This Custom Built Gypsy Wagon Tiny House is a guest post by Eric Elliot.
I decided that it was time to build a tiny house when the rent on my studio apartment doubled. I didn’t want just a simple, boring box, so I decided to build a modern gypsy wagon.
I began by making a model, which was very helpful, since my idea of canting the walls out, in the traditional style, turned out to be a big mistake. Every angle would then have to be separately calculated, so I decided to simplify things and build the walls square instead.
Since the wagon was going to be small, even by tiny house standards, (just over 100 square feet) I wanted it to be as comfortable as possible. I was working on a limited budget, but I spared no expense on insulating the walls, roof, and even floor. That was the best decision I made on this project!
I’ve always wanted to built a house with my hands, and this was my opportunity to make every element attractive. I built a diamond pane bow-window for the bedroom, and made all the windows in the wagon stained glass. Small vent windows at either end allow for a nice cross breeze.
Please enjoy, learn more and re-share below. Thank you!
Custom Built Gypsy Wagon Tiny House
Images © Eric Elliot
There are attach points along both sides (disguised as decorative flourishes) for rigging awnings, which helps keep the place cool in summer as well as providing a pleasant exterior space that add extra living/entertaining room.
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Most tiny homes have loft bedrooms to save space, but being a child of the desert, I knew that just under the rafters is where all the heat ends up, and opted for a lower bed that would be more comfortable in summer without burning a lot of electricity. No ladder to climb, no bumping my head, and it still leaves plenty of space underneath for a sliding table and lots of storage.
The wagon is equipped with an out-of-the-way composting toilet, and also a shower. The shower is designed with removable racks for hanging wet towels or coats, and the walls are decorative backsplash material. All the lights are LEDs and the strings above the bed (beaded Christmas lights) provide more than enough light to read by.
Speaking of reading, Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul,” and I agree. So a built-in mini library was an absolute necessity.
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The kitchen has a two-level sink, a stove, and plenty of storage. The small closet has a folding door and retractable clothes rod. Additional hooks for hanging things are located wherever I discovered a need for them.
There’s something magical about a space custom-built to suit my tastes. Even before the wagon was finished, I found myself going out to sit and read or play music. It turns out that the den-like space under the bed is a magnet for the dogs. Everybody seems to like the place!
Images © Eric Elliot
Our big thanks to Eric Elliot for sharing with us!
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I love your wagon. Beautifully done.
Great that you were able to do this for yourself and get out from under the evil whim of landlords. Not everyone would be happy to have ALL their windows stained glass, but you did it your way (Old Blue Eyes would be proud), and it’s not only comfy but a work of art. Kudos!
The minute I saw this gypsy wagon my heart smiled. What an amazing work of art! Approximatley what is the round about price of making this?
I salvaged a lot of material, like the stove and the shower bottom, so I brought it in for just under $7,000.
Wow, under 7K and all this atmosphere, creativity, beauty. You knocked this one right out of the ballpark! Fabulous!
That is such a pretty twist on a gypsy caravan. I love the colours, the lights and the stained glass windows! We had a stained glass window in one of our houses and the play of light during the day more than made up for the slight reduction of light coming through.
A composting toilet and shower are mentioned, but I couldn’t spot them…..which is probably as is meant to be!
Congratulations on your lovely home.
I love this thing, and have been planning my own for a while. Can you share what type of trailer you used and what modifications you made to it?
The trailer is a standard car-carrier, 8′ x 16′. No modifications, except I got it without the usual heavy wooden plank deck.
Love your wagon!
This is a real gem, the colors are wonderful, and the layout is great for the space. When I was a child, my Mother and Grandparents were driving through the Southern tier of NY into PA and passed a Gypsy caravan. I was totally impressed and curious about these wagons and what they looked like inside. With the Internet, you get to see everything. Thanks for sharing.
Are the compost toilet & the shower behind the hammered tin door? That is so beautiful & reflects also adds “light” to the space.
