Updating a Classic Airstream Trailer

Kirsten from faircompanies.com latest video is about an updated airstream trailer.

Sometime between childhood and adulthood, Andreas Stravropoulos had a Peter Pan adventure. He spent 4 years living in anAirstream trailer.

He didn’t have a mortgage, he didn’t pay rent and he was able to pay off student loans. But it wasn’t just about gaining economic freedom.

Reconnecting Land and Architect

Stravropoulos is a landscape architect who worried about the disconnect in his profession between the architects and the land. So he moved back to the land. He parked his iconic mobile home in a backyard he was designing. From there he could watch shadows move across the land and observe how the yard’s inhabitants actually used the space.

When his adventure began Stravropoulos had been recently laid off and was launching his own landscape design business (XS Land Architects). Determined to find a mobile, modular and affordable home, he spent nights searching Craigslist until he located a 1959 Airstream travel trailer.

Functional not planned obsolescence

The Airstream is an American classic. It’s distinctive round aluminum body was first designed in the 1930s by Hawley Bowlus, the chief designer of Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft the Spirit of St. Louis.

The Airstream was designed to last. Even the company website mentions it: “Every inch of an Airstream has a functional purpose.There is no planned obsolescence.”

Updating a classic

Once Stravropoulos had purchased his piece of history, he installed it in a friend’s sculpture studio and began its transformation. Out went the wall-to-wall linoleum and flesh tone paint. In went cork flooring, track lighting and a light paint to open up the space.

Stravropoulos did all the work himself and the trailer reflects his love of workmanship. He exposed the riveted aluminum end caps. He created custom cabinets from a birch plywood.

In this video, Stravropoulos shows us his iconic mobile home- parked (for now) behind his current home in Berkeley, California- and talks about the joy of living with just a capsule of things.

 

12 Comments Updating a Classic Airstream Trailer

  1. Carlos in ATx

    I’ve lived a used 1958 Airstream 22′ for about 6 years now but I also have a large rental storage unit. It’s fine for a single person. Airstream, Silver Streak and Avion are the brands you want to look for. They’re designed like aircraft and meant for travel. They also tend to use better quality materials than other brands of trailers. If you plan on remodeling/updating one, best to get one that’s already gutted.

    Reply
  2. Dovie

    I’m assuming that he used it as basically an outdoor bedroom considering the distinct lack of a sink and bathroom facilities. Other than the lack of long term practicality, it’s quite beautifully done.

    Reply
    1. alice

      Don’t forget that bathroom and kitchen don’t necessarily need to be built in. It’s likely it was used mainly as a bedroom/living room but a person can use basins and water jugs and a portable toilet can be exterior or interior use. Showers can also be set up inside or outside, permanently or temporarily, depending on your location and circumstances. He did have a fridge and stove and mentions having meals there. Function can come in many forms besides what we’re used to in ‘big’ houses.

      Reply
  3. Ashley

    Mr. Griswold — While you got the era of the ’30s correct, the Airstream trailer was designed by Wally Byum. Mr. Byum was inspired by and mentored by others, but the Airstream was Mr. Byum’s creation.

    Reply
  4. Caliban

    Growing up, my parents always had Airstream trailers we took camping and to the beach. (It still KILLS me that my mother sold the last one, a 22′ beautifully maintained Airstream with original woodwork for $2000!)

    I’d love to have one again, with the idea of using as a part-time residence or studio, and have looked at airstream resale sites casually. I really like what he did with the “end-caps,” taking them down to the metal, but the lack of insulation had to have affected the livability in winter and summer. I know for a fact that in summer the outer shell gets VERY hot, particularly on top.

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  6. Bill

    When I started building my tiny house, you could not find inexpensive trailers around here. Now there is a glut of them. If someone wanted to have a tiny home on wheels and not build it from scratch, that would be a great way to start. Like Andreas, you could customize it to fit your needs.

    Reply

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