Sitting on our property discussing a change of plans.


How often do you figure I can write a post titled “we’ve changed our minds”!?

So we’re all over the map, we know it. In my mind it keeps things exciting. Constantly evolving. Persisting at creating the best possible outcome.

A close friend of ours made me laugh really hard when we told him our latest plans and he responded with, “that’s a great plan…for this week”!

Everyone has come to expect it from us. On a scale of “fluidity and stuck to a plan” I think we surpass the norm in being highly go with the flow.


Walking down our driveway scratching my head.

Guess what!? We’ve changed our minds, again!


Nothing crazy this time. We’re not packing up and moving the family to Kazakstan or anything. Although I would love to visit many of the “stans” someday.

This is just a change in our Canadian house build plan.

While we were laying in bed in our friend’s flat in London, days prior to returning to Canada, I found myself restless. I was stressing. Without noticing it my breathing had changed and Eben immediately knew that something was bothering me. I guess I was breathing pretty heavy!

I was stressing because with our current plans, we were returning to Canada only for a couple of months…definitely not enough time to build the house we had designed. The main issue was that last year, in gearing up to build this house, we had started collaborations with a few companies. We reached out to companies we love and were going to use their materials in our eco-home build and then showcase them in our pictures.

But with no time to build that massive home, then the materials we had received would just sit in storage. I felt like I was not coming through for these amazing companies and it bothered me. Although there were never any timelines set with these sponsors, and everyone understands that building a house is a slow process, the thought of putting them on the “back burner plan” wasn’t sitting well with me.



Laying in that bed, Eben and I hashed out the issues, talked about different options, laughed a lot about the massive footprint of the designed home compared to the sailboat we had been living in before, and came to a conclusion. We could definitely redesign “our Canadian home” to have a smaller footprint, use the materials we already have on hand, and get something (still beautiful) erected in a much shorter time period.

With the new design, and us always being on the ambitious side, we could have a good chunk of our house set up in a few months!

Instantly we were both super excited. I barely slept that night, my mind buzzing with new design options.


The Issues With The Old Design

Old design: Ground level + yurt on second level with large outdoor deck.

Old design: Ground level + yurt on second level with large outdoor deck.


Old design: Inside the ground level.

Old design: Inside the ground level.


1st issue: The previous design was massive. We were thinking, if we are going to build it ourselves we can make it whatever size we want. Let’s make it big! Room for us, room for friends with kids, lots of room. But it would still take money, more money than we want to invest into a house we will only be in for part of the year.

And we have been living in 41ft of space for 7 years and were completely happy with that. Our family doesn’t need massive.

2nd issue: Getting the 40ft shipping container we had bought, delivered from one flat property to another was enough of a headache. The desire to incorporate it into our new house design was not enough. So we nixed the idea of having the sea can as part of our home.

3rd issue: Eben worked so hard last summer excavating the build site. He dug down 6ft into solid rock, because our plan was to have a two-story home. This way we would have an amazing view of the mountains out front. By nixing the seacan, the yurt (which would be about 4ft off the ground) would be at “ground level”. We’d be looking at tree trunks, not mountains. Less fun.

4th issue: We already have all the material to setup a 32ft diameter yurt. We have the base, kana, and rafters, the insulation, the roof vinyl, and are finalizing the details for the wall vinyl and flooring. If we wanted to, we could throw that up in a few days. But Eben doesn’t like the look of just a plain yurt. It’s not unique, and it’s not beautiful.


Eben looking out over excavated property.


The New Design

Given all of the issues we came up with, we sat down, redesigned, and busted through any roadblocks.

1: Smaller footprint but still enough space for our family and guests

2: No shipping container, no first level.

3: If the yurt is going to be elevated 4ft, why not elevate it more!? Let’s put it 8ft up. We’ll get the mountain view, and leave the possibility to expand a first floor later on.

4: Let’s use the yurt we’ve got, but use style and the beautiful 8ft tall deck to make it unique. Oh and add a second smaller yurt as a master bedroom.

Check it out!


New design: two yurts (one 32ft, one 16ft) on a deck raised 8ft.

New design: two yurts (one 32ft, one 16ft) on a deck raised 8ft.


New design: Top view of living space with two yurts.

New design: Top view of living space with two yurts.


The longest part of all this will be building the deck. It will mean pouring concrete footings, falling trees for the pilings, and creating a deck that is a good supporting structure to plop two yurts on top of.

Don’t worry, we’re hiring our brother, who’s an engineer, to help Eben with all the math and design. We’ll do it right.

We are not completely naive. Even though this design will be faster to build than the last design, we realize it will still be a time-consuming project. But we’re excited about it anyways and will push hard to get as much of it done as possible before we head down to Mexico.

If you’re bored this summer and want to get your hands dirty (while looking out on the Rocky Mountains), common on up and pitch a tent. We’ll have plenty of projects to keep you busy!


Our travel trailer on the property in Golden, BC.