October 31 2012
Christina Ohly Evans
With the festive season fast approaching, the race is on to find that unique gift – the thing that your special someone would never buy for him or herself. While the tents, tipis (second picture) and yurts (first picture) handcrafted by the Colorado Yurt Company, a family-run collective based in the Rocky Mountains, might not fit neatly under the Christmas tree, they are most definitely original, thoughtful and, best of all, can be customised, purchased online and delivered internationally.
The beautiful images on its website set the scene by conjuring all sorts of Ernest Hemingway-meets-Out of Africa scenarios that inspire intrepid trips into the wild. From cozy yurts in snowy settings to tents pitched – complete with luxe interiors – amid the desert dunes, these shelters are the epitome of rustic elegance.
The company has been making sturdy, sustainable and incredibly stylish fabric structures for over 36 years and when it comes to dwellings that manage to be both appealingly simple and incredibly luxurious, it’s got it covered – literally. The bespoke ordering process is simple: start by browsing through the tipi section of the site, where you’ll find a mix of traditional and modern choices – with a multitude of paint and pattern options from lizards to flowers – in sizes ranging from a standard 12ft version ($632) to more spacious 28ft-plus options ($3,727). With added liners and floor-coverings, they’ll work year-round in a variety of climates. A quick call to confirm and a beautiful canvas-bagged package can be yours in as little as four weeks.
The two Cimarron wall-tent choices – the hunting and fishing-friendly Outfitter and the elegant Platform – both offer the chance to commune with nature at $10 per square foot. Of the two durable finishes, the water-resistant, poly-cotton Turfstar comes in a rather chic off-white shade, while the Sunforger, made of a water-repellant, UV-resistant fabric, is great for the weather’s harsher vagaries. Prices vary from $1,000 to $4,300 plus, and can be customised with a combination of details including stovepipe, extra windows and mosquito netting.
But the pièce de resistance at Colorado Yurts are, unsurprisingly, the yurts themselves ($5,300-$18,000), which are based on traditional Mongolian designs and feature lattices and wooden rafters, each with circular rooms available in five diameters (from 16ft to 30ft). With over 30 colours to choose from (they will happily send fabric samples), as well as insulation packages, state-of the-art kitchens, baths and even spas, the personal design possibilities are virtually endless.
One thing you can guarantee – it’s not a present you’ll double up on, that’s for sure. Especially if you’re really buying one for yourself.