Yurt Living in Upstate New York - Tiny House Blog

Yurt Living in Upstate New York

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.

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Peter - January 29, 2010 Reply

Very nice, some great ideas.
Is it planned to be lived in full time at some point?
Please make some updates and show us how it evolves after being occupied for a while.

    yurt dweller - January 30, 2010 Reply

    Louis and I have lived in the yurt for over a year already. It’s our full time home. We unloaded a ten room Victorian in a village to realize this, our dream. See also Louis’ comments below.

      lilydalehome - April 1, 2011 Reply

      I also live in upstate New York and would love to be able to talk with you and maybe bring the hubby to actually “see” a yurt as we are planning on selling our home on Cayuga Lake and putting up a yurt on a small piece of property hopefully within the next 5 years. (thats the plan anyway….lol) Your innovation is amazing and as with all “home” projects I know its a learn as you go experience. Please contact me at lilydalehome@yahoo.com as I would love to speak with you more about this. No one thinks it will stand up to the central New York winds and snow, but I would love some advice. Thanks, Julie

      Alex - February 9, 2012 Reply

      This is really inspiring! I am getting ready to attempt to make a move very soon… I have been pricing land, and also pricing yurts as well. I would really like to get an ideas of how much you spent on the carpentry on the interior of your yurt… I am finding that there is allot that goes into this process. Do the people who did the interior of your Yurt, folks who specialize in this type of living? I have so many questions…I apologize! Is there anyway i can contact you guys, i know you get bombarded, but i am really trying to see the totality of this move…
      much appreciated!

      Martin - April 6, 2021 Reply

      Dear Mr. Johnson, Yurt Dweller,

      I’m going to be putting up a yurt this spring in rural NY. Like anyone else in my shoes, I read every book about yurts I could find. That said, I’m still not confident I’m as informed as I should be. This endeavor will require me to invest my life savings. Naturally, I want to know what I’m doing before I spend all that money.

      I’d like to speak to someone who’s already tread this path and erected their own yurt. And I’m happy to pay for their time and expertise. Or, if you like, I can share my considerable experiencing designing and building small homes. Are you interested?

      If you’re available to share your yurt experiences, or know someone else who can, kindly let me know via the below email.

      Many thanks,

Niki Raapana, Alaska - January 29, 2010 Reply

Fantastic loft bed-kitchen idea! So inspired now by your choice to make it 1/3 across. It’s almost 24 hours daylight here in the summer so that’s where I want my plant/herb garden, but in the winter it’d be a spectacular view of the Northern Lights. You have an exceptionally beautiful yurt, thanks for all the pictures. The wood door is a neat trick.

    yurt dweller - January 30, 2010 Reply

    We found 1/3 was ideal leaving us just enough head room below (we’re both 6′ tall) and just enough space to sleep above. There is plenty of room for storage in the room behind the wall and still plenty of living space in the remaining two thirds of the yurt. Many people use the loft idea. What is our unique design (as far as I know) was using the overhang to create just enough space for our mattress. Thanks for your positive comments.

Heather - January 29, 2010 Reply

That’s the coolest Yurt I have ever seen. Nicely planned out and comfy.

Epperson - January 29, 2010 Reply

I absolutely love Yurts. It’s one of the most efficient and proven designs in world history that even HUD classifies the Yurt as a safe shelter. Stories abound of these simple, nomadic tents surviving hurricanes, earthquakes and Martian invasions.

XsTatiC - January 29, 2010 Reply

Definitely one of the nicer Yurt interiors I’ve seen. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, interior shots of many lived in Yurts seem be display them filled with clutter, tacky decorating and poor layouts. I have a big interest in Yurts and this one was great to see. I’d be interested to know about the insulation of this one… and if that layer is removed in the summer.

    yurt dweller - January 31, 2010 Reply

    the white walls and ceiling that you see in the photos of the interior IS the insulating layer. It goes on over the roof and lattice walls before you put the outer layer on. It’s permanent. Louis talks more about this in his comments below.

-billS - January 29, 2010 Reply

I want one…..very nice!

