All Things Airstream
From Big Sur to Texas, we love tracking how people live at home (or on the road) in the modern world with airstreams, creatively updating, renovating, and styling along the way. Enjoy this collection of stories!
In our September 2012 "Open House" issue, we covered the renovated airstream of Austin, Texas's Stubb's. With the help of designer Burton Baldridge, the renowned concert venue received a new green room in which their performers can kick back and relax before a set or wind down afterward. As a complement to the story, we've rounded up seven of our favorite Airstream flips and facelifts.
First came the idea. Then came the late nights of Craigslist searching. And then it happened quickly: a trip to a derelict horse ranch in the Salinas Valley, an exchange of cash in an old barn, and a harrowing towing adventure up Highway 101 netted me my current abode—a 1959 Airstream travel trailer.
Here at Dwell, we love all things Airstream, that modernist silver bullet racing toward the freedom of the open road. And though some of the best Airstream design takes the object as a mobile home, French designer Thierry Gaugain (a decades-long lieutenant of Philipe Starck) has recently reimagined it as a mobile shop, or as he puts it, "a toy chest on wheels." Gaugain was employed by the outdoor clothing brand Aether to design a kind of mobile command unit to help sell its gear. The concept is that this Airstream is the home of a wandering adventurer who travels the world and occasionally sells what he's picked up along the way. I met Gaugain here in San Francisco last week and he took me through the design.
"I found the Airstream in the high desert of Anza, California, and thought it was a pure TLC job. Wishful thinking!" says interior designer Caroline Brandes, who also rents renovated Airstreams on her property in Big Sur through Big Sur Getaway. "Even though the interior looked decent, once back home in Big Sur I had discovered water leaks, extensive floor rot under the linoleum tiles, and even frame damage." She hired Area 63 Productions, a professional Airstream renovation company, to help. For the interiors, she sought a clean and airy look. "Most of the trailers I had seen so far were restored close to the 'vintage' idea, and to my taste most of them feel too dark, too cluttered and too traditional," she says. "I wanted the trailer to feel airy, calm and open, nearly a bit Zen-like." Here's a glimpse into the renovation, start to finish.