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Do It Yurtself (imgur.com)
724 points by NaOH on Sept 21, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 192 comments

Some terrible, hyper-critical comments so far. A 3d-printed concrete cube with a fridge full of Soylent would be vastly more efficient for productive techies. Can't we just admit that this is an incredibly creative hybrid of old & new. The end result is breathtaking.

But the problem is this is not DIY, it's professional work, the word is being abused for some purpose.

> He has a do it yurtself website w/ all the fancy content, presumably he's planning on selling that.

Not surprised

This was my response to a similar comment on reddit: Personally, I think a professional is someone with training and experience who is paid by someone to build something for them. We have no training (except youtube videos), very little previous experience (built out a campervan before) who built a yurt with our friends and family for us to live in.

But I’ll add, I’m a professional filmmaker and producer which is maybe why some people are thrown off because the images are a step up from the normal iphone/dslr photos and videos people typically post. Ideally, the quality of the documentation is appreciated, especially for something that is free and hopefully useful for people trying to do something similar.

Never heard of a definition of DIY that did not include building something of professional quality. I think it’s as simple as the name implies: you can do it all by yourself.

I don't think it's being abused at all. If you have the time, finances, and willingness to learn how to do it, you can DIY. I think the same goes for most DIY projects.

The guy who put together this yurt is also the same guy who converted a van to a camper van (link was on Hacker News a while back: http://thevanual.com/). I recall he had next-to-nothing in construction experience.

Complete with insulation instructions that will cause mold growth.

Ah yes! That insulation! I definitely learned my lesson afterwards from the s*storm that ensued. Maybe there will be a vanual 2.0 in the future that resolves these issues, but at the very least, Id like to make some edits to correct that info on the current site.

You should look into that. You definitely present that site like "i know what I'm doing and this is good information."

You mean the fiberglass-in-a-bag solution? Yeah, I can't see how you would get that airtight enough to not trap moisture inside.

> But the problem is this is not DIY, it's professional work

Yet it's something that you can do yourself, since all resources are available (contrast this with something like cutting edge electronic devices).

Well, it's do it YOURTself, not yourself, sometimes humor is hard to detect ;)

Sorry, as an older individual, not necessarily up to date on current memes and such, what's the significance of the extra "T" in "yourtself"?

They were building a Yurt :)

I think people are turned off by the near professional quality of the photos for some reason. The one of the guy using the router in slo mo could be out of a Craftsman commercial.

It does indeed kinda feel like guerilla advertising...

As someone who tries to build things myself, I think of it as a valid way to monetize what you have learned as passive income to make up for the time it took you to do it. Another well done example is https://faroutride.com/ . They have a very detailed and highly useful journal of their camper van build.

I might be missing something here, but I'm not sure this makes any sense to me.

Why should you be owed more than a yurt should you decide to build a yurt? If you're making a post to advertise a service, all I expect is a notice disclaiming as much. Otherwise, it certainly feels dishonest.

The maker is a art director by profession.

He has a do it yurtself website w/ all the fancy content, presumably he's planning on selling that.

This lacks statistics on temperatures throughout the day or estimates on the loadbearing capacity of the roof.

In essence, this house has not been benchmarked.

This is exactly, what came to my mind after adoring the beautiful first and following pictures. The whole setup looks very adorable, with the plants inside the bedroom area and i guess it could be very plesant to stay there for holiday.

But i guess the winters will be horribly cold without anything that could be called decent insulation. And the whole weight of the roof (and maybe snow) is on that little wooden fence. And its better not going to get windy, because as as you can see in https://i.imgur.com/i3o9MBj.mp4 the bars are mostly just hooked into the top of the fence. As someone who learned basic structural engineering, this is giving me shivers. The roof can hold itself pretty nicely like an archway,... but if you get lots and lots of wind from the side, my guts say that it might evolve into a big problem.

They are using a wood burning stove which will adequately heat the space. Instead of controlling for a constant temperature like a modern insulated/HVACd house, they heat as needed. Its an older approach but will work perfectly fine. The walls will have zero problem supporting the roof as it is incredibly light compared to modern US roofs.

It’s white.

The stains on roofs are from mildew. They will likely have to power wash every few months, assuming the water doesn’t cut through eventually.

I’m unclear about ventilation or the ability to do basic maintenance like walking on the roof.

In what picture are stains?

The round shape sould help against wind. I agree with the lack of insulation though. The heating part could be partially remediated with radiant heat. With a heavy masonry stove instead of a simple wood stove.

Traditional yurts were built in areas with high winds and snowy winters, how is this different?

The yurt manufacturer's website has snow loads available on it. I didn't take the time to figure out exactly what model was being used here, but they've definitely done the calculations and have upgrades available for higher snow load areas.

