Guest Post by Barry Howard Studio
Three things have always been part of my life: art, travel and designing and building small living spaces that move.
I have converted school busses into two-story homes that featured wood cookstoves, lofts and stained glass windows.
I built a home in vans, VW busses, mini-vans, a VW bug, and a 24′ trimaran, and I have built several micro houses on flat bed utility trailers and a couple of them on the ground.
My current project is one I have had in my head for several years… It’s a gypsy caravan that can be pulled by a bicycle.
I decided to make it fold down for cruising as a bicycle trailer is pretty narrow and anything much above the level of the seat gets to be a bit too top heavy.
It’s about 12 square feet of floor space which is actually a bed. I wanted something I could carry art supplies in as well as a fair amount of finished paintings.
All storage is under the bed. Three removable panels under the sleeping pad, which folds, provide access to the art supplies, my clothes, and the galley.
The bed can also be converted to a sitting space with a small table which can be used for dining or computer work.
A table mounts on the side, as does the small sink, and the one burner camp stove sits on the table, which doubles as counter space for preparing meals.
About 80% of the materials I used are recycled and repurposed. The aluminum that makes up the chassis and framing for the port-side wall came from an old broken pop-up craft fair booth, as did most of the screws and bolts.
The hitch came off a church organ that I dismantled, the wheels from my folding bicycle, the rear stabilizing legs came from a camera tripod I cannibalized, and the fabrics and much of the wood came from my recently deceased mini van camper.
My next project will be a full size gypsy caravan which will be my permanent home. I will probably build it on a flat bed trailer around 10 or 12 feet long.
With the bicycle version I was very restricted by the weight factor and I would be able to include a lot of goodies on my next one that would be too heavy for this caravan.
I am available for hire if anyone needs a gypsy caravan of their own. I do all of the design, building, decorative painting and stained glass myself. Anyone interested can call me at 530-355-1319 or email me at barryhowardstud[email protected]. To see more of my work check out my Facebook page here.
Even more photos are available here. You can connect with Barry on Facebook here.
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That is absolutely brilliant in design and execution! Love it! It would make a perfect little backyard grandkid sleeping space and easily tucked away when not needed. Also a perfect thing for our local parade which has a lot of bicycle stuff.
Finally, someone has shown me what absolute art is in tiny houses is. And what an interesting character Barry Howard must be! Inherent from mother, a costume designer I have a dream, I wake up and have to see, hold and feel that dream in some physical form. So I build it, draw it or simply write plans to do so. With my lifestyle in the commercial world, the time factor didn’t allow full scale projects to materialize, I became too consumed with purchasing instant material things for me and my family and work consumed me. Oh, how, when I see this I left that side dormant for so many years is actually a sin.
Some people site “art” in many of these TH,s and I look at it and say, yes, a consummate craftsman certainly built it and pray he knew something about weight distribution, the decor is flawlessly crafted by someone with a flair for the arts. I have conceded not to debate my opinion on what is art because we have to give credit, even what I would consider cheap crappie art to be, has admirers and it’s all in opinions. This is what I am talking about as my perception of art combined with craft, ingenuity undoubtedly an eye for the slightest detail and imagination. I feel Mr. Howard has been called somewhat eccentric once or twice. I would have messed it up by trying to turn the wagon into a drive force (through electric motor device from a wheelchair or whatever) by using the bicycle as an articulated steering mechanism. You captured the charm of a gypsy lifestyle with old world technology. Give me a break with the tri pod supports, I will bet you found one heavy duty tri pot to find those.
We could probably go toe to toe on the amount of vehicles and small dwellings, and dang you bud, I always wanted to do a bus with two stories, but I can assure you, anything I put together was nice, built for convenience of comfort for a reason, work, pleasure as in a specific trip, some necessity for comfort, generally temporary or a few extended months. I doubt very much that I turned out anything of the quality you have. Barry, this is beautiful Thanks so much for the post. (you have to dump the water jug, no ww2 canteens around? LOL)
Amazing and very beautiful!
Great design and shows just how little space one needs to live. And so well set up much thought was well used here.
I used various light dinghies, shallow v bottom canoes as bicycle trailers in Ft Laud and Key West as my only transport for 12 yrs transporting boat, house building supplies and stuff to sell at the flea market, etc.
