Adventurous tourists and prospective homeowners alike can stay at the first tiny house hotel, located in Portland, Oregon, to experience living small.
Founded in 2013, Caravan features six 170-square-foot-or-less tiny houses, less than half the space covered by a standard semi-trailer truck. A night costs USD$145 per unit.
For 13 years, owner Deb Delman lived next door to a lot that hosted everything from repossessed cars to an outdoor hookah bar.
She and partner Kol Peterson set out to transform the lot into a tiny house hotel.
“This had never been done,” Delman said. “There was no precedent.”
They worked with city officials on zoning and obtained the first legally permitted commercial application for a tiny house.
Today, six tiny houses sit on the lot. Each has its own distinct character.
At 170 square feet, Kangablue is the biggest tiny house at Caravan. The walls and flooring feature a variety of Pacific Northwest trees, including blue pine, which gets a blue stain after being infected by the Mountain Pine Beetle. Guests sleep on a foam queen bed in the loft.
The spacious, 160-square-foot Tandem is named for Portland’s famous bike culture and its double sleeping areas. It features art made of bicycle sprockets and custom woodwork and sleeps up to four people, two in the ground-floor trundle bed and two in the loft.
The Caboose was inspired by trains. It features custom wood benches, cobblestone floors, and copper shelving. It fits a lofted bed and bunk beds inside.
The Skyline, built by a metal worker, is made almost entirely of salvaged materials, including refrigerator panels for the roof. The flooring and walls are made from refurbished decking.
All the rentals have running water and electric heat. Guests are welcome to bring their house-trained dogs in the unit, as well.
Each house is stocked with “off the beaten path books”.
Community is a key component to the business. Every Wednesday, locals come for a night of barbecue and live music, and once a month, Delman and Peterson invite the public to tour the houses and hear a presentation on the tiny house movement. Hundreds of people turn out.
“We’re not on a mission to convert people. The space at Caravan generates conversation. Having people come to Portland, which we are madly in love with in so many ways, is great,” Delman said.