Vardo Living Wagon: Rural Horse-Drawn Home To Go

Living Wagon
Vardo Gypsy Caravan

Vardo Living Doesn’t Mean Slumming!

A vardo (also wagon, living wagon, van and caravan) is a traditional horse-drawn wagon used by British Romanians as their home.

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Possessing a chimney, it is commonly thought of as being highly decorated, intricately carved, brightly painted and even gilded.

The days of hitching up a wagon may be on its way back as a way of survival due to the impending economic and American way of life upheaval.

Besides that, it’s a better way of putting bad-tempered horses to good use as opposed to pasture, because if they have to be fed, they have to work!

While American travelers have spacious, luxury motor coaches, Romanians still live in caravans.

Therefore, rural homesteaders need to adopt the idea of living in a vardo wagon, to survive.

Owning a traditional horse-drawn vardo could be used as a safe and sound mobile home, if push comes to shove.

Needless to say, I love the idea of living and camping in one in the rural countryside.

When I see images of old vardo wagons, I think about “gypsy palm reading” and circus troupe wagons.

Tiny houses are cute and all, but by comparison, vardos have the most style and they’re horse-drawn, which makes them unique.

Decorated In Elaborate Boho Style

According to, “Vardos were elaborately decorated, hand carved and ornately painted with traditional Romani symbols. Romanichal would participate in the ornate carving and decoration, being skilled woodcarvers themselves, but would leave the main construction to a professional specialised coach builder. Much of the wealth of the vardo was on display in the carvings, paintings incorporated aspects of the Romani lifestyle, including horses, birds, lions, griffins, floral designs, and vine work, including elaborate scroll working heightened by the extensive use of between 4-15 books of gold leaf applied as decoration. Each individual maker was identified by their particular designs.”

Living In The Car
Vardo Doesn’t Mean Slumming

Vardos are highly prized by Romanians for its aesthetic design, beauty and practicality to pull off road and over rough ground, something smaller-wheeled wagons are unable to do.

The rear wheels are 18 inches larger than the ones on the front.

I could make my home in a covered wagon, 10 feet long with a porch on the front and back!

At the start of the 20th century the design incorporated raised skylights.

On either side of the bed space, quarter-inch thick beveled mirrors were common, and were lavishly decorated.

Cupboards and locker seats were built in to prevent movement while travelling.

Side and back windows were decorated and shuttered, and the body of the vardo itself would have originally been made from beaded tongue-and-groove match board, painted red and tricked out in yellow and green.

As with other vardos, the extent of the elaborate decoration reflected the wealth of the family, boasting carved lion heads and gargoyles; these would have been painted gold or extensively decorated with gold leaf.

Today, surviving vardo wagons are prized exhibits in museums or private collections.

I think it’s about time for rural America to start thinking outside of the American dream box, and consider the vardo as a serious alternative living space WSHTF!Ā Curated From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia