Smiling Woods Yurts side porch

If you’ve always dreamed of living in a log cabin, you’ll be happy to know that the contemporary upgrade has all mod-cons and much more space for you to spread out. Yes, these days you can have it all, thanks to cleverly designed yurts.

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The yurt is originally a basic dwelling. Webster’s dictionary describes it as “a circular domed tent of skins or felt stretched over a collapsible lattice framework and used by pastoral peoples of inner Asia.”

Well, the yurt has now gone global, and more than a tad upscale as this easy to build green home has traveled the world.

Smiling Woods Yurts

Meet Smiling Wood Yurts. The small family- and friend-run company in Washington State began by accident:

“Starting a business was never the intention!” say the owners. “Some spare time and materials coupled with a longstanding interest in living in the round and looking for a simple way to create a comfortable round home were the motivating forces.”

Smiling Woods Yurts interior

There were plenty of challenges in taking the traditional cloth- or canvas-covered yurt and making it more permanent and practical for today’s homeowner.

Smiling Woods Yurts loft stairs
Smiling Woods Yurts exterior

Smiling Wood Yurts started by figuring out how to build the yurt with real windows that you could open and walls that would hold cabinets. Another biggie: insulation, to make the home energy-efficient and keep heating bills down, as well as ensuring the comfort of the yurt’s residents.

Smiling Woods Yurts skylight

“Our greatest and most rewarding challenge was having the roof engineered to meet almost anything Mother Nature can send its way,” say the construction experts.

Their solution is an environmentally friendly metal roof that is very durable and insulated. You can also order a roof kit to keep your construction costs down.

Smiling Woods Yurts skylight detail

Smiling Wood Yurts respects the environment by choosing to use environmentally responsible materials, but craftsmanship, beauty and comfort are priorities, too.

Smiling Woods Yurts front porch

Interested in yurting? (And no, we don’t think that’s a real word, though it probably should be.) If living in the round has you intrigued, check out the complete kits and figure out how big you’d like your yurt to be.

Smiling Woods Yurts connected

The basic kits include wall panels with doors and windows already in place, sided in tongue and-groove western red cedar. The company sources the highest-quality construction-grade lumber it can, and it is all SFI-certified Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified. Nontoxic finishes and adhesives offer another green bonus, and the plywood sheathing has no formaldehyde in its glue, says the company.

Smiling Woods Yurts at dusk

You can add on a roof kit if you like, which comes with structural-grade Douglas fir rafters and inland red fir eaves and the 24-gauge galvanized-steel roof, topped by a skylight. As for plumbing, electrical supply, and insulation, you’re on your own. And you’ll need to obtain site-specific engineered plans to file for a building permit in most places.

Smiling Wood Yurts does offer technical help for your project, in case all of this sounds too overwhelming.

As far as customizing your yurt, the sky’s the limit (and we don’t just mean going higher with a loft).

“Folks are adding on decks, porches, room additions and even hooking them together in tandem with a breezeway,” say the Yurts team. Sounds like a challenge to us…. Time to get yurting!