Talented architect tackles the tiny house and comes up with a mini gem

Traveler exterior
© Traveler

Last year we wrote about How a talented architect makes an RV look like a charming cabin in the woods, where Architect Kelly Davis looked at the rulebook for Park Model homes and reinvented the model. Because it's all about rules; if you want to build anything there is a set of them somewhere. That's why tiny homes are 8'-6" wide and on wheels- they then can be called recreational vehicles (RVs) and be exempt from standard building codes and zoning bylaws.

Now Kelly Davis and Dan George Dobrowolski are at it again, pushing the RV rule book to design and build a stunning new Tiny House, the Escape Traveler.

© Escape traveler

The team writes in their about page:

A remarkable building, hand crafted in our own plant in America's Heartland. Its design magically allows living large in a small, energy-efficient space. Leave it in place or move it at will. Even most standard pick-ups can move it. Traveler does things in a big way.

I am not so sure about that; the specs say it weighs between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds, which requires a Class A drivers license that very few non-commercial drivers have. But most Tiny Homes are not designed to really move a lot; they are designed to provide space for a different kind of lifestyle, to be far less costly than a house permanently tied to a piece of land.

© Escape traveler

So let's get that out of the way fast and save commenters the trouble: This ain't cheap, starting at $65,400, loaded for $82,400. But they mean loaded; beautiful finishes, and a design that allows for a full bathroom with full size tub, a kitchen with full sized appliances.

© Escape traveler

The living area has a fireplace and a transformer sofa bed so that you don't have to climb into a loft if you don't want to. This is a great feature for older buyers and others who don't like climbing ladders in the middle of the night, or bumping their head when they sit up.

© Escape traveler

It is a very different plan from most tiny homes, divided by the lofts into three zones, one washroom, one living area and one kitchen and dining. As shown it can accommodate six; that will be cozy around the dinner table. I also think the full size range is overkill, but they offer a two-burner induction stovetop as an option.

Traveler does things in a big way. Full-size kitchen and bathroom, large dining or work table, living area with fireplace and big screen TV, soaring windows, on-demand hot water, even a washer/dryer. And...it sleeps up to six! Plus plenty of storage, completely climate controlled, and minimal power consumption.

© Escape traveler

It's nicely detailed with cedar siding on the exterior, recycled maple planks on the interior. Those lights worry me; to get approval as an RV absolutely nothing can stick out beyond 8'-6" and they will measure from the outside of those lights.

© Escape traveler

The specs are solid, foam insulation, on-demand hot water heaters metal roofing and cool architectural details galore like these aluminum pegs.

© Escape traveler

The role of an architect (and the hardest thing in a tiny house) is to decide how much space to give to each function. In the Sustain Minihome, it was the kitchen that was spectacular, a galley that filled the middle of the (albeit much larger) unit. Here, Kelly Davis has put it into the bathroom, a full size one with five foot tub and long vanity. I think they know their market; this looks and costs like a higher end second home type unit where people don't want to take showers while standing on the toilet. The market will tell them whether they are right or wrong.

© Escape traveler

Kelly Davis, his client and his builders changed the game with the park model, and I think they are doing it again here, bringing it to a different market. Perhaps they are thinking of a high end RV park; perhaps it's going to be high end guest accommodation. But it most definitely is not your usual tiny home. Lots more information at the Escape Traveler website.

Tags: Less Is More | Small Spaces

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