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Built a backyard Yome (yurt + dome) to stay in San Francisco

When Ava Rosen first slept in a yome – a hybrid between a yurt and geodesic dome – she fell in love with its geometry: “I’d never heard of a yome before, but I just really liked it and I think geodesic structures are really brilliant, and I’d read that they are more structurally sound than a yurt.”

As a teacher looking for housing in the pricey San Francisco market, she decided to buy one (secondhand for $6900, including platform) and place it in an underused backyard.

Ava spent some time leveling the ground and laying a cement-block foundation and insulated wood floor, but the zome structure itself went up in one day, with the help of a few friends. The heptagon shape is a series of triangles formed by small wooden beams connected by bolts at central axes. More slender beams and a tension wire hold the roof together. On top of the skeleton, Ava added foil insulation before placing the canvas covering.

Inside, as one of her first “DIY projects”, she built a lofted bed leaving the floor space open as a living room complete with couch, coffee table, stereo system, and recording equipment (Ava is a musician and artist). For heat, she began with a wood-fired stove that worked well to heat the small space, but the secondhand appliance quickly stopped working and she made plans for a pellet stove. For cooking, she has a small grill on her deck or she uses her parents’ kitchen (she also uses their bathroom).

She built an outdoor shower in a small dead-end alley space at one side of the house. She used copper pipes and a sloped wooden floor (made from recycled pallets) which delivers the greywater to her mint and herb garden.