The Tiny Houses of Black Rock City: Fertility 2.0

by Christina Nellemann on September 10th, 2012. 7 Comments

The theme of this year’s Burning Man had a few people scratching their heads. However, the idea of fertility taken to the next level describes the burgeoning annual event very well. Burning Man is a completely fertile location where spontaneous creativity and ideas are allowed to naturally flourish without any kind of expectations. The Burning Man website described it, and the community of Black Rock City, as a kind of giant petri dish. This year, out of that petri dish sprang a nice new crop of tiny structures and shelters that various Burners took with them out to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to live in for a week.

There were several actual “tiny houses” out there this year, including this one across the street from our own camp. Continue Reading »

Built by Friends: Evan and Gabby’s Tiny House

by Christina Nellemann on October 24th, 2011. 28 Comments

Like an Amish barn raising, Evan and Gabby’s tiny Tarleton house is going up piece by piece with the help of friends and family. The Illinois couple were inspired by the Tumbleweed houses and decided to downsize their already sustainable lifestyle even more. With no prior construction experience, they have been working on their tiny home for just over a year and plan to move in (along with their two cats) soon.

The couple also plan to move around the country, staying in campgrounds that offer year-round rates. They then want to purchase some land where tiny house living is more acceptable.

Their 117 square foot Tarleton, built on a car hauler trailer, will have a great room, a sleeping loft above the bathroom and kitchen, another storage loft above the door and a bathroom with a custom shower and composting toilet that vents to the outdoors. The kitchen has four feet of stainless steel countertop, a two-burner stove, a bar sink, a toaster oven, a small fridge and – rare for a tiny house – a combination washer and dryer that they got from a family member for free. Continue Reading »

Sarana House

by Christina Nellemann on October 17th, 2011. 15 Comments

Sarana House is named after a word in Pali, an ancient Buddhist language, that means “safe place” or “refuge. It will be the ultimate refuge when moved from its current location in Los Angeles, where it’s being built, to its final home on a private 23 acre forest retreat, named Sarana Park, in Northern California.

The tiny house on a trailer is being built by Juko and Jerry, not only as a new home, but as a way to respond to the Great Recession. Following the foreclosure of their home in Santa Monica, the couple decided to downsize and live more simply. Their first tiny house, the Huling Halfway Hut, was featured in  a Tiny House Blog “Tiny House in a Landscape” post. During this time, Juko and Jerry became stewards of Sarana Park and wanted to make this new land a place for reflection, restoration, and transformation. They think of it as a “re-boot camp” – a place where their friends and guests can take some space to recharge, rest, and be inspired.

Sarana House is being built with as many reclaimed materials as possible. They are using reclaimed white pine from Ohio (Juko’s childhood home) and Pennsylvania; and Juko is building a larger kitchen by re-furbishing an IKEA freestanding kitchen. A long bench will be the focus of the dining room. It will be large enough for several people to sit or for one person to sleep. Bamboo flooring has been installed and  a stock door from Lowes has been cut down to fit the entrance. Continue Reading »

Joseph’s Gypsy Wagons

by Christina Nellemann on August 29th, 2011. 25 Comments

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)

Photos courtesy of Joseph Crowell


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

August 29th, 2011and filed in Vardo
Tags: caravan, Craigslist, for, gypsy, handmade, mobile, recycled, sale, sold, Wagon