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Vagavond specializes in designing and building simple, hand-crafted, healthy, off-grid homes. We use all non-toxic natural building materials and finishes. Our materials and finishes provide you with the best possible indoor air quality, while simultaneously achieving a small environmental impact. Our focus on sustainability and healthy indoor air quality blend together seamlessly with our functionally-complete, off-grid home designs. Vagavond design fuses classic character with a uniquely clean minimalist twist of utility and style in an easy to use, easy to maintain home or studio.

Why A Vagavond Tiny House?

UsesOff-gridHealthSustainability

Vagavond Dwellings are towable tiny houses that are designed and built for all season use with thick well insulated exteriors. The Orange and Strawberry Dwellings are functionally complete tiny houses with their own kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom loft. Vagavond custom designed built-in furniture and storage features are included in the Orange and Strawberry Dwellings. Both are perfectly suited to function as your full-time residence, backyard guest house, or vacation cottage. 

The Studio Dwelling is the same as the Orange and Strawberry Dwellings, except that the interior of Studio has no interior partition walls or built-in features, just a wide open finished room. Use your Vagavond Studio as a private office, art studio, yoga studio, or just a simple backyard escape that you can furnish however you wish.

If you want to live off-grid, whether it be in the middle of nowhere or in a suburban backyard, our homes make it simple to utilize alternative energy sources. Vagavonds are designed with low energy and manually powered zero-energy appliances that eliminate the majority of the energy demanded by conventional appliances.

Most off-grid houses utilize many propane powered appliances, just like the first home we built did. But after reevaluating off-grid in the terms of the following definition “A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services” -Wikipedia. By defining off-grid in these terms we’ve realized that depending on propane for basic functions like heat, hot water, and cooking, can’t be considered “a true off-grid house”. This is because you would not be able to operate your home “completely independently”. At least not without the questionable extraction, processing, and transportation methods used by the propane and natural gas industries. (i.e. fracking, refineries, and pipelines)

“The average American spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. And while most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health, many do not know that indoor air pollutants can also do the same. Indeed, studies of human exposure to air pollutants by EPA indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. The problems they cause can be subtle and do not always produce easily recognized or immediate impacts on health.” -EPA

Your home should be your sanctuary, a healthy place for you to rejuvenate your complete health. We have gone to great lengths to eliminate the toxic materials and finishes that are a major cause of poor indoor air quality. Unfortunately toxic materials and finishes and poor ventilation design have become the status quo in conventional homes. This is why we use all non-toxic ingredients to eliminate the major sources of indoor air pollution.

Vagavonds ventilation design ensures your Dwellings indoor air quality remains at the high level its non-toxic ingredients were intended to provide. We include exhaust fans and a whole house air exchanger to remove excess humidity, toxic particles, and stale air that can quickly accumulate to unhealthy concentrations in your home.

An often overlooked design consideration for your health is electromagnetic field radiation, known as EMF or electronic smog. We are all increasingly exposed to radiation emitted from electronic devices like smart phones, smart meters, and WiFi signals, just to name a few. Vagavond Dwellings are designed with passive and simple to use solutions to reduce and eliminate your exposure to EMF pollution. This ensures your home is truly a healthy and serene living environment.

Sustainability isn’t just some buzzword at Vagavond, we live it and work it everyday. The following is just a few of the ways that we’ve integrated sustainable practices into what we do.

Eliminate Waste

We integrate waste elimination and reduction strategies into every house as a conscious priority at the outset of the design process. For example, our homes are designed to utilize standard sizes of building materials to eliminate most cut-off waste. The small amount of cut-offs that are generated from construction are repurposed into smaller furnishings like cutting boards and table tops.

Inferior toxic building materials like vinyl flooring, and pressed paper products wear out quickly. That’s why we use high quality solid wood and metal building materials that can be repaired or refinished, instead of replaced. Our materials are selected based on their proven history of durability.

Not only do our materials last a really long time, but they can also safely biodegrade at the end of their useful life. This makes it simple for you to perpetuate our waste elimination goal by easily allowing you to reuse, recycle, or compost any part of a Vagavond. Which, in turn, prevents any piece of a Vagavond from ever needing to step foot in a landfill.

Consume Less

By building small we reduce the building materials that are needed for the construction of your home. We eliminate redundant space, without losing functionality, with our multipurpose living room design. Eliminating redundant space also saves wasted energy that is needed to heat or cool a larger unused space. Vagavond living room built-ins are designed to allow you to easily use your space as an office, dining room, entertaining area, or just a place to kick back and relax. Even with all this multifunctional versatility, our built-in furnishings are designed and built solid with almost no moving parts or excessive gadgetry.

Eliminate Toxics

Vagavond uses all non-toxic materials and finishes that won’t harm the environment or the homes indoor air quality at any point during their lifecycle. Using non-toxic materials and finishes allows us to offer the best possible indoor air quality by eliminating the common building materials that are toxic and off-gas VOC’s and contain known carcinogens. For example, you will not find any material containing any added urea-formaldehyde in a Vagavond. Although highly toxic, urea-formaldehyde is in widespread use today in many common construction materials such as: glues/adhesives, insulation, particle board, interior paneling, and interior grade plywood, just to name a few.

Reduce Energy

Vagavonds are designed small and efficient. One reason for this is so we reduce your homes energy needs by reducing the amount of space that needs heating or cooling. This in turn saves energy for the life of your home.

Our homes are designed for use with many manual and passive appliance systems to reduce your energy needs even further. Thereby reducing your need to invest in extra alternative energy devices, like solar panels and batteries, than you would otherwise need. Making it simple and economical to go off-grid with any Vagavond Dwelling.

 


Story

Vagavond was founded in 2010 (Originally named Itty Bitty House Company), by Designer and Builder Andrew J. Gielczyk (pronounced Gil-check). Vagavond is based out of Holland, Michigan.

Andrew, a lifelong builder, has developed a passion for self sufficient healthy living. Andrews growing passion for sustainable living coinciding with his deep disillusionment with the many toxic building materials and poor design practices used in most conventionally built homes led him on a path to search out a better way. After years of research and self reflection Andrew decided to instead focus his love of sustainable living into new home designs that better reflected his views and passions. It is that passion that has culminated in the design of his non-toxic, off-grid homes.

Now, after years of work refining his original Orange Dwelling design, Andrew wants to share his non-toxic, off-grid homes with you. So you can experience the benefits of a happier, healthier, sustainable lifestyle.

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