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Extreme Homes: This is Yurt Life

Once the au courant domicile of the sophisticated 1970s counter-culturalist, the humble yurt is entering a new era of popularity, say some makers. One reason: low environmental impact. And, with its roundish form and single-room layout, a yurt has simple charms. Its low cost of construction and go-anywhere, build-anywhere simplicity is attractive as a modestly priced alternative to traditional housing. Would you live in a yurt? Pick from your favorites in this slideshow and leave a comment on your yurt-ability.

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Fun for Yurt Whole Family

A yurt doesn’t have to be your primary residence — they make great backyard playhouses, retreats, workshops, and studios. Before setting up your yurt, be sure to check property zoning laws in your neighborhood.

Credit: Segev Photography

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  • The typical single-room construction of a yurt means that modern conveniences, such as a bathroom or a garage addition, often are secondary structures incorporated into the overall design. This Alaskan home features a yurt perched atop a two-story garage and workshop.


  • Think yurts are simply hippie havens? Think again: modern yurts may feature traditional building techniques that use wall insulation and energy efficient windows. Outfit your kitchen with the latest refrigerator, range, and dishwasher.

    Credit: Concentric Design Inc.

  • Prepackaged kits provide everything you need to build your own yurt, including lattice walls, roof rafters, doors and windows, and a moisture-proof coverings for the roof and exterior walls. Most modern yurts meet the structural requirements of the International Building Code and can be built in 3 to 4 weeks. Expect to pay $5,000 to $6,000 for a 16-foot-diameter yurt.

    Credit: Pacific Yurts

  • A yurt doesn’t have to be your primary residence — they make great backyard playhouses, retreats, workshops, and studios. Before setting up your yurt, be sure to check property zoning laws in your neighborhood.

    Credit: Segev Photography

  • The interior design of a yurt is often a comfortable mix of central Asian exotica and Old West bohemia. This version’s centrally placed, overhead ventilation port is great for adding daylight and moonlight, and is covered with cloth when it rains. The port is framed by a structural device called a tension ring. The ring ties the rafters together, creating a rigid roof system.

    Credit: Nomad Tanzania

  • Your yurtish individualism may lead you to set up in unusual locations, such as this serene bay. The best part of your splendid isolation? You’ll get to skip mowing the grass and other lawn maintenance chores — all that water sure is an ideal lawn replacement alternative.

    Credit: Groovyyurts

  • Based on the homes of the nomadic tribes of ancient Mongolia, the yurt is an extremely portable, packable home that can be built virtually anywhere. You may not have plumbing and electricity, but you’ll avoid some typical home owner headaches, such as plumbing problems and electrical fire dangers.

    Credit: Groovy Yurts

  • Your visitors will always feel welcome when you equip your yurt with twin entrances. These entryways help prevent drafts when doors are opened. Choosing the proper energy efficient exterior door helps save money by reducing energy costs.

    Credit: Mindful Living Home

  • A simple brushing will keep your canvas or synthetic roofing looking fresh and free of organic materials, such as leaves, that may cause staining. Inspecting and maintaining your roof at least once each year helps prevent damage and prolongs the lifespan of your roof, no matter what kind of house you live in.

    Credit: Pacific Yurts, Cottage Grove, OR

  • Equipped with a wood-burning stove and a well-insulated exterior door, yurts can stand up to the most rigorous winters, keeping the interiors snug and cozy. Just be sure to cut your firewood in early summer to give it plenty of time to season.

    Credit: Peter Adams/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images

  • if you like this, you may want to take a spin through HouseLogic’s library of slideshows.


  • Baby, Yurt Can Drive My Car
  • Yurt Right at Home
  • Do it Yurtself
  • Fun for Yurt Whole Family
  • Yurt So Vain
  • No Pier Pressure
  • Yurt Off the Grid
  • Yurt Quite Welcome
  • Up on Yurt Roof
  • Yurt-Round Comfort
  • Like our slideshows?
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  • do-it-yurtself
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  • yurt-so-vain
  • no-pier-pressure
  • yurt-off-the-grid
  • yurt-quite-welcome
  • up-on-yurt-roof
  • yurt-round-comfort
  • more-slideshows
An Alaskan yurt with a two-car garage Blue spiral staircase in a yurt Still images from a timelapse showing yurt construction Child playing next to back yard yurt The interior of a bohemian yurt A yurt suspended on the water Off the grid yurt with rainbow in background A yurt with two entrances A man cleaning the roof of a yurt A yurt amidst snow