Epperson - January 29, 2010 Reply

I’m a city slicker. Can anyone tell me more about that hand pumped well? Are paid professionals required to install such a contraption or can people do it themselves? Will it freeze in the winter?

    yurt dweller - January 31, 2010 Reply

    the well digging and pump cost us about $5K. We did the installation of the pump ourselves but it was a pain and we had to install and reinstall it a couple of times before we got it right. I think if I had to do it again, I’d have paid someone to do it for us. We did make an inquiry about having someone do it but they did not seem eager to do the job as we did not buy the pump from them.

Lucas - January 29, 2010 Reply

Epperson, I’m not necessarily an expert on the topic, but I grew up w/ wells on my folks’ farm. We had one well go dry and had to drill another for our house/barn use. We also had a windmill well that still provides water to livestock. The hand pumps have to be primed by repeated pumping, thus bringing the column of water up to the “faucet”. When you are done pumping the handle, gravity takes over and the column settles back to the bottom, which will be below the frost line. So, no it shouldn’t freeze up on you. I’m sure in cases of EXTREME cold it “could” freeze up. Installing the pump isn’t going to be your problem, it’s drilling the thing that will require a paid professional. Depending on the water table in your locale, you could drill for 400 ft or more to get a good reliable, clean source of water. This is why the old well for our house dried up, it was drillled too shallow for long term use. Those hand pumps are really dependable, no electricity problems, no heat lamps in the wellhouse(fun times when your dad is out there in single digits w/ a kerosene heater and propane torch trying to thaw a frozen well house so you can have water in the house!!).

NIce yurt too. I really like the loft, storage idea too. I’m not sure why shelter has become so complex in our country??? I’m imagining lots of good nights around that wood stove. My folks have a wood stove. Went there to visit a couple weeks ago and didn’t want to leave. Standing by a fire is so cathartic.

    Epperson - January 29, 2010 Reply

    Thanks Lucas. That was very informative and much appreciated.

    yurt dweller - January 31, 2010 Reply

    we experience single digit and below zero temps here and the well water has never froze. When you’re done pumping, the water drains out of the pipe below the frost line.

Craig - January 29, 2010 Reply

Beautiful set up. A sauna is a great way to wash up and get warm in such situations.I love mine. A small shed with the cheapest wood stove will do. Great for passing cold winter evenings with the family.I hook the solar shower bag to the ceiling.

    Joe and Denise Kress - October 18, 2010 Reply


    Are you the Craig Boyer that wrote the article for Mother Earth News? If so, can my and I speak with you. We’re interesting in buying a Yurt for Upstate NY but we wanted to ask some questions and perhaps even visit your yurt.

    Thank you,


      Lucie - October 9, 2011 Reply

      Did Craig ever get back to you? He is the one who wrote the article. He also posted here on Sept 15th, so give him a shout. He loves his.

Mark A - January 29, 2010 Reply

Very cool.

There are some nice yurt interior shots at:

Niki Raapana, Alaska - January 29, 2010 Reply

I lived in a cabin in an old Alaskan hunting camp where the frontier men built it on top of their well. Their hand pump was in the kitchen over the sink (with a drain/slop bucket underneath it).

It looks like from these pictures that Louis could move their yurt ten feet over or just build an extention yurtroom right over the well if they wanted it. Be a nice spot for plants or a hot tub/spa area too. So many healthy possibilities with a steady, fresh, clean water supply.

These people are living proof that yurts can be livable and gorgeous, but I have to say, I think a lot of what the yurt offers is lost in photographs. The images always make it look more cluttered than the actual space is. So in RL this yurt has to be even nicer than what we’re seeing. Anyway, to me their well is a huge bonus. I haul my water now and would love to have a well! (30k min here)

    Epperson - January 29, 2010 Reply

    30k to drill a well?!


    What about rain harvesting?

    yurt dweller - January 31, 2010 Reply

    It was suggested to us that we dig a trench from the well to the yurt site and have a smaller secondary pump come up into the yurt at the kitchen sink but we didn’t want to (more time, labor, expence, etc.). We have a tank in the loft and our water is gravity fed to the sink. Hauling our water has made us extremely conscious of our usage and we conserve accordingly. Also very good exercise.

