My Houzz: New Life and Style for a 1976 Airstream

My Houzz: New Life and Style for a 1976 Airstream

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My Houzz: New Life and Style for a 1976 Airstream

Jordan Menzel went out for a bike ride around downtown Salt Lake City one afternoon and saw an Airstream trailer parked on the side of the road. “A few days later, I was combing Craigslist and saw it was for sale,” he says. “While I hadn’t been planning to take on a restoration project, let alone live in an Airstream, it only took a few hours for me to commence scheming.”

The Airstream was in good condition for a 1976 29-foot Ambassador trailer, but came with all the clutter, shag carpet, wallpaper and claustrophobic curtains common to vintage Airstreams. “I picked it up for a steal in a matter of hours,” he says. “The hard part was finding a place to both do the restoration and park my home long-term. I looked high and low and landed a dream spot with a good friend. He lives in the heart of downtown and happened to have a large ‘40-foot field,’ so to speak, behind his home. After a few texts, the Airstream had found its home.”

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azstrawn
Wow! Best redo I have ever seen. Love the process of turning an RV insides into a home instead of a typical trailer setup. Your design, furniture choices and colors are fab. One question....where do you hide all the stuff that babies come with?
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kitter
Lovely!
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krootje
In one word: PERFECT! Who needs more than this? Like the bright colours, it feels spacious and clean and is the perfect way to create light and room in a small space. I hate clutter too, it makes me nervous and uncomfortable and you just hit the spot with this design! I love the Airstream, espessialy the way it is just built out of aluminum and potnails. We just bought an old 1974 Grumman canoe, just the same style as an Airstream, to put on our old VW campervan from 1979...
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jwls14
I love it. As I get older I really appreciate smaller, clutter free spaces. It is has no real purpose it does not come into my house - fake plants - decorative bric a brac - it all has to go.
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Mad Meg
I was having a very lovely morning until I hit the Houzz app and up popped this. A subtle reminder that the 1965 Airstream Overlander I bought as a remodel project and is sitting in our machine shed gutted to the subfloor isn't going to finish herself! I think I'm going back to bed... Nice job and your redo!
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Sauve
I am sooooo envious. I love Air Streams! You have certainly done Air Stream proud. Congratulations.
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
What I like about this restoration is the natural elements he brought in to the interior. The wood floor, walls, and even the bedspread and sheepskin throw soften the look. I think he is also correct when he says that it makes it feel more like an apartment with the free-floating pieces.
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Kendrah
So well done. I think it is ironic that he was irritated with all the built in features of most airstreams. They were, after all, designed to go down the road without furniture falling over on people or moving about.
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Fatima Ali
cute baby!!
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Becky Harris
I love this so much - he did such a good job!
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sartarehare
This is such a trend right now! Well, I'm all for it.
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Gail
Beautiful inside and out!
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Decorated Bathroom LLC
Great Job. Good bones never go bad.
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tworabbitfarm
To answer the question: where do you hide all the stuff babies come with?
Babies only come with a lot of "stuff" because our consumerist culture thinks they should.
As a mom of 3, my babies only needed some cloth diapers, clothes, and an Ergo pack. All of which could easily fit in an Airsteam.
And I suppose if you're a dad and obviously not breastfeeding your baby, some bottles too.
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gbtoo
What an amazingly, beautiful place. So well thought out and executed - keeping the character of the Airstream while adding such unique design elements (love the color!!). Bravo! I think if you ever decide to change your career you might just have one in design. This has just reinforced my Airstream envy.
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wandeco
Love it! Trailers make a super efficient and cozy space - we have used one as our cottage for 10 seasons now.
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Robbee Gee
All your hard work and attention to detail reflects what an amazingly gifted person you are. I wish you all the best for the future. A job well done!
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cc
I want one... Amazing really, love the colour combo and the amount of work that went into this is unreal!
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michele1975
Love the simple life aspect. Not ready to join the lifestyle, but admire it nonetheless.

