This Converted Van Is a Tiny Home on Wheels – House of the Week

With a house on wheels, home is anywhere you park it — and life on the road is a family affair.

In 2016, Jace Carmichael and Giddi Oteo upgraded from their first van home to a 2005 Freightliner Sprinter. The new van’s from-scratch build-out allowed them to add a safe seat for their new baby, Juniper.

Their goal isn’t to live in the van — it’s to live out of it. An 84-square-foot house that travels with them means this family can live sustainably on a small budget and spend quality time in places like Mexico, Big Sur, and Yosemite and Zion National Parks.

Lightweight solar panels on the van’s roof provide off-grid electricity, and multiple windows let in sunlight. Indoor-safe propane heaters keep the van warm on chilly nights.

The kitchen is equipped with  an inset cooktop, a fridge and freezer, and woodblock countertops for meal prep.

Across from the kitchen is a workbench where the couple make jewelry for their online business, Carteo Handmade.

The sleeping area boasts a king-size mattress with storage underneath, and pale wood closets line the walls. Bright white textiles and interior paint make the space feel light and airy.

The van has water storage tanks and a 12-volt water pump for the kitchen sink. A composting toilet slides out from under the bed, and hot outdoor showers come courtesy of a solar tank on the roof.

Keep up with this rolling home via Our Home on Wheels, where Jace and Giddi share their build book, along with van listings for other people who dream of making #VanLife their real life.



A Treehouse Trio for Grown-Ups – House of the Week

It’s the treehouse escape you wanted as a kid — just swathed in luxury and more than 1,000 feet in the air.

A trio of treehouses in Meadows of Dan, VA, combines the nostalgia of your childhood treehouse with the sophisticated log cabin you’ve always wanted.

Perched on treetops that overlook the Kibler Valley and North Carolina Piedmont, these warm, intimate spaces for two boast a private deck for savoring the exquisite views. All three treehouses offer rustic-chic interiors, but each is built to fit into its respective tree branches.

Aptly named for its bird’s-eye view, the Barn Owl treehouse sits at an elevation of 2,700 feet. It’s built of aromatic cedar and features exposed beams, cedar-plank walls, and a cozy loft-like space with more than enough room for sleeping quarters and a small living area.

The Cooper’s Hawk treehouse spans two trees and overlooks the confluence of Roaring Creek and the Dan River from 1,300 feet aboveground. The wood-planked bedroom opens right up to the scenic deck via glass doors, allowing natural light to pour through.

Finally, the Golden Eagle treehouse was prefabricated in France by the famous treehouse architectural firm La Cabane Perchée. Built on the strong limbs of an old oak tree, Golden Eagle has an A-frame roof and exposed beams, and it even has enough space for a writer’s desk.

The treehouses are part of the Primland luxury mountain resort and are available to book on a nightly basis.

Photos courtesy of Primland.



This Double Shipping Container Home Has Twice the Delight – House of the Week

A landscape architect upcycled two shipping containers to build a beautiful home in the Big Easy. Oh, and did we mention there’s a pool too?

It’s not every day that a home becomes a neighborhood draw. 

If you live in the historic, tree-lined Carrollton area of New Orleans, however, you might attract a bit of a crowd when you build your home from two massive repurposed shipping containers.

Becoming a neighborhood sensation wasn’t what landscape architect Seth Rodewald-Bates intended when he set out to design a home for him and his wife, Elisabeth.

They’d fallen in love with the area, known for brass bands and bayou music, and found that their double-box design was so outside the box that it became a destination for the neighbors during the build.

“Everyone was very curious,” Rodewald-Bates said. “Some people thought it was a self-storage unit. One younger kid asked if it was going to [be an] Apple store, which was high praise in my mind.”

While there’s no Genius Bar in this home, you will find an open kitchen and living area. 14-foot ceilings and ample windows give the 775-square-foot space an airy feel.

There are wide-plank wood floors throughout and dark granite countertops in the kitchen. Open shelving above the sink and stainless steel appliances add a modern touch.

Floating night tables maximize space in the bedroom, and bedside lamps in fire-engine red provide a pop of color.

The true coup de grace is a pool perfect for those steamy NOLA afternoons. It’s Rodewald-Bates’ favorite feature of the home.

An urban setting for a container home might seem a little unusual, but the house is scaled to fit the neighborhood, Rodewald-Bates added. Getting to the finish line, however, wasn’t always a given.

“The city was actually very reasonable to deal with, but financing was the biggest hoop to jump through,” Rodewald-Bates said. “We went to either 8 or 10 banks with the plans, and none of them would even send them to their appraiser.”

“Make sure you have financing secured,” he said, when asked about his biggest advice to others, “and remember that containers are designed for cargo, not people!”

Photos by Jacqueline Marque.



This Nashville Treehouse Will Drench You in Light – House of the Week

With a dreamy bed, upcycled elements and original art, this Music City dwelling elevates tranquil living.

Somewhere in East Nashville — at the intersection of windows and woodwork — you’ll find something wonderful.

That’s exactly what Sloane Southard and Emily Leonard Southard intended when they imagined a guesthouse on a tree-filled piece of land in the city they love.

“Sloane and I designed it together, and he built it,” said Emily, a painter and artist. “[Sloane] owns a home restoration company, called The Standard Sash, that specializes in windows, which is why we used so many salvaged windows in the design.”

Photo by Laura Dart.

Stunning vintage windows fill every wall of the tiny home, which is perched a few feet above the ground. There’s a peekaboo skylight overlooking a vintage wrought-iron bed the couple picked up from the Nashville Flea Market. A plant hangs from above.

Photo by Laura Dart.

Emily, an artist for more than 15 years, filled the space with her work, including the floor murals.

Photo by Laura Dart.

The duo added other vintage touches to the home they lovingly call The Fox House. There’s a weathered turquoise trunk that serves as a coffee table and a Mid-Century Modern couch in the perfect shade of 1950s green. 

Photo by Laura Dart.

There’s little more to the home beyond books, a patio and a writing desk. (Relaxation is the story you’ll want to write here.)

Outside, there’s a hammock and string lights, which glow as the sun sets on the space. With deer, birds and squirrels for neighbors, you might catch a passing glimpse at a fawn grazing on some grass.

Photo by Laura Dart.

The home is currently available as a short-term rental.

Photo by Laura Dart.

Top image by Laura Dart.



This Philadelphia Farmhouse Is a Historic Stunner

The renovated barn holds a second barn, so the structure looks authentic inside and out.

Take a stone farmhouse from 1810, mix it with the best furnishings you can find at flea markets in Paris, and the result is this exquisitely renovated Colonial home outside Philadelphia.

A walk-in fireplace graces the living room, while the formal dining room boasts French doors that open onto a screened porch. For a cozier ambiance, the library of this 4-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot home features a fireplace and picture-window views.

A beautifully upholstered floating wall was installed in one bedroom to allow a lake view while lounging in bed. A chandelier hangs above the bed, and behind it is a sitting room.

Owners Michele and Michael Friezo also remade the nearly 8-acre grounds, adding formal and informal gardens. They planted more than 300 types of flowers in a meadow with a fire pit that overlooks a private lake.

The pleasure of watching the sun on autumn evenings is rivaled only by watching the snow fall while sitting by a roaring fire in the barn, Michele Friezo said.

The couple also renovated the estate’s crumbling horse barn, which is a rustic version of the main home. Concerned that adding insulation would take away the barn-like appearance of the structure’s interior, they bought a second barn and installed it inside the first one.

The barn’s massive French windows face the meadow and the lake, offering front-row seats to the nesting of two bald eagles who live in a nearby grove of pine trees.

The estate sold for $2.575 million with Caryn Black of Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty.

Photos by Juan Vidal Photography.


Originally published December 2016.