      Epperson - February 1, 2010 Reply

      Is the water “filtered” through a system before its used or is it simply heated on the wood stove?

      It would seem that the simpler the system, the more effective it would be in a Yurt home, provided that there is a source for water outside.

        yurt dweller - February 4, 2010 Reply

        The water is not filtered. We had it tested and it’s clean.

        Here’s where simple living gets a little complicated. In a couple of the photos, you can see our black water storage tank in the loft above the bathroom door. We fill this tank (45 gallons) about once a month. Because of the black plastic we don’t drink this water but use it for washing our hands and rinsing dirty dishes, etc. We could’ve gotten a drinking safe tank but we had this one and wanted to reuse it and save money. So we also have drinking water next to the sink (the blue cooler). And we put hot water in the orange cooler. This we heat outside in the sun during the summer, on the woodstove in the winter or on the cookstove as needed.

      Jon - June 5, 2012 Reply


      My colleague Duncan and I are making a documentary on affordable homes and sustainable living. We are travelling East to West coast stopping to record the stories of some of the leaders in eco home building.

      We set off in two weeks. Along the way we are visiting cob homes, straw homes, homes made of bags of earth, and homes made of tyres.

      I was wondering if you might be free mid July for us to visit and record your journey? Your home looks amazing, and we have been looking for someone who lives in their yurt for some time.

      If you are interested, please contact us through our website http://www.dirtbetweenlightbulbs.com and I will contact you directly with more details.



Mrs. Money - January 29, 2010 Reply

Wow, awesome!

Louis - January 29, 2010 Reply

The insulation we use came with the yurt. It’s a reflective bubblewrap type of material, developed by nasa. They said it does not have an r value, but it has a reflective quality. When the sun shines, the yurt heats up. That does not mean it over heats in the winter. Of course on a hot day the yurt is also hot. We have planted some fast growing shade trees that will help keep the yurt cool in the summer. we have several windows (that are currently covered with the insulation) that when open, keeps it relatively cool in the summer. Also, the summer environmental conditions are not too hot.

Water pump. We installed it ourselves, it was difficult, but we learned a lot doing it. our well is 180 ft. deep and the pump is down around 100 ft. the flow is enough for a hand pump, but low for “normal” use: 2 gal/minute. The pump is from Bison Hand Pumps in Maine (it’s made in Maine). The pipes that come with the pump are in 8 foot sections, and you put them together as the pump goes down. in the last section, you drill a little hole, and the water drains out to just below that hole, so it will never freeze, because the hole is below the frost line for this area. We found that when you pump your own water that you use a lot less water, which we consider a good thing. This is our only source of water, and it works great. Pumping our own water means that we don’t have to worry about having enough electric from the solar to get water. We can get it when ever we need it, energy is not an issue.

wood stove. we started with a smaller stove, but traded it out for the one we are currently using (a medium sized stove) right now it’s 70° in the yurt, and 6° outside. I just got home from work 90 minutes ago. when I got home it was 43° inside the yurt. This eve I did cover the dome, which helped it heat up quicker, and this winter we also bought a small propane heater, and that helps things heat up quicker. We only use it occasionally, like when we want the yurt to warm up. it’s off now and the stove will maintain the heat nicely. Last year we used between 3-4 cord of wood, and we expect to use the same this year.

We normally cover the dome when it’s in the single digits, the cover is just a sheet of the insulation that gets Velcroed on to the celing. It’s easy to put it on or take it off from the loft. We will probably take it off on sunday so we can enjoy the full moon (the wolf moon). It’s nice to have the option.

    Epperson - January 29, 2010 Reply

    Will everything freeze inside if you leave it vacant for more than 48 hours?

      yurt dweller - January 31, 2010 Reply

      yes. We saw ice in the yurt once. We do not plan winter vacations. The stove does a pretty good job. There’s no problem leaving the yurt for eight to ten hours but a full day or more would be risky in below freezing temps. We did recently purchase a small propane space heater but use it rarely. We’re thinking about testing this by leaving the heater on low and leaving the yurt overnight.