As far as the question about where all the baby stuff goes, I must echo tworabbitfarm, you really don't NEED that much. She has her dad. Dad has more time to devote her, as opposed to taking care of a big house, yard and stuff. BRAVO!!!
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lllsmith
Love it!!!
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Jordan Menzel
Thanks for all your great comments and thoughts about the process. Some raised a few questions with respect to kiddo storage and I wanted to share my approach. First, just like adults have lots of things that have to go when living in a small space, so do kiddies. The great part about little babes is that they have a much shorter attention span than many of us adults. What that means is that I have an under the bed storage box...pictured below... that I keep stocked with all of Bird's latest treasures and she pulls them out and gets to work. When she is done, we put them away. I then change them out little by little over time with new treasures as she grows. I keep all clutter, including my own, out of sight when not in use. It helps keep the small space clean and as a result, positive to be in. In general, I think kids have a much easier time being in small spaces than adults.
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Nicky Fey
Being an architect, I love the modern interior inside a retro caravan. Unfortunately you dont get Airstreams in South Africa.
Great job done!
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watergirl444
Simplicity, function, and beauty. I love it! Congratulations on your wonderful home!
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splitlevel
I love this, especially that you kept a little seventies feel by using avocado green and a touch of orange.
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face39
I too appreciate these tiny homes.

I do have a safety concern I've never seen addressed:

Since these homes are secured to land, what happens in an earthquake tornado even a major windstorm? It would seem they are much more vulnerable than a traditional mobile home, which are much heavier.

Anyone?
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face39
Ok. Words are important. I meant to say. "Not secured to land".
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Susie Watkins
Amazingly innovative! I love the attention to function while also esthetically beautiful. I completely respect your zest for quality of life over excess. Thanks for the reminder.
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K Sommer
What a great space!! Love the colors! Is the green cabinetry done with Formica or an equivalent material or is it painted? Looks stunning!!
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reyn7767
"Driveways, backyards, vacant lots and alleys are all welcome.” Even in Liberal SF he will find it hard to live in alley's and driveways! Good luck on finding a backyard or vacant lot! SF is one of the most expensive cities out there! It is so costly that it is hard to find kids there!
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Remedy Gardens
Great job on making it a home. Looks clean and updated! Airsrtreams are classic beauties. My husband also has an Airstream, beautifully renovated to its 1966 production year, and is selling it if anyone is interested. We are retiring soon and it is time to part with this beauty.
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Frontenac Modular Homes
Very nice, there is hope for my old Winabego . What do you do for electricity?
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wvcello
Such a creative restoration! Would you mind explaining a bit about your Airstream's insulation, heating and cooling? And, in your opinion, what should one expect to pay for a vintage Airstream. Most I've seen are around $6K.
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mwgrzelak
While the interior transformation is wonderful it makes me think about the desired simplification of my life as I grow older, perhaps not in an Airstream but most certainly in a downsized housing arrangement. Thanks Jordan for renewing the spirit of living simply
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seasiderunner
@face39: I'm no expert on the subject, but Airstreams -- as their name implies, and as was their reason for being -- were designed to slip through the air efficiently on their way to a camp ground or across country, so normal high winds shoudn't be much of a concern. In fact, I'd imagine they'd be more comfortable in those situations.

Tornados are massively destructive, and no above-ground structure is safe from them, so there seems to be little different to worry about there. A house, an office building, a mobile home or an Airstream are all likely to be destroyed by a tornado, so the risks are equal -- except that you could potentially move the Airstream to someplace out of harm's way, if you had enough warning.

As for earth quakes ... I would think that not being anchored to the ground would allow an Airstream to bounce around on the land moving beneath it. Remember: these also have suspension designed to absorb bumps and jolts along the roadways. So, while items inside would probably get tossed about -- as in any home -- during an earth quake, I suspect the Airstream would emerge with less damage, in part because it could simply ride the quake out and roll with the jostling. (Btw, wheel chocks would probably be enough to prevent it from moving far in all but the worst quake.)

