Gypsy Wagon (24)

Paul and Melissa’s Homemade Vardo

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out-of-the-way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage. We have no running water or electricity, but plenty of comfort and convenience with the propane cooktop, large bay window, and skylight that lets us see the stars at night.

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Gorgeous Vardo



The Unity Wagon is a vardo-style caravan like none you’ve ever seen before. Built by the incredible Steve Areen, this home on wheels is beautifully constructed and is designed to take full advantage of the spectacular Australian landscape, making it an ideal traveling home on wheels.

Steve is no stranger to building incredible structures. Earlier, he constructed a spectacular dome home in Thailand, which was actually one of the homes which inspired me to start exploring earth building. Steve’s dome home has large, circular feature windows and this theme has been carried into his new caravan project.

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Homemade Vardo by Paul and Melissa Rodgers

…The walls are 11/16″ tongue-and-groove cedar, which we stained and varnished. The roof is 3/8″ Douglas fir plywood, coated with an elastomeric paint to shed the rain.

With an emphasis on using either natural or reclaimed materials, salvage yards and Craigslist were veritable gold mines — as were our own storage sheds and woodpile. A beautiful old piece of eastern black walnut made a perfect kitchen counter.

For maximum space versatility, the shelves and seats can be folded up and fastened out of the way, and the massive drawers and cupboards under the bed provide ample storage…

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Incredible Tiny House Café is a True Work of Art



Beautiful to behold, this spectacular tiny house café is a remarkable specimen of skilled labour and artistic vision. Chantal and Mike are a truly dynamic duo, one with a dream of starting a boutique coffee shop and the other with a zeal for eco-tiny house building. When these unique passions were combined to create Le Bon Café, a wonderful and rare work of functional art was the result.

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Flow's Zen Buggy

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Hey now. Lloyd and friends,

Here’s a bit more on my Zen Buggy:

zen-buggy-at-home-3barge-rafter-upDesigned and built in northern California, it started out as a cardboard model and then I went out a bought a 5×8-foot landscape trailer. We put down some sheet metal first so critters wont get in through the bottom, and then my builder buddy, Tim, then welded up the supports and brackets we thought we needed.

We just made it up as we went along, as neither one of us had ever made anything like this.

We then monkeyed around with some plywood and a pencil and some chalk and got half our basic shape jigsawed and sanded, then mirrored it. Then we glued three of these shapes together to make each rib which we then bolted to the frame.

All the plywood was certified sustainably harvested, and most of the wood was reclaimed from Bug at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma and Almquist Lumber in Humboldt County.

Floor was high school bleachers made from Doug fir; the door is 100% reclaimed redwood from an old barn, made by Imperial Door in Sebastopol; cedar from I don’t remember; and the interior benches were naturally felled old-growth redwood from the Humboldt forest, with birch ply for ceiling.

Lots and lots of planing, cutting, screwing, sanding, and staining with Penofin Verdé, she came together.

Insulated with eco-bat and interior end-walls were painted with Bio-Shield clay paint.

It is heated by an under-carpet, radiant floor-heating system called a “rug buddy,” and is perfect for such a small space.

The carving in the bed frame is called a ranma and was carved in 1910 in Japan, and my closet is a shamisen case also from Japan made in 1920.

The outer roof/shell is made of Galvalume, which I was told was the only Energy Star–rated metal roofing. It keeps the inside cool when it is hot out. Scott, the owner of Northern Pacific Sheet Metal, worked out the edging detail in his free time.

The feeling inside is very peaceful and my sleep and dreams have never been better.

I want to thank every one who helped make this dream a reality, and even Bloomfield Farms in Petaluma where we built her, and thank you for letting me share my Zen Buggy.

Peace from,
–Flow

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The 2,500-Mile Across-USA Expedition of Bernie Harberts and His Mule Polly

333Hi Lloyd,

Last we spoke, I was telling you about the “Lost Sea Expedition.” It was just mule Polly and me traveling across the U.S.A. in our wagon. We were looking for stories behind the Lost Sea, the ancient seabed that once covered the Great Plains.

I filmed the journey without a film crew, support vehicle or sponsor. I charged my camera gear off the solar panel bolted to the wagon roof. Now, that footage has been turned in to the “Lost Sea Expedition” TV series.

First, a bit about the journey:

As I bumped across the U.S.A. in my wagon, I folks what they knew about the Lost Sea. Early on, a Lakota elder told me about “buffalo stones” — fossils from a marine creature called a baculite. From there, the story took off in all directions. I thought I was looking for a vanished sea. Instead, I unearthed an all-American web covering topics as far ranging as the Ogallala Aquifer, creationism, evolutionism, prairie fever, and Depression-era horse breaking.

Who knew that diving in to the origins of a long-vanished sea would turn in to a journey to the heart of America?

