Hi! I’m Kari Cooper.
In the tiny house community I’m known as Yurt Grrl and I am passionate about tiny living!
So why am I called Yurt Grrl?
Grrl because, well, obviously, I am one! But not really anymore (I’m nearly 50!) So it’s more like grr(think growling), ‘cause of my attitude, which is really mischievous and playful.
I own a 16 ft. handmade yurt (here’s how That happened!) I named her Gert after my Grandma, who raised two kids during the Depression as a single mom. She was a strong woman who made me feel safe and grounded, just like my yurt does.
I began my tiny journey in the dark of the night, literally. I was lying awake all night, watching YouTube videos about building your own home and living simply. Growing your own food. Living on the cheap. Googling anything and everything that might drive the pain and fear away.
‘Cause I was scared. REALLY scared.
The fear had started the fall of 2012. I was falling down, literally. Running fevers. Rashes. Walking into walls. Speech and cognitive issues. I went legally blind for a bit. Doctor after doctor couldn’t get a handle on what was wrong.
I couldn’t keep up with my teaching career. I knew we were facing the very real possibility that my salary, which was 2/3 of our income, was going to be taken away by this illness, and then where would this family of 3 be?
Living below poverty level, that’s where.
We had saved a lovely little nest egg for a down payment on a house, but the medical bills were already piling up! Then late one night, I discovered Relaxshacks.com and the tiny house movement, which was really more of a murmur than a movement at that point. And Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. Dee Williams. Jay Shafer. My obsession had begun!
September 2013 I took my very first tiny house workshop and it was a Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop. Two FULL days in an airless hotel conference room learning the basics of building tiny. It was interesting, informative, and OVERWHELMING! I stumbled back into the late day sunlight on Sunday evening having gained a bunch of knowledge, but no skills. I needed hands on skills!
And skills are what I got that freezing November weekend in Massachusetts, when I attended my FIRST Relaxshacks workshop. Power tools became my friends. I bonded with other tiny curious folks, camped, laughed about our mistakes, shared our ideas around the campfire, and had an EPIC weekend. I was hooked. Addicted. Smitten with tiny building and Deek’s unique approach, most especially his commitment to re-using materials. I was EMPOWERED! We built three tiny structures while learning framing and cutting and a ton of other useful stuff. We were building, creating, and learning all together and I couldn’t get enough!
And now, more than three years later, I’m Yurt Grrl and lovin’ every minute of it. I speak at tiny house festivals and meet-ups, teach folks how to use power tools, and geek out over developments in the tiny house movement. I get to meet my tribe in cool places like fairs and festivals. I feel really lucky! You can find us here.
It’s my passion and my future. Yurt Grrl has gone from obsessive hobby to passionate business. So whatever your tiny journey is, I hope you will join me in mine.