Yurt News from All Over

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Our architect (who all my tongue-in-cheek kvetching aside, is a nice, interesting guy, if a little slow to finish work) passed on a recent story from the NYT regarding yurts.

bigger view here

Before he commissioned the overblown confection that became Hearst Castle, the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and his family would travel to that same spot on the Big Sur coast of California for a vacation in more modest lodgings — a series of tents. The arrangements were rustic but stylish: striped fabric walls, wooden floors, writing desks, rugs and even separate tents for entertainment.

Hearst's setup, back when that corner of San Simeon was unassumingly known as Camp Hill, was a harbinger for the simple, elegant structures at the new Treebones Resort, about 25 miles up the rugged coast. Opened about a year, the 16 yurts perched along the ridge above Highway 1 embody the natural beauty and off-the-grid living that have long characterized Big Sur. Not much has changed in the physical landscape since the Hearsts “roughed it” — California land trusts, conservation easements and local coastal programs have prevented rampant development.

Even today, you can spend a couple of hours winding along the treacherous, two-lane Highway 1, sandwiched between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the wild Pacific Coast, without anything impeding the view. Along with the Los Padres National Forest, a string of wilderness areas, state parks and reserves along the coast make for challenging hiking; in the winter, you can trek even the most popular trails and see nary a soul. It's an extraordinary piece of America that remains as Henry Miller described it in 1957 — a meeting of extremes, “a region where one is always conscious of weather, of space, of grandeur and of eloquent silence.”

It took 20 years for John and Corinne Handy to secure the permits and capital to build Treebones — named for an old lumber mill at the site — but the result is a comfortable yet unobtrusive way to enjoy the stunning seascape. The yurts, circular tentlike structures similar to those used by Central Asian nomads, are updated here with modern amenities, including polished pine floors, French doors, reading lamps, colorful quilts, pillow top mattresses and clear domed roofs for sunlight by day and stargazing by night.

The resort has its own well, and everything is powered by propane-fueled turbines; the heat produced in the process is used to warm water and some of the yurts. Several have gas fireplaces.

I've actually never been south of Monterey, California, yet, the Big Sur area has always been on my list. Reading this article, and glancing at these photos just increases my interest.

At the permanent exhibition at the visitor center at Hearst Castle (750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon; 800-444-4445; www.hearstcastle.org; tickets from $20), you can see photos of the family tents at Camp Hill and examine more characteristically over-the-top Hearst memorabilia.

At a picturesque spot on the Big Sur coast, Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth bought a little cabin in 1947. Later, they sold it to the Fassett family, who opened a sun-splashed restaurant, Nepenthe, with excellent views (Highway 1, Big Sur; 831-667-2345; www.nepenthebigsur.com; lunch for two $40).

Our view will look something like this:
Roof yurt view

Sunset number 4594 redux

Oh, by the way, DCAP stamped our roof-deck plans yesterday. Now, we just need to find some reputable general contractor, and a little pile of moolah, preferably before summer begins. I've been thinking the yurt part of the plan won't get constructed until fall or even next spring, but we'll see.

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1 Comment

The top image looks like a fantastic location for a structure. From what I can see of it it looks quite subtle and in keeping with it's environment. What a view though!

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on March 14, 2006 1:26 PM.

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