Why our yurt was a marriage booster

When Sean and I set out to build a house together, we got a lot of raised eyebrows from friends and family. Neither of us had any building experience; Sean knew how to use a power drill and I had taken wood shop approximately 18 years ago. Who needs experience, right?

To everyone’s surprise (especially ours!) we found our Shelter Designs Yurt to be the ideal 7-month team building exercise for our marriage. Let me unpack: Sean and I are both very competitive people. And stubborn. With unending amounts of pride for what we do. When we set out to teach each other something (like Sean trying to teach me to ski when we first met, or me trying to bring out the non-existent inner-road cyclist in Sean), one of us inevitably ends up feeling like the A-team and the other is benched on the C-team. Then you start looking at activities like Scrabble, where we both know what’s up, and it’s straight up chaos. (Note: Scrabble is temporarily banned in our home unless we have a third party to play with.)

With building a home - or in our case, a yurt - neither of us had any past experience… We were both starting as beginners, together. On the same team! For us, that fact was both humbling and motivating, as our work ethic became stronger. Through every phase - from take down, to building the deck, building the yurt, raising interior walls and the loft, and finally adding in our systems and the finishing touches - we were there, working through it together. And while we both had a lot to gain, skill wise, I think the greatest gift the yurt has given us is mutual purpose and a chance to grow and build together. This, my friends, is why our yurt is so special. 

And I’m proud to reveal a virtual tour of our Shelter Designs yurt interior! Have a great week.

Here’s the yurt main hallway, right after you walk in. You can go left into the bedroom, or right into the bathroom… or straight into the living room/kitchen.


The bathroom is the smallest room in the house (thus, I crammed myself in there to take a photo — evidenced in the mirror!). The patterned curtain on the left shields a full size shower. 


The bedroom is light and airy — and our Kyrgyzstan wall art hangs on the north wall. 


Walking down the hallway, you have the kitchen on the right and the living room on the left (and a small opening into the bedroom, which you can barely see on the far left):


Looking into the kitchen from the living room:


Looking into the living room/bedroom from the kitchen:


Our solar-powered fridge and 55-gallon water drum sit in the pantry, next to our Goal Zero yetis that provide the power for the entire home:


11 replies
    • Mollie
      Mollie says:

      Thanks so much Krista, that means a lot. We’re so happy to share our experience… there aren’t many people who keep up blogging about yurt life, at least that we’ve found. Thanks for reading! —Mollie

  1. coursmit
    coursmit says:

    I have been reading updates you have posted on your blog through this whole process. I love seeing the finial product. I love it! What a great journey for you and Sean.

  2. juliannasdesigns
    juliannasdesigns says:

    I love the yurt! So great to see how everything came together. I’m super curious, what is the purpose of the corrugated metal behind the stove?

    • Mollie
      Mollie says:

      Hey there! Thanks for your kind words! The purpose of the corrugated metal is two-fold. First (and very marginally) we like the look of it. Secondly (and most importantly) the metal keeps our wall from getting too hot and crumbling. Our stove can get super hot (Sean could comment with exact temperatures)… that metal is separated from a fire-safe drywall with spacers, and behind the drywall is actual house insulation. In short: The metal keeps the heat in, and keeps the heat from hurting our walls :-) Great question! —Mollie


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