2,500-mile wagon route across America

I think I dove so deep in to the fabric of America because I went so small. I traveled in the manner of our ancestors, men in wagons with time and high hopes but not much money. I built the wagon myself. It was so tiny, I could heat it with a few candles and my mule Polly could pull it alone. It was big enough for my film gear, a few clothes and some food … just.

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A visitor checks out the wagon. At just over 30 inches, it soon became clear why my friends referred to it as the MRI machine (or the porta-john). Damn, I could barely roll over in that thing, a task that got tougher and tougher the higher I piled the sleeping bags!

IMG_8712.jpegOut there rolling across the land, I learned that the smaller you travel, the more you expose yourself to the weather, the heat, the cold, the ups and downs and the people you meet along the way. Because my mule needed to eat and drink every day, I was limited in how far I could travel every day. On average, I went 8 to 10 miles before knocking off for the night.

That meant every day, wherever I was a few hours before dark, that’s where I spent the night. That also meant I knocked on a LOT of doors asking my well-prepared line, “Hi I’m Bernie and this is my mule Polly. Do you have a place we could camp for the night?”

And that, that dependence on strangers met along the way, that documenting all weathers, animals and climes, is what gives the “Lost Sea Expedition” such incredible insight in to America.

I made the “Lost Sea Expedition” for all those people who dream of adventuring, running away, or just taking a break from life’s responsibilities. I made this series for all the folks I met on the road who said, “Man, I’d love to do what you’re doing but…” and then they’d give me reasons why they couldn’t break free. Hopefully, it will inspire others to finally break the bonds of what’s keeping them back.

Plenty more about the Lost Sea Expedition at www.lostseaexpedition.com.

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Bernie Harberts' Lost Sea Expedition TV Series

Bernie Harberts was featured in our book Tiny Homes (pp. 188–189). He traveled from Canada to Mexico for 14 months in a 21-square-foot wagon pulled by a mule. Here is a letter we just received from him.

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Howdy Lloyd,

Many mule miles, no letters…

You featured mule Polly and her wagon in your Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter book. That story continues.

What I never really said much about is that I filmed that 14-month voyage across America. That voyage is now the “Lost Sea Expedition” TV series. The site and official trailer are at: www.lostseaexpedition.com.

I’ve attached some photos for you. I’d love to share the story and news with your blog readers.

Hell, I know you’re busy. You write you could use a clone. No worries. I’ll write the content for you. Just tell me what would work for you (short article, picture essay, blog post, etc).

Hope you and the hummers are well. You and I have lived for we know the jubilation of a thawed hummer flying from our hands!

Keep groovin’
–Bernie Harberts
www.lostseaexpedition.com
A Man A Mule America

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Life in a Magical Vardo-Style Caravan



Gypsy vardo wagons have become something of a symbol of freedom. The home of the traveller, yet home none-the-less. For Frenchy, a young woman from Wellington, New Zealand who works in performance arts and frequently travels, building her own Gypsy vardo–style Caravan was the ideal housing solution…

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Zyl Vardos' MoonDragon

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One of my favorite tiny house builders is Abel Zyl of Zyl Vardos. He is a creative genius and has come up with some very unique tiny homes on wheels…

He just completed his latest called the MoonDragon and is getting ready to deliver it to the new owner in California.

Abel Zyl’s Fortune Cookie was also featured in Tiny Homes on the Move.

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Steve's Vardo Project

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Hi,

I found your blog whilst looking at images for vardos on Google where I was seeking ideas and inspiration for my project. I’m based in Wales in the UK.

I have always fancied building one and decided to do it as a retirement project. I was lucky enough to find the basic structure on eBay, it was originally constructed by a blacksmith as a travelling workshop.

It was an unfitted shell on a twin-axle trailer, I picked it up at the beginning of the month and am making progress towards fitting it out. Whilst I like the traditional look, I wanted something less fussy.

So far I have painted the interior, made and fitted a rear window; although this mounts on the hinges for the original steel shutters so these can be replaced for security if left parked up for any length of time, I am part-way through making a similar one for the door.

Traditionally the bed goes sideways across the rear, so I have followed this and constructed a simple bed which pulls out to double width or slides back to make more space; there is space for storage beneath.
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John Kazencki's Gypsy Wagon

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Via Facebook

Hello Evan,

The Gypsy traveler is something that has been on my mind for years. One day I just decided to build it. Everything is out off my mind in creation there are no plans. Never thought it would be finished, but its very close to being done. A gal from Connecticut has bought it and she plans to travel with a group of women to where only god knows. I am planning to build another one on a trailer. To me the build is the most fun and to watch people light up when they see it. Here are two photos to start, if you go to Mystical Views Facebook page you can see the whole build.

–John


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