A Tour of the Spartan

I though it might be nice to offer a photo tour of the Spartan. I realize I’ve shown it in pieces, and at various stages in the renovation. And while it is not done (and far from it…do these things ever end?), it has reached a point where I feel like my vision has taken shape, and whatever is not done can be anticipated by what is.

Here’s the trailer in situ, on my friend Ryan’s farm. The woods around it are pretty recent, and the land was probably cultivated less than a half-century ago. This view is facing South/Southwest. You can see the morning sun is off to the left.



You can also see all the snow. We haven’t seen a winter like this in a long time! I was urgently preparing to sew up a skirt for the trailer, but Father Winter took care of it with all the snow. I just shovelled it into a berm around the trailer, and igloo-like, it has really helped with the floor temperature, especially when the westerly winds blow.


Above is the galley. It’s a good size for a ~250 square foot home, but it’s still a little short on prep space. It’s changed the way I cook. Simpler meals, with more careful and drawn out prep, so I can clean up and organize as I go. If I’m in a rush, I make a mess quickly! The cabinets are maple and alder, the countertop is zinc, and the refrigerator is a NovaCool from Canada, freezer on the right, fridge on the left. I had a water tank in the back and a hand pump for the sink, but I pulled it out. The water jug is much more convenient.



Across from the galley is the pantry area. The doors and drawers on the left are kitchen supplies, and cubbies for photography, sewing and astronomy gear. The birch door on the left is the kitchen larder, where all the dry goods, supplies and things like potatoes and apples live. Organization is key. I actually have a lot of storage space. On the right you can see black thermostat for the propane-fired furnace, which (turning the camera to the right) lives under the storage bed/couch here:



Here is a close-up of the wood stove area. The stainless steel camping shower pretty much lives on the wood stove, where it acts as a kind of radiator. In front of the rear door is the wood storage area. The door is sealed off for the winter by a home-made wool/canvas curtain that snaps to the door frame. The center cut-out is white cotton canvas, which lets light in, but keeps some heat in. The art is by Nick Ruth.


Back up at the front, the wraparound picture window at the bow is bracketed by storage shelves. There’s a nod to the Spartan’s vintage year of 1947 here, with a period Zenith tube radio, which works really well. It even has an aux imput for my ipad!

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On the other side, two Ikea box shelves hold my astronomy books. And my few treasured knick-knacks. Some tibetan bells I haven’t found a spot for yet (probably they’ll find a home outside once the awnings arrive), a Buddha I made in 8th grade shop class, and a cat with a solar powered tail that I got in Hikone a few years ago. I can’t fully explain my irrational affection for this cat. When the sun is strong, every seventh wag knocks against the side of the cat, a pleasant synocopation.


Here’s a view looking fore, to give you a sense of how all these parts fit together. Next to the couch/bed is an old chest that acts as my closet. The kitchen table is on the right. It’s on hinges, though I have never really folded it up. Underneath is are my shoes. My “mud room” is four square feet between the table and the kitchen stove, in front of the main door.


Lastly, a peak into the back room, which you can glimse in the rear-facing images above. On the right are some shelves made from reclaimed chestnut and elm. The brackets came from a sellar on ebay; they are cut from stainless steel, and follow the circle motif that repeats throughout the trailer.


On the front face of the rear storage bed is the control center for the solar electric system. Behind this bulkhead is the battery bank, inverter, solar charge controller and fuse box. The small black remote on the left turns the inverter on and off, and theTristar panel is the remote for the solar charge controller. Next to that I added a 12 volt outlet.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour! In future posts I’ll talk more about heat, and the bathroom, which I’ve skipped over here.

I’m pleased with how this has come out. It’s far from perfect, and in terms of comforts it is a bit of a hybrid of home living and camping. But more on the comfortable side of things. Heat, elecricity, a kind of running water, bathroom, a shower when I need it…the Spartan has the necessities. It’s off the grid, and it’s mine. It actually never feels small for me. Except for when my friend Kevin comes over and can’t ever stand up straight. He’s tall. Then I feel like Bilbo Baggins hosting Gandalf in my hobbit hole. Which also has circle motifs. Huh.


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