Guest Post by Phil
A couple years ago we decided we would like to buy some land to possibly retire on or at least have a place to visit. As we got to looking, we had a few things on the list that we required and one of them was a view. Last year we purchased 20 acres of land in Lyle, Washington and as you have seen from the pictures it has a view. Prior to picking that plot, I had been thinking of getting a Pacific Yurt company 30ft model. I priced it out and also looked at Rainier Yurts. At some point I was looking on Craigslist and found a post from Gary Efferding on his Sacred Space yurts. They were SIP wood paneled yurts and he was making them in the town of Mill A, Washington. We went to visit his house in Aug 2014 and made plans for buying one of his 23ft yurts in the summer of 2015. Spring 2015 came along and we were about to get going on the deck when we found out that Gary had fallen ill and was unable to make yurts (possibly ever again) so we started the search over.
After seeing the wood vs canvas styles, we couldn’t go back to canvas and especially because of the wind load our land sees we didn’t want the flapping sounds and we really liked the idea of extra insulation and the security that we feel with wood walls and standard constructions doors and windows. After some quick searching, we only found a couple places that was making wood yurt structures. It was between Smiling Wood Yurts out of Twisp, Washington, and Freedom Yurt-Cabins in Colorado. We had never seen either of their products but the fact that I didn’t have to build a deck combined with the price sold me on the Freedom Yurt/Cabin quite quickly. With the deck building, I was already trying to figure out how I was going to mix enough concrete with no electric or water source out there to pour all of the footings. After talking to Josh and seeing the build video’s my wife and I were sold on the Freedom Yurt package.
Now we had our mind made up, we had to work with Josh to get a schedule that worked with both of us. It started out being a mid to late September delivery but ended up being a mid Oct delivery after a couple changes in the schedule (planned and unplanned on Josh’s side of things). Once we had our delivery date and plan, I worked out the logistics of getting 3 large pallets out to a piece of land off of dirt road in the High Prairie area north east of Lyle, Washington. It took a borrowed trailer, a rented u-haul and my parents driving out from IL with their pickup truck. Prior to the delivery, we spent a few weekends getting the site prepped. Freedom Yurts even provided me with a self leveling laser to ensure that the bases were located properly and leveled up. This was quite a pleasant surprise and it really helped out. I went a little overboard on the ground prep because I figured this was going to be assembled and stay put for quite some time so instead of stacking the patio pavers, I leveled out the 23 foot diameter. section of the land. We finished this up the week before the yurt kit arrived.
The weekend of the build went pretty smoothly. We had a constant crew of myself, my father, and one of my childhood friends out there starting on Friday morning. Throughout the weekend we had helpers show up on Saturday and Sunday and I would say we maxed out with about 10 people out there trying to get this whole project done. Over the weekend we had a couple errors in building and quite a few trips out for food and drink or missing components or tools, we completed the structure. We were quite impressed with how it all went together. We purchased this product sight unseen and we really are super excited to have it completed and have our little place to hang out and spend time out of the wind while still enjoying our view.
The future includes a lot of work that will start pretty heavily next year. For the land, we will be getting the electric dropped onto the property, building a pump house, drilling the well an extra 100ft deep, and adding the pump. Once that is done, my plan is to create a kind of RV hookup station over by the yurt so that I can keep it as temporary building and plug in power and water as we add on. We will be working with the design folks over at Freedom Yurt-Cabins to help us out with the plan for creating a wall to divide out a room and bathroom area as well as a loft (for our kids’ beds). We will be adding a wood stove for heat and a dry flush toilet. We are still researching the propane instant water heaters but I’m assuming I will end up with at least of them with a planned outdoor shower. Most of the ideas we keep finding that make sense for us come from the Tiny Home community. The goal is for it to be our family base for more hiking and activity out towards Hood River and the rest of the Gorge.
Photos used with permission by Phil and are all copy protected