Flow’s Zen Buggy

by Kent Griswold on November 27th, 2012. 51 Comments
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*Update below where Flow answers some questions and includes more photos

Hi, my name is Flow and I live in Humboldt county. I thought you might enjoy a peek at my new Gypsy wagon a friend and I created this summer.

Designed and built in northern California using as many reclaimed woods as possible, Douglas Fir floor from old school bleachers, a redwood door from old barn, and benches from downed old growth redwood.

Zen Buggy

The bed frame features a Ranma from Japan carved in 1910 and all the lighting is L.E.D. low voltage. It also has radiant heat flooring and an organic futon.

I hope you enjoy!


* update

Good morning Kent ,

I’m happy people liked my little Zen Buggy. Thanks for all the wonderful complements!
I have really been enjoying it myself. It is so peaceful inside and my sleep and dreams have been the best in years, and every morning when I step out it feels like a Saturday. It is a real bonus I did not intend .
As for answers:
  • The radiant heat is a 3×5 ft system called “rug buddy” I found online. I turn it on in the late afternoon and by time time I turn in my buggy is nice and perfectly warm, even on the coldest nights. (see picture below)
  • As for the build, I will post a step by step progress blog this week.
  • I chose not to put bath or cooking areas in this project because I have all that in another building on the property, this was intended for meditation, reading, hangingout, sleeping and dreaming space.
  • My closet is a Shamisen case made in 1920 in Japan to tie in with the Ranma carving under my bed .
  • The walls I painted with a clay paint called Bioshield, no VOC’s and all the wood was finished with Penofin Verde’.
  • The outer roof/shell is metal galvalume, which keeps it cool when hot out and block 90 something % of the suns uv’s.
  • Also it is insulated with eco-bat, a recycled eco-groovy product .
Thanks again, and here are some more photos.
Peace from,

Flow and his Zen Buggy

approching Flow's Zen Buggy

entering Flow's Zen Buggy

zen buggy at home

New Photos below:

clay paint & cedar trim detail

clay paint & cedar trim detail

closet & door from inside

closet & door from inside

closet door detail

closet door detail

electrical stash detail

electrical stash detail

rug buddy radiant floor heater detail

rug buddy radiant floor heater detail

view from bed

view from bed

window trim  & clay wall detail

window trim & clay wall detail

window trim detail & outside

window trim detail & outside

51 Responses to “Flow’s Zen Buggy”

  1. Niall says:

    Class! I love the use of the different wood types.

  2. Daniel says:

    Flow, that is the most beautiful wagon I have ever seen!How do we find more pictures? Could you share how the radiant floor was put together? Thanks, Daniel

  3. Diane says:

    A thing of beauty!

  4. Christina says:

    This is incredible! The craftsmanship is top-knotch and the design is really unique.

  5. Marsha Cowan says:

    Absolutely stunning! Rich woods, intricate carving, wonderful lighting. What a treasure. Great job!

  6. Em says:

    Agreed. Would love to know more about how you built it.

  7. This is quite lovely! Nice work! I’d love to see more interior shots.

  8. LORI ROSE says:


  9. Nancy says:

    That looks great! Nice wood work. Care to share any interior photos – I would love to see them.

  10. Holly says:

    Lovely!!! I, too, am interested in how you did the radiant floor heating. Also, does this have cooking/bathroom facilities?

  11. Wow, that’s absolutely stunning! It’s especially wonderful to see all that reclaimed wood used it in such an elegant way.

  12. A work of art! I could live in one of those, if it just has a wood / coal stove and a small bathtub.

  13. Sabrina O. says:


  14. Fred says:

    Lovely looking, even if the interior shots don’t really give a good sense of layout. I’m interested in the offhand mention of radiant heat flooring. I’m surprised more tiny houses don’t use this technology and wonder if there’s a technical reason they don’t.

    In fact, heating is my biggest concern with tiny houses. Living in Alberta, where it is going to hit -15°C (5°F) this week, I wonder what people do to keep their tiny homes heated when they’re not home. Is it safe to leave one of those Dickson Marine gas heaters running unattended? What if you depend on a wood stove? How do you prevent your water lines from freezing if you’ve got to put in regular 12-hour shifts? You sure can’t go away for the weekend if wood is your heat source.

    In-floor heating makes a lot of sense to me, but this is the first mention of it I’ve come across anywhere on this site. Why do you think that is?

    • Abel Zyl says:

      For keeping your house from freezing, any reliable electric heater with a thermostat control. There are radiant panels, small fan driven units, etc. You could even put a thermostat on the floor units!

      And i think Katie of Portland Alternative Dwellings used electric radiant floor in the Don Vardo.

      My tiny house has plumbing, and i also use 6′ of pipe ‘tape’ to keep things from freezing up… It has a built in thermostat.

      And, nice woodwork Flow! Wow!

