Arthur, A Charming Caboose on Wheels

The Latest Tiny House at Tiny Digs, a Portland Hotel

Few things have captured America's imagination like the long and romantic history of the railroad and now in modern day, the tiny house on wheels. Tiny Digs' new rental home on wheels, Arthur, is a perfect culmination of these novelties.

This caboose style tiny house is decked out to delight railroad enthusiasts of all ages. And in fact, it was built in honor of co-owner Pam Westra's grandfather, Arthur. He was a lifelong lover of trains, historical and model sized.

Interesting fact: the caboose railroad car was historically used as mobile housing for the train crew.

The Arthur was designed and built by Pam's husband and son, Bruce and Kevin Westra of Friesian Woodcrafters. Like each of the themed houses at Tiny Digs, the attention to detail of the Arthur, from the craftsmanship to decor, is astonishing. Pam poured her heart into the interior design of this tiny space.

Friesian Woodcrafters, Bruce & Kevin Westra being interviewed by Tiny House Expedition

Pam Westra Co-Owner, Tiny Digs

The Arthur caboose was conceived from an early life fondness for the railroad that was found by hanging around Arthur, my grandfather. He was born in 1908 in Saginaw, Michigan. Arthur loved the rails. He would hear the train whistles off in the distance and we'd jump in the car and race to the tracks. We'd sit in his old Ford and count the number of railcars that the engine was pulling. 

He was really big into the miniature railroads also. In the basement of his home was a total city and countryside setup with what seemed like miles of tracks to me as a young child. The engines would puff smoke and disappear into the tunnels of the mountains in the distance (way across the basement). 

If you have a love for the railroad or know someone who does, come spend a night in Arthur and bring a friend or two along since he sleeps four people. A generous queen bed fills the loft and a nice double is in the living space on the main floor. The caboose has a very large bathroom for a tiny house with a shower and flush toilet. The kitchen has supplies for light cooking and a mini frig. Come to Portland to enjoy the many treasures that Arthur holds and ride the rails with us.


The design experience of the Arthur begins outside the caboose house where crates and vintage luggage are cleverly placed to disguise the utility hookups.


Pam shows off the pitch-perfect metal deck

Once inside, at first glance, the Arthur looks like an inviting and cozy tiny home. On closer inspection, the rail car experience delightfully begins to take shape.

Hang your jacket on a railroad spike and get to work at the conductor/ tourist's office nook.

The decor details capture the romance of the railroad, like the "dating nails" that indicate the year a particular set of railroad ties were installed.

The Arthur features a beautiful combination of salvaged materials, vintage fixtures and new railroad inspired creations. The kitchen showcases an enamel basin converted into a sink with hand pump styled faucet.

The airy loft is located in the caboose cupola, which provides a lovely view of the other themed tiny houses at Tiny Digs.

Experience the Arthur in-person by booking a stay or visiting Tiny Digs on a tour day. It is located the happening Kerns neighborhood in Portland, OR. Follow them on Facebook for the latest news on special events and new tiny houses. Five more planned!

-Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Expedition

Tiny House Expedition visits Tiny Digs

Alexis StephensTiny House Blog Contributor

My partner, Christian and I are traveling tiny house dwellers. Together we've been on the road two years for our documentary and community outreach project, Tiny House Expedition. We live, breathe, dream the tiny home community every day. This is our life, and our true passion project. We are very grateful to be able experience this inspiring movement in such an intimate way and to be able to share our exploration with all of you.


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DEBRA GODSEY - August 27, 2017 Reply

My father built his 3 daughters the first ever tiny caboose house on wheels in the 1950’s.
The local newspaper here did a story of him and the caboose and I still have the article.

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