House boxes: the equine homes trend coming to a street near you

Converted horse boxes are becoming increasingly popular among the eco-conscious. George Blacksell chats to horse box home owner, Dean Crago

Ever wondered what your life would be like without being tied down by the constraints of traditional bricks and mortar? Well last year Dean Crago did just that and has never looked back. Both he and his partner had dreamt of one day living the ‘good life’ but the money they were spending on rent meant it was unlikely that this dream would ever be realised. By living in a motorhome and saving they hoped to circumvent this problem, but they wanted to do it differently.

Dean’s ‘House-Box’ idea blows two of the biggest preconceptions of motorhome living out of the water, the first being that living in a motorhome means a conventional fibreglass vehicle. Instead, having spurned the uneconomical and ecologically damaging fibreglass model, Dean came up with the idea of converting an old 1979 horse box into his very own dwelling on wheels.  The second is that you have to compromise on the luxuries afforded in modern day 21st century society by living in a vehicle. But by incorporating two 80 watt PV solar power cells on the roof of the horse box, Dean hasn’t had to scrimp on the home comforts.

Restoring and converting a vehicle to live in is not, in itself, a new concept but the combination of sustainable cutting edge technologies such as the comprehensive rainwater harvesting system, PV solar panels, LED lighting and the compost collection toilet is. Remarkably, this technology means that they are able to live ‘off-grid’ and with the ever increasing utilities bills most people are faced with, this is an increasingly appealing prospect. According to Dean, living off grid also ‘makes you a lot more conscious of how much energy you are actually using.’

Dean has been converting vehicles for himself and friends for the past decade but it wasn’t until recently that he decided to turn it into a business. He took his own ‘House-Box’ to the Sunrise Off Grid festival, which he described as being ‘more like a conference than a festival’, where it had a positive reception from people from all walks of life. He's doing his best to spread the word that the ‘House-Box’ represents a refreshingly different and ecologically sound approach to motorhome living - all while living the good life, even if it is one that's slightly different from the rest.

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