Liz Gray

Featured Blogger for HGTVersus

Jul 17

How Would You Decorate a Yurt?

Yurt Before - Exterior

On tonight’s episode of Design Star (tune in at 9/8c), the final three take on a brand new nontraditional home challenge: turn a yurt into a dream bedroom suite. But first: what the heck is a yurt? It’s a portable structure with round walls built on a wood lattice frame.

Though the centuries-old structures originated in central Asia, today they’re used in both old and new ways. You can find them anywhere from vacation communities in the English countryside

West Wood Yurt Community

Image courtesy West Wood Yurts

…to traditional farming villages in China.

Yurt in China

Image courtesy Highlander Images

Here’s the blank slate (via the Colorado Yurt Company) the final three designers will start with on tonight’s episode:

Unfinished Yurt Interior

How would you decorate a yurt? Tell me in the comments below!

Posted at 12:49 pm

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  • 80 Comments

80 Comments

  1. Hmmm! This would be the first time DS asked how viewers would do anything! That means that the contestants all screwed up royally. I did predict that in a previous post on another thread.

    The modern "yurts" you are showing appear larger than the tradition yurts. The walls appear vertical, whereas the traditional yurts would have walls leaning out from the center. The ceilings would have two layers of poles, over lapping each other, from outside to inside of the roof for strength.

    Let's start with the floor. After a few layers of rugs, use stair runner oriental rugs woven, basket weave style, with an equilateral triangle base, measured wall to wall. Weave the runner carpets parallel to the triangle base, both inside and outside of the triangle. You are definitely NOT looking for the star of David pattern. Stick to the Equilateral Triangle pattern. In the center put two half round fiberglass fireplace rugs diameter edge to diameter edge. On top of those add a fire pit, one that can serve as a grill for cooking, and as a screened fire pit for heat and ambiance.

    The walls already have a graphic sculpture pattern (don't paint it white! In fact don't paint anything in a yurt!).
    The walls were "decorated" with tools, cooking utensils, and weapons. The yurt is totally functional!

    The ceiling in the traditional yurt with timbers crossing over each other, circumference to center. The center being an eight spoke wheel, representing the the Buddhist, Aryan eight fold path, allowing the smoke of the central fire to escape, though it would be covered to keep in the heat of the glowing embers over night. It represents the forest cover, that gave ancient humans protection.

    To furnish it these days, simple items would work best, as they always did. Short legged wooden, futon beds, that could double as seating. Small low tables, wooden, metal or tiled. Lanterns and candle holders are fine accents.

    The yurt is the original open, multi-use space. Several generations living within a small space for survival. And, frequents guests. Privacy, in today's western terms was non-existent. For instance, having sex with "company" around, was not in the least bit untoward, in fact on certain occasions could be a matter of jovial commentary!

    The modern day problems with Real Design, do not exist with the yurt. No right angles, corners, no vertical planes, no horizontal planes, no rectilinear boxes, all of which are plaguing humanity, design wise today, because none of those are familiar to humans, based on our evolution. Yurts make for a very natural and psychologically satisfying space to be in.

    erikcreature on July 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm
    • Erik,

      I lived in Kyrgyzstan and slept in a boz-ui many times. You are dead on. I'm watching this episode now and am openly upset with how all of them missed the brilliance of the circular design.

      Erik, are you a designer?

      pete on July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm
  2. I would keep it light and airy with creams, whites, burlap, khaki and natural woods- Rustic elegance. On the main wall…add a light colored soft area rug, place a poster bed with a light white sheers as curtains and canopy over the bed. 2 different nightstands, with khaki or burlap lampshades and an iron base for the lamps. At the foot of the bed, bring in a cream tuffed bench. On another wall bring in a 19th century deconstructed french victorian settee, 2 khaki covered ottomans with an acrylic base, baroque wood crystal floor lamp. Next to the settee add a open bookcase. On another wall, add in a mini bar using a metal cart that with wheels. And of couse accessories, pillows, books, art, mirrors, vases and florals.

    KR Johnson on July 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm
  3. ps.. Also would add sheers behind the settee & bookcase (opposite the bed). :)

    KR Johnson on July 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm
  4. I am wish Britany, Danielle and Hilari the best of luck. I am just hoping that Vern is not his usual uppity self and Gen is not acting as if someone wiped dog poo on her upper lip. I have never seen such two negative people who are judging others to inspire them. You can tell someone where they messed up. But you can do it in a way that the person does not feel belittled.

    Mark on July 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm
  5. PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE GET RID OF HILARI!!!!!!!!!!! SHE HAS HAD A ATTITUDE I & MANY OTHERS CAN'T STAND — SHE TRUELY SUCKS @ 3EVERY SINGLE TV CHALLENGE — SHE IS NOT GOOD A DESIGNER AS DANILLE & BRITNEY ARE — HATE HER VOICE IT'S VERY IRRITATING JUST AS MUCH AS HER ATTITUDE IS — I LOVE HGTV & ALL UR PROGRAMS BUT WILL NEVER WATCH ANYTHING SHE DOES IF SHE WINS — OMGOODNESS HER VOICE & HER IS ON MY LAST NERVE THANK U

    Debbie on July 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm
    • Hey Debbie, you got you wish!!! She's gone!!! Now, may the best designer win!!!! Whoo-hoo!!!! xD

      Ms. Kimmie on July 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm
  6. We have actually built a 30' yurt at our vineyard and are going to use it as a tasting room in Oregon. We are leaving a lot of the natural structure showing and using copper for our wine bar, metal corrugated walls in the bathroom and will use bamboo for the flooring. Its a work in progress; but I think at this point we might be the ONLY wine tasting room in a Yurt. Was very excited to see your designers working with yurts so I could get some additional ideas.

    Anindor Vineyards on July 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm
  7. I say do it without the help of a carpenter. Thats the only way they would be a REAL Design Star. If you can't build it, don't do it

    @PkUpMan76 on July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm
  8. I used to live at a meditation center in the mountains of California, and many of my friends still live there. Every time I visit, in fact, I stay in one of the many yurts people have erected to live in. Santa Cruz building regs won't allow them to build anything permanent, but yurts, even yurts that have been in the same spot for twenty years, aren't permanent dwellings. The people living there have sacrificed economic comfort in lieu of spiritual accomplishment, by which I mean they have no money to decorate their yurts. You should donate the results of this exercise to someplace similar, since yurts are so often used for this reason.

    Suzi Kaplan Olmsted on July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm
  9. My hubby and I have been wanting a yurt for the past 5 years since we stayed in a Yurt in Telluride Colorado. They really are amazing and substainable and the cost is what homes cost 40 years ago (10,000-30,000) Some day soon we hope to have one or two.

    Kristine on July 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm
  10. Why do the designers always seem to make it so hard? A simple platform bed with traditional bedding in a soft neutral color. An Armior for closet space. And a dresser/mirror with a sink installed on it. A loveseat & chair with lighting. I would have painted the lattice so it would stand alone as design. Then a few organic photos to finish the space. I would love to try this design star show one day.

    AnneMarie on July 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm

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