So I want to build a tiny house. I’ve answered “Why a tiny house”, but another good question is “Why build?”

I could buy a finished house from Tumbleweed or Hornby Island Caravans.
I could buy and renovate an RV.
Why build?

A few reasons:
1) New RVs and pre-made tiny houses cost quite a pretty penny. Try around the range of $30,000–$50,000.
At my current rate of income and savings…that’s years of overtime. Or years of debt. Eh….not what I want. I want something soon and I want something fairly cheap. I’m not exactly planning on spending the rest of my life in a tiny house: this is a for-now solution while I save for something more permanent. A stop-gap or a stepping stone, if you would. Same as living at home, but with just a bit more…independence, I guess. My own roof. I guess at heart, I’m a symbolism kinda girl.
2) Renovated a used RV is a popular option for what I want…but if I’m going to spend that much time, effort and money on it, I think I’d rather just design my own. Build a space that is truly me, inside and out.
3) Building my own is a scary prospect. I’ve never done anything like it.
It’s absolutely terrifying…so why wouldn’t I do it? There’s a good kind of terror, a rush of life as you do something completely new. If I can build my own dwelling, no matter how small, what else can I do?

So, I’m building.

What kind of DIY tiny house?
If there’s one design I’ve kept coming back to in my years of haunting tiny house sites, it’s this. The vardo. Inspired by the wagons of itinerant Roma, or gypsies, the vardo is loft-less, really small and comparatively light-weight. This vardo, the Don Vardo by Portland Alternative Dwellings, is actually the one I’m planning to build. I’ll be buying the 12 foot plans
Unlike some tiny houses, it’s not meant to be used as a full-time structure such as we think of houses…at least, not by itself. It’s more of a guest-room/home office kind of deal. Committing to this design, instead of a more “traditional” tiny house, like a Tumbleweed house, means spending more time in the main house…hey, that’s rather what I need! Like I said, not planning on living out the rest of my days there. Stepping stone; personalized stepping stone.
Now, for some design ideas! More pictures of the basic Don Vardo. These are of the 8 foot vardo, not the 12 foot version.













Here are some inspirations from other sources:
The “Hobbit Hutch
While I’m not so fond if the blue exterior, I love the shutters and the interior layout and colors.
Paleotool’s vardo.
An instructables construction guide of Paleotool’s vardo.
A little more rustic than I personally like, but the details are exquisite! I’m looking for something with a little more insulation, though…
Kintala’s vardo. A very historically accurate vardo! Details galore!
Hornby Island Caravans. So many good ideas! I love how open these spaces seem, even though they are actually quite small, as opposed to the often cluttered and cramped tiny houses.
Baldwin Gypsy Caravan: I love how thoroughly he documents the construction process.
Daphne’s Caravans: a treasure-trove of vardo information. I love how expansive the vardo culture is. It makes sense, I suppose: vardos have a longer history than most tiny houses.
A video of vardo construction. Extremely helpful resource!

Other assorted ideas:
Love the bump-out window!

















Here’s an exterior color scheme I like. Just imagine these colors on the vardo:






Categories: Micro cottage | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Vardo

  1. I can absolutely see you in this . . . and very happy. Good choice!


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