Basque Shepherd’s Trailer

I went to the 65th (!) reunion of my class of 1952, Lowell High School, San Francisco, on Friday. About 80 people out of a class of 250 attended. Even though I’ve taken a different direction (wealth, politics) than most of them, I still love seeing these friends of 70+ years.

It was held at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, and this wagon was parked out in front. The curved roof, with bed at one end is, I believe, an excellent configuration for a tiny home, far better than the poster boy for tiny homes, the steep gable roof with ladder to loft for sleeping — a bad design, in my opinion, for many reasons. Here you can have drawers under the bed, and the curved roof gives you a feeling of spaciousness, as opposed to the claustrophobia of many tiny home designs.

This is also the basic design for the vardo of the Roma people in Europe.

I’m building a 10′ by 10′ cabin; I built the floor and framed up corner postsa lojng time ago, but then got waylaid by a shoulder operation for about 5 months; now able to work again, and I’m going to try a curved roof for the first time. (Just the roof curved, from the 8-foot-high plate on up, not including much of the walls, as shown here.) Still figuring how to do the curved rafters. Maybe laminate layers of redwood bender board OR: use 6 foot 1×6 cedar fence boards, nailed together (sandwiched) (cheap and reportedly sustainable at Home Depot) to form an arc, curve cut at top, as I saw in an Oregon barn a few years ago.

My shoulder about at 75% of capability. Boy does it feel good to use upper body for first time in many months.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Basque Shepherd’s Trailer

  1. yep, you nailed it. (pun intended) having to go up to that tiny space to sleep and looks like folks would konk their heads if they woke up suddenly…and have to go down those tiny stairs or ladder to use the bathroom in the middle of the night????…..main floor Vardo or Shepard's trailer much more better!!

  2. I like the water pump sitting on top of the milk can. Neat way to project the idea of a water source. I also noticed the metal "strut" rods that add to the stability of the horizontal weight bearing surfaces. A lot of practical mounting of frequently used items going on here.
    Ward Bond would be head over heels with this.

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