Hand-Built Yurt Home from Scrap Material Offers Debt-Free Living


The following post is an excerpt from Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter (Shelter Publications, 2012) by long-time MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributor Lloyd Kahn. In this book are some 150 builders who have taken things into their own hands, creating tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.) — homes on land, on wheels, on the road, on water, even in the trees. Here is the story of one of these builders, Scott Evans. You can rent this home as a holiday rental at Big Sky Retreat.

Inspired by Lloyd Kahn and Shelter to build my family a home from recycled materials, I then looked around for a way to make a more decent living on land once farmed. I ended up getting a design for a wooden yurt from Bill Coperthwaite. The plan was to build a small building that might be rented out for holiday purposes until my son was old enough to live in it. Situated in a redundant quarry, the site has a 180-degree view of Dartmoor and surrounding Devon countryside.

What emerged was greatly inspired by Bill, but somehow hybridized into something else inspired by the many characters and artisan builders out of Lloyd’s books, along with my excessive use of recycled and scavenged materials, an inability to follow plans or ask for help, lack of money, and sheer stubbornness — you get the idea.

The yurt is 20 feet in diameter, has a Scandinavian-inspired built-in bed with wardrobe and cupboards, a sloping shower room, a tiny kitchen, and a living room with built-in sofa and more storage, all constructed with scrubbed and sanded old scaffolding boards or dismantled pallet wood. Details are mainly driftwood or sanded-down branches found in my own woodlands.

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