YURTS: You'll Love This Eco-Friendly Housing Trend That's Heating Up On The West Coast

yurt

Photo: Flickr/DanielBL

Though they’ve been quietly cropping up at nature resorts and state parks for several decades, yurts are now gaining mainstream appeal, particularly since HGTV featured them on the hit show Design Star.

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Yurts have been continually used in Central Asia for thousands of years, and are still the most common house type in Mongolia. Still, you might be wondering—what the heck is a yurt, anyway?

Essentially, a yurt is a round, tent-like structure. Though they were traditionally favoured by nomadic sheepherders and others whose lifestyles necessitated portable housing, modern American yurts tend to be more permanent structures.

They can be used even in climates with harsh winters, as most yurt companies now make their covers from a reflective insulation developed by NASA, and are designed to withstand winds up to 100 mph. In fact, their round shape makes yurts more efficient to heat than square houses.

Yurts are relatively easy to assemble, and much cheaper than traditional Western houses. For a basic yurt, prices range from under $5,000 for a twelve foot yurt, to about $10,000 for a 30 footer—not including the many customisations and add-ons that can transform your yurt from rustic to luxurious.

But beyond the basics, why is this old-school structure experiencing a swell of popularity in the US? Below, Movoto examines five reasons why yurts are so hot right now.

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They're different.

They're round.

They're endlessly customisable.

Yurts of America and sites like it offer scores of options for customising your yurt. Prices range from $7,500 for the most basic 24 foot yurt, to $17,500 for a fully loaded deluxe yurt. They can be made in any colour. They can have air conditioning, plumbing, wet bars, even hot tubs.

They could even be covered in quilts, as was the case for one British woman who commissioned a yurt through Ritchie's company.

Yurts can also be customised for people wanting to live as off-the-grid as possible. Some yurt dwellers install solar panels and rain catchment devices. Conservationists appreciate yurts for their small footprint and because they leave no permanent impression on the ground.

They offer the experience of camping...without the discomfort.

They're always getting better.

But there are drawbacks

Now check out another trendy way to travel.

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