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DIY Bow Top Vardo Office Cabin

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DIY Bow Top Vardo Office Cabin Guest Post by Blackfox Kindred

I live in the beautiful mountains around Blue Ridge, Georgia and needed space for my home office.

I explored several ideas about how to build it and decided to go with the traditional style of a bowtop vardo but built on a skid beam setup instead of a wagon frame.

I had seen the real thing as child and just had to build one after seeing some examples online.

I started with a 4’ft by 8’ft base and built up from there as if I were building on a wagon. I tried to stay true to the tradition and plced everything just as it would be if done back in the day.


I encourage you to continue enjoying the tour of my vardo office cabin below:

vardo-serenity-office-cabin-002 vardo-serenity-office-cabin-003 vardo-serenity-office-cabin-004 vardo-serenity-office-cabin-005 vardo-serenity-office-cabin-006 vardo-serenity-office-cabin-007 vardo-serenity-office-cabin-008

I hope you enjoyed it!

If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.

Thank you

Blackfox Kindred

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Sally
    June 20, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Oh I want it! How could anyone NOT be productive in this creative space. You have made the most of every bit of it, too. Congratulations, this has tremendously good vibes.

  • alice h
    June 20, 2014, 4:28 pm

    Nicely done, but though the top is bowed or curved, it’s more properly a Ledge than a Bowtop. http://www.journeyfolki.org.uk/HistoryCulture/TheEnglishGypsyVardo/TheBasicTypes/tabid/882/language/en-US/Default.aspx has good illustrations of the various types.

    • Blackfox Kindred
      June 22, 2014, 3:56 pm

      Thank you for correcting me. Your astute observation is correct. It does appear from your internet savvy that I have mistakenly built a LEDGE version of a Vardo. Dang, I knew I’d mess something up. I still love it!

  • jerryd
    June 20, 2014, 5:47 pm

    A very well done use of such a small space.

    How long is the bed or is the owner short? I always design them 6’6” and it looks like under 6′.

    Other than that, the bed, desk, table, storage, chairs is an excellent use of space.

    In small units like this I design the floor as a shower pan and using curtains, make a shower and/or toilet to a sump. septic, etc below making it more useful especially in cold, etc weather.

    If you are working you need a good shower when needed. Even if usually shower, outhouse having it as an option in bad weather makes it worth it even part time.

    • Sally
      June 20, 2014, 8:43 pm

      Great ideas, Jerry, it amazes me how many people expect a full bath in these teeny campers, and just refuse to “make do” and have some fun. Sheesh! I recall an ex-sister-in-law who nearly popped on our boat because she was too apprehensive to use the head, it seemed so unclassy to her. Thought we’d have to call the Coast Guard and get her shuttled to land before her plumbing burst.

      • jerryd
        June 21, 2014, 3:48 pm

        Yeah I lived a lot of my life on the water and watching some have problems in the heads has always been good for a laugh.

        In their defense some boat head are close to torque chambers!! Thus why I turn the to floor open style with curtains for showers for the room it gives.

        So when I design boats, TH’s I try to make these in a size where one isn’t hitting the walls. It’s just 2.5′ x3′ or so if enclosed.

        My next TH is a 34′ trimaran sailboat I’m building so I can get back on the water where I belong.

    • Blackfox Kindred
      June 22, 2014, 3:41 pm

      Thank you Sally
      Doesn’t anyone just do things for fun anymore.
      Black Fox

  • Marsha Cowan
    June 20, 2014, 10:22 pm

    Very cozy and cool. I love it!

  • Renee
    June 21, 2014, 8:41 pm

    You may call me a bonehead but what is skid beam setup instead of a trailer frame? I love the Vardo plans as I can’t do a loft, my knees are too bad.
    Thanks for the clarification! This one nicely done.
    Best Regards,

    • Blackfox Kindred
      June 22, 2014, 3:49 pm

      I built this more as a fun portable structure that could be placed anywhere the landscape dictates than to be used as a live in abode, hence I chose to construct it on skids. The trailer was simply a means to move it around. Thank you so much for the good comment.
      Black Fox

    • Sally
      June 30, 2014, 1:45 am

      No, no Bonehead of the Week award 🙂 for you. Not even close. Very sensible question. I just hit a bad birthday and very cranky. I think I have more fun at 70 than some do at 30 from what I’ve seen youngsters fretting about on here. The whole point of Tiny House living, I thought, was to simplify and enjoy life without being a slave to mortgages or credit card bills. But! If someone wants a designer bath in their tiny home, that is certainly their business. Concluding my diatribe, I will let the builder explain skids. Very handy and useful for moving. And thank you, Blackfox, for sharing. I wish I had this in my backyard, but then my guests would never leave.

  • Cheryl Smith-Bell
    September 9, 2014, 1:45 am

    You all need to look up an old book from the hippy era [printed 1979] called Rolling Homes , Handmade Houses on Wheels by Jane Lidz
    Lots of custom work and really neat old buses and trucks. Really cool to see lest you think tiny homes on wheels is a new thing! Hope you can find a copy to enjoy. I have my mothers copy!

    I love the doors you made and want to do cabinet doors for my kitchen in a similar style.

  • Charles R. Tersteeg
    August 4, 2016, 11:07 am

    How high is the desk from the floor?

    How high is the bed from the floor?

    Thanks, chuck

  • Bill burgess
    January 6, 2018, 4:30 pm

    I am looking for an ultra light Vardo and your Bow Top gave me an Idea. Use Therma Steel 2″ panels to save weight. Go with the sides that way but anchor the wall to the bed, I would take the top out to 8’6″ wide and the base at 7′ for inside room. I too love the ledges arched roof, just not the “ledges” to step the sidewalls out. I am probably a cross with the Reading look. Point being without room for the Bath, what possible chance have I got to get the misses to use it? Getting the 7′ x 12′ lightweight is the issue if we are talking single axle.

  • Bill burgess
    January 6, 2018, 5:04 pm

    Love the Dutch door and the fit and finish a LOT. I am not really a Red Vardo person and prefer the more decorative Gypsy looks. Also I like a small porch for some odd reason. I also like the Milk Paint on all the inside wood which allows for a lot less expensive wood species. The only weird thing I need is the IKEA 24″ Farm sink. Keep in mind this is for two 70+ year old soon to be Hippies.

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