It is raining. Nothing new but my family is already planning our camping trips for the summer. That is nothing new either since my daughters will swim in even the coldest temperatures at Waldo Lake. Camping didn’t come easy for me. I grew up in East L.A. – Montebello to be exact and didn’t go on my first camping trip until I was twenty-four. I packed all the essentials. I had my toothbrush, hiking boots, hair dryer and flat iron. Later I also had my shame as I was ridiculed for trying to find the outlets in the outhouse.
I’ve grown to love camping when it is warm and sunny. I love waking up at sunrise and sitting on the banks of Waldo Lake, watching the mist rise to meet the sky. I have grown accustomed to the tent and knowing what it will take to keep me warm. I also know how many cans of mosquito repellent to pack and how to site our tent so we frequent as few of them as possible. It is a simple life and that is good.
Last August John Labovitz came by Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage. I recognized him as he had been in a few times before buying heaping amounts of bead board for a project. He drove his project over to give us a look (we love seeing customer projects!) What I saw was so unexpected I ran inside to get everyone outside to look. John created what he calls his “House Truck.” A moving, traveling, home-away-from-home cabin-on-wheels, that will go anywhere.

John Labovitz’s House Truck

He based his model after the 1920s-1930s gypsy caravans and being inside you are transferred back to another place and time.

Early 1920s European Gypsy Caravans

When speaking with John, he told me he has always been interested in vehicles and especially traveling vehicles since he was a kid when one day his mom suggested he build one. As a computer programmer, John’s dream was to have a traveling office/bedroom so he could travel and work. He pondered the idea for about a year before he began construction. The process took about 6 months and he had a steel fabricator in Silverton help with the framework (I believe he is listed on John’s resource list on his blog – web address is listed below).
In addition to the bead board, John purchased the reclaimed hardware for his windows at Aurora Mills. On his blog he list in great detail his sources for materials as well as his budget outline for making his House Truck. He has been very crafty in that he sought out sustainable materials when possible and materials that were true to the personality of his House Truck.
I have to say I am jealous. John’s creation is not only beautiful with the heart of yesteryear but it is also very modern technically. He also has plans to add solar panels, a compostable toilet and a micro-filtration system that will take him anywhere he wants to go while being good to our environment. I guess you could say my tent does that too but it sure doesn’t look the same.
John has also posted photos of his House Truck on Flickr. There you can see the process of creating the framework and images of the interior.
John loves the comments he gets and has even pulled off the freeway to give a tour. “People are really inspired by it – it is a great side-effect”. Thank you so much John for coming in to share your House Truck story with us! You have inspired many of us too!

The House Truck at Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage

The House Truck even has a great backside!

For more information about John’s journey in House Truck creation and to see a list of his sources and frequently asked questions please visit his blog at: