Inhabitat (one of my favorite sites) recently featured this rustic, but beautiful gypsy wagon (one of my favorite tiny houses) which sits in the forest near Kootenay Lake in British Columbia. The 8 foot by 20 foot wagon was built on a $100 salvaged 5 ton chassis, with 2×4 construction and curved rafters. It cost about $8,000 to build and took several years.
Most of the building materials for the wagon were recycled. The floor is locally milled hemlock tongue and groove and the windows were second hand finds from the local classifieds. The exterior shingles were cedar “seconds” split with a hatchet. The round window was ingeniously made from a 1970′s picnic table and is framed with rope for a natty, nautical style. The curved roof is covered with flexible metal sheeting and has two, curved Lexan skylights. The interior of the wagon is covered with stretched canvas, stapled into place and painted with white wash. Under the wagon is space for the storage of supplies and firewood. Continue Reading »
A couple of weeks ago Merete and Christopher were here interviewing and video taping me at my house for their soon to be released “Tiny, the Movie.” They had already spent some time with Jay Shafer and were making the rounds in Sonoma County. After we were done we went out to have some lunch and they asked me if I had featured Cat and Pacifico’s tiny gypsy house outside of Healdsburg on the Tiny House Blog.
Photo Credits: Kent Griswold
I hate to admit it but I did not know who they were talking about. I had a tiny house couple living just a few miles from me and I did not know it. Merete gave Cat my email address and Cat connected with me shortly after Chris and Merete went on to their next interview.
It took another week for us to get together, but this last Sunday I had the time to go up and visit them. I ended up spending about three hours with them, and had a wonderful brunch and tour of their home.
The home sits on 50 acres on the west side of Healdsburg, California. You would never find it without directions, but it is only 10 minutes from town.
This beautiful gypsy wagon, which was used as a prop in the 1988 movie “Big Top Pee-Wee” has been available for sale since the middle of last year. The wagon, restored by Gary Votapka, was originally purchased for his land in Montana, but it is still sitting in a California neighborhood waiting for its next owner.
The vardo was in terrible shape when Gary purchased it for $10,000 and towed it from Barstow to his home in Fallbrook, Calif. The wagon had been sitting in the sun for over 20 years and gallons of desert dust and sand had settled onto the floor. Since the wagon had also been used as a prop in a movie with Pee-Wee Herman and Valeria Golino, none of the drawers opened and the cabinets were facades. Over the course of four years, Gary, his wife and son restored the gypsy wagon (by using a DVD of the movie) to its original colorful state and added a few workable cabinets and a comfortable bed. Continue Reading »
The exciting tale of the ClickClackGorilla begins with a daring escape from a cubicle life in the U.S. and ends with a life of traveling with a band, Dumpster diving, and living in a rescued caravan in a wagenplatz in Germany. The Gorilla is Nicolette Stewart, an ex-pat writer, proud gleaner and soon-to-be mother who blogs about her unconventional life while trying to live that life with more freedom and environmental consciousness.
Her home in Germany (which she shares with her partner, “The Beard”, who also has his own trailer) is a caravan which was formerly parked on a farm. The 60-year-old wooden wagon, known as a Bauwagen in German, was on the farm for at least 20 years and the owners of the farm gave it to Nicolette for free if she hauled it out herself.
She proceeded to fix and decorate the wagon over a the course of a year with about 900 Euros and many trips to the Dumpster for furniture, lighting, kitchenware, bedding and even food. Her wagon, affectionately called the trash house, is parked in a wagenplatz, an intentional community in which people live together on a piece of land in a variety of wheeled dwellings. Continue Reading »
Joseph Crowell has been building buses and vans for many years, but was recently inspired to build his first gypsy wagon by Sunny Baba, an activist and spiritualist who has built dozens of gypsy wagons. Joseph, who is in the Ashland, Ore. area, built this gypsy wagon with about 80 percent recycled materials. He gets a lot of his supplies from Dumpsters or from the side of the road. He uses manzanita tree branches as exquisite details in his design.
“If I see an old piece of furniture laying around, and it looks like it can still be used, I’ll saw it up,” Joseph said. “It makes the whole ‘find is and use it’ process more enjoyable.”
Joseph initially designed and built the stained glass window in the gypsy wagon, but he thinks he might look for a local stained glass artist to do the window in his next wagon. The wagon weighs about 1,500 pounds and can be towed by a small truck. It was recently sold for about $8,500 and Joseph plans on keeping his next design’s price to below $10,000.
If you are interested in one of Joseph’s gypsy wagons, email him at jsph.crowell (at) gmail.com.
Photos courtesy of Joseph Crowell
Kim Vader and his family have lived in Boise, Idaho since the early 1900′s. His ancestors were sheep farmers, his aunt was Basque, and their lives in the high desert have inspired Kim to design and build classic sheep wagons. This style of wagon was originally used by sheep herders who needed a portable place to live while tending their sheep in the high desert and mountains of the Western U.S.
Kim has been a craftsman for over 35 years and builds the wagons from scratch. You can purchase a finished wagon or have a custom sheep wagon built to your specifications. The wagons can be built on running gear that is freeway worthy or they can have original antique wood spoke wheels.
Typically, each wagon will have a bed with a memory foam mattress, a sitting and eating area with storage underneath, an antique wood stove or an electric stove, and a small kitchen area with custom cabinetry. They can also have several 110 electrical outlets and a storage area on the back of the wagon. The wagons are painted in traditional white and green colors and will have the classic canvas roof that is rated to last up to 10 years. The wagons are built with 2×6 Douglas fir and the cabinets and doors are built with 3/4 inch birch, pine and Douglas fir.
These sheep wagons can be used as a tiny house, on a farm or ranch, as a guest house, or an artist’s studio. Idaho Sheep Wagons also offers delivery. The prices range from about $9,000 for a 12 foot wagon to $13,500 for a wagon with original spoke wheels. Currently the company has a wagon for sale for $8,300. Continue Reading »