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 »
By Devorah Peterson
In 1973, the year she met her future husband, a friend of mine bought a three year old caravan, an early project of Lloyd House. Since then, this treasure has been sitting in a forest clearing on an island of British Columbia. As there is no kitchen or bathroom, other small structures were built alongside.
I fell in love with the rustic 17 foot caravan in the nineties when I first visited the remote property. Perhaps more than any other “tiny house,” it has inspired me to write about them and (hopefully) build one of my own eventually.
Though the exterior is plainer than many hand built caravans, I kind of like that about it. One would never suspect that inside is a world that’s magic. Continue Reading »