Again, I'm no expert, but I'd be no more concerned to live in an airstream than a traditional home for just about any natural disaster, and I'd welcome it's portability.
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Wendy Fortney
Beautiful job, Jordan. As a longtime RV owner I can appreciate the need to pair down and keep a clutter-free space. I still have empty cabinet space and we travel most of the year in our rig. I'm curious about the lack of window coverings. It's fine for camping out in the backyard but if you HAD to spend the night in an RV Park, well it might disturb the neighbors (or keep them entertained) when the lights are on. Also, finding free-standing furniture that FITS through the door of an RV is nearly impossible. Your solution in the use of a jackknife style sofa/bed is one option. I've recently found a furniture company out of North Carolina that makes furniture that comes apart to get it through the door then assembles inside. I just ordered a 74" sofa. Our door is 27 1/2" wide! It's called Simplicity Sofa's and I'm not affiliated with them but for anyone looking to try and remodel an RV with free-standing furniture like the one here, it might be a resource. Again, great job. My husband talks about getting an Airstream. Will keep your designs in mind.
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tyka1
Love everything you did. Congratulations. You definitely have designer talent. We've been traveling in an RV for 16 Winters and love what you did with this vintage Airstream. Makes me want to take on a project like this. Wishing you and Bird lots of happiness. Ontario, Canada.
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blackcat21
I always like to see before pictures so I can REALLY appreciate all the great work and design!
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Ted Foureagles
Just outstanding Jordan! You've achieved a level of "clean" to which I can only aspire. My Airstream is a 27 foot 1971 Overlander with essentially the same layout as yours. I bought it in 1999 for $3,000, and have lived in it about half the time since. It had become fairly grim inside from periodically being closed up for years at a time in the steamy South, and frankly, from my less than pristine living habits. I finally started renovating it this summer.

I first re-did all of the water lines in Pex (RV plumbing sure is tedious), then replaced the complex, rickety and uncomfortable bed (on the opposite side from yours) with a simpler 39" wide platform and a leaf that folds out to 54". Then I ripped out all of the musty old carpets & drapes and everything in the living room and down the road side, which was very satisfying. The sink/range cabinet remains for now, as does all of the bathroom, pending acquisition of more filthy lucre. Cleaning the horribly grungy surfaces with a range of harsh chemicals is proving a daunting task. Followed up with a coat of Stix primer -- final paint shades yet to be determined, but I want to mix it up. I think that small spaces benefit from using a variety of colors & textures, and you've achieved a very nice balance there.

I put a big, beautiful curved oak desk all the way across the front, and that will be my dining table and CAD workstation (I draw houses for a living). I'm in the middle of redoing all of the cabinets down the road side in one continuous bank -- refrigerator cabinet, pantry, dresser & closet -- in roughly their original layout. II bit the bullet there and bought new cabinet grade birch plywood for the four partition walls, which will be stained. The face frames are reclaimed yellow pine. The refrigerator cabinet & pantry will get pine doors, while the dresser and closet will have fabric curtains, with the same material serving as the bathroom door, replacing the annoying original pocket door. A glass bead curtain in the style of bamboo is the bedroom door. I'll likely try to re-use the drapes across the front, over the new desk, because I haven't thought of anything better. Everywhere else I took out all of the drapes and their ridiculous tracks & headers. I'll put something back for temperature & light control, but am not sure just what yet. Again, mixing up colors & textures in different spaces.

A floor to ceiling bookcase will cover the living room side of the refrigerator wall, and the only seating will be my office chair, a small recliner and a couple of stowable folding chairs for "large" gatherings. Floor finish is as yet undecided, but I'm leaning toward vinyl plank. I don't like faux finishes, but he original plywood sheathing is a little too scruffy even for my hillbilly taste, and my flagging level of fastidiousness likely wouldn't fit well with real finished wood, nor would my budget.

Well sheesh, this has turned into an overly long dissertation on my Airstream project when what I intended was to compliment you on yours. In my opinion, you hit an out of the park home run!