The toilet is underneath the bench seat, and the hammered tin (it’s really plastic) is actually the walls of the shower stall. I removed the curtain so that it can be seen better.
Not bad at all, no stupid loft bed, indoor loo and shower. I would not have consulted with a Smurf for the outside paint colors, otherwise nice.
You have no gypsy soul then. Those are traditional Romanian color combination.
Of course not, I’m not Gypsy, or Romanian, traditional or not. I like the work, just not all the cutsie stuff.
Rerun, but still like it a lot more than 99% of those I’ve seen .
Your home is so precious, I love it! Good job!
Just awesome!! Are you willing to sell plans? Going to start planning mine. How much does it weigh?
There are no plans; I just worked from my little model. I don’t know how much it weighs yet. A trip to the truck scales and the DMV will be next month.
Lots of happy years of living to be done in a space like this. Love it 🙂
I am converting an old shed into a sleep-out and have very little space for a shower/toilet set up. (max 1m x 1m) Can you tell me about the composting toilet that you have use? I was hoping to contain both the toilet and shower within the one shower cubicle in a corner of the sleep-out. Any help that you can give me would be much appreciated. Cheers Gayle
Nature’s Head is a very small composting toilet that could easily fit into a small shower stall, (mine is 36″ x 24″) and it looks like it wouldn’t take any harm from being wet on a regular basis. It’s under a thousand dollars, making it one of the cheapest composters on the market.
Just to clarify, the shower stall is 36″ x 24″; the toilet is much smaller than that!
You could make one, plenty of free plans out there, but that would take a bit of time, and likely cost more than I paid for mine. Mine is a five gallon plastic bucket, with a snap-on seat and lid. Just the same as the one in the link, except mine has no camo, and was about $3 less. Use plastic bags in it, and you won’t have to clean it, just replace the bag, and make sure you have enough sawdust, or whatever. You could just slide it under the bed, keep it in a cabinet, or whatever. Mine will go in my shop, raised about 8″, kept under a bench, and used with scented pet bedding, or sawdust.
I’ve been using one similar (a luggable loo https://relianceproducts.com/products/sanitation/96.html) without a bag, for about 8 years of part time living in a 13′ Boler trailer with a separate wash house. I use pine shavings pet bedding, comes in compressed bags, lasts a long time and does a great job of keeping the smell down. It’s very simple and easy to set up a composting bin to dump the contents in. Read the Humanure Handbook for lots of good info. http://humanurehandbook.com/contents.html I ended up using some slightly taller buckets that once held grape juice concentrate for wine, it’s a bit easier on old knees or if the regular bucket is too low I stick it up on a couple chunks of 4×4.
What a wonderful home you’ve created for yourself, cozy and brimming with creativity! Great job, I absolutely love it.
This is an amazing combination of whimsical and practical. It proves you don’t have to be completely grown up to be a grown-up! Beautifully done. 🙂
This is the most beautiful gypsy wagon/tiny house I have ever seen. I’m nearly speechless! The colors, the attention to detail, the stained glass! It’s just so beautiful. And I’m shocked that it cost so little. You must be a master of salvaging!
Any star in the heavens would be happy hitched to this wagon…magical.
thank you to both the owner?designer/builder and to Alex for sharing this delightful shelter with us.
Hi Eric, your gypsy wagon is incredible! You mentioned insulation, what did you use? And what thickness or R value? How does it tow? I plan to be very mobile. And last, would you change anything after living in it awhile? Thanks.
Great job! I love everything – including the colors!!! And please, let us know what kind of insulation you used.
Beautifully done Eric! But why didn’t you go with a wet bath? I hate composting toilets. Where did you get the plans for this?
I think this is the most beautiful “Tiny Home” I have had the pleasure of viewing. Great job!!!
I like it, but wonder where it is located, and if the $7000 is what you are asking for it. Sorry, I saw no other price.
I’m a puppeteer looking for long term living and touring solutions. This charming caravan is great! Eric, would you make one on commission? Would love to build in a little window stage for puppet shows.