Have you ever thought to yourself, “I should put a house on that car”? Well, Lance from Raw Edge Design did. We stumbled on his 1997 Volvo Tiny House concept car, and gave him a call. He agreed to give us a tour which is how we ended up at an inlet on the side of the road overlooking Scripps Pier and the mighty Pacific. The vehicle was eye-catching to say the least. While we there, cars slowed down and pedestrians stopped to take a look or ask questions. The word “Inspiring” came from more than one.

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The Volvo Tiny House keeps the original vehicular body and the house part is built on extending the roof and off the rear of the vehicle. Lance’s use of stained glass, unique drop-downs for an outdoor kitchenette and the white fur bedding are just a few unique details that showcase the artistry of the build. There a plans for a hanging succulent garden on the back door. The build itself is simple, clean and functional without feeling barebones. It’s a balancing act that Lance has tip-toed well.

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The view from the loft.

The following is our Five Minute Interview with Lance:

SoCal Sessions: We are with Lance from Raw Edge Design. What are we looking at? What are the specs on this thing?

Lance: It’s a ’97 Volvo 850 Wagon. Has decent power, decent fuel economy. A super nice, stable car, safe, roomy.

SoCal Sessions: But there is something different about it…

Lance: There is something different about this one. It has a Tiny House built onto it which is about 30″ above the roof line. It makes about a 7′ loft. It’s all aluminum and cedar. It’s riveted to the car so it’s part of it now. It has lots of light and windows, stained glass and older touches.

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We tried out the loft.

SoCal Sessions: It’s definitely eye-catching. What inspired you to do it in the first place?

Lance: Well, I have a sprinter van, but it’s so big. I thought, “I want to make something small. Something that could fit thru a Starbuck’s drive-thru. That can fit in a garage. Can do a u-turn on a city street, and could still get from 0-70 in a reasonable amount of time.

tiny-house-volvo-raw-edge-design-exterior-kitchenetteSoCal Sessions: How long have you had this one? You built it from scratch right?

Lance: I built it from scratch, yeah. I’ve had it about three months.

SoCal Sessions: I didn’t look at first to see if the roof was cut out, but it’s not.

Lance: No it’s not. I didn’t want to compromise the integrity of the vehicle. So I just removed the hatch, it’s actually the front window [of the Tiny House loft] now, the rear hatch.

SoCal Sessions: When you decided to do the build initially did you have concerns about it being street legal? Is there an issue licensing it?

Lance: No, there is no issues licensing it. Actually, now that it has a sink it can be licensed as an RV, and your insurance goes way, way down. And your registration goes way, way down. You can sit in the back or the top without seat-belts. And you can drink in the back, anywhere behind the driver seat. You [the driver] can’t but anyone else can.

tiny-house-volvo-raw-edge-design-interiorSoCal Sessions: So you had this idea to build it out, did you draw up a design, come up with a concept or did you just say, “I have this vision and I’m going to make it a reality?”

Lance: I had this vision. I researched some of the blueprints on how the Volvo’s were built, and I researched some of the size requirements inside and the roof being 7′ long would be good for a sleeping loft so that’s why I went with this one.

SoCal Sessions: You also run Raw Edge Design which is furniture building primarily?

Lance: It’s mostly live-edge, custom pieces. I upcycle trees so all the lumber I use for those projects are dead due to natural causes be it drought, beetles, fire, flood, so my tagline there, is “Bringing Wood Back to Life.”

tiny-house-volvo-raw-edge-design-interior-kitchenetteSoCal Sessions: That’s a good tagline! So you got this thing built out have you taken it anywhere?

Lance: I have! I took it up to Santa Cruz. It was well received up there. It’s kind of a neat concept because millenials like it. Older folks like it. It’s a Woody. It feels like a sailboat inside, because of the spaces, the tongue and groove cedar and the way the wood is bent. It’s been really well received, and, of course, us guys love it because it’s like our tree-fort we want to invite all our buddies over to hang out in.

SoCal Sessions: When I knew I was meeting you I asked everyone [my family] if they wanted to come along and then said, “No.” So I sent them a picture and said, “Are you sure? And now we’re all here.” 

Lance: Oh yeah! They wanted to see it. Nice! And most of the time the cameras come out. You know, it makes people smile. For me as an artist, that is so key, that I get to put my art on the road, and let others enjoy it. I originally built it to rent so people could have the Tiny House experience for the weekend, and my tagline for that was “All the fun without the commitment.” You just return on Sunday, and say thank you. You don’t have to park it or store it. You just enjoy it.

SoCal Sessions: And now it’s for sale?

Lance: Now it’s for sale.

SoCal Sessions: $14,000 and someone can take it away.

Lance: Yep, $14,000 or even a reasonable offer. I’m a reasonable guy. (Laughs).


Interested in buying the Volvo Tiny House contact Lance at zenmastersixx@gmail.com or check out the ad on Craigslist.

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