}}}}
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Deanna Johnson
I love everything you did! It's very open & bright and I love the pop of color. What more can I add than what has already been said? It's fantastic!
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Felt The Fluff
I am green with envy here! So I would look good next to the colorful kitchen accents, just saying! Well done.
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Custom Barber Chairs and Restoration Atlanta, LLC
Very beautiful restoration. Nice natural feel! Good work!
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Sandy Burner
Timeless Travel Trailers has shipped renovated Airstreams all over the world. South Africa is certainly reachable.
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alainmahieu
This little Penelope has a great father ! And not only for this beautiful restauration, but also for his great idea with its https://Crowdhall.com website !!! Alain, from Belgium, living in Switzerland
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Vera Kolpakova
I couldn't live with low ceilings but love what he's done. His daughter will soon be very popular because she lives in such a cool place...
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tkc649
Awesome is all that can be said. You have chosen wonderful colors, functionality etc. The Airstream reminds me of how a boat would be built. We have a 55 foot unfinished sail boat that I would love to sink into the ground, since I am afraid of water and this was my husbands retirement dream so we cannot get rid of it! But I would love to make it our home.....just not on the water :). Imagine the fun it would be. And your Airstream is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing! In my mind I would love to scale down on the things in my life, just need to scale down on the size of house to accomplish that, what an inspiration you are!
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sklong
Beautiful job! Makes me want to start searching for an Airstream to redo. Currently refitting. 43' sailboat that we will live on for the next few years. Who knows what comes next!
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tcatoyou
Adding 'Eclectic' to SLC... Nice.
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leelee
Create even more room by getting an e-reader. With space at such a premium (sure, the books look cool) seems like that area could be better utilized for necessities.
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luvleestuff
Congratulations! You have a beautiful home.
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adrianagores
great job and super cool exterior too. if it was me though, with such limited storage I would probably ditch the books (except for kids books).
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elletee35
I made this queen size headboard for our guest bedroom.
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Karen
My favorite.houzz article.. "All
I wanted was a simple, happy life.. " Congrats on fulfilling your dreams and having the courage to journey through life in this manner. As a fellow free-spirit, I admire your choices and find them inspiring.
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Bette L
I love this and wanted one for my backyard as a studio.
I know of an artist that has an industrial building in downtown LA. She air lifted hers to the roof of the building as a living space and uses those bathrooms in the building.
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Cleveland Designs
Wow fantastic job Jordan, SF might be a little tough as others have said, Make your way to Palm Springs and enter the Vintage Air Stream Expo for Modernism Week, I have volunteered for this Show several times, and seen many Air Streams, completely gutted and redone like yours, or re-stored or a mix of both. Its in Mid-February in Downtown Palm Springs.......Perfect weather and plenty of places to Park, but I would reserve a place or make contact Now. Happy Trails.............
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customfloatingshelves.com
Nice work! love the airstream. Wife and I have thought about how cool would be for a non-roadworthy airstream to convert into a backyard guest cottage. So many ideas, so little time...

Thank you for sharing & congrats on finishing the job!
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psalms2520
Have a 1976 Argosy Airstream . . . no longer using for sale. Very good shape. Located in NW TN. If interested contact: psalms2520@icloud.com.
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Jordan Menzel
Lots of great questions... First I think it's fair to say no trailer / tiny is ever safe from earth quakes wind etc and I think some of the comments above addressed the challenges well. As for electricity, I was lucky enough to salvage the inner wiring which is a combo of 12v and 120v. What that means is I can plug it in to an outlet and it works just like a home, however when plugged in, it charges a deep cycle battery that powers all the 12v things like lights etc for off grid use. My stove and furnace and water heater are all LP gas and I have a dual LP/electric fridge as well, all common RV components. I did have to re wire a new fuse box and converter.

I am well aware that SF is an unlikely city and as a result am aggressively looking in the broader Bay Area which includes Berkeley, Marin county, and Palo Alto etc.. Everyone said I wouldn't find a spot in SLC and with a little work and some classic door to door Q&A with neighbors I found a great place. It will take some leg work and a lucky break but I am an optimistic person and scheming is what I do best, I'll find something I am sure of it. Any leads? PLEASE reach out!

As far as books, I agree that it's an inefficient use of space but the funny thing is, I also have several empty cabinets right now. Meaning I built more storage space than I am actually using. I love my books and when I had all the extra space I decided to keep them around.

