This Adventure Vehicle, aka Escape or Expedition Vehicle (EV), is referred by
admirers by many names: Tiny House, Tiny Home on Wheels, the Mobile Little House,
Small House, Tiny Cabin, Small Cabin on a truck, Land Yacht whatever it’s called,
people sure do love it! Oh, and I almost forget, Extreme Performance Vehicle (XPV). We
just call it The House of seven Rivers. But whatever people might call it, the intent was to
design and build the finest rustic yacht quality mobile camper ever constructed.
The first consideration in the design
of this camper was to determine how small the main floor
could be for extended living in comfort. Smaller is better
for maneuverability both in the forest and in town. Fourteen
feet by 8 feet was the determination. This provides for a
bathroom, an ample sized closet, a double bed (over the cab)
and a single bed, and overall roominess.
The House of Seven Rivers was designed to competely avoid having to fold implements up or down to
convert for some other usetables to beds and so forth. This
would detract from living in what was to be a beautiful
mountain cabin built with yacht quality workmanship.
Seventeen floorplans were considered before finally settling
on the House of Seven Rivers.
Floor: 8' X 14' // Roof: 8' X 19' 7" // Overall length of truck: 25' 10"
Height (on Truck): Center Roof: 10' 11" // Chimney Cap: 11' 2" // Sides: 10' 6"
The loft bed is the cab-overhang at
the front of the camper. The beds dimensions are an ample 4
7 X 6 5. A beautiful oak topped step provides easy access
to the sleeping area which is under the barrel vaulted roof. In the
loft there is a stained glass reading window, and a beautiful
stained glass picture of a high mountain lake. There is a
bookcase on the upper part of the front wall. At the foot of
the bed is a storage area, which could house a TV.
A 12" wide rear overhang that
serves inside as an effective long table. Like all tables in
this luxurious land yacht, this one is constructed of
exotic hard woods, all different, each separated by a 1/8"
strip of solid African ebony, and each is screwed and plugged
in the highest quality of boat joinery. A steel channel is
built under the rear overhang, to transport a motorcycle or
The roof is curved and covered with
SOLID, estate quality copper sheeting — rare indeed today, and
unknown on any other motor home. All seams, as well as the
bronze ring-shank nails, were soldered when the temperature
was below freezing to prevent contraction of the copper,
to add strength at all temperature extremes to the soldered
joints and prevent tearing. The sides of the roof have hand
formed channels out of the copper, to keep rain water from
running over the sides.
The siding is 3/8 inch thick clear
heart redwood tongue & grove, with numerous coats of the best
ships varnish available, and fastened with solid bronze
The House of Seven Rivers has 8
Windows. All are of the most elegant stained glass design,
seven of these windows are in custom made louvered steel
frames. The front window, as mentioned is a picture of a
high mountain lake. It is protected from truck-thrown pebbles
on expressways by an outer sheet of tempered glass.
The 8th window (in the entry door) was
the most difficult of all to make. It took 6 days. Its
exterior shape and its 45 holes for the stained glass were
laboriously cut and filed from sheet steel 3/32" thick. This
sheet stock was electro-plated with a non-rustable metal.
Then using the Tiffany copper-foil technique, the various
colors of stained glass were soldered in place. The whole
window was then treated with selenous acid to take the
newness off and washed.
Finally, inserting the window and
building the very fancy redwood panel door, with shaped cross
members, took one full day.
Building a window like this makes it
virtually impossible to break through to get at the door
The roof beams are truly a blend of
engineering and art. A large 9 X 25" X 4" curved jig was
cut from laminated pieces of plywood. Then one at a time, the
roof rafters were bent and clamped over this jig, and glued
with resorcinol, the worlds standard for superior strength,
to create the elegant curve. Each beam has 7 layers of wood
of alternating white pine and redwood. Finally, these rafters
were planed, routed, sanded and varnished before they were
The walls and curved barrel vaulted ceiling are of
course insulated and then planked with 3/8" tongue & groove
aromatic cedar, all nailed by hand without a single hammer
mark. (Grandfathers hammer is a one of a kind!) The wall to
ceiling joints are so tight that a piece of paper cannot be
The floor is built with light 1" X 2"
steel channels (floor joists), welded to a 2" X 4" steel
channel periphery. Five lamination 1/2" plywood is fastened
to the steel channels using large solid copper rivets, and
then Varathaned. The plywood is covered with a finished floor
of Verathaned solid oak slats. The oak flooring lifts up in
four sections for cleaning. The oak slat flooring serves the
same purpose that duckboards do in a yacht. In a yacht, the
slatted flooring keeps the sailors feet above the water in
the bilge. In a land yacht, the duckboard flooring allows
anything that is brought in on ones feet to settle through
to the plywood underneath. This keeps the floor grit-free and
The bathroom is paneled in varnished
Teakthe mariners favorite wood. All corners, including
around the window, are trimmed in specially made polished
brass, strips and angles.
