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Graphic Designer Borrows Tools And Restores Caravan Tiny House

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I thought these Gypsy Caravans created by Kees Hoekstra of Roulottes were pretty neat and would like to share them with you today. Kees has been building gypsy caravans since 1992 and was a graphic designer/illustrator in Amsterdam.

With his knowledge in graphic design, Kees borrowed some tools from a friend and set off to France for 20 weeks restoring his caravan. After he was finished people starting asking if it was for sale/rent and that inspired him to create his own business. Since there weren’t many original caravans left, he decided he needed to build them from scratch. He then moved to Czech Republic where he set up a workshop and hired carpenters.

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Graphic Designer Borrows Tools And Restores This Gypsy Caravan Tiny House To Perfection!😍

Rollotte gypsy caravan

Today he sells his creations which are used for campsites, hotels, backyard workshops and more…

His Company is Called Roulottes Gypsy Caravans

Rollotte gypsy caravan

Interior of one of the Gypsy Wagons

Rollotte gypsy interior

Looks like they’re really enjoying themselves below.

Rollotte gypsy outdoors

Looks nice at night, doesn’t it?

gypsycaravan night

I like how this one looks surrounded by all of the greenery.

Gypsy caravan garden

Here is a video that shows you even more…

I enjoy these gypsy caravan tiny houses because they have a “fun” vibe to them and I also love the mobile aspect of them.

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Can you think of any great uses for a caravan like this for yourself? What do you think are the pros/cons in this type of tiny house?

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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!
{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Cahow
    June 18, 2013, 8:16 am

    Oh, Alex….what a delightful treat you gifted me this morning before I scurried off to work! Hey, Baby Boomers….don’t these put you in mind of the luxury rail road coaches on “The Wild Wild West” with Robert Conrad and Ross Martin?! I am mad for the Victorian-themed interiors and the luxury that oozes out of every corner. Like the photo with the tractor as the means of locomotion. 😀

    However, I can see quite a few Tiny House Lovers falling over in a dead faint and needing to be revived by waving a copy of “Walden” over head! (LOL) “Too Much Stuff!” “Too Much To Dust!” “Nothing Collapses!” “Utter Waste Of Space!” “Exceeds My 100 Item Limit!” & “I Can’t Breath!” Oh well, Viva la Difference, I guess and to each their own taste. The decor is right up my alley for a retreat such as this. 😀 & <3

    • Alex
      June 18, 2013, 5:37 pm

      LOL! I always enjoy your comments Cahow. Thanks for reading and I’m glad to hear it brightened you day this morning! That makes me happy! And YES, Viva la Difference!!!

  • Cahow
    June 18, 2013, 8:19 am

    This is copied from their website:


    We design, build and sell dutch style 1950’s gypsy caravans since 1996 and so far we build 80 caravans. It started as a hobby (of course) and after we restored our first caravan people started asking if it was for sale, rent etc. It soon showed that there weren’t enough old caravans left to buy and restore so the idea for building new ones came up. We didn’t cut corners and we didn’t re-invent the wheel. Our caravans are made the same way they did 60 years ago. Some pictures were shown on the Tiny House Listing’s Facebook page recently and response was enormous (470 ‘likes’ on the first day and 30+ very friendly comments) so we are currently looking for a medium size wood workshop in California.

    Most of our caravans are build in the Czech Republic but transport costs to the States start at around 8000 $ so it doesn’t make sense to ship our caravans to the other side of the world.

    So if you want a caravan or if you own a carpenter shop then please contact me: [email protected]
    I ‘ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.”

  • Hel
    June 18, 2013, 9:46 am

    “Gypsy” is considered by many Roma people to be a slur. It doesn’t have the same history here in the US, but it’s still a good idea to avoid it when possible.

    • Alex
      June 18, 2013, 5:36 pm

      Didn’t mean it in an offensive way and I apologize to those that I may have offended. Did not mean to. And thanks for informing me of this Hel.

      • Beth Jackson
        March 15, 2015, 10:54 pm

        You can only be offended if you *choose* to be offended!

