Anyone who’s a fan of Etsy knows you can spend too many hours browsing the wonderful stores and handmade items on the online crafter’s marketplace. One such item is large enough to live inside. Tom in Canaan, NY owns the Etsy shop pinecountry and is selling custom build Vardo wagons to be used as campers, retreats, hideaways or a tiny house.
The Vardo featured above is 8′ 6″ long, 6′ 5″ inches wide and 5′ 5″ tall. It only weighs 1,100 lbs empty and is made of lightweight pine laminated and bonded to plywood. It is going for $7,000. Tom said this adds strength which allows for fewer braces and less weight. Tom has 15 years of experience building with wood and usually builds country style tables. He started building the Vardo as an alternative to camping in a tent.
“We first thought we would build a teardrop trailer, but then we fell in love with the Vardo design,” Tom said. “Our take is a more country than the traditional gypsy wagon. To us it combines the best of the Vardo design and a simple rustic cabin into one.”
Tom finds the building process interesting and definitely different from a pine table and enjoys the complexity of this type of build.
“All of the compound angles make the build a challenge,” he said. “Part of the charm I think of my Vardos is the multiple angles.”
Tom is available to build any custom feature a client may want. From the start to finish the build typically takes about six to eight weeks since he only builds one at a time.
“Sleeping in the Vardo is wonderful,” Tom said. “It is insulated and tight. So it is pretty quiet inside. We climb in at night while at a campground and once we close the door we don’t hear the noises outside.”
Photos by pinecountry
The basic canvas wall tent, used by outdoor enthusiasts and the military for hundreds of years, can be turned into more than a tent with the simple addition of a wooden platform. My family has some property in a beautiful meadow with mountain views and we are looking to put up a canvas wall tent on a wooden floor to use for guest camping and enjoying the summer nights. Research for these tents has turned up some fantastic photos of what can be created with these portable but heavy duty structures.
Wall tents are different than tipis and in that they have four sides and a peaked roof, much like a tiny house. Canvas wall tents have been used by the military as early at 1740 and were used extensively in the American Civil War. Hunters and trappers in the 1800′s used wall tents while on the frontier and they are still used today as shelters in refugee camps and by soldiers in Iraq.
Canvas wall tents range in size from about 8-10 feet wide and 10-20 feet long. They can be supported with a simple wood frame, steel poles or traditional timber poles cut down on site. The walls are typically 5-6 feet high. Some canvas tents are large enough to contain a wood burning stove and the canvas roof can include a hole for a stove pipe. Furniture, carpets and even wall hangings can be used for interior decoration.
Canvas wall tents can actually be mounted to a hard surface deck. This keeps the tent from being blown away and damaged in the wind and also keeps out unwanted outdoor critters. These types of tents are called deck tents and can be secured even further with cable systems that tie the tent down to the deck.
Because of their sturdy construction and ability to let in fresh air while protecting campers from the elements, many canvas wall tents have become popular for glamping enthusiasts. The tents can be enjoyed in the summer and fall and then packed up and put away when winter arrives.
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.
For anyone who has dreamed of having a real log cabin in the woods, but still wants to keep it small, Washington based Mr. Cabin, Inc. builds substantial and very affordable log cabins that stay under 200 square feet. Rhett Conner and Robert Burrington of Mr. Cabin also claim that you don’t need level land to have one of these cabins. Many of them have been built on hillsides that still have beautiful views.
Rhett and Robert are childhood friends with over 45 years of exterior and interior construction experience and build tiny cabins and other structures like garages and sheds out of real four-inch milled logs. To them, real logs add more value to your home as well as beauty and warmth. The logs are protected with metal or cedar roofing with an eight-inch to one-foot overhang and some even include dormer windows. After construction and when the logs have had time to dry, each of the cabins are chinked to close up small gaps and add insulation quality.
The largest cabin is the Grizzly (show below). It’s 10×20 feet with a loft, a nine-foot sidewall and measures 14 feet at the peak. The Grizzly sells for around $11,600 if built on site and $9,600 for the milled kit which you put together yourself. This price does not include the dormers. The smaller MaMa Bear cabin (shown above) also has a sleeping loft and runs about $6,600 for a built cabin to $4,800 for the milled kit. The kit is not available for purchase in Washington and Oregon. Final costs of the cabins will also depend on the types of windows, doors and roofing. Please contact Mr. Cabin for questions on cost, building services and kit delivery.
Photos by Mr. Cabin, Inc.