In the project page https://doityurtself.com faq page the faqs talk a little about climate control. Apparently they don’t do great in extreme heat or cold (lacking great insulation?). Not benchmarking but something:

“ Yurts do not do well in extreme heat. It's best to find a location for a yurt that is in a mild climate and in a place where you can build in some partial shade. During the summer months, you can use fans or potentially an A/C unit if you have the power to run it. “

I’ve stayed in Yurts like this in the Sawtooth range of Idaho in February with night time temps of -10F. They fare well when there is a wood fire going, and better if there is a solar/battery ceiling fan to circulate the rising warm air.

In the summer direct sunlight can warm them considerably, but if well placed in shaded areas then the temperature is well moderated. Some units have a vent in the oculus at the top for use in the summer.

There is zero mildew if platformed well and clad properly with water protective barriers.

Ironically, traditional yurts very similar to these are used in places that go from -40C to +40C throughout the year (Mongolia, Tuva... though true, when it’s -40C, hopefully you’ve packed up your yurt and moved it down the valley to the winter grazing location that’s a little less harsh...).

I'm more curious about the state of that yurt in 5, 10, 15 years. Heating, humidity, insulation, energy bill, insects, hygiene, maintaining the toilet and the hygiene issues that come with it.

Building codes don't exist without good reasons. Health and comfort don't happen by snapping finger at good ideas. I would really be interesting if construction engineers seriously studied yurts.

I have to say this looks pretty nice and it's pretty cheap, but humans did not start building with hard materials without good reasons. Even without fossil energy, humans still started to use stone, cement, etc.

I guess brick has a very long lifespan, it's worth the time spent, but I don't know if it's cheap.

Absolutely, I have done no research on this but on his website [1] he claims:

> Strength: The fundamental principles of a yurt’s design creates a structure that is surprisingly strong. The compression and tension of the walls and roof can hold thousands of pounds of weight from the snow. The round shape allows high winds to be diverted gracefully around the structure. Unlike a normal house, a yurt doesn’t rely on rigidity to be stable. Because of its flexible nature, a yurt can better withstand natural disasters like earthquakes.

So maybe it's true and they are actually sturdier than it seems?

[1] https://doityurtself.com/is-it-for-you/ (scroll down to "The positives of yurts")

I think from a structural engineering perspective, yurts are strong for their weight/materials but most construction failures don’t involve a structure falling, it’s matrierials/joint failure from water/UV exposure and penetrations. Yurts were developed to be semi-permanent structures for nomadic peoples. I would not expect them to last more than 15-20 years because of the toll the water and sun will take on their “cheap” materials and simple construction methods.

You’re not wrong per se, but the polyvinyl fabric roof or wall on a yurt can be replaced in a matter of hours for a relatively reasonable price. If you have to do that every 15 years, I think you’re doing pretty well.

Cheaper to replace a yurt than a roof on a traditional home, which you are supposed to do in a range of time similar to your predicted lifespan of a yurt. And that includes the entire yurt, when in reality you'd probably only have to replace the plastic and frabric which is considerably less expensive than the entire yurt.

I'm not sure if I'm under-thinking this or if you guys are.

Possibly a construction engineer designed this kit.

These kits have been around a long time, I’ve been in one that has been standing for some time, I didn’t notice mildew issues (I’m guessing there is some type of ridge vent at the peak) temperatures were ok. It was in the Bay Area and plenty of apartments there aren’t insulated, so the yurt wasn’t much different.

This is an expensive build, Idk if wiring the yurt for electricity is worth it. If you keep it as all one room, a single lamp and spot to charge a laptop or phone pretty much covers it. Propane to heat water for a short hot outdoor shower, and cooking outside.

One thing to consider is if you are the type of person to make it really remote, maybe you’ll find that as cool as a mile hike in is to your yurt, you will occasionally want to hang out there without the hike.

"I'm more curious about the state of that yurt in 5, 10, 15 years."

It's a good question and I've always wanted to see postmortems on alternative building methods generally. I suppose that we could always take on the Japanese philosophy of building homes anew every few decades.

'Round these parts, I'm afraid that a yurt would be crushed by the first real snowfall, but the build isn't in these parts so no harm, no foul.

Personally, I'd think twice about building over an old blackberry patch. There's a reason that the plants like that place and the word 'swamp' comes to mind. It's already hard enough to deal with moisture in a dwelling as it is.

In any case, it sure looks cool and I like the builder's spirit.

Humans used whatever material was plenty available for a long time. The Siam and Burmese empires used wood. When the wood started to rot they razed it and built new houses.

Most homes in the US are simple wood frames, with wood cladding. No one worries about the lifespan of those houses.

And given good construction, a wooden house can last hundreds of years as seen in the surviving houses in Europe. Doesn't of course mean they all will.

Yes, there are still standing timber frame tithe barns in England from the 800's.

Just gotta keep the timbers dry and insect-free (or -free-enough).

But all the modern stick frames, hmm, no so much..

