Free-Spirited Fortune Cookie Is a Bohemian Dream Home

©. Scott Haydon

Though they may seem stereotypical too cutesy and derivative, tiny homes and the people who live in them are as diverse as one can imagine. Take Kera of Dreadnaught Darling; this Tacoma, Washington-based entrepreneur and gypsy-at-heart wanted to get out of the rat race and live something different. So four years ago, after having saved some money and done much research, she decided to get a tiny home custom made by builder and trapeze artist Abel "Zyl" Zimmerman of Zyl Vardos, since she wanted to "reduce [her] carbon footprint, lower [her] bills and have a portable home."

What Kera got isn't any regular tiny home though. Quirkily dubbed "The Fortune Cookie," Kera's 144-square-foot home is a modern version of the vardo, a type of gypsy wagon that was traditionally drawn by horses and intricately decorated. Here's her recounting how she got around to living in a vardo:

I have participated in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) for about 13 years, and have aspired to having a gypsy persona. In light of this, I have had a fascination with Gypsy Vardos for years. I thought about building one so that I could have a comfy place to lay my head when running off to wars and tourneys of all sorts. However, I always felt it was a bit of a pipe dream.
Fast forward to my tiny house notion, then back to my vardo concept. I realized I really wanted to marry the two ideas. Who said that my tiny house could not be a vardo? I mean, that sounds like a fantastic idea!

Having finally ditched an office job that she hated and a 1,100-square-foot home that she found too expensive to maintain, Kera now began exploring alternative avenues for making a livelihood. The Fortune Cookie became a studio as well when Kera began making customized lovely hair accessories such as dread falls, dread kits and braids and selling them online in her shop and at fairs.

Inside, Kera's home is delightfully styled, covered with plenty of wood surfaces and a gorgeous, distinctive circular window that opens into four sections. The space inside is vaulted and feels quite large and uplifting, as there aren't any poky, orthogonal corners to make it feel small. The sleeping loft is accessible by ladder and has a small diamond window of its own. The home uses a composting toilet and uses a hook-up for electricity (she plans to switch to solar soon), and for storage, there is an armoire that keeps Kera's stuff and supplies out of sight.

Outside, the approximately 6,500-pound Fortune Cookie presents a streamlined, cedar-shingled form, and is lit by a lovely hanging lamp.

Kera's Fortune Cookie wasn't one of those tiny homes built for mere thousands, since it was a customized job from a builder, costing her around USD $35,000. Nevertheless, it is a unique specimen that has been beautifully constructed, showing that tiny homes do come in a variety of forms and that one is only limited by one's imagination. Kera's site is worthy of a visit: in her blog, Kera mentions many interesting issues that are relevant to tiny homeowners or those soon-to-be: the process of downsizing and insurance. You can also find her over on Etsy in her store Dreadnaught Darling.