Susan McReynolds - January 30, 2010 Reply

The idea of the raised bed loft is a great one. In our cabin (with no heat except from the evening’s use of propane lanterns) we definitely find that hot air rises and stays there to keep us cozy. This is an example of a well organized full-time yurt that is not a hot mess. Thank you for showing the less sensational side of the story…most folks HAVE to be well organized and pick up in tiny house living. We also use the rafters and other structural details as storage units instead of installing a bunch of stuff on the floor or walls. Wells are THE most tricky thing we have at our preserve and we are still trying to figure out what to do…tap into a natural spring???drill???(at a cost of $10,000 for a weekend place?? no money for that!) I appreciate everyone’s contributions to this site to help all of us solve our individual problems.

Denis OKeefe - January 31, 2010 Reply

I’m trying to figure out the flooring of your yurt. Is it built on grade or raised, and if above ground how does it support the weight of the stove?

    yurt dweller - January 31, 2010 Reply

    There are good arguments for building on the ground and for utilizing a platform. We had very good carpenters design and build our platform (we ended up not using Colorado Yurt’s available plans). I helped a little with the platform and asked about reinforcing the floor where I thought the stove was going to go. They thought the floor was fine without but did put in some extra bracing anyway. As it turns out, I was off with my estimation of the stove location and I’m not sure the stove is above the bracing. At any rate, it’s been absolutely fine.

Jennie@ColoradoYurt - February 1, 2010 Reply

Love all the comments and replies. These guys really did it right from both a yurt living perspective and creating a sustainable living model for other folks. Definitely one of the best overall plans of anyone we’ve worked with over the past few years!

Dan - February 1, 2010 Reply

Woaw, that’s a lot of great info! I’m living part time in my own yurt (an authentic Mongolian yurt from Groovyyurts) and planning to move in full time. Still haven’t figured out the water supply and your post helps a lot.
I am often using a small propane stove to keep the yurt above freezing for a few days when I leave. Mine is from Mr Heater and does a great job, even here in Quebec were we’re often below zero F.
I was just wondering what size was your yurt you had?
thanks a gain for sharing!

    yurt dweller - February 4, 2010 Reply


Cortney - March 7, 2010 Reply

Because I am trying to figure out how the water works, I have a couple of questions.

1. How are you dealing with waste water from the shower and sink?

2. In your shower, is the water coming from the tank above? What about hot water? Do you heat it up and put it in a separate container?

3. For the tank in your loft, do you carry the water up there via the ladder? Is there a way to run a water hose from the pump outside to the tank to fill it?

I love your design! It is very efficient it seems. One more question though. Is the wall you’ve created tied into the outer walls or is it freestanding?

Thanks and great work!

MightyMo - March 10, 2010 Reply

Thank you SO much for all the great advice and designs!

I “think” we are about to venture into our own yurt experience, and have so much to learn! I really appreciate the inspiration. Particularly, the tile around the wood stove, the loft bed above the kitchen, and the back area with storage and bathroom. Wow! I am excited and scared about this new yurt adventure… I will keep you posted on new developments. : )

MightyMo - March 10, 2010 Reply

Oh, and the wood chute! What a great idea.

BenW - March 30, 2010 Reply

I live in upstate New York and want to build an off the grid tiny home (yurt, tumbleweed, etc) and have been searching for someone with the same mindset as myself to ask about power, water, etc. If you could get in touch with me via email I would greatly appreciate it
bisforben (at) gmail.com

louise - May 11, 2010 Reply

I, too, would love to have some dialog with you about your experiences. I lived in a small yurt for 5 winters in the Tug Hill region (up towards Watertown, NY) alongside 6 others. The main yurt was 30′ while mine was 16′. I’m planning on buying and living full time in a 30′ yurt sometime in the next 6 months. I’m undereducated about the engineering and logistics of operating the yurt but design wise I have a strong sense of how I want things inside. I’m having trouble with some concepts, but most particularly wish to have solar panels for electricity…don’t know how to go about calculating usage/demands, etc. But other things you’ve encountered interest me as well. Living off-grid is immensely appealing so I do have questions. Are you patient enough to go over some things with me? Or have the time or interest? Can you email me at vesla2 (at) aol (dot) com? Thank you!!!

