Thursday, December 31, 2009

That F#$@% Yurt Book!

still has yet to arrive! Finally reported it as a no-show. Amazon is sending me a new one... gee... get to wait some more. Would have been cool if it arrived while I was still excited about it and not just pissed off about spending money on something never received! Ok... feel a bit better now.

Simple yurt interior

I love the simple layout of this yurt, especially the kitchen counter - cool. Found this pic and more on Colorado Yurt Co's website.

We've finally found our "Island Coffee"

When we were on the island last we searched for Kona Coffee. We had heard that many Hawaiian coffee brands only put like 10% true Kona coffee into their coffee and then market it as Kona. So, yes, all that cheaper coffee we've purchased as souvenirs over the years and brought back to you all... ummmm... how to say this.... was bogus. On the Big Island we are fortunate in that much of the world's premium coffee is grown right there. When we went in search of Kona coffee however, we had heard that it was much like wine tasting in a wine region in that there were small road side stands and tasting houses dotting the highway from Kona south well into the Ka'u district. Well, we didn't find any, we wandered looking but probably didn't have enough info to do so, what we did find were mainly closed - it was Sunday. Darn.

We wanted to find a coffee producer that we could know personally, someone small enough to meet at the farmer's market, yet great coffee. We want to support smaller operations. We like the Ka'u district and their efforts to bring that district into the coffee community over the past 10 years. We saw this gal at one of the markets, spoke with her, and decided she has won our loyalty. Lorie Obra of Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee (photo taken from their website) Their coffee is hand picked, hand processed, she actually goes to the markets to sell, and she knows her coffee inside and out. This is truly Hawaiian coffee, well worth the price. Mmmmmm..... smooth.... we like.....

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just booked the next trip to paradise

We've decided to stay in Sea View this time to check it out and live like a local. This little bungalow rental came as a recommendation from our new friend Rob, who also lives in Sea View in a beautiful house and had stayed here while building his home. We are also interested in this jungalow because it's pretty darn small and we want to try on a small bungalow for size and see how functional it can be for us. We have to remind ourselves that much of our living can be done outdoors, such as having appliances outside of the home, like washer/dryer, freezer, water heater, etc. We absolutely can not do that here in MT. And the rates for this bungalow are pretty darn reasonable too. For future reference the link is

We are so looking forward to it!

Now here's some ideas for all those corks - I'd better get to drinkin more wine!

OK.... the cork truck might be a bit much....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recycling items into functional stuff

So, OK... we drink a lot of wine....

Over the years I've saved a lot of corks to eventually do something with someday. Well, I guess today was that day! I was at the thrift store, actually left work early as I just felt like I couldn't stand to be there another moment, and went to poke around town. Anyway, at the thrift store they had several frames and I picked one up for .50. I came home and dumped out my garbage bag full of wine corks and began to make a cork note board. I'm going to surprise Thomas with it. The unexpected part of this project was that as I cruised through the corks, I started to remember many of the unique corks and the bottles of wine they came in, many were attached to memories of activities, places, wineries, and events we've attended. It was fun to pick through and place the corks with the unique pictures and names of wineries on them facing up to look at. This particular board is also a memory board in addition to a function cork note board. I will paint the frame so it will match the cabin and glue the corks later in the week. Thomas will be surprised, unless he reads this post first!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gosh, both Thomas and I have mulled this design over and over

Really like it, needs a few tweeks for Hawaii living, more windows, don't need a chimney, maybe a french door, bigger porch and deck, no closets, a shower - no bathtub, probably up off the ground approx 4 feet. Hmmmm possibilities.

