What attracted me first to the yurt-dome was its form and design. The dome shape somehow resonated with me, along with its geodesic design and description as a light and airy space. Certainly a living space 18 feet in diameter and 9 feet high in the center, weighing about 65 pounds total, fit my idea of a light footprint.
The decision to move ahead with it was not so straightforward. Kati and I had just come back to our son's property in California after three months of doing work exchange on a Maui farm. The season was still warm, with nights in the 50s, and we could sleep each in a small tent.
We felt the lay of the land and began clearing a circle of earth in the center of a oak grove, while launching a crowd-funding campaign to help us with the cost of the yurt-dome. 'Things had happened' on Maui that compromised our financial status. But there were causes more compelling than ours on Indiegogo's Generosity site, and we had no response. Kati, our son Marc, and I used pick-ax, shovel, hoe and wheelbarrow to dig out the hard clay earth and haul it away as we leveled the slope.
As the seasons turned, and the nights dropped into the 40s, we felt pressed to make a decision. I have an aversion to debt, but used credit to purchase the yurt-dome. We continued to dig and haul earth, cutting through roots and granite to create a level circle. When the yurt-dome arrived, we wavered about whether to keep it or return it for a refund.
There was an adjustment period between us and the dome. The white tarp floor with all white dome gave us a feeling of living in a large plastic bag. Our breathing condensed on the walls, making clothes and bedding sopping wet. We tried heating with propane, and vapor condensation from the combustion only made matters worse. We tried two different electric heaters, but even the best model could not keep us warm in temperatures that dropped into the 20s and 30s. We were about to pack it up and accept the reduced refund.
On the day that we were ready to ship it back, a $50 contribution arrived over the crowd-funding campaign. Thus heartened, and taking it as 'a sign,' we chose to move ahead with the dome and trust.
On Craigslist we found a free standing fireplace. With our son we installed it and after experimentation the smokestack is now high enough that smoke blows over, rather then into, the yurt-dome. A cord of almond wood was delivered. We pulled out the white floor, preferring earth, and used the plastic as a high class tarp cover for the cord of wood. We are now into a rhythm of getting up several times in the night to feed the fire, and overall the feeling in the yurt-dome is homey and cozy. Our Siberian Husky companion, Aura, sleeps on the bed with us.
Pictures tell the story from the first clearing and leveling of the land to setting up the yurt-dome and installing the wood-burning stove.
The maker of the yurt-dome is Shelter Systems in Santa Cruz, California.