Iron Eagle Trailers

Kicking Off Spring with Tiny House Prep

giant chair and tiny house I returned home from teaching Less is More: Designing the Small or Tiny Home at Yestermorrow in Vermont to find that Portland had greeted spring in a cacophony of cherry blossoms! So it is time, officially to begin my tiny house build.

I celebrated the first day of spring with lots of tiny house prep. In the morning Laura Klement and I went to Green Anchors to check it out as a potential build site. Laura and I met in the Tiny House Design-Build class at Yestermorrow last October and she moved back to Portland to build her tiny home because, well, Portland is the epicenter of the tiny house universe! Laura and I are interested in building together because we are on a similar timeline and can help each other out and make things go more quickly.

Green Anchors is an alluring option for these reasons:

  • it's right under the incredible St. John's bridge
  • there are storage lockers available
  • there are other talented people who are up for skill sharing
  • the river is right there, which will be very tempting the summer
  • there's plenty of space to move comfortably around a tiny house
  • there's no need to worry about making a racket with power tools

The only big disadvantage is that it's a 9 mile bike ride from my house. And that's not such a big deal now that the weather is beautiful, but it's going to be a royal pain if I'm hauling things! I've considered buying a truck, but so far I haven't quite figure out how to make it pencil out.

In the afternoon, I went to Iron Eagle Trailers so I could talk to Rob and get exact measurements for my vardo trailer so I can refine my design. Rob told me that someone was coming down from Alaska to pick up a tiny house trailer. It seems like a long haul, but Rob is truly the tiny house trailer expert in the Pacific Northwest and he builds stronger, lighter, smarter, and less expensive tiny house trailers than anyone else I've found. I've been very pleased with the trailers Rob has built for me and I refer people to Rob all day long, so we recently set up a deal. If you tell Rob I sent you can get $50 off your trailer order! If you're thinking of building this summer, it's time to get your trailer into the production line! You'll be right behind Laura who placed her order last week.

I also made a trip to the hardware store to pick up my glue, clamps, and glue applicator so I can begin building my arched rafters for my vardo. Stay tuned for more about Building My Arched Rafters.

In the evening I went to PAD's Tiny House Mixer and it was a lot of fun to visit with fellow tiny house enthusiasts. I also loved seeing the update on Ben's tiny house. He's done a fabulous job with his tongue and groove interior siding. It looks beautiful!

Three cheers for cracking open the tiny house. Are you building this summer, too?!

My Custom Vardo Trailer


01/20/16: These days I'm doing Project Management for two tiny houses on wheels, so I've been talking to trailer manufacturers in several states to learn about their latest and greatest models. It's amazing to me that there are now several trailer manufacturers who specialize in building tiny house trailers. Back when I had my custom vardo trailer built in 2013 there were several companies that had customized a trailer for a tiny house, but as far as I know Iron Eagle Trailers was the only company that had created a tiny house specific trailer model. I also realized that I never did post the piece I started about my custom vardo trailer, so I figure this is as good a time as any to send it live! I've popped it back in time with the other building prep posts as I was acquiring my building materials and Almost Ready to Build.

Custom Vardo Trailer

After living in two tiny houses on wheels, a yurt, a travel trailer, and an accessory dwelling, I've developed a pretty bad case of Trailer Lust. So it's exciting that I have my very own custom vardo trailer sitting from Iron Eagle Trailers, just waiting for me to begin my build.

I knew I wanted to build my tiny house, The Lucky Penny, on a new trailer because a tiny house specific trailer would save me time and money in the long run. Several of the people I know who have built tiny houses on used trailers spent as much money retrofitting them as they would have spent on a new custom trailer and they didn't end up with a trailer that was as well suited for their tiny home as it could have been. There are now several companies that have customized car haulers for tiny houses and a couple of them could do it more affordably, but I knew I wanted to get mine from Iron Eagle Trailers because of the quality of construction and their level of experience with tiny house trailers.

this is the stern of my vardo trailer

Rob of Iron Eagle began building tiny house trailers for Dee Williams several years ago. The two of them had developed two versions of a tiny house trailer - one that was about 7.5' wide and a "Fatty Trailer" that was about 8.5' wide. I first met Rob Manzij at Iron Eagle Trailers a couple years ago when Seeking: Everything but the Kitchen Sink. At the time, I was helping Jane prepare for her Tiny House Build Week. She and I worked with Rob to develop a trailer design that allowed us to build wider than the trailer frame, but was lighter than the PAD fatty trailer. (Rob has now developed an even better model called the PAD Series trailer.) I was impressed with how knowledgable and thoughtful Rob is!

Iron Eagle is making tiny house trailers in lots of different sizes. Mine is the cutie in the front!

So once I had my vardo design figured out, I ordered my custom tiny house trailer from Iron Eagle. It's a single axle trailer with a 5K axel. Having it single axle should make it a bit easier to maneuver. This was one of the first trailers where Rob tried out the improvements that later became the PAD Series trailer. It has the cross ribs dropped below the trailer frame so that the cavity can be filled with insulation. It also has tube framing welded to the sides of the trailer frame and then angle irons welded to that, making it 8'2" wide and easier to secure my walls to.

I plan to host my Build Blitz over Memorial Day Weekend so that's when I actually start construction. Right now I'm on a Tiny House Treasure Hunt. I've already acquired:

I can't wait to take all these beautiful things and build myself a home out of them on top of my new custom vardo trailer!