I bought a wood framed house that is probably 150 years old. Nobody really knows when it was built. The framing and the fieldstone foundation are in perfect order.

It was built on the highest point in the farm field. Water flows away from the house at all times. It uses full size framing (actual 2x4) with solid boards as sheathing. The roof was maintained and the shading trees do their job to keep UV exposure low.

A building is a system. You can neglect major parts and it breaks down. Modern construction unfortunately optimises for less time on the job site and ready-made cheap materials. Easy to make mistakes that reduce the lifetime of the structure.

It seems to mostly depend on how big the overhangs are, if you don't have flooding or seismic issues.

vinyl tarp: i have some car tents from costco (aprox $300) that appear to use a similar vinyl exterior and they hold up great (5+ years so far). I made one into a perm shed, but with that I added another layer of thick tarp on top (that also seems to hold up well, just make sure you use UV stabalized)

insulation: looks pretty awful to me. this thing is going to be cold in winter unless you keep the fire going 24/7

plants: good luck keeping these with enough light+water. watering these seems like a total nightmare given how any drips are going to ruin your structure/drywall.

foundation: anyone doing this, rent a (or buy a cheap) concrete mixer! I bought one used for $100 on craigslist. can sell it right back when you are done with the project.

flooring: "luxury vinyl planks" are awesome. I use the "lifeproof" brand (bought at home-depot) and they are great. completely waterproof, durable, and look like wood.

I would certainly like to add some more detail that goes into a lot of what you mentioned. Just havent had the time yet. I agree with most of what you say. But I think there’s a spectrum of acceptable living conditions that maybe extends past what most current building codes allow. Some people are okay roughing it more than others. Of course, if that were to be accepted it could also be taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords, developers, etc.

There are counties in the US that do permit yurts even for full-time use. These gurts are signed off by a structural engineer and are typically in more temperate climates. Yurts can last quite a long time. Most of the exterior material has a 15 year warranty. Beyond that, it will depend on the climate and how well the structure is maintained. There are yurts that were constructed by the OG yurt companies back in the late 70s that are still in use today. And the materials and engineering has only gotten better over the decades. Yurts are not perfect for every environment, but they are an interesting option in specific use cases.

But in the state of 5, 10, 15 years, the beauty of this is that most of it is easily replaceable, assuming the foundation and flooring is solid. I mean, there is just not a lot to "go bad", so to speak.

If only those Mongolians had building code engineers.

Traditional yurts, as I understand it, are temporary structures that are moved every so often. This build is a permanent structure.

Temporary in that they are moved 2-4 times a year, but permanent in that they are used throughout the year, just in different locations.

Sure but moving means you do a total inspection and replace anything that is wrong 2-4 times per year. You can also clean off any mildew, water damage, plug any holes, deal with any ground issues underneath, leave behind any biological waste, etc.

No way that compost toilet doesn't start to smell up the whole thing

Wow, imgur has really ramped up the ads and user hostile UX, I wonder if they are going broke.

>user hostile UX

They've been pretty hostile for a while. Look at this disgusting behaviour:

  # Mobile UA
  $ curl -v -H "Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,applciation/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8" -H "User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Android 10; Mobile; rv:68.0) Gecko/68.0 Firefox/68.0" https://i.imgur.com/6WAZZpN.jpg
  < HTTP/2 302 
  < retry-after: 0
  < location: https://m.imgur.com/6WAZZpN?r

  # Desktop UA
  $ curl -v -H "Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,applciation/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8" -H "User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:71.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/71.0" https://i.imgur.com/6WAZZpN.jpg | file -
  < HTTP/2 200 
  < last-modified: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:45:26 GMT
  < etag: "21d323ddb1c1926ab0d7a5bb9786c996"
  < content-type: image/jpeg
  /dev/stdin: JPEG image data, baseline, precision 8, 2250x1500, components 3
Note that they redirect mobile users to https://m.imgur.com/6WAZZpN?r in order to serve them ads, encourage them to install their PUP on their device and break their ability to zoom on the image (the image embedded is thumbnail size).

They use UA sniffing to disguise this behaviour from technical users on desktop. They also detect if you're using curl and spoofing a mobile UA (which sends Accept: * / *), in which case this dark UX pattern is disabled.

It's especially ironic taking into account how imgur came to be: as a simple image hosting website for reddit without ads/fluff. Now it's the polar opposite.

Still, Imgur is vastly superior to the old image hosting sites. Even though the redirects and low resolution images on mobile are annoying.

They serve a lot of traffic, and the bandwidth expenses are probably quite big.

I also find it much faster than Reddit's own image/video hosting.

I’m on a slow connection. The ad images loaded first before the actual content.

The company is prioritizing ads over user content and I can see no world where users desire this.

The "users" are the ad exchanges that are buying ad space on imgur. They probably have contracts and SLAs about how slowly ads are allowed to be loaded. In a pinch, ads will always be loaded first. Happens on every site.

