from an architectural salvage shop.
Our switch to a composting toilet was inspired by reading The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins, (http://www.joseph-jenkins.com and www.humanurehandbook.com).
The wall supporting the loft creates a large storage room behind it with our bathroom tucked into one end.
wood opening and well
We installed the wood pass through at floor level near our wood rack. The nine inch opening is the perfect size and there’s no need to cut the lattice. We cover the inside opening with the piece cut from the wall insulation and the outside is covered with the velcro trimmed canvas provided. This has greatly reduced the mess, keeping snow, mud, moisture and most of the wood debris outside where it belongs.