If anyone has made the construction of tiny homes on wheels an art form, it is the French/Norwegian designer Abel Zimmerman Zyl, founder and owner of Zyl Vardos. The company specializes in kooky, creative caravans that seem to have sailed off of the pages of a book of Grimm's fairy tales, except along the way they had to squeeze through a hallway filled with funhouse mirrors.
Yes, these are oddly shaped Hobbit homes, some of them with eclectic, cathedral ceilings, disorienting roof lines and mosaic shingling that give the impression the home has just survived a wild ocean crossing -- and done so in grand style. Zyl, at times, seems to have little use for straight lines. But the end results are unarguably gorgeous. "My crew is magic!" Zyl boasts on his website. "May your daydreams become real."
Check out what Zyl calls the Dewdrop, a simple enough structure, but one that is representational of what the master builder can do.
The name Vardos is the Romany word for caravan, Zyl explains on his website. The Dewdrop is a classic in the caravan fashion: It is very small, compact, elegant and made for the open road. Wouldn't it also fit in perfectly if parked for the summer at the local renaissance festival?
Rhetorical question: What's the point of a small portal window, when you can have a really effective, huge portal window?
Zyl Vardos creations exude coziness, which is what you get when retro designs meet up with good material and solid craftsmanship.
Here's a look at that great, round window from the inside and a view of that terrific kitchen. Notice the sink is lower than the counters and the stove. This kitchen also has terrific light fixture placement -- one above and one on each side.
This look at the kitchen from farther back shows the living space with the couch that rolls out to become a bed at a lower level than the kitchen. The platform is why the kitchen matches so well with the round window.
Features in the Dewdrop include handmade windows and doors with insulated glass, one "Zyl Moon" window, and this terrific cupola with 10 windows, four of which tip open for ventilation.
But the Dewdrop offers even more. There is also a compost-style toilet, a farmhouse-like delightful bathtub, on-demand hot water, cedar siding and trim and a durable steel roof. Also, a handmade armoire closet, a roll-out bed and a sleeping loft available as an option, the Zyl Vardos website proclaims.
As far as dimensions, the Dewdrop comes in 18-feet, 20-feet and 22-feet models.