Love the story about the other remodel, very similar process!
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John Dugan
Love airstreams and great use of a tight space. Not sure about the moss toilet though!
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Spruce Organizing
As a Professional Organizer and someone who appreciates clean lines and lack of superfluous stuff, I love what you have done. Enjoy your home, daughter and the freedom from the excessive stuff that often prevents people from doing the things that they really love.
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judithesl
Jordan, Regarding the Bay Area, check out the coastal towns just south of San Francisco, from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay. There's an RV park in Pacifica right off the ocean and another in Half Moon Bay on Highway 1. There also seems to be a lot of street parking of RVs in this area. Also, the northern counties like Sonoma are tiny home-friendly. Love what you've done with the Airstream.
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gozvrrm
Looks like a comfortable place to live. If you are planning on towing it around, do you know how much weight you have added to it with cabinetry, wood paneling, books, etc? Trailer chassis and tires (especially) are engineered for certain maximum gross vehicle weights and I'd be concerned about whether that might be a problem. I have had personal experience with blowing out tires on an overloaded travel trailer and it is not fun in any way. We were moving across the country and loaded some of our last minute boxes (and fragile or valuable stuff we did not want to put in the moving van) into the travel trailer. We blew 3 of the four tires on our 2000 mile trip. Not all at once - that would have been a disaster - but 3 different instances. The tires blew catastrophically - exploding into shreds. One time it took out the brakes on that side of the trailer. We did not realize what was causing it until later. Sitting on the side of an interstate with narrow shoulders and semis flying by trying to change the tires on a 27' trailer is scary.
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halleycomet
@TKC649---

I have known people to "Live Aboard"--but OUT of the water. What you need to do is build--or have a ship yard build for you--a cradle to hold the boat on so it is supported evenly; then you will of course need steps to get in/out. Of course if you were ambitious you could build a water filled BASIN to hold her! In the yard!

As most boats have "Shore" hook ups for water and electric that part should not be too hard---if yours doesn't these are easy to find at boat yards and West Marine places--there are a number of good mail order places also.

I grew up on boats and for a long time after my grandfather died we had his 42' Chris Craft in the side yard of our house---it became quite the local landmark!---and we often sat out there. We did not live aboard tho!

Now we live where you only get so many days where you could use a boat--altho there are LOTS of water features including Lake George and Lake Champlain within a few minutes drive---or ride a motorcycle. We opted for the bike. I DO say tho that IF I find a small free boat I am gonna drag her home and set her up IN THE YARD for the kids and I to hang out in! Wouldn't that make the BEST playhouse? I am watching with great interest the restoration of a classic small cabin cruiser at an old car place---I don't envy them stripping alll that paint off the wood and caulking the seams and finishing all the bright work and then RE-PAINTING and windows and retro fitting the interior--I have BEEN THERE DONE THAT. However I AM having a fine time watching THEM do it!!!!

Anyone have any ideas on how to retro fit an Airstream to have a TOY HAULER space in her????? Actively shopping for an older RV to either drive n tow our bike or a toy hauler--if we find an older one I will not be at all averse to ripping and re-doing as we don't have the $$$ to buy a new fancy one--and not sure I WANT one either! Just too much money for something to play in for now! But MUST have bike along!

I am envious that this has a MUCH nicer--and BIGGER--kitchen than my house with the ZIP code!!!!
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wiebejonathan
Great looking interior, and you've clearly put a ton of work into your home. Having worked at an RV dealership and service center for several years, I suggest prioritizing the resealing of the exterior seams and windows. Trailers are designed to flex with the bumps of normal travel, but once the sealant dries out or deteriorates, the trailer is vulnerable to seepage, water damage, and eventually mold. Make the extra effort and time to protect your home and family. Again, nice work and good luck.
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donallspec2003
awesome, well done...!! i have a 1974 untouched, i have plans for a reno.... but too many other projects at present.!! Cheers
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rezchick1
Great little home. I wonder how that composting toilet is working out? Also have to chuckle at the milk crates used as coffee tables, too cute and kid proof.
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rezchick1
And also wondering if there is a shower or bathtub?
   