Cool tiny space furnishings

These are some ideas I've ran across on and I want to keep track of these things.
The first item is a Fagor portable induction burner, reportedly the best price for these is found at Amazon.
The next two items are some ideas on reusing pallets, I've been interested in doing something with these for quite a while as I think its such a waste of free wood to throw them away. How easy are these ideas? And the bookshelves are extremely space saving .
The next item is a portable on-demand water heater for showers, how easy is that - huh?
Next is an extremely space saving refrigerator - I like!
Then I really liked this pic with the water crock in it. I think water crocks are cool, and I also thought the knife rack and storage rack was a neat idea in the pic.
The set of pics if of old retro all-in-one kitchen combos. I love these and have seen them at a few antique stores, what a good idea these were. Many still functional, but man are these babies heavy to move about! Further, I'm sure they still need the cooling liquid, what's it called Free-oint, or something, in the fridge part which becomes an issue.
Lastly is a counter top portable dishwasher. I posted this because I thought it was one of the most ridiculous ideas I've seen and whomever buys and uses one of these must be extremely lazy and have money to burn on electricity - how about old fashioned doing the dishes by hand peoples????

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Still waiting for that damn yurt book!!

This might be a little too small

But hey, one never knows what their budget will allow for... :-)
This was listed on tinyhouseblog as the Camper Kart Project by Kevin Cyr, check it out.

I LOVE THIS SITE!! It has soo many good ideas and so inspiring, lots of info and links. Here's some recent pics taken from their website that I really like and want to save for future ideas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thinking about decks

I've been mulling over some deck considerations. Seems to me that a good size deck will be important for our small cabin.

A friend had a suggestion of screening in part of the deck in an effort to cut down on bugs. We saw a screened in porch at a house we visited in HPP and thought it must be worth while. My dad and his wife have a winter home in Arizona where they say many folks have an "Arizona room" that is basically a sun room only screened in. I would think this would also add extra space for guest to sleep on the deck without being eaten alive by skeeters.

But... I don't know if I'm a big fan of screening it in, yet I better listen to local suggestions as they are the ones living there already right??? Maybe I could do roll up screens, not sure if that would be defeating the purpose, but sometimes the screens just don't let enough air in. Just a thought.
I'd like to do a covered deck (prob screened) and then also another uncovered area that we can lay out in the sun on. Or put the BBQ out on.

Decking material and maintenance seem to be a big consideration in East Hawaii. We're thinking about the composite decking as we won't be there full-time to keep up on the maintenance of it by continual re-staining. Yet, the composite is so expensive...

Friday, December 18, 2009

I love this site

I've visited this site so often over the past 5-10 years, I always come away from it thinking "I could do this" and someday, maybe we will. One of my favorite designs is the 14 x 24 small cabin.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So... still awaiting the book I ordered about yurts...

Only not as excitedly by now... sheeeessshhh what's up with Amazon? Guess that free shipping option must be the hold up, almost kinda forgot about it by now. Oh well, guess it will be a nice surprise when it does finally show up!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiny house resources

Today I happened upon this Facebook page and signed up to be a fan. I LOVE their blog and lots and lots of ideas regarding tiny homes. Check them out! And, Trudy, if you're out there, you gotta post some pics of that cutie little guest cabin/artist studio you have at your place that Davis built! and their tiny house blog facebook page. Very cool!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A good old fashioned yurt raising weekend

I'm not sure of what exactly this will consist of, but I imagine it could go something like this:

We hire Yurts of Hawaii to not only assist us with ordering our yurt, but also some of the permit process (still undecided if we will do the permitting process ourselves) and to oversee our yurt raising. We will have the land clearing done, then will likely hire out someone to do the platform/decks as we may not be there to do it, or if it's only me I can't build a deck (maybe I could but I want this thing to withstand earthquakes for Pete's sake and my deck certainly would not).

Then comes the yurt raising weekend. I'm starting to get together folks that are interested in putting up the yurt, many are just plain curious about yurts and want to be involved. We would plan on this taking a full weekend. We would provide food and beverages and camping out for those who don't want to drive, maybe even some music and a trip to the awa kava bar :-). We want this to be a time of learning, good food and working with and enjoying friends. So it would be a little on the leisure side of things not strictly a work camp :-) I promise.