    Abel Zimmerman Zyl - February 7, 2012 Reply

    For Solar electric info, you might check out Backwoods Solar… In Idaho. They are very knowledgable, helpful, and have pretty easy to use design info on their website.

betty crandall - July 13, 2010 Reply

I am interested in anyone who has yurt to let me know where to get insurance on their yurt>
We are putting one up but need insurance. also NYS building code says the yurt does not meet codes for insulation R-Factor what did you do to meet these codes.


Allison - August 27, 2010 Reply

I own a wood yurt in upstate NY (Roxbury) that we unfortunately have to sell. If anyone is interested in it, please contact me or the agent:

    Mark Dixson - October 14, 2010 Reply

    Hi: We would not be interested in buying the property as we are moving out of NY, but we wondered if we could impose on you to come down and look at your yurt as we are contemplating putting one on our property in PA and AK. My email is mad2run2@twcny.rr.com.
    Thanks, Mark

    DJ - August 23, 2011 Reply

    Hi Allison,
    Are you still selling your Roxbury yurt?

David Trubridge - September 10, 2010 Reply

Yurts are wonderful (yours particularly) and I applaud the intent towards downsizing and simplicity, but feel that you have not really followed this through. It is not enough to just transpose our existing lifestyle with all its trappings. We categorically do not need a bank of six solar panels. I have a future retirement house larger than this yurt with only ONE 130 watt solar panel (plus 2 x 6volt batteries and NO inverter, $2.5k all up), despite being told I would need a system with 6 panels costing $27k by an electrical engineer for the SAME use! We simply decided to put in the smallest system and then fit our use to what it can provide (and that surely is the only way we can go?!). It is sufficient to run a water pump, a compost toilet fan, LED lighting throughout, a 12v stereo and laptop charging. In summer we also run a 12v fridge.
Yurts are lovely but impractical because they do not allow the capture of rainwater which is surely essential? And why are you heating water (and cooking) with non-renewable gas when you have a wood-burning stove which should be able to do that through a wet-back far more efficiently and cheaply?

2010 the Year of the Yurt? | Greenpeoplesite.com - Home - September 28, 2010 Reply

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    Corina - March 31, 2011 Reply

    How about heating your water with the wood stove. I lived off grid for a year and a half and had endless hot water in the winter. granted I had gravity fed water coming into the house year round from a spring.In the summer I used one small solar panel to heat the water.


      Corina - March 31, 2011 Reply

      That is not water not heated on the wood stove but in the wood stove through some pipes. It did necessitate a storage tank.

Mark Dixson - October 14, 2010 Reply

My wife are looking at yurts for our northern PA property and our Soldotna AK property. We were wondering if we could come up and look at your upstate NY yurt and talk to you?

Dave Rokitka - January 8, 2011 Reply

Thanks for posting all the useful info! Very nicely done. It’s good to see so much interest in alternative homes… if only building codes reflected the fact that the growing population needs affordable, flexible housing.
I’m working towards putting up a semi-permanent yurt in Western NY and am determined to make it happen one way or another. Though it seems like there will be some hurdles concerning certain code issues with a fabric yurt. I know every region is different, but if you wouldn’t mind sharing any experiences with code requirements you had to deal with, it would be tremendously appreciated. Thanks!

John daly - February 14, 2011 Reply

Nicely done yurt! We like to put one on our land near the Tug Hill, but have questions about snow loads.

Could you explain your gray water system a bit more? Is the mulch pit a filtering system?

johnny rotten - March 12, 2011 Reply

nice looking yurt well done i have been living the outdoor life for more than 20 years years now .i am wondering about your toilet though is it actually in the yurt or a separate building ? i personally dig a fresh hole in woods everyday and it composts well .sorry i ask the question

Yurts | BEAGLEY-BROWN DESIGN - April 1, 2011 Reply

[…] some intriguing examples of real people really living in real yurts (and not a yoga mat in sight): ‘Yurt Living in Upstate New York’ from the tinyhouseblog.com and ‘Living in a Yurt’ in Ontario from […]

