Like many people, Stefanie found herself out of work when the pandemic hit. With plenty of time on her hands, she was inspired to do something productive. Stefanie spent the lockdown learning a new skill: building a custom vardo, also known as a caravan.
After months of hard work, Stefanie finally completed her project and named it “Misty.” Her mobile home may be small, but the wagon boasts a ton of character and even a hint of luxury you wouldn’t expect from such a small space!
Aside from wanting to put her time in lockdown to good use, Stefanie built the vardo so she could start traveling again. She used to travel in a van, but she wanted more comfort now that she’s a bit older.
Her business was entirely shut down when COVID-19 arrived, but she didn’t stop working. She used that time toward building her wagon, which is ideal for her because it is light and can be drawn by a car or truck.
Stefanie doesn’t have much construction experience, but she has remodeled a couple of houses on her own. She used the internet to assist her to build her vardo, in addition to her inherent handiness. It cost her roughly $15,000 in total to complete.
Stefanie says Misty is a “people magnet.” Many people have come knocking at her door to see it and ask her how she made it all on her own. Stefanie doesn’t mind the attention; in fact, she loves it.
“I love showing it off. This is my masterpiece. Of course, I’m proud of it!” she said. The tiny wagon measures only 84 square feet, but it feels more spacious because Stefanie built it at an angle and with a rounded roof. She’s only about 4’11, so the small space already feels huge for her.
Stefanie used birch plywood on the walls and the ceilings. She also added some aromatic cedar, so it smells really good when you enter the wagon. She purposely placed four windows on each side to have airflow no matter where the wind was coming from. This comes in handy, especially when she cooks.
The kitchen has a three-way fridge which is run by propane, like the rest of her appliances. The sink, which she ordered directly from Egypt, is made of copper and handmade. There are two five-gallon containers underneath that hold fresh water and one five-gallon container that holds gray water. All she has to do is use a foot pump to make the water flow from the faucet.
The countertop is an epoxy pour that mimics the look of a river. The kitchen also features a magnetic spice rack and one that is a pull-out. The space under her bed is where Stefanie keeps her flushable porta-potty and garbage bin. She also fit her two closets in the space under. Stefanie also has a pull-out, epoxy pour table under the base of the bed.
Stefanie wanted to separate her bed from the rest of the wagon, so she created an arch. Her sleeping area features a full-size memory foam mattress, so it really brings maximum comfort. Stefanie also decorated the space with luxurious items, including a glass lamp and mirrors from Morocco and a handmade lamp from India. So far, she has traveled to 28 countries.
The wagon has a fold-out deck that adds about 30 more square feet to her living space. This is where she likes to relax and enjoy being out in nature. Take a tour inside this beautiful custom wagon in the video below.