    • Mary
      February 19, 2016, 5:42 pm

      Why does everything in this world have to become a slur. Give me a break. Love the wagon- house-roulette. Actually roulette is the coreect name. Mary

  • alice h
    June 18, 2013, 12:48 pm

    There are several design aesthetics I love and the ornate Victorian is definitely one. I admit to owning (and using) some old lace curtains (still waiting on the thrift shop for velvet drapes). Not so easy to live with long term for a somewhat scruffy person like me but it shows you don’t need to stint on elegance and luxury just because you’re going small. Ha, Wild Wild West, forgot about that show!

    • Alex
      June 18, 2013, 6:21 pm

      Thanks Alice. Great thoughts!

  • Erik Markus
    June 18, 2013, 3:30 pm

    Very charming and reminiscent of the Victorian Era.

    I tried to capture that elegance when designing my home using the Victorian Cottage as a model.

    These are so richly appointed. The raised panels on the walls, the divided pane arched windows with matching exterior shutters, and the wonderful matching décor in general is so comforting.

    Meanwhile, back in America, we have mediocrity and subsistence. Shlep to the walmart anyone? yuck

    $8000 for transport. Perhaps that includes additional terrifs. I got a quote to move my 34′ Tiny house from SanFrancisco to the U.K. for a surprisingly $5000, U.S. dollars not Quid.

    • Lee-Anne
      June 19, 2013, 3:03 pm

      Wow! 5k USD?! That’s amazing!
      I am in the U.K.!

      Did you purchase it from a company, or was it one you built yourself?

      • Erik Markus
        June 20, 2013, 10:37 pm

        The 5K was for transporting the home from SanFrancisco to the U.K.

        As fond of the U.K. as I am, I’m a bit leery of loading my house on a cargo ship and …… (anxiety). I’m not ready for that much yet.
        I would need to suss out all the details, such as additional terriffs, what type of lorry would be needed to move it around there, would I need to re-title it as a caravan or would it be considered a static caravan, inspections, etc.

        I built my home. Check out the link.
        I fear the U.K. is not as charming and quaint since the property boom of the last 10 years.

        What part of the U.K. are you from?

        • Lee-Anne
          June 21, 2013, 2:14 am

          SE England.
          There are still quite a few cute little villages around! SE England is more densely packed than other parts of the country, though. Heading North would be cheaper, too!

          I can imagine it would be scary to put your house on a cargo ship :/ Eeek! Maybe hat’s where container houses come in handy 😀

        • kees hoekstra
          June 22, 2013, 12:48 pm

          Who did the 5 K transport?
          Our caravans are build in the Czech republic so from the shop it has to go to the nearest seaport and that costs money too (of course).

        • Erik Markus
          June 23, 2013, 4:59 pm

          Hi Kees,
          This was in January and I believe it was shipoverseas.com.
          You tell them what you have, including it’s dimensions and weight and they send you back a quote. They got back to me in a day.

          Now, at the time, I didn’t look at terriffs and titling issues. That would surely add to the total cost of importing/exporting.

          If I were you, I wouldn’t be so convinced that people would not pay $8K to import such a finely made home as yours.
          I ‘m positively astounded the money that people are/have spent on ugly, class A motor homes. $100s of thousands of dollars. ( I spent less than $10K to build my house. ) Both within in the U.S., and also people buying them here, and transporting to the likes of the U.K, Germany, etc. Sometimes the exchange rate on currencies allows one to save, again, 100s of thousands on dollars on the cost.

          Frankly, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a motorhome, but….. I enjoy watching the numerous videos of them catching fire and quickly turning into a flaming, black gassy, aire-borne mess, but that’s just me.

          Look at how much money people are willing to spend on Mercedes and BMW, which need to be imported. And that is just a fossil fueled car.

          I think your biggest issue would be “the trend”, which I think is in your favor, and you would need to build your homes on a road worthy, I’ll call it “highway trailer”. Check out my video titled “Tiny House Build Complete in 15 minutes”. Fastforward to the 0:50 mark you can see what is the easiest type trailer to use and even build, if you so choose. Basically two steel “I” beams with spacers connected to two sets of axles and a hitch.

          Hay wagons, as your homes are pictured on above, are heavy duty, for sure, but if you start traveling over 20 mph, they are all over the road, they aren’t safe or easy to control when moving at 70 mph, which will happen. You would be hard pressed to get titling as an RV with that type trailer, as well. Also, a home built on that is hard to level. This shouldn’t be too big of a deal as it has nothing to do with the home itself.