James-Emery - April 9, 2011 Reply

I am raptured by this conversation, having just returned from a walk through my family’s verdant farm on Seneca Lake. My mother and I thought of building a yurt for visitors to the region who would like to stay some place that embodies their spirit. Yurts have that magical presence that makes us so keenly aware (and appreciative hopefully) of the nature around us. My particular area of concern has to do with building codes, which I understand vary among municipalities. Can anyone share their experiences or familiarity with pertinent codes, zoning, or planning issues…? I have seen yurts before in Northern California where codes are often lax due to the remoteness of the area. Here I am in a town with a population of several thousand, with mainly residential and agricultural use, and several hundred miles of highway. The area where a yurt would be situated is well hidden within a gully, not visible to any neighbors. Please feel free to contact me at jamesemeryelkin@gmail.com if you have any helpful insight. I greatly appreciate the inspiring comments and stories on this forum.

    Steve - June 3, 2011 Reply

    That’s major concern of mine. It sounds like I’m in a much more rural area, (Ashford Hollow, NY), than you. The problem is that the code guy is pretty rough on new construction and permits. Is a yurt a do-able thing in this part of Western NY?

Brent - April 10, 2011 Reply

This is a great read. I have just started looking into the Yurt life. My first thought was about the weather. From seeing you live in upstate NY as i would be I am guessing it does withstand the elements.
I am very excited to look further into this thank you for sharing your story.
If you could, i was wondering what is maybe one huge thing you wish you knew before, i know learning from mistakes is the fun way but being prepared is good too.

Deb - June 3, 2011 Reply

I’m also thinking of a yurt as a way to get privacy on a wooded parcel as an affordable temporary choice in southern Erie or northern Chautauqua co. Can’t imagine the building inspectors accepting such a thing but sounds like there is a way. I’d like to put in a DOG DOOR and would have to cut the lattice but think your wood portal idea could work in larger version for the malamutes.

mary - September 13, 2011 Reply

Did you ever get an answer about where to find insurance for your yurt? We are looking for insurance for a yurt in Fairbanks, Alaska. Any info you can share? THANK YOU, in advance!

Craig Boyer - September 15, 2011 Reply

Hello,everyone. I built a yurt on my land in Saranac Lake ,NY. Went thru 80 mile an hour winds and 18 ft of snow kast year. The snow and wind load package is a must. So after 2 years of storms and all other weather conditiond the yurt is solid. Anyone interested contact me and feel free to ask any thing you like. Buc5386@yahoo.com

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Sean Carthew - November 8, 2011 Reply

I’m just starting to look into these. I just bought a lot on Butterfield Lake near Redwood NY, close to canadian border. All opinions, thoughts, advice is welcome.


Thank you

Mary - February 6, 2012 Reply

I have questions — Please email me your replies — maryccharest@yahoo.com. If I put one of these on my land in NYS, do I need permission from the township, or is it just like having a tent? It would not be for year round living. Please email me about this sort of thing and your experience in NYS with yurts.


Mary - February 7, 2012 Reply

For you year round yurt dwellers — please email me the name of the township on NYS that allowed you to put up and live in a yurt full time. I would like to know where these are already permitted. maryccharest@yahoo.com

Rachel - March 7, 2012 Reply

Hi, Your home is beautiful and inspiring. We live full time in our 30′ yurt off the grid in Northern Ca and I had a couple of questions for you guys and feel free to email me if that works best.

We have also read Humanure and our current set up is a 5 gal bucket with the toilet seat and another filled with sawdust. I am wondering if that is what is under the chest/wooden box that has your toilet seat on it and if not I am curious your set up.

I like the simple design of your loft and the shelving underneath. I am curious how much the loft costs you guys. We are getting bid at the moment.

We also have some issues with keeping our yurt cozy, I am wondering when it is cold outside under 30 if you guys have to reload your stove during the night or if you pack it full it will at least have coals in the morning? We have to wake up once or we will have a cold stove and it is impossible to warm the yurt up in the morning, no biggie I stay in bed when I can until the sun hits the yurt and it’s warm almost instantly.

btw.. yurts are unpermitted structures here in CA we have our yurt permitted as a storage yurt, which required 2×4 walls and 2×6 on the roof.