The counter and table tops, are an
ever-present joy to behold, built from over thirty varieties
of colorful and exotic hardwoods from the world. The width of
each piece of hardwood varies, and each is separated by a
1/8 strip of Black African Ebony, considered to be the
highest quality ebony in the world. It is used in the finest
guitar frets and black piano keys. Each hardwood plank is
pinned with galvanized steel pins.
The kitchen sink is solid brass, hand
spun in Argentina.
The lower bed and seat are backed
with a soft and strong Canadian tanned leather.
Lighting and Electrical
After a great deal of research to
determine which was the quietist, we selected a Thermadore
You will probably never see another
rolling home or house with electric wiring this elaborate.
There are 4 separate circuits. Each circuit is controlled
from both the upper and lower bed. Circuit (1) is 120 volt
general room illumination, and the electric heater. Circuit
(2) is 120 volt mood illuminationred and amber lighting.
Circuit (3) is 12 volt general room illumination. Circuit (4)
is 12 volt mood illumination red and amber LED lighting.
The ceiling light, is a tour de force
in fixed chandeliers. This incredible fixture took eleven
days to make; more time, by far, than it takes to frame an
entire typical condominium. It is made of beveled tenon-
jointed granadilla wood with ornate brass, and stained glass.
Its beauty is beyond description. There is also stained glass
lighting above the kitchen sink.
An antique brass ships masthead light
with French lighthouse type glass, provides illumination on
the far end of the room. It has all four circuits of lights
The room is wired for stereo.
There are five distinctive handmade
brass candle holders that are affixed to the walls and
bookcases. They hold little red or amber glass candle
holders. Each one is a unique rendition of a small gargoyle
in two dimensions.
Mechanical and Gas
The pride and joy of the mechanical
systems is the Ships Stove. Its a real Skippy! Made of
solid cast iron, it burns either wood or coal. It was
improved by Terry Thompson, the founder of the Thompson &
Thelin Stove Works, by cutting in three oval windows in the
front and installing mica. This allows the idyllic experience
of being bathed in the warm glow of a flickering fire. This
little stove is wonderful. It could probably keep the camper
warm if it were minus 250 degrees outside.
There is a two burner propane gas
counter stove with piezoelectric ignition.
The main water tank holds 67 gallons.
When pressurized water is not available, for the shower and
sinkas when out in the forestthere is a 12 volt water
There is an elegant solid brass ships
clock made as a miniature ships wheel.
The refrigerator is a Dometic three way: 120
volts & 12 volts & gas.
The water heater is an Atwood 6.2 gallons two way 120
volts & gas.
There is a portable five gallon water
tank that can be taken outside and heated in the sun on warm
days, or on the Skippy stove when its cold outside.
Apart from being the ultimate in
elegant craftsmanship and architectural design, this
comparatively large camper, this rolling home: The House of
Seven Riversand Land Yacht Extraordinaire, could also serve
as the ultimate survival vehicle or emergency rolling home.
To stay warm, branches can be used to fire the Skippy, and
branches can be used to heat river water, or even to melt
snow for a hot shower. The super camper can also be used as a
spare bedroom for a visitor.
Included with this super camper
are two miniature (non-electric) wood burning stoves for
outside cookingpatent to be applied for soon. The smaller
one can steam-boil vegetables for 6 minutes and then grill,
meat or fishall on a single (cut up) branch 24" long X 1"
In conclusion, this fine blend of art
and craftsmanship, invariably brings a smile of admiration
upon the face of those who enter. This is a UNIQUE camper, one of a kind.
If a person COULD find the right number of skilled craftsmen, it would likely
require more than 3000 hours of work to duplicate this rare mobile dwelling. At the
typical rate of $85 an hour for labor of this level it would cost more than a
quarter million dollars to replicate The House of Seven Rivers.
Comparisons between: Campers, Trailers, and Motor
homeswith internal engine.
Campers are higher up than Trailers
and Motor Homes, except for the giant Motor Homes. This
provides more privacy and security and higher
windows afford a better view. Campers can be removed from the
truck but this takes more time than it does to disconnect a
trailer. Campers are the best when going into the woods
especially if they have 4 wheel drive.
Trailers cannot be driven down an
unimproved dirt road, as in the out-back, nor where it might
have to be backed out. Trailers, as is true with Motor Homes,
pretty much have to stay on the well-traveled road. Trailers
take up far more space in parking lots and are harder to
maneuver in them.
Both Campers and Trailers have the
advantage over a Motor Home if work needs to be done on the
engine, and you are living, or traveling in it, or, if you
dont want to entrust workers inside of your living area. If
you want to keep your Camper or Trailer, you can get a new
vehicle to transport it, rather than having to buy an entire
new rig, as in the case of a Motor Home.
Motor Homes do not do to well off the
beaten pathbetter than a Trailer, but nowhere as good as a
Camperespecially a Camper on a 4 wheel drive truck.
Motor Homes are well suited for city
use. Campers also work well in urban areasTrailers do