Simply put, it is impossible to imagine seeing too much of a creation by Zyl Vardos — the word "Zyl" originating from designer and builder Abel Zimmerman Zyl and "Vardos" coming from the Romany word for caravan.
Playful and elegant at the same time, every tiny house the Olympia, Washington, company builds looks like a modern hobbit home. The homes are sophisticated, creative, elegant and cozy to the point that entering one is the equivalent of stepping inside a work of art.
That said, some of the more elaborate Zyl Vardos creations look almost as if they have sailed right out of the pages of a children's book. The more modest, workaday models are for your average roll-up-your-sleeves hobbit who doesn't want to draw attention to himself or herself. The Ampersand House is one of the company's more modest delights — just a hint of elegance, just a wink of beauty. Let's take a look.
Characteristic of a Zyl Vardos design, the Ampersand House features graceful lines inside and out. The window in the door is all the more outstanding when you notice that it complements the roof line.
How often do you see a sectional sofa in a tiny home? Even more rare is a sectional sofa with storage under the seats.
The inside features beautiful birch plywood walls that have a soft, golden hue. This photo also emphasizes the playful sweep of that great, arching ceiling, also made with birch.
Here's a view from further back.
Here's the reverse view, facing the front door. In this photo, you can see the kitchen. The bathroom is underneath the loft, where there's also closet space. Notice the stairs stick out a bit into this space, so Zyl Vardos simply rounded them off, which fits with the artistic ambiance and softens the blow if you hip-check one of them.
This is not a building company you can accuse of overlooking the details. This kitchen sink has just the right sense of style for the Ampersand House.
Underneath the kitchen cabinets and drawers are two floor-level drawers that certainly come in handy in a tiny house. The Ampersand's main floor measures 24 feet by 8 feet (7.3 meters by 2.4 meters) plus an 8-foot-by-8-foot (2.4-meter-by-2.4-meter) sleeping loft for a grand total of 256 square feet (23.8 square meters).
That's a great set of windows that works beautifully next to the staircase, which also has plenty of storage space.
All hobbits love their sleep, as do many people. From here, you can also see that extra sweet touch with the small row of pictures behind the top step. If wall space is a premium in a tiny house, what's wrong with using a stair riser to hang a picture?
The elongated, rectangular sink is a nice touch, and so is the standing stainless steel shower:
The Ampersand may be one of the less-extravagant models in master craftsman Abel Zyl's repertoire. Still, it definitely is a tiny home to be remembered.