It appears that you guys have freezers in your storage area and a fridge running in your kitchen, how are there being powered? Are they stand alone propane?

This is probably a question asked often so maybe you have the answer already typed out but I would like to more about your grey water system. Are you reusing your grey water to irrigate?

O.K. I am sure that I have overwhelmed you with questions. We really appreciate you guys taking the time and effort to put this blog together, being connected through struggle for more freedom and gratitude for what we have is a growing love and support.

Thank you

Mary - March 10, 2012 Reply

Hi – thinking of putting up a yurt for my daughter near Ithaca NY – wondering about the building codes etc. and legality of the composting toilet. Would love to visit some nearby exiting yurts for some brain-picking. Any invites? Thanks. marvelus49@yahoo

Tina - March 28, 2012 Reply


There are at least two yurts in the Trumansburg area that I know of. One right on Searsburg, & another in the FingerLakesForest….

Jeff - May 3, 2012 Reply

I found yurt insurance in NY.. I could not get wind or snow load coverage, but do have fire insurance and contents.. More:


Steve Reed - August 20, 2012 Reply

Alas, No reason to order yurts from far-flung west coast vendors anymore. Surely Yurts produces handmade yurts right here in upstate new york! visit our website http://www.surelyyurts.com for information. We have lived in yurts and designed and built them for years and can help you along your yurt path. -Cheers, and happy yurting!

Carly Clark - September 18, 2012 Reply

You have a beautiful inspiring Yurt! I have been looking into land in the Hudson Valley and my plan is to build a yurt instead of a cabin.
I would love ANY direction in getting this process started. How do you begin to ask the right questions about building codes and insurance?
Please help! I’m so excited to start this adventure, but really need direction as to where to get started!
Please email me at carlyaclark100@gmail.com
Thank you so much!

Kim in a kayak - November 9, 2012 Reply

I lived in a yurt over the summer as a campground assistant. I had no electricity or plumbing, and I never really totally settled in. It is very cool to see the pictures of what you have done with your yurt. I seems lived-in and comfy. Thank you for sharing! This is my article about my yurt experience that I posted on my blog:


Sisu - January 19, 2013 Reply

Thank you so much for opening your home to online visitors. I too, live in Upstate NY and have in slow steps, made changes to go back to living more simply and with a conscious effort to be mindful of time, space, money, etc. I would love to hear more of the process of building your yurt – it is beautiful! I don’t know where to start with this new adventure, please email if you could. Thedarkhorse2012@yahoo.com. Thank you.

Susan - March 7, 2013 Reply

hi, what is the size of your yurt.
did you put a storage on the back.
i was trying to size it up. thanks.
i see 2 freezers, i guess that your storage room.
good idea. i love your bed up in the air,
it saves space. thanks for showing us your
home and it is cool.
as for insurance on the property, some one
suggested a commercial insurance policy.
you have to check on that for yourself.
in reply to insurance on your yurts.

Dreaming of a Yurt | Tiny House Trio - March 24, 2013 Reply

[…] is a great Yurt in New York with a loft bed for a bit more floor […]

Dave - March 24, 2013 Reply

Hi everyone, I’m Dave. I have lived by myself in a 30 ft. yurt in NH for 3 years. It’s great, but not as efficient to heat as I would like. I haven’t partitioned the inside, except for the bath room. I have and indoor hand pump from the same place they got theirs and my toilet looks suspiciously like a 5 gallon bucket. Many details aside, I believe that one could build a structure of similar dimensions that would be cheaper and more efficient. Manufactured yurts, with the foil/bubble/foil insulation are comparable to an uninsulated cabin. Great when the stove is going but literally freezing when it dies out. In a homestead or traditional yurt lifestyle, as in that in past eras, someone would always be home keeping the fire going, or be able to go home to do so. This is often not the case in our modern lives. The advantage is that my platform and yurt were constructed and I moved in in 2 weeks. I think a passive solar cabin, in which you might not even have to run the stove during the day, is the way to go. It may take longer to build, but will have a longer lifespan. I signed a 15 year warranty on my yurt, and the outer vinyl cover will have to be replaced at some point, due to breakdown from UV rays. If you buy a yurt, buy a big stove that will run for 10-12 hrs. That will allow you more freedom to come and go during cold weather. I got mine from White Mt. Yurts in East Wakefield, NH for a reasonable price and I believe that they have gotten a little cheaper with more options since then. For example windows that are operable from the inside, which mine are not. This option was not available when I bought it, and costs extra compared to the velcro and zipper deal. I live on 5 acres. I’m going to keep my yurt as a big studio/gathering place, and build a smaller more efficient cabin to live in. Yurts are cool, but for year round living, you can do better for the money you spend, especially if you can use the resources from your own land. Good luck to all