Imgur has taken in $60 million in funding and the founder has had the usual delusions of grandeur regarding their "mission" (I interviewed there). The grand ambitions haven't panned out and I'm guessing that the VCs now want some return on their investment.

Reddit adding image hosting couldn't have helped them with anything other than bandwidth costs.

Imgur for a while has been hostile to non users for a while but never enough for me to outright dismiss a link simply because it's Imgur. They ride the line between functional and hostile tightly.

They've crossed the line for me by redirecting direct image links to the post.

Eg: When I click an i.imgur.com/xxxxxxxx.png link I expect to be taken to the image file, not be redirected to the horrid, slow and bloated mobile UI.

I straight up quit halfway through because the videos/GIFs would take forever to load.

That and the ever present obnoxious prompt to download the app.

how could they not be going broke?

Looks a bit more optimized for Instagram aesthetics than being practical [1]. It seems like it would get pretty warm in there especially with the bed being at the highest point of the whole yurt.

[1] https://www.instagram.com/youdidnotsleepthere

How does the construction industry work in the US? Do many people DIY? Do many people get hands-on with building homes while still hiring experts where needed? Is it common for city people to own farms/land nearby?

It seems it isn’t really that costly to build a nice 1000 sq. ft. place complete with appliances and modern amenities.

The construction industry in India is shitty - carpenters, painters, plumbers, masons, general contractors have little to no professional training and eff up projects often, the tools aren’t modern and renovation work is infrequent because of the poor quality of construction services (and non-existent DIY culture and ecosystem). Also, it’s probably looked down upon in the Indian society if a house owner goes DIY with any construction work (gardening is an exception).

In more rural areas, you can still build your own home without a huge amount of paperwork and certification. As someone else mentioned, if your funding hasn't got strings attached you're even more free. Of course there's always the "forgiveness is easier than permission," factor too, but that only works if you're "somebody" to the authorities you hope to be forgiving you.

I built my house from 2003 to 2005 in rural TN with only a couple of permits needed (electrician, one for the well, one for the septic system) and no special laws about what contractors i could employ. This was self-funded, self labor, etc etc as much as possible; and probably about the most benign location for the effort in the entire USA.

I live in a city of ~200k (Grand Rapids, MI). We need a few more permits than you (structural plans, foundation...), but there's nothing prohibiting DIY work. I've found the building department to be fairly DIY-friendly.

Ha. A family member built a ~2,500sq ft, 3 stall garage home near the beltline a few years back with the help of my other family members. One of them had a contractor's license (I think primarily for the discount and credit line at Menards - they never worked as a contractor) but GR was very amenable to self built homes. Just needed the normal inspections (foundation, electrical, plumbing) and it went smoothly.

Curious, what was the total 'all done' cost of doing this?

Just under $40k, with salvage materials and every cost saving i could scrape up. Place has been assessed 2x - 3x higher and I've been told "If it was a more normal structure it could be worth twice that"... Most people don't want houses with industrial flooring and 900 sqft loft rooms; thats why I had to build :)

This sounds very interesting! Have any pictures?

What do you use the loft room for?

In the 40s-60s, one could get a kit home and build it yourself. They were of decent enough quality where existing structures in the Bay Area are selling for over $1m.

Contractors are supposedly licensed and bonded. They may employ others. There are some very good ones - they are all booked out years in advance. The shady/shitty/marginal ones are easier to find.

The value of expensive property with old houses is 90%+ in the land. My 1950's house is valued at 6% of what the land is.

I was surprised to learn you can still buy kit houses from Menards, a major store similar to Home Depot and Lowes. They have a catalog you can look through to make your choice.

I looked into building our home. Unless you can self fund you’ll need a loan. If you need a loan for new construction the banks will require a general contractor. If you already work as a general contractor you’re all set. If you’re not you’ll need a GC to shepherd the project through. But going completely DIY is extremely difficult for most Americans.

I'm in the middle of building a 1000sf home with some friends. It'll probably be about 80k for the house (including various permits). We hired contactors for: plans (including engineering calcs), concrete slab finishing (our floor, did the forms & rebar ourselves), trusses (required by code), plumbing, and drywall. I just got back from putting tile in the bathrooms :) We had a retired electrician friend who guided us but did that ourselves, otherwise we probably would have hired one. We're in the countryside so also needed a well and septic system (not part of the 80k).

It's been a tremendous amount of work but is otherwise rather doable. The internet/youtube has been very helpful (like Neo downloading how to kungfu). Another surprise is how helpful the building inspectors have been. They're usually dealing with cranky contractors who want to do the minimum, and we've been very eager for their advice on how to make things last since we'll be living there.

It's been notably more expensive (maybe 15-20%) than we expected, mainly do to the modern building practices and materials which are either required by code or just a good idea.

