Tag Archives: yurt raising

how to build a yurt (10 of 10)

I just realized I never finished posting the yurt raising pictures. Here is the last page, plus a bonus page of yurt interior shots, from that day.

This picture shows the last part, installing the walls. The interior panels have canvas on one side and insulation (the silver stuff) on the other side–you can see those going up on the upper left. Over that layer goes the super tough exterior fabric, that’s the brown/green panels. The windows are clear vinyl. In the bottom center shot you can see that when we started putting up the walls, we were putting them on inside out! Ooops. Re-do. We were the blind leading the blind.

But at the end of the day, it was accomplished.

Look at everyone, collapsed and drinking beer. Good work! I can’t believe Sophie was ever that small. You can see me, the preggo lady with the camera, in the center, looking out of the door that hasn’t had the fabric tucked in and screwed down yet. At the beginning of the day, there had been a platform, and at the end of the day there was a 700 square foot structure, ready for the next phase of turning it into a home.

And what was the next phase? Electrical, plumbing, cabinets and appliances for the kitchen, the giant bookcase/room divider and closets, the chimney for the propane heater. Etc. Despite Paul busting his bum to get it ready to move in to before Luc was born, we didn’t quite make it, by about three weeks. He was born in late October, and we got our certificate of occupancy mid-November. Whew. By Thanksgiving, we were living in our yurt, heads spinning from all the change in our lives.

But on this day in late May, the yurt was up. Pow. An old fashioned barn raising. I can never thank our family and friends enough for coming out that day!

And that’s how you build a yurt.

how to build a yurt (9 of 10)

The top photos show the roof going on. This huge, cone-shaped piece of heavy-duty vinyl stuff weighed a ton. The first pic on the top left shows the crew raising it up, one grueling inch at a time, to get it through the skylight. The picture on the middle right shows three strong guys popping their muscles to pull half of it into place. Aside from following the scant instruction manual, getting the roof fabric on was probably the hardest part.

The lower left pictures show Paul installing the five foot wide acrylic dome. We were getting on the afternoon by now and people were getting tired. But only the walls were left at this point….

how to build a yurt (8 of 10)

After lunch it was time to put up the the fabric layers, or the yurt skin. First came a layer of cotton canvas, which is what you see on the inside, the wall covering that shows behind the lattice. Next came the roof insulation–you can see that being lifted up to the top of the scaffolding in the lower left photo. It was put into place through the dome. The insulation is basically a heavy-duty, double-layer of bubble wrap, with foil on both sides. Basically, we live in a giant tin-foil hat, which keeps us safe, of course, from the government’s zombie rays.

I love the picture at the bottom of little Sophie, barely a year old, directing traffic. Next up, the roof and walls skins.

how to build a yurt (7 of 10)

These pictures are all of the tension ring going up. First you see the ring, this huge piece of multi-layered wood, really pretty. I was all “the instructions say to use a rope and lift it up using the scaffolding as a fulcrum…” and the men looked at me like I was nuts and said, “we’ll just muscle it up there.” Which they did. I was so nervous, watching them, that I forgot to take any pictures of that very exciting moment–so you just see it below, and then above, poof.

Next, a couple of people held it in place (they took turns) until the others got four of the rafters hooked up, which held the ring up, like magic. There was this scary moment where the holders let go…and it didn’t fall down.  Yeah!  That’s why they call it a tension ring–the pressure from the rafters is all that is supporting it. Next they added the rest of the rafters until all fifty were in.  The top end of each rafter hooks into the ring, and the lower end hooks onto a metal cable that rests on top of the lattice.  The weight of the roof is thus transfered down into the lattice–which is just thin pieces of wood, but together very strong, strong enough to hold up all of that roof, plus a heavy load of snow–and down to the pilings that hold the floor up. A yurt is an engineering miracle, if you ask me.

The last picture is of Paul and my cousin Noah sitting on the ring, suspended sixteen feet up in the air. Everyone cheered!

how to build a yurt (6 out of 10)

After five pages of photos about the six weeks of hard work to prepare, we finally come to the actual day the yurt went up! The obtuse, absurd, book of instructions suggested doing it in two days, but we had 60% chance of rain the next day–it had to be up by the end of the day, or all that gorgeous oak flooring was going to get rained on. Uncles, Aunts, Sisters, Friends, all came out for Yurt Raising Day. It was amazing! I have never felt so supported. It was just like that barn raising scene in Witness, only without the funny hats.

More to come….

how to build a yurt (4 of 10)


Because the lattice rests right on the floor, you lay the final flooring on before the yurt goes up. Which is hair raising, because here you have 700 square foot of oak floor and what if it rains? Luckily, it didn’t. And you’ll see in the next installment what they did to keep it safe while they refinished the recycled oak, under the threat of 30% chance of precipitation.

how to build a yurt (3 of 10)


Aren’t my family cool? Uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters, the whole clan, they came out, over and over, to help Paul with putting this whole thing together–while I did nothing but take photos and sit around, hugely pregnant.

Well, it was my idea to do the yurt. Maybe I get credit for that. It’s actually a nice kind of reversal: with babies, the husband has some input in the beginning, yes, but the wife does the heavy lifting, carrying that puppy around for nine months. With yurts, apparently, the wife puts in critical information in the beginning and then the husband takes over.

I love these pictures though, of all these people I love, working together to give me and my children a home.