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Jordan Menzel
Toilet works great. I have to empty the liquid tank once every few weeks and the solid moss tank once every couple of months. Its a clean and modern(ish) design from http://natureshead.net/ . There is a shower and bathtub and plenty of hot water to go around.
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goodewyfe
I love this, especially as there is room for books (a requirement for me). I agree that babies and young children don't need that much stuff. How many times do we read about someone buying some "fabulous" (aka: pricey) toy for a toddler only to find the child ignoring the toy and playing with the box? I think it is good for a child to see that you don't need that much to live well. Good luck in Northern California - it seems like a good area to find some like minded people.
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katherineevers
I love it!!! My grandparents had an airstream that they "wintered" in. In the summer it was parked outside their cabin and was the playhouse for the grandkids. My brother, cousins, and I have great memories of the airstream.
You did a great job. If you and Penelope come through Atlanta you're welcome to park in my driveway, right next to the old VW bus.
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sistamoonsprout
Great Job Jordan, good for you! You're living the dream. I would have liked to have seen the "before" photos along with the fantastic "after"s! Good luck finding a spot in SF!
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Natalie LOFTUS
Your living my dream / v jealous :( get in touch when you arrive in SF I'd love to see :D I'll be in SLC for the first time 08/06/14 - 08/08/14...crazeee!
   
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mlzmadsen
What is the best paint color for ceilings?
   
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Ted Foureagles
@mlzmadsen
"What is the best paint color for ceilings?"

That's sort of like asking, "What's the best tasting food?" Generally, in something like an Airstream trailer with a ceiling just 6'-7" high at the apogee, a light color will help curb claustrophobia. Mine is going to be some shade of white, with the color temperature tending toward blue. It's tempting to paint it sky blue in an attempt to make the ceiling seem to disappear, but I'm sure that the illusion wouldn't work in such close quarters.

}}}}
   
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Tammy Hinkle
Love your renovation. I agree with previous posts on keeping weight to a minimum. We have an adorable vintage camper that has murals painted all around the outside. It is a real head turner and we get all kinds of thumbs up and waves of admiration while traveling down the roads and in campgrounds. But we bought it after a friend did the inside reno. She paneled it with a lot of rough cedar siding with a cowboy theme. It is cute as can be but so heavy we get terrible gas mileage. I am afraid we will eventually just end up parking her and using her as a guest house (she already has been put into service this way several times) and finding another older camper to restore. This time doing everything possible to keep the weight down to a minimum. Just a week or so ago, Houzz featured another restored camper where she used cork penny tiles for her backsplashes. Vinyl flooring that looks like wood planks is a great choice as well. Just remember during your restoration how all that weight adds up. If you ever plan to pull it anywhere, you don't want a wall full of books or a bunch of heavy dishes and pots and pans. The few favorite books that Jordan kept wouldn't be a problem, but again... weight.

And remember that items shift in transit. We used to have a beautiful 39' RV with 3 slide outs but it was totaled in an Oklahoma hail storm about a year ago. One trip we must have hit a bump or something and our liquor cabinet door bumped open. A full bottle of Skye Vodka fell out onto our couch. Wouldn't have been a problem except a very heavy bottle of tequila tumbled out on top of it and broke the vodka bottle into a million shards as well as soaking the couch in vodka. It was not fun trying to ensure that all the minute fragments of glass were vacuumed out of the carpet and the couch cushions. And I was pretty high on vodka fumes as well! No going barefoot for a while in there.

