Guest Post by Michelle Wilson
We’ve recently finished our latest caravan here at Hornby Island Caravans – it’s our first year round dwelling which is hugely exciting for us! This is a 10 ft. by 26 ft. caravan- the usual width for road regulations is 8″5″ but you can get a pretty inexpensive over width permit, I think it was something like $15 a day here in British Columbia and you don’t have to do the big pilot car and lights production. In my previous caravans I’ve built the side walls so they slant outward toward the top and we did consider starting with a standard width trailer frame of about 8′ and slanting the walls out to 10′, but in the end our client Tony decided that he’d rather have straight walls and have the maximum amount of floor space possible, so we had to have a wider custom trailer built. Having the extra width seems to have made quite a big difference in the feel of the place-almost everyone that has come by has remarked on how spacious it feels inside.
Photo Credits: Hornby Island Caravans
We’ve also pushed the road height limits which are 13′.6″ from the ground to the top of the roof, so the top of the ceiling is a bit over 9′. I wouldn’t make a caravan this tall if it were meant to be towed around regularly, in fact there are many things I would have done differently if that were the case, but since this is not likely to move for many years, being aerodynamic and light wasn’t as important. Tony’s reasons for choosing a caravan rather than a house were more about flexibility and having a less permanent footprint rather than moving often.
There are a few things that will be added once the caravan has been moved, Tony has a dresser that will go between the bed and the chair (he’s still looking for the perfect comfy chair), also we’ll be putting in a jotul wood stove- there’s a hearth pad that you can see in some of the pictures between the wood box/table and the kitchen. We’ll also be putting on the gutters once the caravan gets to it’s new home, we’ve put that off since it’s going to have to make it down a long, narrow driveway and we don’t want the gutters to get ripped off before we get there. There will also be a deck built that will connect the caravan to a small shed that houses a composting toilet, shower/bath, laundry, freezer and a bit of extra storage. These things could have been part of the caravan but Tony decided to keep the utilitarian stuff separate.
As far as the layout, there was careful thought given by Tony about his possessions- what to keep, what to get rid of, and of the things he kept, where they should go. There were specific spots built for specific things- lot’s of open storage under the bed for his many instruments, cd shelves, book shelves, a shelf for magazine folders for his papers and so on. There was also careful consideration given to where to put the windows for the best views and light since this was made with a specific site in mind. We went over many different layout possibilities together but ultimately Tony came up with the one that worked best for him.
As for materials- wood wood and more wood..and bamboo. Recycled wood windows and door, bamboo floor, pine ceiling and walls, fir counters, desk and table, birch ply cabinets and drawers, cedar shingles on the top of the exterior and pine on the bottom half which has been treated with a really great product called Lifetime (good eco-friendly stuff that will make the wood last). The roof is EPDM (a thicker version of what people would use as a pond liner).
There is more information and pictures on my website if you’re interested in knowing about prices and such at www.hornbyislandcaravans.com, I also have a Facebook page- there’s a link to it on my web site or you can just look up Hornby Island Caravans in the Facebook search bar.
Photo Credits: Hornby Island Caravans