Tony's Hornby Island Caravan - Tiny House Blog

Tony’s Hornby Island Caravan

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, 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.

Michelle Wilson
Hornby Island Caravans

Photo Credits: Hornby Island Caravans

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Hazel - February 17, 2012 Reply

It’s simply stunning! The excellent quality of construction and tasteful style is evident everywhere. All the natural woods really work well in this larger space. It’s wonderful that Tony could design the interior himself with the layout that works best for him. I’m so impressed with Hornby Island Caravans!

Tara - February 17, 2012 Reply

I’m in love!! You had me at the mini breakfast nook…but then you added the little stairs to the bed area and sent me over the edge. I have “starred” this post in my google reader as one of my all time favorite tiny houses.

steve - February 17, 2012 Reply

makes me miss my mountain home with all the big windows and the pine walls and ceilings, but you did a super job…love it…thanks for sharing with us folks.

Kimk - February 17, 2012 Reply

yes, yes….so over the top. It definitely is love at first site! Finally a little mobile home that took my heart away.

Thank you so much for your work on this and sharing it with the community Michelle!

Amy - February 17, 2012 Reply

This is amazing. I’ve been following this blog for quite awhile now and I don’t think I’ve ever commented, but I have to on this one. This is such a good use of space, and I think everything is so very well laid out and arranged so it doesn’t feel too cramped and there is enough room to store real things. I wonder, is there a bathroom? I see a door near the hearth, is that it?? Very well done, I will be adding Hornby Island Caravans to my list of companies to keep tabs on!

Teryl - February 17, 2012 Reply

Love it!!!!
I am on the east coast and have been wanting to create something here. I love the use of the natural branches and the lines they create. Thank you for posting

Nora - February 17, 2012 Reply

Wow. I’ll have one please 🙂

alice h - February 17, 2012 Reply

Another work of architectural art. Those windows! Gorgeous! I love the sliding shelves in the cabinet. Having an entryway with space for outerwear is very practical and that desk would be a perfect sewing spot. Dream fodder indeed.

Marvin - February 17, 2012 Reply

An absolutely fantastic example of aesthetics and practicality; like living in a work of art. Congratulations on creating a home that will likely inspire others with an interest in small houses.

Mary M - February 17, 2012 Reply

I think my favorite part about this is that it’s truly designed for the way someone actually lives. With his specific needs taken into consideration. I believe having the perfect spot for your things can make a tiny place feel just right.

moontree ranch - February 17, 2012 Reply

love the log shelf supports…

Larry Cooper - February 17, 2012 Reply


This is the best of it’s kind. Couldn’t ask for more.

The concept of using a separate building for bathing/toilet is brilliant. We’ve designed a dog trot using that idea with a small commercial kitchen and bath and laundry room in the second building; the main building is a lot like this one.

Keeping the bathroom/laundry outside is a great idea to help control moisture in the space.

I hope ours ends up being this good. You set the bar really high, Hornby Island!

Aria - February 17, 2012 Reply

Stunning! Wonderful workmanship!
The one and only thing I would have added would be a sort of flip-down, lock-into-place counter above the bench, next to the sink. That way when the bench is not occupied there would be extra counter space, but when the bench seating is needed, the counter would flip up and act as a sort of backing to the bench.

Annie Blair - February 17, 2012 Reply

Simply, “LOVE”

That is all.

Doug - February 17, 2012 Reply

Wow. Nice work, you guys. Very nice touches throughout. It’s been great seeing it go through the process.

Be careful relying on Lifetime as a preservative. Empirical evidence shows that it is a great colouring agent, but no where near as effective as a good paraffin based coating.

Tony must be really happy!

sandy - February 17, 2012 Reply

Stunning. I want one. The only thing is, where is the bathroom?

Joshua - February 17, 2012 Reply

Beautiful. The little bit of extra width makes a big difference in feel as you mentioned. Great aesthetics. You two made a good team.

Heather - February 17, 2012 Reply

Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for showing us.

Tom - February 17, 2012 Reply

Wow. Class act. I’ll definitely check out your website.

gmh - February 17, 2012 Reply

So very thoughtfully designed and beautifully built! I love that there is a desk.
I would love to see it in its new home-complete with deck and shed.