After the yurt raising (and possibly prior) we will begin work on septic and water install, this will be hired out.

We don't have dates in mind yet, but likely next October. Summer is too busy for many people, especially us with our work.

If anyone is interested, email me at and I will add your name to (one of the many) list. This can be folks from the mainland as well as island neighbors who have an interest in yurts.

Looking sooooo forward to it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Does size matter?

Did I really just type that as a post title? Could it be I'm sitting home in a flippin deep freeze snow storm for 2 days starting to go stir crazy?

Anyway, I think this size would be perfect for us (info taken from Colorado Yurt Co's website).

27' Diameter Yurt - 572 square feet and 12'3" tall in the center (13'2" with taller wall option). This is the "tweener" yurt for when a 24' yurt is too small and a 30' yurt is too big. Can be transported in a heavy duty truck and a trailer or split into two loads with a heavy duty pickup truck that has racks. Five people could erect this yurt in a weekend if they study the set up instructions prior to the installation.

572 square feet with lots of outdoor living space should be more than adequate for a part-time home a couple of months out of each year.

Did I mention rain?

Yes, this island gets A LOT of rain. Sea View is in a little banana belt so to speak, seems that along the ocean there is a bubble of heat that picks up the rain clouds and drops them just up hill a bit (I know that's not the scientific version of what's happening but close enough). Typically folks call it "Sunny Sea View".

Outdoor showers

I want an outdoor shower... not sure just how much I'd use one, but maybe a lot and our guests may well use it a lot too, at the very least to rinse off sand and stuff it would be cool. I'm thinking it would be easy to plumb for one if we built a small enclosure off of the back of the yurt, on the ground with a grid platform for drainage. We could just run the hot and cold out from underneath the bathroom area along one side of the yurt. I like the above pic with the bamboo screening for privacy. And of course, that's what Tom would look like showering outdoors once he lives in Hawaii and grows his hair long. (grin)

Yurt colors

Hmmmm, thinkin about exterior colors for the yurt.... I'm wondering if dark colors will make it hot inside. I'm also wondering if light colors will show mildew and stains over the years and make it look nasty. And I guess another consideration is that I don't really like the lighter colors. Above is my favorite combination so far from Colorado Yurt Co

Just bought the book!

And now excitedly awaiting its arrival. Yurts:Living in the Round by Becky Kemery! I'll let ya'll know what it's like.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yurt platform considerations

Well, first of all one doesn't need to have a raised platform, a yurt can certainly sit directly on the ground, either on wood, or cement platform, or even some of the new designs have a tent like floor. But in tropical climate, as well as many other climates, it's best to build the platform up.

There are several reasons behind to build up, better and more air circulation (not only for heat control but also to help control moisture), less bugs (especially centipedes!), room for storage or a first floor underneath (in our case we want to frame in a small lockable storage shed underneath which will take up less build able sq footage on our small lot), better possible view (depending upon which lot we get), easier access to plumbing and other issues underneath, hmmm what positives am I forgetting.
A couple negatives that I can see is that it will be more expensive, heck if we're building up then we want a large deck to live outdoors on, have an outdoor BBQ area and to put our little Ohana on (a tent with cushy mattress for guests :-) Also, more maintenance of the platform and deck with regular treating and finishing. We would most likely only have stairs, does this matter to us at age 45, we keep the yurt to old age, will we have handicap friends come to visit, who knows at this point, but I can see keeping the height within reason for a possible ramp - ya neva know! I'm sure we will have to pay someone to do the platform and deck (which will be all in one) as we do have family and friends that have the skills, but the logistics of getting them out there during the time we need it done - not likely.
Just how high up off the ground, well that takes some consideration. One thing I'm thinking is that I would like it to be easy enough to access underneath without crawling. Thomas' knees are bad and it's hard for him to crawl to work on stuff underneath, so the idea of a "crawl space" is out. Also, I don't want it so low, small and cozy that it encourages rodents, pigs and other feral animals - especially cats! Just ends up being a gross mess! So, I'm thinking I'd like it at least 4 ft up, not sure however, I'm open to suggestions.

