During a trip to Portland last week, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Deb and Kol of Caravan — The Tiny House Hotel in the cool and funky area of Alberta Street in the Northeast part of the city. Most readers know about the couple’s selection of tiny homes for nightly rental in the middle of the city, and now the hotel has a new addition. The 160 square foot Skyline is Caravan’s newest tiny house available for guests and reflects a rustic, Western style with a cozy interior and some great details.
Skyline was built in the Portland driveway of Eric Bohne and completed this February. Eric works full time as a craftsman and also built his own house on the Oregon coast out of recycled materials. His company, Metalwood Salvage, sells salvaged metal pieces and his design and carpentry business, Alter Areas, focuses on re-purposing unique building materials.
The Skyline does not have a loft, but a bunked sleeping and living area. The typical ladder has been replaced with a short, metal staircase. The main part of the house has a bar style eating area and a kitchen with a roomy farm sink and storage. One of the most unusual parts of the trailer is the bathroom. It includes a shower and angled toilet that fits just perfectly into the tongue of the trailer. An ingenious folding ladder sits above the toilet in a metal bracket. It can be unfolded for accessibility to a storage loft above the bathroom.
Deb and Kol recently had an open house for Caravan and the line formed around the block.They estimated about 1,000 to 1,500 people from all walks of life visited the hotel. When I visited on a warm, dry evening (unexpected in Portland during the spring) we sat in the courtyard around a metal burn barrel (fueled with scrap lumber Kol gathers from around the city) and chatted about tiny houses, codes and laws, permits and opportunities. Deb and Kol’s own permitting process was “creative and long” but they feel that their hotel is a unique and legitimate staging area as to what is possible in the tiny house industry.
“With the tiny house movement, everything about it is good,” Deb said. “There is no reason not to make it happen.”
Portland is a hotbed of the tiny house movement and the excitement and possibilities for the dwellings are really catching on. During this warm night, the Caboose was filled with four young people, a young couple from Chicago were enjoying the Portland-themed Tandem and the Rosebud was inhabited by a travel writer from New York — all visitors curious about tinier living. The hotel not only seems to be a tidy selection of tiny houses, but a gathering place for interesting, like-minded people.
Photos by Caravan — The Tiny House Hotel and Christina Nellemann
Wally and Victoria Roth of Bend, Oregon have experience in building exquisite carousel horses, cabinets, boat building and yacht restoration, but their designs really come to life in their re-creations of their Romani “Gypsy”* Caravans. Their goal for the custom design is to come as close as possible to the original look and feel of the caravans that can still be found around England today.
The Romani were a group of people who arrived in Europe from northern India around the 14th century. Their travels in wagons much like the Roth’s took them across the continent to Great Britain and even into North America, Brazil and Australia. Many of the Romani groups traveled and lived in these wagons which they called a vardo, waggon, van or caravan. They were traditionally horse-drawn and decorated and painted in bright colors with gilded accents. The British Romani during the mid-1800s to the early 20th century were thought to have the most artistic designs.
The Roth’s caravans feature Victoria’s decorative painting skills and decor which includes using silk, satin, velvet and lace. The couple do all the construction, carving and painting of their caravans. Their designs are not meant to travel down the road, but Wally and Victoria offer their works of art as a tiny home, guest house, art studio, meditation or healing space or just a wonderful addition to a backyard.
Photos by Gypsy Vans by Roth
* Many Romani feel the term “gypsy” is a derogatory term. The word “gypsy” is a short form of the word “Egyptian” since many cultures at the time mistook them for being from Egypt. The term “gypsy” should never be used in connection with any other nomadic group of people other than the Romani as they are the only group to have been mistaken as being Egyptian. To class any other group as being “gypsy” or “gipsy” is a form of racism built on anti-Romani stereotypes and prejudices. Hence the Tiny House Blog puts the term in quotes.
by Katie Probert
As a solution to the expensive accommodation in the Alps, my boyfriend Toby and I bought a knackered old Ford Transit on ebay for £900, to convert into a home on wheels. Our plans were to quickly convert it into a cosy shelter, with a bed, basic kitchen facilities and lots of insulation. We estimated two weeks’ work. In our excitement we didn’t realise that the engine was shot…until we got the thing home and it was too late. We checked her into the garage for a brand new engine. We didn’t get her back until seven weeks later.
Whilst we waited for our van to come back from the garage, we started sketching out possible layouts and trying to find out as much information about van conversions as possible. This was before we knew about the tiny house movement, or any of the DIY blogs that I read now. I had zero building experience, and neither of us had ever attempted such a project before. Armed with our new bible, the Haynes Motorcaravan Manual, we embarked on an adventure of trial and error, that would end up taking us 18 months to complete. Continue Reading »
Towards the end of the build I realised it needed to be a little more than just my personal hideout. I’m hoping to attract folks who will share the hideout with me, taking their broken stuff to fix, while making a fire inside or outside and having a tea or beer. I’ve added a website too, www.repaircave.com, inspired by the popular ‘Repair Cafes’ (where people go and repair broken things together). It’s in Dutch, but that’s much like English
The site is about what’s happening in the Cave and through it I try to motivate people to repair and recycle and to use free stuff in a creative way. So far no one has come, but nevermind, it’s still my retreat too. And it’s still fresh, who knows what will come of it. Continue Reading »