Opportunity Village Eugene and the Conestoga Hut

by Kent Griswold on December 19th, 2012. 22 Comments

by Andrew Heban

I am with the non-profit Opportunity Village Eugene and thought you might be interested in posting about our newly developed 60 sq. ft. Conestoga Hut here in Eugene, Oregon.

The Conestoga hut is 6 by 10 foot shelter that can be built for between $250 and $500 depending on the utilization of re-used or donated materials. While this price is similar to a quality tent, the Conestoga makes significant improvements upon the tent – most notably an insulated and lockable space – while minimizing the cost, skill and labor required by a more conventional, four-walled structure.

Conestoga Hut

There are four components to a Conestoga hut: a basic 6 by 10 foot insulated floor, two solid, insulated walls that line the short sides of the flooring, and a metal wire roof that is curved to connect to the long sides of the floor. The roofing frame is then covered with insulation and outdoor vinyl that is attached to the base of the structure.

The result is a structure that resembles the Conestoga wagons used during early American westward expansion. The components of the shelter can then be easily assembled or disassembled on site, drawing a reference to the rugged individualism again linked with the Conestoga wagon. Continue Reading »

Kootenay Lake Gypsy Wagon

by Kent Griswold on September 24th, 2012. 12 Comments

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 »

Lorna’s 1930s Shepherd’s Wagon

by Christina Nellemann on September 3rd, 2012. 29 Comments

Over the course of two summers starting in 1945, Lorna Benedict lived in a shepherd’s wagon on a large ranch in Wyoming. During her stint as a shepherd she watched over a herd of sheep, chopped her own firewood, shot and skinned local wildlife and fished the rivers for her food. Every few weeks, when the sheep moved on to feed, horses would be hooked up to the wagon so she and her home could continue the process. When asked what she liked about the lifestyle, she said “Nothing!”

“Well…at that age, it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Lorna added. “But now that I look back on it, it was really amazing to be out in nature with those mountains in Wyoming. I sure did read a lot.
Continue Reading »

“Pee-Wee’s” Gypsy Wagon for Sale

by Christina Nellemann on January 23rd, 2012. 16 Comments

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 »

January 23rd, 2012and filed in Travel Trailers, Vardo
Tags: california, gypsy, movie, prop, restored, sale, Vardo, Wagon