The high ceiling, stained glass windows, rustic bar stools and elegant metal railing around the loft bed make this space feel like a funky artist’s studio — or a kid’s dream playhouse.
Indeed, the 142-square-foot Skyline trailer is a cross between both. It’s one of six tiny house trailers that make for a unique lodging experience at Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel in Northeast Portland’s Alberta Arts District.
With all the comforts of home and more, Caravan opened in 2013 by Portlanders Deb Delman and Kol Peterson. Built for community, the space is centered around a common area that hosts events like campfires, songs and s’mores, which happens every Wednesday night throughout the summer.
The tiny house movement is more than a Portlandia skit. Caravan owners maintain that the experience is about finding community with other travelers of all walks of life. They want to encourage a different kind of traveling that focuses less on giant luxury rooms and more about cherishing the small things around you, an adventure unto itself.
If you don’t want to stay at Caravan or can’t book a spot (mostly midweek stays are available throughout the summer) take a tour; the owners are pioneers in Portland’s tiny house movement and have paved the way for other similar businesses to sprout up — like Tiny Digs, a few miles away in Northeast Portland, or the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village, an hour southeast in Welches.
Each of Caravan’s trailers has its own distinct style and charm. The Amazing Mysterium, featured in the Portland-filmed television series The Librarians, is designed to model a traditional Vardo gypsy wagon and mollycroft roof. Kangablue is one of the more spacious units, built by an Australian-born Portland artist with a variety of Pacific Northwest woods including blue pine — any species of pine that acquires a natural blue stain after being infected by the mountain pine beetle. Pacifica is wheelchair accessible, with a cedar-singled exterior inspired by ocean waves and rainbow of color inside via the tiled sink, wall art, stained glass windows and vibrant bedspread.
All are less than 200 square feet; most sleep up to four and have one bathroom and a mini kitchenette plus wireless Internet, heating and air conditioning. But it’s the details that count, and here you can find everything from organic coffee to fair trade soap, handmade quilts and locally made playing cards and Portland guidebooks.
If you fall in love with the tiny house concept, why not take it on the road? Caravan just launched their Teardrop trailer rental service — letting you rent one of their five custom-built, fully-loaded trailers for your next road trip to the Oregon Coast, the Columbia River Gorge, the Steens Mountain or beyond (there are no mileage restrictions). Like their tiny hotel units, each is full of whimsy and personality — the Prince trailer comes with its own sparkly disco ball above the bed.