Archive for May, 2010

Rolling Thunder and Other Delights

Where I live in the Sierra foothills, the peaceful country lanes choke up like bad arteries come summertime with offensive road whales, bus-sized motor homes towing four-wheel vehicles as the owners try to get away from it all. Of course, they’re towing it all. (It’s a good thing I stopped making stinky sulfur bombs in junior high. )

On the other hand—for there always is one—I have no such qualms about homes that are mobile.  Small, economical houses on wheels are not a new idea. Consider the rolling thunder of the Jed Clampett or Tom Joad home:


OK. Not so great. But have a gander at these eclectic, functional, and rather fine looking homes on wheels:

Beachy Keen
beach house

When Julie Martin lost her sedentary home to Hurricane Katrina, she designed this mobile log cabin that sells for a starting price of $29,900. I’d put mine on the beach, too.

Tiny Consciousness

Jay Shafer built the first of his 89-square-foot Tumbleweed houses in Northern California in 1997. Now he sells designs and building instructions the world over.  His homes range from 65 to 837 square feet.

Shafer wasn’t the first to think of tiny homes. As early as 1979, author Jane Lidz penned her book, Rolling Homes, a tome on her experience living in rolling residences in and around Eugene, OR. It includes instructions for creating a rolling craftsman home.

Peripatetic Victorianism

The Neverwas Haul, stored sometimes in Berkeley, is a self-propelled three-story Victorian, 24 feet long and 12 feet wide. The best news of all, it’s made from 75 percent recycled materials.  For “the right price”, its owners say, they’ll transport the Neverwas Haul to your location.

Rev It Up
house car

This three bedroom/two bath housecar gets exceptional mileage while parked, which is its only current configuration.  Me, I’d turn it into a wi-fi cafe and invite my chums.

Get Your Motor Runnin’
luxury house

I’m twitterpated! Time to hit the crafts and model store in town in search of a chemistry set.  (Don’t worry, I’m all bark and no bite. Mostly.)

Ugliness Squared: Furniture that Reeks

When I get to thinking my futon bed and white leather couch are looking a little beyond showroom condition, I look at what other people consider acceptable and I feel an instant rush of gratitude.

Remember back in college days when it was perfectly acceptable to grab a tattered couch from students who left it behind in your apartment when they moved? Did you use a stack of wooden crates for a cabinet? If you’re still doing it, I send out my prayers that someday, any day, you’ll get stuck silly with taste and earn the few bucks you need to express it.

All I can do is show you what NOT to do. There are chairs and couches out there that curdle my milk. In fact, it’s so bad out there that the folks at Bo Concept ran a contest to unearth the worst examples of the genre. The saddest entry requirement–you have to own the furniture.

Baby, I Got the Blues (from my hair down to my shoes)

The winner of the Pretty Ugly Furniture competition is Angie Goh, who takes home $5,000 for submitting this snapshot of a sad state of affairs. Here are some gruesome examples to consider for next year’s contest:

Thick as a Brick

This monstrosity was created by the genius minds at Purpose Restoration, “a company that seeks to take old, ugly and horribly designed furniture and give it a rock and roll edge.” This must be the “before” picture.

Red Rum
red rum
I don’t claim to know everything, but I know deep down in my bones that this couch–posted as an example of negative curb appeal by Massachusetts Real Estate Voic–coughs up a mind-bending, sub-cushion assortment of coins, buttons, and dustballs. Here it is, posing in its natural environment, perhaps jettisoned by a family that had a sudden spiritual experience.

This nasty thing is manufactured by Environment Furniture, a company partially owned by Leonardo DiCaprio. The chair should have gone down with the Titanic.

Woodrow’s Choice
You know the feeling you get from the 14-story drop on the Colossus roller coaster out here in California? It’s a shallow dip in the road compared to the stomach-plummeting swurge I get just looking at this abomination that makes its owners proud. Yurp!

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)


  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.