Big Sky Retreat

by Scott Evans

I built the Yurt last year for the purpose of holiday rentals, it’s situated in an old abandoned quarry high up in the hills overlooking vast acres of Devon landscape with outstanding views. I got the idea from Bill Coperthwaite and his buildings featured in Lloyd Khan’s Homework book (Lloyd, what a guy). Anyway, I sent off for Bill’s plans, could not understand what was going on, and so eventually I made it up as I went along.

The building is mainly constructed out of scrap scaffold boards, pallets and timber from the builders merchants. It cost about £10,000 (about $15,979) not including labour time. Cedar shingles are so darn expensive over here along with plumbers who have to make sure gas is installed properly and signed off (big expense). The house also has a sawdust toilet, off grid for lighting, and mains water with shower and kitchen. The swing is a trampoline turned upside down purchased off EBay for £1.99.

Yurt bed

Whilst it’s first and foremost a holiday retreat we also hope people will take away with them the realization that you can think for yourself and do for yourself rather than this dreadful dependency on big business to provide everything which unfortunately seems to have infected pretty much everybody here in the U.K. Unlike in the states where there seems to be a real shift in freeing one’s self from debt.

Both my wife and I are also very keen to show our son Red that you do have choices.

You can learn more at: and

Yurt living area

view of yurt from swing

trampoline swing

15 thoughts on “Big Sky Retreat”

  1. I have stayed in a small yurt built from one of Bill Coperthwaite’s designs. It had windows all the way around which made it feel more spacious. A great design.

  2. Love the sleeping cupboard and that swing gave me an idea for a tree platform. The whole place is gorgeous. And that door, wow. I’m not usually a fan of round buildings but this one is an exception.

    • Hi Michelle

      Thankyou for your great comments,I think we have something in common in that we’ve both been fortunate in featuring in the Tiny Homes book. I hope you manage to sell some of your lovely caravans due to the book.I have been astonished and delighted to see so many women involved in this whole self build/ scaling back movement that seems to have evolved particularly in your part of the World.Wish the female population over here had the same drive and creativity.I think Mr Khan was in your neck of the woods the other day, anyway thanks and nice to hear from you.


  3. Good job on the building and really like the bed.
    Where did you get the idea for the swing? First time I have seen that. Hummm, now where can I find an old trampoline.

  4. That’s really cool. I collect used pallets and recycle them for all sorts of things. Right now, I’m using them to trellis my vining plants to save on ground space. I’m also planning to build a pontoon boat with them. My brother-in law built a shed out of pallets, so I don’t see any reason I couldn’t build a little back yard yurt out of them.

  5. Beautiful job! Beautiful place to have done it in, too. I have swing envy now 🙂 Great idea. You didn’t just think out of the box, you turned it over!

  6. If you get a lot of snow there, be sure every roof to wall connection and wall top plate joint has a metal fastener with the correct size nail. this will help the low slope roof resist the snow load.

  7. the enclosed bed plan is nice. in the castles of old that were drafty and cold they boxed in the beds to keep heat inside so people didn’t freeze to death at night when heat was from fire places. i tried that heating with a fireplace thing one winter and i can tell you from experience…..don’t do it, froze my as– off. never again!!!!! AAHHH to experiment is a wonder.


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