In Soviet Union of the 80s a male person with rural origins aged over 18 was considered capable of building a wooden house by himself (or little help from other males in the family) by default. Nowadays you can hardly find someone who is not a carpenter professionally but still capable of building.

Yeah, and that’s why most of the modern rural Russia reminds everyone of the 1920s southern states in America.

It was eye-opening to end up at a photography exhibition by a guy who did government-backed photography in the south in 20s and see the same house my babushka used to live in.

But frankly, it doesn’t mean these were _good_ houses.

In Russia good means reliable, and that's all. Comfort is secondary. But not for youngsters of course, that's why rural Russia is almost abandoned.

If you want to read about the drawbacks, they're explained here:


To summarize: living in a yurt – no matter how modern it is – can have the same drawbacks as living in a tent.

With this particular project the con list also includes a compost toilet and the need to climb up and down the ladder to get to your bed. It's OK for few days, but I can see it getting very tiring really quickly.

I don't know about the compost toilet, but I climbed up and down a loft bed during college for years, it didn't bother me in the slightest.

Of course, that was decades ago...

It's not really an issue for a fit person, and serves to preserve one's fitness.

When you configure your surroundings for maximum convenience and minimum effort you're more likely to grow fat and lazy sooner than later, it's basically accelerating the aging process.

> If you assume—like I did—that your yurt could be built on leased land and moved at a later date if necessary, you are entering yourself into a world of pain. My biggest regret with this project was building the yurt on land owned by someone I barely knew. If I had waited patiently until I could purchase land of my own, I would probably feel quite the opposite.

Wow, I'd like to know more about what happened there. He installed all those concrete pilings on land he didn't own?

Looks great! For anyone who wondered like me whether the top hole can be closed, it is a closed clear dome[1].

[1]: https://i.imgur.com/JwAMOsG.jpg

This looks really incredible! While I see a lot of cynicism in the comments I think this is a really neat project and would love to live in something like this. I love how remote work and self employment let arrangements like this be a viable way to live.

They had one of these (Sukup Safe-T-Home)[1] at my hometown county fair this year and it seemed like a very interesting take on the yurt. It's basically a grain bin that they've modified slightly to work as a shelter.

Definitely spent a few minutes fantasizing about having one of these as a cabin in the woods someplace.

[1] http://www.safethome.com/Safethome

Looks pretty rugged. Cost is roughly 7k.

Hey, this is the same guy who did that camper van conversion a couple of years ago!



Is this Portland Oregon or Portland Maine? I thought it was Portland Oregon, but then they mentioned the footings were 12 inches below the frost line, and there basically is no front line in Portland Oregon since the winters are too warm and rainy. But I assume there is a frost line in Portland Maine.

Either way I can't imagine this can be very comfortable in the winter with basically zero insulation, unless you plan to run the wood stove all day and night. For summer it's great, but it sounds like the author wants to live there all the time (he mentioned not having to shower at the gym after installing the shower).

The exterior shots look way more like Oregon than Maine. And Portland OR government regulations list the frost line as 18".

That's crazy. In the 2 decades I've lived in Portland, I've never seen more than the top inch or two freeze, and that's typically only for a few days to a week when a real cold snap sets in. Then it starts raining again and quickly thaws out. I can't imagine it has been cold enough for long enough to freeze down to 18" since the last ice age.

The problem is you can't have your buildings destroyed every 30 years with freak weather. So the frost line for building is set at X00 year depth, and then a little extra.

Perhaps at a higher altitude?

In Maine, the recommended footing depth is 4 feet.

The website says the Pacific Northwest.

Go far enough up the mountains, even in the coast range and there is definitely a frost line.

I guess that means the footing is only 12 inches deep.

This is Zach. The guy that built the yurt and the website. Just found out this was posted here! Thanks for checking it out. I’ll try to add my two cents and answer some of the questions. Im away from my computer so I might be a little slow!

How much did the whole project cost?

This reminded me of a more traditional (but focussed on efficiency) 100% self-build (and design) that I've been following for a while, but since the last infrequent update I seem to have lost it.

I don't suppose that's familiar to anyone else? I expect I saw it on HN in the first place, the URL was something focussed on the efficiency/climate aspect, though most of the content (and to be honest what I was interested in!) was just generally applicable how-to/DIY for each step.

Edit: Ah! I found it: https://www.savingsustainably.com (I wasn't quite right above, I suppose perhaps the efficiency goal is a product of 'FIRE' rather than climate concern). And some more update since I last caught up with it, excellent.

Holy...128 80lb bags. I poured a single footing in my backyard with a 4-5 of the light 20lb bags and said, never again.

No idea why they didn't have conrete pumped. Probably would have been cheaper

How do you stay warm in the winter? The drafts must be intense.

The photos of the wood stove may be a clue.

As far as i can see there’s zero insulation and basically no thermal mass to buffer the heat. They’re going to need to keep a fire going 24/7.

