The Shelter Blog has been inactive since May, 2019. Too much to do! From this point on, Lloyd’s Blog will have the buildings, vehicles, and home-related posts such as what has previously appeared here. Go to

Vehicles (128)

SunRay Kelley's Hybrid Recumbent Bike

Sunray Kelley's Bike“SunRay Kelley’s human-electric hybrid SunRayzor bike is ready to ride. SunRay electrified his made-in-the-USA recumbent Catrike with a 72-volt Crystalyte hub motor and lithium-ion batteries. A custom-built rain shield and interchangeable windshield round out the package.”

Lots of SunRay’s creations — cob, straw bale, timber frameworks, stoves, saunas, yurts, and multiple inventions can be seen on his website:

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Paleotool's Vardo

The Vardo

Here is an extremely well-documented build with plans of a beautiful vardo.

“This is my home-built trailer using classic and modern building techniques and style. Based on traveler’s and “gypsy” wagons from Britain and France as well as sheep wagons from the western U.S., I am keeping this to the absolute minimum in size and weight. I don’t plan to live in it full-time so it can be thought of a base camp. I have mulled it over for a very long time and was torn between this style and a teardrop design. Each have advantages but this just seems to suit me better…”

The build can be seen on Paleotool’s blog.

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Zyl Vardos

The Fortune Cookie was featured in Tiny Homes on the Move. Here are more examples of Abel Zimmerman’s wonderful work:

The Fortune CookieFirst: Wood creates its own pathways. I am only following as best I can.

Second: My work is about people. Every time I collaborate with somebody on a little house, some new “flowers” seem to bloom in the world. Despite the newness, I more often intend to build things that feel “magnetic” and familiar. If people appreciate it 50 years later, then I/we have done the right thing. Read More …

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Kurt Buetow's Rolling Hangout and Yurt

These came in the mail from Kurt Buetow just as we were finishing Tiny Homes on the Move, and I just dug them out.


Hi Lloyd,

As you know, I’m into these hanging chairs. In the forty years since I won the International Canvas Furniture Design competition in Tokyo, I’ve spent time in the woods and find it pleasing to select technology I can kind of deal with, like a hay wagon and bent wood and a ’70s-era electric tractor I charge with PVs.

I like the idea of shelter, but no more than you need. Feet on the ground, the side bows on this umbrella fold up so it becomes only nine feet wide. Nice place to enjoy the rain, there’s a hammock, and a cot, tables, and storage. Maybe somewhere else tomorrow.


Kurt2Mode of Transport

This is how I move the rolling hang-out (’70s General Electric). The solar panels are mounted on a steel-wheeled McCormick Deering hay wagon running gear from the ’20s. In summer I tilt them east and west through the day.

Read More …

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Jean Hervé, Sylvie & Luka's Amazing Custom Rig

Unicat Rig

The other day on my way down to Bolinas beach I met Jean Hervé, Sylvie, and Luka in the midst of a trip around the world.  From their native France they shipped their rig to Nova Scotia, drove down to Florida and across the southern U.S. to California. They are now on their way to Mexico and Central America where they plan on staying a year or two. After that it’s down through South America for a few more years where they will end in Chile. From Chile they are back on a ship and heading to Asia for a few years, then they will make their way thru Russia and back to France eventually. Jean Hervé built this custom diesel-powered, all-wheel-drive, torsion-free subframe beast that will take you almost anywhere on the planet. The interior has beds, a kitchen, and a full bathroom and is built immaculately with space saving in mind. Read More …

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Travis Skinner's Tiny Houses and Arts/Crafts Projects

Travis Skinners Home on Wheels

Travis Skinner’s home on wheels

“I put on the furring strips with the help of my friend Steven. These furring strips will allow for a ½″ gap behind the siding that will allow airflow to dry out any moisture. Rain screens, in my opinion, are the best way to side in the Northwest. Take advantage of airflow, whenever possible…”

Check out Travis Skinner’s website here; it’s rich in art, craft, and building. He lives in Olympia, Washington.

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Drew's Veggie-Powered 4×4 Mitsubishi Delica Van

Diesel 4x4 Surf Van

Drew and Justin

I have been seeing this van around for a few weeks and trying to catch up with the driver. I love these vans and wish California/U.S. Customs would relax some of their crazy import laws and allow some of these in. I finally found them in Bolinas today! This is Drew De Panacis and his friend Justin Artuso. They are on a surfing/rock climbing road trip from Vancouver, Canada and went as far south as Big Sur for surf and out to the sierras for rock climbing. They are slowly making their way back up to the great north and hitting as much good surf as they can along the way. The van is a 4×4 diesel and it has a veggie conversion kit on it and holds 35 gallons of oil. To get something like this in America, you’d really only have one option — a Sportsmobile — which start out in the $30-$40k range for a used one. These Delicas go from $5-$10K in Canada which makes them a lot more affordable to younger folks and people who don’t make a ton of money.


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Justin Cutter's Mobile Greenhouse Truck

justin cutter truck

I was skating on the street one day and passed this striking greenhouse truck (for lack of a common descriptive phrase). It’s one of those things that you just GET when you see it. I stopped and talked to Justin Cutter, fellow skateboarder as well as gardener. This isn’t only one of the things you get when you see it, it’s one of those things you instantly LIKE. What a great idea! He takes it around to schools and teaches kids gardening. Read More …

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Alice's Custom-Built House Truck

house truck

My ex-husband and I built our home in the ’70s on a 1956 White truck, which cost $250. We used many recycled materials. Shipping crates became siding, discarded oak pallets and tiles became the table, etc.

CB-05It had a circulating toilet, double-paned Plexiglas windows and skylights, and a 30-inch porch at the rear. It had a 125-gallon water tank and a 60-gallon propane tank — self-contained. It’s solidly built and runs great!

There were two full-size bunks for the four kids. The upper bunk had been removed when these photos were taken. The spinet piano can barely be seen.

Studs were linked at the bottom with ¼-inch steel angle. It prevented disaster when one time someone drove into the side of the house truck. The driver totaled his car; we only have to replace a bit of siding.

The window design was determined by the size of the discarded Plexiglas scraps, and inspired by bathroom windows in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

We bolted three metal baffles between the stove and walls, staggering the bolts so as not to transfer the heat. The stove could be fully fired up and the wall behind it would still be quite cool.

I learned all my carpentry and building skills working on this truck. One day while driving myself, the porch railing got caught in something, ripping it half off, and it was sitting on the ground. What to do? I pulled out some tools and reattached it on the spot before driving away.


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Chris Brady's Truck


Dear Shelter Publications,

I have been meaning to contact you for quite some time now, having been a devoted reader and carrier of all your building books. As a mobile custom builder from the Olympic Peninsula, my work evokes a similar message and style as both Builders of the Pacific Coast and Tiny Homes. Read More …

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A Child's Tiny Home in a Gypsy Wagon


I was going over some old files in preparation for working on our new book on 21st century nomadics, and ran across this letter from Serena in Home Work (p. 176). It refers to the 37 Chevy flatbed truck converted to a rolling home by Joaquin de la Luz and his wife Gypsy, and featured in Shelter (pp. 90–91), and in later years used as a bedroom by 4-year-old Serena. It was such a nice example of happy childhood memories, I thought I’d reprint it here.

My earliest memories of the Gypsy Wagon begin when I was three or four years old. At that point, our family had settled down in a little house on the Klamath River, in Northern California. We had all moved out of the Gypsy Wagon but I really missed it. I remember begging my mom and dad to let me use it as my bedroom. Luckily for me, my parents were such free spirits that they could really relate to my independence. The wagon became my room.
Read More …

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