It has taken us entirely too long to get a good solid post up regarding the caravan. It was shown briefly in one of our previous posts, but seeing as how most people commonly live in 1000 square feet and more nowadays, we figured this little 280 square foot gem deserved some attention. Plus we finally had a chance to give it a good scrub down to get it camera ready :).
It all started in 2005 when Hornby native Chad Smith built the caravan and lived in it for several years with his family. Eventually Chad and family moved to Vancouver where they now run a small home building company called Structural Spaces (check out the website, our caravan is featured!), but as a result the caravan was put up for sale. Helen and Steve had been looking for a way to house farm help, and when they saw the caravan they knew they had landed on something special. They snapped it up immediately. The caravan was hauled up the gravel roads to Middle Mountain by pick up (Steve actually rode ON TOP of the caravan so he could ensure there were no obstacles above), then thoughtfully parked in the same location as today, about 4 years later. It sits on wheels, about 2.5 feet off the ground, with the trailer hitch still attached.
The caravan has a lot to brag about. In only 280 square feet it’s got 2 bedrooms, loft, kitchen with propane stove top, fridge, running water, living room, storage space, and a covered deck. For part 1 of this 2 part caravan tour, we’re going to show you the living room and kitchen! Let’s start with a view of the living space, which you walk into from the rear door.
The living space “furniture” is all moveable cubes. When we moved in there was a totally different arrangement, and we have since found a layout that works better for us. The cubes are all hollow so as to allow storage. We have everything from hiking gear, shoes, books and yoga mats stored in them. The table is also collapsable on both sides, but you could probably fit up to 8 people around it if you really wanted to! Right now we keep one side collapsed because it fits best into the space this way. One of the best things about the way the cubes and the trailer itself are placed is that we have an amazing view. We overlook the lower gardens of the farm, and lookout onto the Straight of Georgia, Texada Island and even all the way to the mainland on clear days. I know it is nearly impossible to capture that in a photo, but here’s our best attempt.
The living space also includes a little area just to the left of the door which serves as a catch-all space. We keep our stereo, toiletries, keys and sunglasses here, and we also have a little bulletin board that we found at the Hornby Island Free Store. It houses all the important info we use regularly, like the ferry schedule, yoga schedule, calendars, shopping list, and of course, the map of Hornby. We use that map all the time, and not because we would get lost without it, but as a point of reference for when we have been out exploring and are wondering exactly what part of the island we just came from.
Now we move into the kitchen area. In my opinion, the best part of the house are the neat stairs that lead up to the loft space. The minute I walked in to the caravan I knew Gus (our cat) would love them. And we were right, he lays on those stairs for hours just watching us move about in the caravan. The stairs are also practical in the sense that they serve as storage space. We keep small things under the stairs, like saran wrap and aluminum foil, which are conveniently covered up by canvas flaps.
The space under the stairs keeps getting better. At the far end there is a broom closet which holds the hot water heater, cleaning supplies and garbage can. The rest of the space is roll-out kitchen cabinetry. You roll out one compartment and have storage on both sides. It makes me wonder why all traditional cabinetry isn’t built this way!
Now to the business side of the kitchen. Across from the wall of cabinetry is the propane-fuelled stove top with 3 burners, the sink and some counter space. As someone that enjoys cooking, baking and experimenting in the kitchen, the size of the kitchen facilities is probably the only thing I find limiting about living in a tiny house. Our 3 burners are often all being used during a typical evening dinner prep, and dishes tend to pile up quickly when the only space you have to put them is on the counter space you are using to chop veggies. Somehow we make it work though, and we still manage to eat delicious farm-grown meals every day.
There is one little feature built into this kitchen that has saved our butts, multiple times, and we are thankful for it whenever we use the kitchen. This pull-out cutting board is there when we need it and tucked away when we don’t. It gives us just a little bit of extra space to work, but somehow seems like it doubles our workable area. All homes need these!
There are also traditional cabinets under the counter, where we store pots and pans, plates, cutting boards, toaster, slow cooker, and all that random “under the sink” stuff that you tend to accumulate. We also store our kitchen scraps in a pail under the sink until we get a chance to throw it into the compost pile.
At the end of the kitchen there are 2 sliding doors (again, the concept of “sliding” doors needs to be used more often, such a space saver!), one which leads to the spare bedroom, and another which leads to the front deck. That pretty much wraps up what we can show you of the kitchen and living space, but here are a couple more pictures to give some additional perspective. The first photo shows the doors to the spare bedroom and deck, while the second photo is a view from the kitchen into the living space.
Myself and Aaron have thoroughly enjoyed our first 2 and a half months in a tiny house. It is truly an exercise in discovering how much you can do with so little. For the second half of the caravan tour we will delve into the loft, spare bedroom and outdoor spaces. Meet you back here for Part 2!