I spent a few nights in a yurt in Mongolia. You are correct. Our fire went out at about 4 am one night and I very quickly got cold enough that I wondered for a bit if I was going to die (spoiler: it was fine).

I had the identical experience - so cold! The smell of those horse dung stoves are amazing.

However, the most memorable thing arriving in Ulan Bator was seeing two different yurts on fire. Fabric buildings containing wood (dung) burning stoves and chimneys have not looked tempting since.

Oregon is a pretty warm climate. Just eye balling the terrain, they look to be at a pretty low elevation and probably won't see more than a few weeks of below freezing weather per year. Not sure this would be practical in a more punishing climate.

A common misconception is that insulation is about heating only. It’s not, it’s about keeping the indoor climate as steady as possible, which means cool in the summer. Even a moderate summer will be balming hot in a tent.

I wonder if, since this roof shape can bear a heavy load, the insulation problem could be solved with rooftop plants? In some countries the government subsidizes you putting flowers on your roof, to make the cities greener. (In some parts of the city, bees have to travel way too far to find a flower, and run out of energy.) Now this yurt is way out of town, but they do seem to really like plants!

What are the advantages of a yurt over a pole barn or mobile/manufactured home?

Curious as to why Pacific Yurts didn't make the yurt companies page.


if you've ever stayed in an Oregon State Parks Yurt they were built by https://www.yurts.com/

Pacific Yurts is the only company that declined to complete the company questionnaire that I created. Maybe if enough people email them, they'll change their mind :)

Yurts can be insulated and have wood walls, windows, rafters, and metal roofing:


From their FAQ:

"Homes built with our products are permanent and comfortable for full-time all-season living in nearly every climate. They are built with durable building materials to stand for generations; a fabric yurt is basically a really nice tent. A SWY will meet and exceed the most current international Residential Building codes and can be insulated to industry standards for energy-efficiency using proven R-value products, a fabric yurt will not. We have insulated glass windows whereas fabric yurts have vinyl windows that open from the outside. SWY homes can be secured, fully-insured, and generally qualify for conventional financing under most circumstances through a third-party. Please note: Smiling Woods Yurts does not offer any financing on our products."

Some yurts are tents, some are more substantial.

I got lost somewhere there. How much all this cost him?

Happen to have the answer in my clipboard buffer: "Our yurt came in around $65k which included all the building materials, furniture and appliances."

The 'Living Big In A Tiny House' youtube channel put up a video of this yurt today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f05NYU3kmFs.

Is it just me, or are yurts currently popular just because they have a funny sounding name?

Having lived in a van for the past year, building a yurt is my next plan. Probably once I’m back in Australia.

I’ve looked into earthships, bagged houses, abodo, containers, small houses and other DIY methods.

These yurts seems like the right balance between cost, DIY capability and results.

Particularly this loft design, which I’ve seen on some NZ YouTube videos.

My plan, a yurt on land approximately 2 - 3 hours from Melbourne, plus a sprinter van or troopy. And I’ll buy a private parking space in Melbourne, for when I want to weekend / overnight in town.

Zero mortgage. Fuck your house prices, keep em.

This is pretty cool and looks great. It has a lot of themselves in it which I think will make it a cherished place.

If anybody wants to see how a traditional Yurt/Ger is put up, you should watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLO-z-XJ7_U

It's quite different in some respects and the main difference is that the load is shared between the lattice walls and an interior post structure as well as the heating being centralized under the oculus.

The Photo of the bedroom strikes me the most. You filled in your sleeping Room with plants that Will release CO2 at night as any other plant would do.

I'm always intrigued by the way Americans build the foundation. I've seen it before, seems to be rather standard. Concrete pillars, OK, but then it's raised on wood and the whole house is placed on it? I can see some benefits but it doesn't seem good for the long term.

Around here we pour the whole thing on the ground, with rocks and concrete, the whole ground is covered, then the house is built on that.

That foundation isn't really standard. At least for houses. More typical are.

Footing and stem wall construction. Basically a perimeter concrete wall with a treated lumber mud sill. Fairly common for wood framed houses. Advantage is you can get under it to repair electrical, plumbing, and heating vents. Disadvantage : You probably don't want to if you hate small spaces and spiders.

Slab foundations on grade. Probably more common in newer construction. Cheap. Disadvantage: Sadness when you realize a leaking water pipe has created a spring in the middle of the living room floor.

And there are basement foundations. Common in areas where the ground freezes. Basements are either concrete or cinder block.

That is the convention for the US. These pillar footings are commonplace for decks. Which is what this structure essentially is: a deck platform with an expensive tent.

That's pretty neat, I was hoping for a Mongolian style Yurt. But this is a nice take on a modern Yurt.

I love DIY homes but, in the negatives it lists...

> Poor temperature control, noise level, and not so temporary

I'm wondering why you would build a yurt instead of one of the numerous more traditional wood frame green pre-fabs, which would essentially eliminate all of these negatives?