David Rhodes - February 17, 2012 Reply

Love this house and the craft. Hope there’s thought in the design to have an interior bathroom. Stepping outside at 3am in the cold of winter would be a bit chilly. The bed is too high for older folks, but the storage is a great idea.

et - February 17, 2012 Reply


How did you get it past the building inspectors?

    michelle, hornby island caravans - February 17, 2012 Reply

    Hi et,
    This caravan is staying on hornby island, which is an unregulated area which means there is no need for inspection. If it was to be insured it would have to be inspected. Because it is on wheels it is more akin to an rv or camping trailer than a home. things like the electrical and wood stove installation were done to code.

cory fehling - February 18, 2012 Reply

Excellent work and design layout. What size trailer was used for the 10×26 dimensions? keep up the great work!

Miss Mercy - February 18, 2012 Reply

This is absolutely gorgeous, and I want one!

Susan - February 18, 2012 Reply

How much does this caravan cost?

    michelle, hornby island caravans - February 18, 2012 Reply

    A furnished 10′ by 26′ caravan would run between 45,500- 50k depending on what options you wanted(bathroom etc.) This price doesn’t include appliances.

Barb - February 18, 2012 Reply

Absolutely gorgeous. Beauty in simplicity. I, too would miss the bathroom, but love the idea of linking a few with a common deck.

Brooke Lambie - February 18, 2012 Reply

Very helpful as I am doing a 30 X10 basement apartment and needed ideas to make it homey. Thanks.

Abigail - February 18, 2012 Reply

It is a nice house I wish I live in there, I’m 7 years old live in Phoenix with my mom. Thanks for sharing. - February 18, 2012 Reply

Home meets art .Add a great location and perfection.Well done.

Anne B - February 19, 2012 Reply

Very beautiful! I, also, intend to have moisture producing activities in a separate, small structure. I would put a composting toilet in the space where the coat closet is (being a woman of a certain age) and change the orientation of the bed.
Is that a cat flap at the bottom of the door? Very ingenious, if it is!

Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural - February 19, 2012 Reply

That is gorgeous inside and out and so roomy!

Ruth Harding - February 19, 2012 Reply

Hi, I am over on Bowen, have the trailer but looking for somewhere to put it while I build. Great inspiration – plus, I didn’t know about the cheap permit! I am going to make my plans wider.

Question about the roof. How did you attach it? I am assuming that if it is like pond liner that you just got a one piece and installed it without seams…right?

    michelle, hornby island caravans - February 20, 2012 Reply

    Hi Ruth,
    We attached the EPDM (which you can get in a thicker version than what you would use for pond liner)with galvanized strapping on each side- the kind with holes all along it that you find in the plumbing section of hardware stores. Often you can get a large enough piece of EPDM so that there is no need for seams ( it’s heavy stuff though, you need a way to get it up there) but if you do need to use 2 or more pieces there is a special tape/adhesive product that can be used.
    These caravans weren’t built to be off the grid, they each have an inlet where they can be plugged in with a regular ext.cord.

      Ruth Harding - February 20, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Michelle!
      More anxious than ever to find a spot to build.

Ruth Harding - February 19, 2012 Reply

Forgot to ask about power. Ii it built for off grid to run on battery/solar? Where do the outlets get their power?


prairie rose - February 20, 2012 Reply

Once again a beautiful creation! Congratulations!!

Jennifer - February 22, 2012 Reply

love it! Been to Hornby Island many times as I grew up on Vancouver Island! Just a short ferry ride! Wish I had a spot for one of those 🙂

Abel Zimmerman Zyl - February 22, 2012 Reply

Many cheers to you up north! I could not have done better. Astounding and cozy interior.


Liesl - February 24, 2012 Reply

I agree with all these posts! Simply stunning – gorgeous! I want one all for me – thehubby, 4 kids and dog can fend for themselves 🙂

Lisa - March 1, 2012 Reply

Beautiful! Your designs are fabulous and inspiring. Thank you for beautiful simplicity!

Teairirra - March 9, 2012 Reply

This home is beautiful oh im in love… But where’s the restroom.

Stavorous Thidopolous - September 1, 2013 Reply

Very nice Tiny House. You have mentioned the width issue, is this because you are in Canada? I love the design. I am in the beginning of planning stage. Here in the U.S. D.O.T. regulations state can not be wider than travel lane of 12 feet. So your 10 foot wide would not be an issue.

berish - October 14, 2015 Reply

we are looking for tree house

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