Sadly I can’t peddle well anymore so I’m about to build another one for my MC’s to tow. Likely be a boat hull bottom for sleeping or having to lay down from back pain while traveling, shopping and it’ll be used to carry plywood, lumber, etc.
With a trailer it turns a very light vehicle into a viable transport especially with low cost EV drives, lead batteries. I convert golf cart EV transaxles and MC front ends into low cost EV trikes for commuting, shopping, etc and tow my multi use trailer with them.
Maybe adding an EV drive might nicely increase your unit’s usefulness, range, electric supply for fans, light, etc?
Beautiful work. I have an old pop up camper with a bad top that I want to convert to a gypsy wagon. I will not be able to match your artistic ability but I thank you for sharing the ideas.
Good luck Jim! Keep us updated
Very nice craftmanship! Very curious what the weight of this all is.
How much to make one of these little babies… My friend in Arizona could use one of these, as he is now living in the park since he lost his job and his apartment. He bicycles all over Phoenix and this would be awesome instead of sleeping on the ground or a park bench and he could keep some of his belongings tucked neatly away out of sight and out of mind.
You could build a low cost version for $100-200 or so. I’ve never figure out why more ‘homeless’ don’t make themselves a low cost home like this. It could be made from shipping crates for MC’s, etc.
Most motorcycle stores have plenty of surplus packing crates, many using Mahogany/Luan as the building material is just 1 free source.
Most “homeless” people are homeless because they don’t have the internal wherewithal to do anything other than what they are already doing to just survive one day at a time. If they could build themselves a small home or shelter then they would have the ability to not be homeless. People often think being homeless is some kind of easy way to exist. And whereas for some homeless people that may be true, for most it is an extremely difficult, often excruciating day to day, meal to meal existence. Get to know some actual homeless people and you’ll know what I’m talking about…
You have never been to Oregon then. Because we have some pretty talented homeless building trailers and riding all over Oregon.
Not all homeless are the same. Just like your would tell me all men or all woman or the other genders or whatever are all the same.
With covid this is perfect to keep social distancing going especially while waiting for the next pandemic coming when the vaccines will be explained.
The homeless have no voice. It is a business run by a corporation.
The corporation of the US.
Covid has really upped the anty and still your all gonna call out need affordable housing.
Need safe housing.
We need a voice. Especially when they keep stopping people from building these tiny campers and threatening jail because they are for the homeless.
Can build them for bikes wheelchairs scooters. And so on.
They ran a guy out if Portland Oregon during Obama administration that was building them for homeless.
Most of the homeless are slaves they sign contracts with non profits and a story is told but they remain homeless and can’t leave.
We are all nothing but lab rats.
I just posted a link from here to the Permies.com’s new Bicycle forum at http://www.permies.com/forums/f-148/bicycle. Check it out!
Cool, thanks Cat!
Wow, absolutely beautiful.
The bicycle caravan makes my gypsy heart sing ❤️
Way too heavy to travel any distance! For a homeless person though would give privacy/place to sleep without the friendly neighborhood cops seeing you and trying to “assist“ you.
I have just closed my street vendor cart for the winter and was looking for something new for next year and I ran across this page. I think I’m going to try to build a version of this gypsy wagon to house my hot dog cart. With some work and HELP I’ll have the sweetest cart downtown. Thanks for posting this.I always enjoy your site.
I like it. what would one cost in california?
WOW that cart is too cool. Love it. Wish I had one. I come from CA. That seems to fit right in with the culture. I know. As a young man I back packed in Big Sur.
This looks wonderful. You have talent.
How neat. I am so discouraged. No place to live but motels. This brightened my day.. I have that gypsy spirit. Ever since I got divorced.
Is it able to put a min wood heater/stove in it
I’m in process of making a tiny house for traveling with daughter and grand daughter for camping (too old to get down to an airmattress! lolo) Don’t think I’d have courage for a caravan. Couldn’t find the stain glass on your site. Your carpentry and paintings are very nice. Looked like you were in Cleveland? Did you have the caravan with you the whole time? All the way from Florida to Hawaii?
Beautiful, I’d like to have one.
Love this idea but wanted to know the legal side can you ride this on the road because I have not seen a trailer as tall as this one. Is there a law on the length of the trailer.
Thanks again please reply to my email