My guess is cost would be the biggest factor. Materials and construction methods in a tiny/pre-fab home are on a different level.

This yurt cost $65k though. That's easily on the same level as small pre-fabs.

Beautiful build! I haven't seen a yurt with a raised bedroom like that before, very clever.

I may have missed but it seems nothing discussed for the amount o plants in the comments.

Is having that many plants around your bed safe? Can they release enough CO2 to effect your sleep quality or is it a myth I remember from my childhood?

Is suspect you can search for this, but here's a quick shot - how much living material is inside them? Let's say all the plants weight the same as one human. And they don't need to keep warm. So most likely they're not respirating more than one extra human. And I don't think having three people in a bed is unsafe.

I just had a chance to do a bit research and read about the facts and I believe you're right.

It seems even a small pet, like a hamster, could produce more CO2 than a home full of trees/plants during the night.

Release co2, to the air? Wouldn’t we expect them to sequester co2 and release oxygen? Or is my mental model of plants maybe to simplistic?

They release oxygen during photosynthesis, which requires sunlight. Apart from it, there is respiration process that is going all the time that uses O2 and produces CO2 and energy for functioning. Under the sunlight, the production of O2 is significantly higher then the consumption.

The amount of produced CO2 is AFAIR fairy small to introduce any problems for people sleeping in a room.

It's reversed at night (absence of light).

It depends, [CAM succulents](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crassulacean_acid_metabolism) do their gas exchange at night, and then close their stomata and do the photosynthesis during the day. It's a dry-climate adaptation, to lose less water in the process of exchanging the previous day's O2 for fresh CO2.

Inspiring. Love the thoughtful design touches. My only immediate practical issue would be climbing that ladder in the middle of the night to wee! Regardless, the builder and family should be incredibly proud. Enjoy.

I have some concerns. Doesn't seem too resistant to winds. The plants inside the house, specially on the bedroom part, not a good idea. I wonder how good is that house to keep warm on winter and fresh on summer.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f05NYU3kmFs

I'm such a fan of these tiny homes!

What is up with the composting toilet? All these off grid houses you see on YouTube are using composting toilets. It’s like these people have never heard of a septic tank before.

If you're sincere, it's likely cost and sustainability — it's much cheaper to make a composting toilet than install a septic system; and a composting toilet is environmentally beneficial compared to a septic tank.

Edit: I just noticed that you also specify off grid. That as a foundational principle would lead one to simpler choices. A composting toilet is much simpler than a septic system.

If you’re stuck with a mobile dwelling, then it’s reasonable. If you’re permanently siting it, then there’s no reason not to simply dig a hole, and put a septic tank in. It’s a proven technology, that maintains itself. I grew up with one. My parents’ house has had one for 60 years without issue.

You may argue that it is more complex, but almost everything is more complex than defecating into a bag.

There is reference to the posters taking a week of peace to help out. How much leave is the statutory minimum? Is just one week common?

There is no law regarding time off. At my work I get 10 fixed days (christmas, thanksgiving, etc.) + 1 day per pay period - so about 36 business days off a year. However, the days can roll over from year to year and I hardly ever take time off because I enjoy working. I currently could take off about 3 months of paid vacaton. Every 5 years I get a 6 week paid sabbatical.

Make sure you check your state laws around paying out acrued leave. You won't feel like it now, but eventually your current job will come to an end and if it's during turbulent times for the company you may find yourself really missing that 6 weeks of pay if they don't pay it out.

I am the same, typically accrue a bunch of leave then when I move to a new job they have to pay it out. But I have been burned before.

In USA there is no law requiring paid leave, 2 weeks is common in salaried / full time positions, 4-6 weeks is uncommon.

I don’t get the fascination with Yurts. It’s a tent. People stopped living in tents as soon as they could, because they don’t stay cool, don’t stay warm, and don’t stay dry. They only work well in gentle, temperate climates.

The one advantage to tents is mobility, but Yurts are pretty much permanent tents. They’re the worst tent.

If you’re a nomadic group in the plains with not much wood around and a herd of animals it makes sense. Build tents with skins, burn the poo for fire.

Your premise is wrong. In all of your analysis, you forgot that people have hobbies, they get bored, and they do things for fun. Don't judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.

I think Portland is pretty temperate compared to Mongolia, where such dwellings are traditional. Also, they better insulated than the mobile kind of tent and therefore are not Pareto-inferior.

>They only work well in gentle, temperate climates.

So... Portland, OR?

How much house can you build for 65k all in?

Doing as much as possible yourself, you’re around $80-100/sq ft finished in normally-priced housing areas. Source: my dad’s a builder.

What about when you hire professionals? $200/sq ft?

Quite a lot in rural Missouri.