      • alice h says:

        In my area we get a lot of power failures in the winter, usually due to high winds and downed trees. They’re getting better at fixing them up quickly but you can still be without power for long enough to get fairly miserable if you only have electric heat. It’s best to have a non-electric backup if you rely on electricity for your main heat source. Back in my Yukon cabin days if you got stuck in town and your fire went out you’d come home to frozen everything. A friend once stuck her frozen houseplants outside the window for the rest of the winter. They were perfect until spring thaw, just a little frosty looking.

  15. alice h says:

    Yes! This is marvellous! I too am curious about the radiant heat floor.

  16. That is an awesome home ! And think of the savings of housing cost that is what self reliant living is all about!! Think of the possibilitys .

  17. Gretagekko says:

    Remarkable! Love the warmth that the different wood gives your lovely wagon.

  18. Joy says:

    Beautiful! Do you have a website where we can see more details?

  19. adam says:

    Remember the last “gypsy wagon” that got posted? Come on! let’s all go bonkers!

    • 2kids2cats says:

      Ha, I was waiting for that, or how this isn’t worthy of being on the blog since it has no facilities and isn’t lived in.

      Beautiful work. It is really a piece of art.

  20. Sean says:

    @Adam, I was thinking the same thing.

    I would love to hear about the radiant heating though.

  21. Liz T says:

    This is a thing of beauty. You should be very proud!

  22. Deek says:

    Classy as heck! Great work/great natural-wood look- too many people paint, hide, and cover their woodwork…..

  23. Scooter says:

    Of course I like it and want it-might need a little more heat in Alaska for the winter. Just wondering what classic vehicle I would use to pull it?

  24. Katy Steger says:

    Awesome and inspiring! Thanks for sharing so much detail.

    i want to say “thumbs up” on Bioshield, too. I’ve used it in most of my house and I love the way it looks and the way supplies clean up afterwards. It is an investment compared to other paints so I do a small area at a time.

  25. A says:

    What would the name of the blog you mentioned be? I’d love to look at it.

  26. Paul Jenkins says:

    Very nice work indeed!

  27. James says:

    I would like to bluid one of these how much would it cost me .

  28. chase says:

    lol – I love it! Some kick butt posts this month Tiny House Blog – Three for three so far – the Cottage on the hill being my fav so far.

    And the DIY Tear Drop Trailer and now this… way cool.

    Kinda makes me want to go on a road trip. Or streak through the parking lot, eh, road trip for sure.

  29. chase says:

    So many kick butt posts I’m seeing this month Tiny House Blog – the Cottage on the hill being my fav so far.

    And the DIY Tear Drop Trailer and now this… way cool.

    Kinda makes me want to go on a road trip. Or streak naked through the parking lot or something, eh some strange looking folks hanging in the parking lot.. so, road trip for sure.

  30. Yojimbo says:

    Superb craftsmanship.

  31. Nicole Marie says:

    Beautiful!!! Just BEAUTIFUL!!! Your craftsmanship and arrangement of space are wonderful! Thank you for sharing your dreaming space.

  32. Terrie Brooks says:

    Fabulous ! Stunning wood working through out!

  33. Paul Craig says:

    Great work! You’ve built a beauty!

  34. LibertyTreeBud says:

    This man was creating love when he created this masterpiece of craftsmanship. This is a work of love, beautiful love.

  35. Lisa Enlow says:

    You have managed to do what I’ve dreamed of with beauty & grace. I’m so impressed with the quality of your work & your incorporation of recycled wood! This is so beautiful!

  36. Luke Winne says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful creation. Your craftsmanship is incredible. Keep up the great work!

  37. Jill says:

    This is just beautiful!! I love it…

  38. Maggie Kearns says:

    Do you have a bathroom or kitchen? Do you live full time in your vardo?

  39. Gabriel says:

    Surely the selection of materials is excellent: High-quality wood and the selection of colors is (I believe) praised by feng-shui designers. Just love the soothing effect of “earthly” colors of green olive oil and wood textures in shades of brown.
    I couldn’t see from first look that it is made-up of recycled materials! Everything looks new, and the all-around metal roof offers protection to make it look new for quite long.
    Although I would eagerly select a larger trailer to accommodate a shower and toilet for camping, it is still a good item to put in your backyard and offer extra space for guests and relatives.

  40. Malbat says:

    Nice wagon and I like your plants, you can keep an eye on them by just looking through the window

  41. Shawn Park says:

    Could you tell me about the chassis this is built on? Where did it come from? How much weight does it support? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Shawn

  42. Casey says:

    How did you curve the trim piece that covers the edge of the roofing? That is the missing link for a leak proof metal roof while driving. If I could do that…

  43. randomray says:

    Wonderful job . It is a thing of beauty .

  44. Donna says:

    I went to Arcata High many yrs. ago…I would love to have one of these buggys in Trinidad. I love the redwoods and the beaches. You should build these for a living, you have a gift…

  45. Frank Niemo says:

    Do you sell any plans or can you make one for me. Nice work!

    Thanks for your consideration,

  46. Mack says:

    Just one word: WOW!

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