Monthly archive for February 2010

“It Only Yurts When I Laugh”

I saw this caption on a photo of a yurt and couldn’t help but laugh…and make it the post title.  Yurts will always have a special place in my heart, I was almost going to put up one while in my masters program, but the land ended up having no sewage or water.

I still question their efficiency when it comes to insulation, I have slept in one while in Vermont, it was very cold even with a wood stove.  They can be really dressed up, with full kitchens, bathrooms and nice wood floors.  Here are 5 reasons to consider living in a yurt.

yurt in snow

1.Yurts are the Real Green Deal

Dave Masters (of the Luna Project) talk about his life in a yurt: “We talk all the time about living with less; Dave lives in 706 square feet with off grid power, a composting toilet, a shower and a full kitchen and didn’t give anything up at all to live in comfort and style. When you live in 706 square feet you don’t need much to run it; he collects water from his roof, power from the sun and wind, heat from sustainably cut wood. He spends about six hundred bucks a year for his propane barbeque, gas for his chainsaw and log splitter and that is about it.”

2. Yurts are Eco-Friendly

Living in a yurt can help us re-connect to nature, sure, but the literal structure of a traditional yurt is also nature-friendly. The materials are recyclable and should you decide to pick up and move your yurt, there’s no residual damage to the ground because no permanent foundation is used.


3. Yurts Have Stood the Test of Time

“They’ve been used throughout history by nomads in Central Asia,” from Evidence of fourth century B.C. yurts has been discovered, and the oldest complete yurt was found in a 13th century Mongolian grave. The structures were well-suited for the nomadic lifestyle because only a few oxen were required to carry a family’s entire home. But the structure was also easy to heat in the cold Mongolian winters where temperatures might reach 50 degrees below Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit).

4. Yurts Can Be Modern, Too

By combining the durable yurt concept with a few modern updates, we now have something called a yurta. This form of micro-architecture has optimized the original yurt concept to create a shelter that is steadfast, quick to install, light-weight, easy to transport, minimal in footprint.

nice inside

5. Yurts are Cheap

The Nomad Yurt, for example, costs a little over $5,000 (US) for a 22-foot diameter version with an insulated skin. If a few comrades pooled together for land, you’d have yourself a yurt commune and giant step forward and away from the unsustainable life.


Front & Back Apartment

This neat Parisian flat was designed by H2O Architects and is just under 650 square feet.  With a unique flowing wall that is designed to define space while maintain the flow, it allows the owner, an avid comic book collector, to show off his collection.  The built in storage is pervasive through out the apartment and has really nice accent backings to break up the almost overwhelming white.


Here is what the architect had to say about the design:

The new design offers a continuous wide open space which expands, becomes more complex or dense depending on orientations and uses. These variances are defined by the variable geometries and the usable thickness of the casework and walls. A study on sculpting these depths allowed to create a variety of cavities, niches and alcoves. The sculpted shapes vary in size and colors to adapt to multiple functions in different locations. They can harbor either the vast collection of comics or a bar, a bathroom, a closet, and so on.

The front side of each shape always maintains its negative volume on the back. Behind the scenes can unveiled new uses taking place like cupboards, a desk, video, shelves, etc… In this manner, the apartment is continuously renewed and cross-views can become through-views.

living room

Check out the multi use area below.  First it is a flip out office, but tuck that away and you have storage for your things.



floorplanMore photos here

More Ahead


I see videos like this and hear about people on Interest only loans, who can’t even touch the principle and I realize…..

This is why we do, what we do, at The Tiny Life and Tiny House.  To hopefully change thinking on how we live our lives when it comes to housing.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Future Materials For Building Your Home

With so much innovation happening in the technology industry, green tech etcetera, it is no wonder that we are seeing more and more new innovative products to build homes with.


What about Metal Foam?  Sounds crazy right?  Well its not, it has “a much higher strength-to-density ratio than any metal foam that has ever been reported.  What can this be used for?  Well currently applications are going to be used for earthquake damage protection, but designers are all ready scheme up new ways to use the material.

How about having your next house printed!?!?  In 24 hours!  Behrokh Khoshnevis’ device was originally designed to be a rapid prototyping machine, essentially a 3-D printer, but he has realized its true calling is in building construction.   This technology isn’t anything new, but the use of this cement like substance and its ability to scale to a house size is.  I have seen 3-D printers at work and while impressive(I saw one that could print in titanium), they are slow.  This method here is much faster and can support more applications for residential or disaster relief.


Obsorbo, its glass meets sponge.  But a very selective one, this glass will swell to 8 times its size while capturing volatile compounds a.k.a. chemicals and pollutants.  Once the glass is full, you can actually harvest the harmful parts and reuse it over and over again.  Originally designed for water contamination clean up, it has an interest implication in green homes or greenhouses where you grow your organic foods.



Concrete is used for many reasons, its cost, its strength, it ability to repel fire or water etc. etc.  But  what would happen if you were able to use it in new ways, such as accent walls or in lighting?  This material is technically concrete, but is mixed with optical fibers to allow light to pass through, while retaining strength.

lights person

Green Fun

Today I thought it would be fun to talk about some interesting eco-friendly things that caught my over the past week.

You love pizza, but you hate the waste of the packaging. Well here is a new idea from Greenbox, Check the video for how it works.

Next is recycled newspaper that has been spun into yarn which can be used to make any number of things. I have yet to see how well it holds up in the rain, but this product screams Etsy.

spun newspaper


Here is another one that I found, my sister and mother are both weirdly addicted to using straws, frankly I just don’t get it, but what kills me is that they have to throw these away each time.  I have never really seen any straws that are designed to be reusable or practical for reuse.  The nifty part about these is that you can drop them in a pot of boiling water or a dishwasher to completely sterilize them, inside and out.

steel strawsvia

Here is a great little ottoman that is made from upcycled materials.  While I would be buying one of these, at a price tag of $425, You could easily make one of these yourself if you can get your hands on the old burlap bags.



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