john Poland - April 10, 2013 Reply

Using 2×6 or even 2×8 sidewall supports and filling with tight fitting High R Board and Or fiberglass and the same in the roof would make this So very easy to Keep warm.The insulation sold with the yurts is Fine when the heat is on..but it does not Hold the heat like a High R Rated insulation does !!!!

Bell Katelyn - May 5, 2013 Reply

As mentioned by John I also have fillings which are tight fitting to keep myself warm. I too have been living in a 30 ft yurt. Initially I too found it difficult to keep myself warm. But through many trail and error methods found fillings giving best results.

mangobingo - July 4, 2013 Reply

I think this is the nicest yurt design I’ve seen so far. What diameter is the yurt? Just wondering how well this would work in a 24-ft one.

Corina Rose - September 13, 2013 Reply

I too, live in a 30 ft yurt and after 3 winters am insulating with Denim from Home Depot. I have real windows in it which I think helps some. It sections off the siding.
I am in Vermont so long cold winters.
I am finally getting water and power up to my yurt which I am very excited about.
I am open to discussing further with other yurt dwellers. I love to see/hear how we have made it work including what doesnt work.
For example I got deathly ill the first winter and could not keep the stove going. So having back up/reliable non electric heat has been essential.
I am one person living in a yurt so if I dont do what needs to be done it doesnt get done~and I work away from home, with animals in the home so letting it get to 35 while I am away is not an option.
Also I am not a spring chicken, climbing ladders doesnt work for me either.
I have been looking into permanent/wood sided yurts– like Smiling Woods Yurts. For the cost I think buying the kit is worth it. Can create a passive solar building and live in the round which is what I love

sussi - June 4, 2014 Reply

Corina Why did you not get a Pacific Yurt ? How would I keep a Yurt warm if I’m out and I leave my cats, dogs home for the day ? What about bears ? What about crime ? How much of a snowload can your yurt handle ? I want to live / purchase a yurt in place of a manufactured home but I have these concerns. Thank you for sharing.

Kimberly - July 9, 2014 Reply

Thanks for all the information and responses from yurt dwellers. I just started looking into purchasing some land upstate and would like to put a yurt on it, for retirement. I was wondering how well it would hold the heat in the winters and i also have the same questions as Sussi. Any tips and information would be great…for a want a be yurt dweller!

    Joe - January 12, 2015 Reply

    Hey….just listening in. But have you thought about a coal stove? I know, I know….not great for the environment, but a Chubby Coal stove would burn 8-14 hours at a time…

Dave - March 12, 2015 Reply

What are the zoning laws like in NY state for year round Yurt and or Homestead sites? In other words can I buy a plot of land, buy and or build a cabin and create my own life without being bothered? Any info appreciated thanks.

Carrie - November 16, 2016 Reply

I really like the wood opening you did. My husband and I bought land in southern Colorado this past summer (near Great Sand Dunes National Park), and are currently saving to put up a yurt from the Colorado Yurt company. We hope to do a wood stove, although it may be harder getting wood in that part of the state – our land is high plains and a lot of scrub brush. If we do, we will definitely incorporate your idea.

Thank you for sharing your very real home!


Bonnie Kamp - January 18, 2017 Reply

Hi everyone. I have a property that I would like to develop. I am looking at cabins, tiny houses and yurts to see which would be best. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. Bonnie K

Arnulfo Toro - February 2, 2018 Reply

Great set up. I like your style too.
What type of permits where required?

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