In the previous episodes we’ve shown you how we came to our decision to live in a yurt, the construction process and the industrial sewing machine I used, This episode is about mounting the yurt, not the most difficult technically but certainly hard on our patience. We have this saying in Dutch: the last piece of lead is the heaviest. It means the last part of anything you’re doing is the heaviest part. This was certainly the case for us!

Before we could assemble the yurt, we needed to build a platform. It protects the yurt from moisture, cold and mud and it took us three days to build. It had to be the same size as the yurt, and round. It’s not a very complicated structure but it does need to be level. We’re lucky to live in a region with a lot of forests, so we were able to get the wood cheap. My dad and brother came over to help us out for which we were very thankful, they work hard and don’t complain!

Mounting the yurt, as it’s called, was not a very smooth process. If you’re experienced you can mount your yurt in a day. We’re not, and we were dependant on good weather. A little piece of advice: build your yurt in the summer, not in December :). It took us about 2 weeks to build the platform and put up the yurt, of which the majority was waiting for the rain to stop. It felt really long, we were so anxious to have it finished and move in. In reality it wasn’t, there were some setbacks but nothing went horribly wrong. I think it was mostly my low energy level, I couldn’t adapt that well anymore.The past year of travelling and then the yurt building had slowly drained our energy, we didn’t have that much patience anymore.

Bit by bit we managed to get up the frame, get the interior canvas on, then finally the insulation and outer canvas. The next and final step was to install our stove, the heart of the yurt. The heat of the stove keeps the yurt dry and prevents moisture from creeping into the wool. If you’ve been in a yurt and it smelled like wet sheep, it hasn’t been heated properly. Above all, the stove transforms the yurt from a tent into a comfortable place to live. We bought a Jotul, a Norwegian brand that makes really good stoves. We tried to find a good one in France, but the Scandinavians are just better at building stoves!

We were absolutely amazed to see our yurt finally standing. We kept walking around in it, or just sitting on the bed looking at the insides. We had only a bed for the first few days but still tried to spend as much time there as possible. For some reason it was, and still is, hard for me to connect the time we spent building it to this finished house. I know every piece of wood and cloth has gone through our hands but somehow there is a disconnect. The end result is just so polished, a complete structure, a house. I almost can’t believe that we made this. I know this feeling in sewing too. It was a piece of fabric, and now it’s a coat! This transformation is mind boggling sometimes.

Next time: the final chapter!

9 Comments

  1. Jana

    : Reply to Jana

    Lisa, Stef, that is absolutely amazing! I had no idea that people other than Mongolians built yurts before you started your project, but I’ve been quite intrigued ever since you first posted about this. And now you’ve built a real house that you can totally live in! That is so awesome! Congrats! (:

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      Thanks Jana! For some reason yurt building is more common in France. Maybe they have more hippies on average :)

  2. Jo

    : Reply to Jo

    Your last paragraph is great – I know exactly what you mean, and I can just imagine how weird it is to sit in your home and look at all you’ve done! It was a bit like that when we renovated ours – months and months of drama, and then all of a sudden you can just walk in and use it, and it’s as if everything that went before just didn’t happen. It looks so beautiful where you are I can just imagine the peace, being surrounding by fabric, wood, wool and nature :-) Can’t wait to see the final installment!

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      Yes it’s exactly that, that suddenly it’s done and it becomes normal so quickly. It really is beautiful here, and I love alternating it with trips to Paris because the contrast is so big! And because, you know, fabric shops :) Thanks for stopping by Jo! x

  3. Em Bee

    : Reply to Em

    Amazing! I’ve really enjoyed watching your progress unfold through your blog. I’ve learned so much more about yurts and I love your thoughtful writing. I hope we get to see the inside some day!

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      Thanks Em Bee! I’ve enjoyed sharing it, never thought people would be so interested. I’ll show you the inside in a few weeks, now it’s a big mess because we don’t have any closet space yet.

  4. Inge

    : Reply to Inge

    I still am so amazed that you built and sewed your own house. It looks so pretty and cozy. You can be so proud of yourselves!

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