The Airstream Life

written by:
photos by:
September 24, 2009

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.

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  The Airstream is tucked into the back garden of a Berkeley co-op.  Having a garden at my footsteps and chickens just over the fence make it feel peaceful and private.
    The Airstream is tucked into the back garden of a Berkeley co-op. Having a garden at my footsteps and chickens just over the fence make it feel peaceful and private.
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  The materials palette that I chose is light in color with a few splashes of color. This lightness holds the space open and gives it a contemporary feel.
    The materials palette that I chose is light in color with a few splashes of color. This lightness holds the space open and gives it a contemporary feel.
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  I was intent on keeping the original stove, incorporating it into the cabinetry.  I created a backsplash using inexpensive aluminum flashing that I texturized with a ball-peen hammer.
    I was intent on keeping the original stove, incorporating it into the cabinetry. I created a backsplash using inexpensive aluminum flashing that I texturized with a ball-peen hammer.
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  The interior is lit by several medium sized windows and an off-the-shelf track lighting system.  With the door open, diffuse light makes the space glow.
    The interior is lit by several medium sized windows and an off-the-shelf track lighting system. With the door open, diffuse light makes the space glow.
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  The bed measures 7 feet from head to toe.  Designing and building cabinetry for the space was challenging.  Every panel hides a full extension drawer that provides unparalleled access to storage.
    The bed measures 7 feet from head to toe. Designing and building cabinetry for the space was challenging. Every panel hides a full extension drawer that provides unparalleled access to storage.
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  Stripping paint to reveal the beautiful riveting and aluminum was one the hardest but most rewarding tasks.  To me, revealing the structure and construction honors the original craftsmanship that went into this trailer.
    Stripping paint to reveal the beautiful riveting and aluminum was one the hardest but most rewarding tasks. To me, revealing the structure and construction honors the original craftsmanship that went into this trailer.
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  I did restoration work on the exterior as well.  Polishing the aluminum skin was an exercise in patience!  I restored the lights, and retouched the original license plate. I wanted the space to be alluring from all angles, inside and out.
    I did restoration work on the exterior as well. Polishing the aluminum skin was an exercise in patience! I restored the lights, and retouched the original license plate. I wanted the space to be alluring from all angles, inside and out.
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  An enormous slide out drawer was necessary to create a storage area for clothes.
    An enormous slide out drawer was necessary to create a storage area for clothes.
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