          As far as fashion. It depends on the socio-economic group you are appealing to. I can tell you my experience with my home which has been overwhelming, jaw dropping, mesmerizing, approval. And your homes are even more intricate.

          Frankly, I was not ready for the interest. I’m a rather private person. I’ve had strangers ask if they can see the inside of my home, like I’m apparently open for business? One time I had a “gang” of 3 teenage girls, all giddy with their eyes bugging out, knock on my door, wondering if they could see the inside, which I believe is really what they wanted. lol, I politely turned them away. I was half dressed at the time and feared minors in my home who I didn’t know, and what that would look like…..

          You know, there was a time in the U.S., when only the financially wealthiest had/could afford to have “trailers” and those trailers were high quality and well appointed for their time, like yours. This is about a century ago. Can you imagine that? More recently people have the opposite opinion, and I don’t blame them.

          Things ebb and flow. I think, for mobile housing, it is turning back in the direction of being viewed with positive enthusiasm.

          I was talking to a neighbor the other day, A married couple in their 50s. They sold their 4 bedroom house and bought a 40’ fifth wheel. Fifth wheels, in the U.S. are these hulking, toxic, blah-ba-de-blah, similar to a motor home without the engine.

          They are part of the fast growing group of “Full-timers”. They are thinking of taking their current bulky 5th wheel to Arizona and buying a smaller trailer for travel in the region. For most full-timers the only options they’ve known is the boiler plate, toxic travel trailers and motorhomes made by about 3 different companies.

          They really like my house because it is green friendly and has character.

          Anyway, I’m rambling. My long answer to your question.
          Best of luck to you. And you’re right, about the additional distance from the U.K. That would add to your cost.

        • Cahow
          June 23, 2013, 7:25 pm

          Erik: you were wise to keep the tween/teenage girls out of your home. If just ONE of them whipped out a Smartphone, videoed the interior and posted it to youtube, your mailing address could be from an equally tiny “home”…mainly a prison cell! (LOL)

        • Erik Markus
          June 24, 2013, 1:36 am

          Speaking of Prisoners, how are our two favorite ex-pats. Are you two still on the run in Michigan?
          Sh-hhh, I won’t tell anyone.

          I’ve heard the much loved Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder, is looking to chop up the entire state and auction it off to his buddies/un-special interests, ub,
          ah, I mean, the highest bidders. ;^)

        • Cahow
          June 24, 2013, 7:33 am

          ~snort~ Yeah, we’re still under deep cover in Michigan, posing as Professional Strawberry Eaters, since the “June” berries have finally arrived at market, only 3 weeks delayed because of a horridly cold Spring. M-m-m-m-m…it’s been worth the wait!

  • Jenna M
    June 18, 2013, 8:08 pm

    I think these are beautiful! There was such attention to detail everywhere. However, there is no way I could live in one anytime in the next decade, for two reasons. One, I have two young children, one of whom is about to hit that glorious “artist” age where everything is considered to be an appropriate drawing surface, so all those beautiful details would be “improved” by my little ones…hehehe!! Two, we tend to move around alot and not just the next town over, so I’m pretty sure the fact that a tractor is the main method of towing would make one of these impractical for us until we settled down a bit more. Maybe when the hubby retires… But until then, I will have to content myself with oogling the pictures online. 🙂

    • Erik Markus
      June 19, 2013, 1:34 pm

      Be assured that this house could just as easily be built on a typical “highway” trailer, instead of the hay or farm utility trailer shown.

      I don’t know why they built them on that type trailer. Those trailers are not good at high speeds (over 25 mph) and therefore, not good for long distances. They are also of a much heavier duty than is necessary for a Tiny House.

      Your kids can make their own Tiny house. It’s amazing the kind of house kids can create with an old refrigerator box, maybe add onto that with the box from a dryer, and top it off with a box from a desk or recliner. Crayons, markers, and paint add décor. Holes cut for windows can be covered with celophane for effect.

  • Teri
    June 19, 2013, 1:07 am

    I LOVE the fold-up awnings! I will seriously consider adding one of these to my tiny house front porch. Here’s hoping Kees can find a Calif. workshop so I can order one from him!