16x40 tiny house built by the amish costs 16k delivered. Includes 2 lofts for beds. Exterior completely done, interior is up to you (that includes wiring, sheetrock, carpet, insulation appliances etc.)

49k gets you quite a lot of interior. Total square footage is 6x this yurt. Pretty though.

A fellow Missourian! Have you had one of these tiny houses built by the Amish?

Feel free to email me if you want, email in profile.

The spiders...

I'd be interested to know where this is when they say "20 minutes from downtown".

Is it safe to have plants in the bedroom, don't they use up oxygen at night?

Where did hear it's not safe to have plants in a bedroom?

It's a common Feng Shui belief that plants in the bedroom are bad, which is probably reinforced a bit by the recent uptick in worrying about sleep CO2 levels. If you do a quick Google, you'll find a decent amount of Quora answers and blog posts asking about if it's safe or not, so it seems to be a not-entirely-unheard-of concern.

Not sure, I vaguely remember hearing or reading about it.

I think you’ve got that backwards.

He doesn't. Plants use up oxygen and release CO2 at night. They only do the opposite during photosynthesis, in the presence of sunlight.


That's photosynthesis, not respiration.

Amazing job.

Wish the plants were real.

Pic from the glass roof of the starry night is a must.

The plants are real, it's just that they are not directly planted in a planter with soil but the plants remain in their plastic pots (which do have soil in it).

I wonder what is carbon dioxide concentration before sunrise, it must be quite high.

This is second time in a row I posted factual, on topic information and I am being downvoted. It is well known fact that oxygen level is lowest just before sunrise [1], [2]. In the first photo there is absolutely ridiculous amount of houseplants for such a small room so obviously CO2 levels before sunrise are concern. What are the numbers? Did they measured it. Few plants are fine but so many plants? I would do the measurement just to be safe.

[1] https://www.picotech.com/library/results/plant-measurements-... [2] https://www.quora.com/Is-the-level-of-oxygen-maximum-in-the-...

Because you're linking measurements to small enclosed containers to try and make a point and it's simply nonsensical.

A small dog will put out significantly more CO2 sleeping beside your bed than all of those plants will. A person even more - if it was a single person, would you caution them against having another person sleep over due to co2 production? What if they were bringing in a third person to spice things up? Or more pets? Friends crashing on the couch downstairs?

We should pay more attention to CO2 levels than we do, especially in offices and particularly enclosed meeting rooms, but plants expire so little co2 in comparison to animals that there's really no reason to worry about them in anything regarding a normal situation.

Neat project but no hard hat?

Thats so awesome. I love it! I need it! I hate renting.

So interesting.but cooling and toilet are major problem


It's a feature


Normal house tax structure: $800k land / $400k structure. This: $800k land / $150k structure. What's the point?

I guess the point is people like different architectures. They have different opinions of what feels like home. And what's with the $800k land? Maybe in cities.

Nope. Seattle area suburbs.

Well that sounds like near a big city.

Would you agree with the following sentence? “Nothing unprofitable is worth wasting time on.”

No, but this looks way too unprofitable (you can't really sell a yurt, so it's much like flushing money down that composting toilet) and very little fun. At least to me.

Well thank god everyone in the world isn't a clone of you then!

tl;dr: man builds a home out of 30ft yurt, with modern amenities, in the countryside. The post is a photo report.

Ted Kaczynski did it before it was cool.

This was on /r/DIY earlier this week. I was a heavy critic to say the least.

The post just didn't feel like a genuine DIY project.


OP is a very talented videographer/photographer and it definitely pushed this out of feeling "DIY" for me. I'm glad to see that OP removed some of the forced marketing content to focus purely on the DIY side of this project. I don't really get the whole yurt thing (especially on cost compared to a more traditional route), but it's a neat project.

Even though parts of it were kit, it looks like they designed and built a lot of the interior themselves. I wonder if either one took off a sabbatical from work or if they did this all on weekend or after hours.

It's pretty neat and a lot of work, even if not entirely DIY. I mean, at some point you're going to buy pre-made parts. It's not like people grow their own trees, cut them down and cut their own planks. It's not a log cabin.

I don't agree with the negative comments, but I do understand them, and I don't think it just has to do with the use of a 'kit'.

A common theme I see on r/DIY is that for a project to be popular with other DIYers, the project itself has to seem like something that can be reasonably accomplished by am average person with only a little bit of help here and there. For example, something like remodeling a bathroom is still a popular DIY project even if you use a 'kit' for stuff like the shower and sink. The big appeal though is that installing new tiles, lighting elements, sinks etc are something that a lot of people can look at and say "yea, I could do that!"

This post, on the other hand, has a very "professional experience required" feel to it. From the use of heavy machinery, to having help from friends who are professional designers and hiring professional electricians, to the professional-grade photography, and even just the scale of the project itself, this definitely doesn't seem like something that an average person could reasonably expect to be able to actually "do it yourself".

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