Regarding living or camping in your boat, we have actually tossed around an idea of buying a smaller size vintage house boat (less than 30') and restoring it all nice and bright and fun. Then we can pull it wherever we want to camp, put it in the water, and we won't have to pay campsite fees! So we'd have our camper and boat all in one! And in response to the idea of just placing a boat in your yard for a fun decoration and play house, a friend of ours recently showed us a pic of his brother's back yard. They have a pool and have parked a boat beside it. They call it "the boat that don't float"! I found a pic but it's kinda blurry. I also attached a couple of our little camper.
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Lisa A
who needs a house up on a hill
when you can have one on four wheels
and take it anywhere the wind might blow.
you don't ever have to mow the yard,
just hang a map and throw a dart
and pray to god the engine starts and go....
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Jacob Roig
Love this concept and lay out, perfect as I pare down life to what is most important and allows me a choice to be able to stay in the bay area at an affordable rate!
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Amir Mirabi
Sooo freakin' awesome ... Sooo freakin' Austin(esque) ... serious kudos !!
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Jennifer Cook
Im curious how much it cost to buy and renovate. Does it get hot in the summer due the other metal outside. Is it warm enough in the winter?
   
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Ted Foureagles
Jennifer: Until Jordan answers, I'll ring in on my similar Airstream project. I paid $3,000 for mine in 1999 when it was in nice shape, and that was a good deal at the time. The last similar one that I saw a few years ago was offered for $8,800. Renovation cost can of course vary wildly. I'd guess that if I were a contractor asked to take a typical Airstream to the level that Jordan has achieved, I might bid it at about $12,000, though I could well lose my ass on it. Airstreams are tricky -- aluminum walls and hardly any straight lines.

Airstreams from the '70s are not well insulated. There's about an inch of fiberglass batt everywhere, and considerable thermal bridging at the structural bows. The reflective exterior actually helps keep solar heat out, but it doesn't help enough. Mine is in the Blue Ridge foothills of South Carolina where the climate is quite moderate. I seldom close it up and run the A/C, but often have to bail out on warmer days. Last winter when it got down to 4 degrees, the water bottle on my bedside table froze. The fresh water lines in an Airstream run adjacent to the forced-air heat duct, which is above the floor, and so keeping the furnace in good working order is crucial to keeping the water thawed. It can be a problem with the old propane furnace because few people are willing to accept the liability of working on the old things.

And it's much so with many of the fixtures & appliances in any RV. They're just complex, often with 12 volt, 110 volt and propane operating modes, or complex schemes for the plumbing, etc. And they're necessarily compact and rugged for travel. You might be shocked at the price of a 3-way RV refrigerator -- I sure was.

I might have a total of $6,000 in my '71 Airstream so far, but am far from done with it -- maybe another 4 grand to go. That's not terrible for a house that I've lived in off & on for the past 15 years. The people for whom I design houses pay that much in tax on them each year.

}}}}
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Jennifer Cook
Thanks for all of the information Ted. !!
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Sheila Russell Thurber
I love the Airstream do-over and would like to have one as a permanent structure.
   
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San Jose Hardwood Floors
What is the flooring that was used?
   
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Panageries
Growing up in the 70's, some of my favorite memories were of that of vacationing at Myrtle Beach, SC in my aunt's Airstream trailer. My sister and I thought it was fantastic! I love what Jordan has done with his trailer. Great read! – Cynthia, President and Guide
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Artemano
very cool- thanks for the great post!
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valleymom7
Panageries - I could have written your comment, except my family camped in a pop-up camper. Did you by any chance camp at Lake Arrowhead Campground? #smallworld
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Panageries
Valleymom7, indeed it is a small world! I know it well, but we never camped there.
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Lynnie
Really makes me want to buy one and go camping. :)
   
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miscmargaret
Fabulous
   
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Ketty Ramirez
This place have all I need,,and I love the simplicity ,,,Good Job,,,,
   
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Delora Dickey

Fantastic job, but geesh..."annoyed that they all still had the look and feel of RVs", yet kept the overhead storage compartments to maintain "the original feel of the Airstream". That IS erratic. Laughing as I ponder his future conflicts with a little girl in tow (pardon the pun). He "hates clutter..loves clean, well-organized spaces" and "if it doesn’t serve a purpose, it isn’t necessary...loathes decor and purposeless items". Good luck with that...little girls LOVE doing just the opposite!

