Best Alternative to a Half-Million-Dollar Belltown Studio

A prediction: A thousand years from now, the adult human frame will shrink back down to the size of a monkey in response to the evolutionary pressure to squeeze into tiny, overpriced condos. But it need not be: Since the new millennium broke, Rainier Industries—the folks who create the flags flying from the Space Needle, among other products—has been putting out a line of reasonably priced, eye-catching yurts for the world market. "They're starting to become fairly popular as an alternative source of housing," says Rainier sales executive Josh Lindholm, whose company sold roughly 50 yurts last year. Rainier updates the Mongolian rope-and-hide yurt with vinyl-coated polyester walls and add-ons such as rain diverters and French doors, yet you're still only going to have to drop maybe $7,000 for one of these bad boys (although you will have to build your own toilet). A yurt requires perhaps a day of construction time, meaning you could quickly site one in a neighbor's yard or waterfront park without too much hassle. Once erected, locks and a stress-proof roof will keep out interlopers who want a piece of your hot property—an 18-foot Rainier yurt once safely deflected a falling 80-foot hemlock—and you can sit and chill inside for pretty much eternity. "They're extremely easy to maintain," says Lindholm. "You're talking every two or three months going out there, and kind of scrubbing the exterior fabric down with a soft-tip brush and hosing it off."—John Metcalfe Rainier Industries, 18435 Olympic Ave. S., 866-839-8787.

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