  • Cahow
    June 23, 2013, 7:29 pm

    For those of you interested in the detail and romantic look of these homes, there IS a local U.S.A. company that already makes them! I’m on their e-mailing list and they are having a huge sale right now. Type in www. SoCalcottages. com and it should lead to their site. Their phone number is (760) 613 0938.

    • Lauri
      June 26, 2013, 10:15 am

      Really like the look of these – but yes, the question of having these on U.S. highways is a sticking point. Perhaps the utility trailer route for the frame is the idea, and somehow adjusting the interior of having a small bathroom ~ The length of these appears to be sufficient to have the bathroom, but don’t know how much more the cost would be. And what would the cost in U.S. dollars be for one? ~ The other reason I like these, is because the bedroom is tucked into the back of the wagon…most small/tiny houses have a loft for the sleeping space. And at my age, it’s just not something I want to think about…climbing up & down a ladder to go to sleep. My Dr. would throw a fit if he found out I’d be climbing up a ladder to get to bed!

  • Comet
    January 7, 2014, 8:49 pm


    You have it right when you mention the deplorable state of “design” in US RV’s. We have been looking at them for a few years as we move towards retirement and have considered being full time. However! The “designs” are—horrible. Absolutely NO mind is paid to those who will actually USE these–the people who can afford them are probably NOT 20-somethings yet the “designers” seem to feel that we can jaunt up steep and shaky and no-where-near the GROUND outside steps; vault onto bunks above the driving cab; go up stairs every 5 minutes for the bathroom or stumble around in the dark with odd “step up’s” to that bath if the bedroom is in the front. Oh and we can fit in bath rooms with “shower pans” smaller than a cat litter pan. Yeah I can just SEE my 6’2″ husband comfy in one of THOSE!

    Finding an RV with the bedroom in the REAR—as was the custom in the 80’s—is almost impossible. This design made SENSE as you then had a short “corridor” between the toilet compartment and the bath compartment and could ISOLATE this with a sliding door from the REST of the RV when some one was using the shower etc—made for a MUCH larger feeling bathroom area. Just need the toilet? Step inside and close the door mere footsteps away from the bed! For older people this is a KEY concern!

    We also don’t like the weird shaped beds—some have the corners cut off! Some are air mattress—um—we are not camping in the back yard telling ghost stories here. Some waste ALL the under bed storage space. Some are shoved deep into corners so one person is STUCK in there—not what we have in mind! There are walk around beds but for some odd reason altho people seem to LOVE them–they are VERY hard to find.

    We don’t really NEED the overly “decorated” at the expense of USEFULLNESS that we keep seeing. I see RV’s that cost the earth with NO stowage but–they sure are purdy with their wood and matchy matchy fabrics and carpets—and the million slide outs. Which I can see—just not the ones where you CAN’T get to anything while the slides are IN!

    Being able to clamber up and down from the drivers and passengers seats too is a concern. Whose bright idea WAS this—to SINK the front seats!

    Well anyways we have pretty much decided that if we do this we will buy an older proven model and re-hab it to OUR needs—and NO I cannot “Just use the ramp” on a Toy Hauler much as we WANT a toy hauler! Can you imagine—EVERY time you needed to go in or out—opening the REAR DROP DOWN RAMP? (Yes I am handicapped) Those ramps are STEEP and I don’t really WANT to advertise WHAT is back there!

    Isn’t there SOMEONE who is interested on making interesting efficient designs for this market? Why should some guy who apparently has NEVER been in a RV make all the profit?????

  • Julie
    March 15, 2015, 6:11 pm

    I love them! I would so trade in my 16 x 80 mobile home for one! I don’t need all this room. I would love to downsize to a nice little easy to care for place.

  • kimberlee
    March 15, 2015, 8:31 pm

    Looooove tiny homes is my goal to build one!!!

  • Joe Zick
    April 27, 2023, 9:38 pm

    I’m looking to build a wagon in the near future. Would you share where the rear awnings come from? I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find them

    • James D.
      April 28, 2023, 10:53 am

      This article is from ten years ago and their website is gone… May have to keep looking… But they can be custom made…

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