In the past few months, we have turned a storm damaged yurt into an eco-friendly, toxic-free, funky home for our family. And it was made mostly with recycled and natural materials. Last night my wife and three of our kids officially moved in and slept on our new wood floor, lit a fire in our pot belly stove, ate some pizza and watched a movie before we all fell asleep. This morning I woke up to see sheep sleeping outside our window
Our home has cost us NZ$5204 which is US$4,287. The only thing left to do is plumbing the bath and sink to the hot water cylinder and installing a wetback in the pot belly stove. And I need to make some more furniture but that can wait a while.
Still a bit more work to do but our house is very livable and enjoyable. A yurt is a Mongolian style round tent, also called a “Ger”. Ours was originally made in NZ by Jaia Yurts and was badly storm-damaged when we bought it from an English lady who was moving back to the UK. Much of the frame was broken, the canvas was water-stained and the round ring that holds it together was smashed. But it was worth salvaging and I managed to find the right wood and replicate the broken pieces.
Here’s what we did and how much it cost.
We got permission from the Ngatiawa community, a Christian contemporary monastery near Wellington, to build a small structure on their land. Its a beautiful green valley surrounded by trees and hills.
The biggest expense was the floor. When we started, we only had a plastic groundsheet but it was summer and warm enough to get away with it. But the weather eventually changed and the family was flooded out while I was overseas.
As soon as I got home, I started get the yurt off the ground with a platform made from scrap wood and I eventually found some nice native timber offcuts, enough to make the floor.
Having sanded the floor all night long, I was still caffeinated and delirious when the sun came up. I never did get it really smooth because the wood was all different sizes but its a floor nonetheless.
While I was busy getting the yurt away from the wet ground, Debbie was created an insulation cushion out of old wool blankets that we are finding in charity shops. It took about 15 blankets to make the ceiling. She filled them with eco-therm insulation which is made from recycled wool.
It turned out amazing.
$2000 – yurt (storm damaged)
$480 – replacement yurt ring for roof
$350 – cedar wood to rebuild wall frame
$1000 – wood to build floor (seconds)
$130 floor insulation (recycled poly-consumer waste)
$450 – wool insulation for ceiling and wall
$150 used wool blankets to hold insulation
$200 wood to support floor
$100 rental sander and sandpaper
$31 bathtub (1950′s retro blue tub)
$341 pot belly stove (used)
$65 linseed oil for floor
$70 canvas waterproofing stuff
$60 nails and screws
$5 sink (used)
$10 flue (used)
$100 copper hot water cylinder (used)
$10 calico fabric (used)
NZ$5204. Thats US$4,287