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squigles71
Looks completely amazing - would have been cool to see some 'before' shots too to see the changes!!
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romance33
Oh wow!! Beautifully done! Can I come and stay!!!!
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Ensign Accessories
Absolutely brilliant use of all the space. I have not seen a mobile home with so much kitchen surface in my life. Well done.
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hillary59
A spacious ,well planned interior without the overfitted look Liked the recycled crates idea. Very trendy, introduces a bit of originality .Well done ,, you look very happy there especially with the freedom to roam, enjoy the summer with your very adorable little toddler Penelope.. !
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Sam Hill
Great redesign. If I had to have a caravan, it'd be this one.
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zwetsloot67
Love this! I have done a similar refurb on an elderly 28x10' static caravan that was destined for the tip. I ripped out the fitted seating and dining area, removed the tiny second bedroom, enlarged the tiny bathroom and fitted a new IKEA kitchen. Walls and floors were insulated, walls relined, electric underfloor heating laid under wood boards and the whole place painted in fresh bright colours. The result is something that looks nothing like a caravan on the inside, and despite it's small size it feels spacious, light and modern. And because the space is so small it was not expensive to achieve.
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Rrrr Ffff
Absolutely amazing, I'm sure it was really hard work but soooo rewarding!!
   
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Jim Cocke
Jordan,
Fabulous job. We agree with reducing clutter to free our minds and spirit. When we moved into an Airstream trailer we left the clutter behind. Years later, still living in the Airstream on the road and LOVE it. No space wasted, a place for everything, cozy, comfortable, and looks nice. Wonderful experience for you and your daughter.
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Jean C

I have a question for Jordan Menzel about remodeling the 1976 Airstream that he lives inside. Did u strip the walls down to the interior studs and replace the electrical wiring and place a fuse box like a house? What type of studs were in the wall? 2x2. 2x4 1.5x2 on what center 18", 24" you said you ran new gas line for? And do u mean propane gas ? Instantaneous water heater? Stove?, is refrig propane gas or electric? Do you have heat n what type? Also what are the inner walls made of? They look so smooth like thin sheets of laminate with no seams, so does the ceiling. Was this the old airstream wood repainted? What about your grey water from sinks n bathing do u have a holding tank to empty some where? My son has an older model travel trailer he is thinking of remodeling and trying to figure it all out. Your is beautiful and I like the long counter idea that u did that is so multi- functional. Sorry for so many specific questions. Where we live in WV, you need heat and air conditioning sometimes both in one day. Thank you so much, Meanjeanaco@aol.com

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Mary Hernandez
God bless you both. Thank you for sharing your story. You did an awesome job.
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Laura Steffens-jenkins
cool
   
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perikenny

I would like to also see the answers to all those good questions. Loved the stove oven and your daughters name.

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terri lamendola

My dream....awesome!!

   
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Sofia Volosatova
I love it it's just perfect .
   
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Vee Zee
Would love an update to this story!!!
   
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Dee Crock
My husband’s dream is to have an airstream - mainly bc I like to Reno every house and he wants a getaway during - not joking...I had to show him this beauty, and have now rekindled the google monster search for old Airstreams. Thanks for publishing this story again! Gorgeous!
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Michelle
If I didn’t have so many pets I would be living like this. Great job!
   
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Sun Bay Builders Inc.

The VW van alternative. Love it. Must have been such a fun project!

   
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barbc53

Vee zee I did some research. He sold it Christmastime of 2017.

   
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duneya

you did a really beautiful job

   
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Designe Gallerie

Nice job! I really like it.

   
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R K

WOW! Inspiring! Since summer 2018 I own an old Chevy Van, in which I plan to build a realy '70's old skool interior. The makeover of this Airstream is really inspring for the things I myself have in my head for my Van. Great job! Enjoy!

   
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Stephanie Rountree

Love your story and love how you've embraced simplicity. You've grasped the true importance of life so early. Well done, Jordan.

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Janine Anderson
WOW!!! This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Its kind of like living off the grid but in style. You have made excellent design choices. Again absolutely beautiful!!
   
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xinxin_z
Learnt how minimize things!Great!
   
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mitsybaby2

Very nicely done, warm inviting space with good balance of color and style. I especially love the little girl....what a sweetie!

   
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Tayfun Besli
I really like this. I won’t remember the lemon colour detail which on the cabinet.
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