All good things to ponder......

A brief article written by Delia Montgomery regarding yurt platform design can be found at

And... that's where I lifted the pic from as well (thanks Delia!)
And further, is it too much to ask that one could edit the spacing properly on this damn blog website!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


There a several your manufacturing companies, and several styles of yurts. I'm not going to detail all of this info as its readily available on the Internet and I've already made the decision about the company I'm going with

Some recent resource finds are going to be really helpful:

1. can help with drafting, consulting, permit process, construction and setup just to name a few benefits. At first I thought why would I need help with this, I can weed through it all and enlist help and find subcontractors. Now I'm thinking it's difficult to handle all of this from across the ocean, with limited time, and with limited visits. So, will probably be working with them in some form.

2. This is a blog written by Delia Montgomery detailing her process and experience in setting up her own yurt on the BI, she's not very far from where we plan to be. This is packed full of into regarding each step and considerations within. Good stuff.

3. Yurt Interiors' facebook page and website are really informational. Their book Round Design, Modern Yurt Interiors is on my list to purchase as I want ideas and inspiration as we plan the interior.

4. an online resource for "all things yurt", need I say more? Their book Yurts, Living in the Round is probably another resource on my list to purchase.

Ok, that's all the posting I have time for today!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm gonna make a list

Yes, another list, sorry I'm a list person. Used to be more anal about lists, then just got too busy to keep up with it all. Yet, I've been reading a ton of info on the web regarding yurts and I need to store this info somewhere to easily retrieve at some point. So, here goes: wait, I think I need to be more organized with this list, I think I will make a list then go to detailed posts for lists within the lists, in no particular order, may have to revisit each topic as information is learned - ha, did I say I was anal about lists??? Funny.

From the ground up

ok, secure property - in process
start building permit - will likely use Yurts of Hawaii for help with that as I don't have the time or energy to deal with it.
generate interest in folks to help with labor - in process
land prep - need names and numbers, we want to be in Sea View so would like to hire folks who are close to there
septic and water catchment - will need a contractor
Yurt - plan to order Colorado Yurt Co as I like their product
upgrades to yurt - will detail this later, but need some to be comfortable in tropical climate
deck design - hmmm, i know what I want, but for permitting probably need to have it drawn
interior finish - I want to finish out the inside with recycle, second hand, found items
exterior issues - considerations for the yurt
exterior landscaping - including hard rock design
what have I forgotten so far??

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We're going in circles - again

Ok... back to the old drawing board - yurts. I want a damn yurt!

Gosh we see all these good deals on homes over in Hawaii and we start thinking we can afford them. Well, we can't, not if we want to retire early and live off of what we have going on comfortably. Sure we can sell the farm in WA, but what if it doesn't sell, do we put our dream on hold forever, just waiting? Do we give it away in this market just to move forward?

With the yurt plan we could secure the property, probably on an owner contract since land loans are outrageous, and then go about setting it up with small personal loan for the yurt and associated materials. We'd have to figure out how to finance the septic and water catchment, but that will come. We could go the 20ft yurt and build an attached structure to house kitchen and bath, or we could go the 30ft yurt and frame bath and kitchen inside. I'm thinking the 30ft option as I've seen some pics of this and like what I see.

I've been looking at other yurts in Hawaii, particularly on the Big Island and they're pretty cool. I think it would be fun to document a yurt from plans to placement, and I know folks that would want to be involved.

This makes our dream a reality within the next couple of years, not years down the road and worry about money. Heck if we decide to build a decade from now, we can always remove the yurt. I'm still in love with Sea View however, so at least staying consistent with that.