If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you already know what has been occupying us for the past couple of weeks: we’re building our own home. I say home instead of house because, well, it’s not a house. It’s a yurt! In the coming weeks I’ll do a little series about this experience: how we came to this point, the building process (including lots of sewing!), and of course what my sewing space will look like in the end. Let’s start with how we got the idea in the first place.
Up until October ’13 we’ve lived in a normal house like everyone else. Then we gave it up to start travelling Europe for an indefinite time, with our campervan/firetruck. The goal was not only travelling itself (we didn’t have any plans that went further than ‘South Europe’), but to discover new ways of living, and new places to live. We hoped we’d find a place nice enough to stay and settle but that didn’t happen. Not because we didn’t find nice places, but because we found too many nice places. If you have nothing to tie you to a place, there are going to be too many options.
We’ve always been interested in alternative homes, like trailers, tiny houses, and yurts. We feel very comfortable in small spaces. We find that the more space we have, the more we tend to fill it up with stuff we don’t need and that weighs us down over time. When we decided to go WWOOFing one of the goals was to learn or experience new ways of living. This led us to Nicholas and Noella, who lived in a yurt in La Marche, Italy. With them we got to experience life in a yurt, and we loved it. The round space, the closeness to nature, going back to basics and the mobility of the structure.
It seems like a big step to go from a brick house with central heating to a yurt that’s basically made of wood, fabric and sheeps wool and has no toilet. For us it actually feels like we’re moving up, since we’ve lived in a campervan (on and off) for more than a year now. A yurt matches our needs at the moment: we don’t know where we’ll settle yet but until we do, we’d really like to have a home of our own. A yurt can be set up in half a day, and taken down in the same amount of time. You don’t need a concrete foundation, just a relatively flat surface. We can easily move it if we need to or want to explore other regions.
We still had some months of travel ahead of us when we got excited about yurts but our dreams didn’t change. We didn’t want to go back to the Netherlands though. Lucky for us, Stef’s parents have a holiday house in France with a big backyard, and they agreed we could put up our yurt there. So, the first thing we did when we came back was research how to make this happen. Well, not the first thing, our first and foremost priority was to finally launch the Jade skirt.
At first we looked into traditional yurts, since they were financially a wiser choice. They are also beautifully painted and made of only natural materials. They have some downsides though: they’re not made for wet climates, and they are not built for tall Europeans. So we decided to go with a modern yurt with materials that can take the wet seasons and are sourced locally. And we found a place where we could build the yurt ourselves, under guidance of professionals.
This was perfect for us: doing most of the work ourselves meant that we could keep the costs down and learn new skills at the same time. So we set out in our truck once again to build our own home. And with this little backstory I leave you! Next time I’ll be talking about the building process and all the sewing that was involved. I’m gathering inspiration on my Yurt Life Pinterest board if you want to see how beautiful a yurt can be.
So I’m curious: have you ever though about living in anything other than a ‘normal’ house? Have you stayed in yurts? What does your dream home look like? How big is the sewing room that is no doubt included? :)