Before & After: Augustine the Airstream Gets a Chic DIY Makeover

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Nate and Taylor Lavender give new life to their 34-foot, 1992 Airstream Excella 1000—creating a bright, inviting tiny home.

When traveling couple Nate and Taylor Lavender were dating and living in Florida, they purchased a 34-foot, 1992 Airstream Excella 1000, which they renovated and affectionately named Augustine the Airstream (after the city of St. Augustine, Florida, where they found her on Craigslist). They have since moved Augustine, themselves, and their Goldendoodle named Summit, back to West Virginia—where both their families live—and are now happily married and fulfilling their tiny home dreams.

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Augustine the Airstream's original interiors included a bedroom with two classic twin beds and a dresser between them, a living lounge, kitchen, dining booth, and bathroom. The nearly 30-year-old exterior had an uneven, weathered appearance, so the Lavenders used two rounds of paint stripper before being able to buff and polish it.

Augustine the Airstream's original interiors included a bedroom with two classic twin beds and a dresser between them, a living lounge, kitchen, dining booth, and bathroom. The nearly 30-year-old exterior had an uneven, weathered appearance, so the Lavenders used two rounds of paint stripper before being able to buff and polish it.

Before: Kitchen and Dining 

Before: the kitchen is prepped for the renovation

Before: the kitchen is prepped for the renovation

After: Kitchen and Dining 

For the dining area, the Lavenders replaced the existing booth, table, and seats, and added double windows and layers of textured throw pillows to make this a warm and comfortable space.

For the dining area, the Lavenders replaced the existing booth, table, and seats, and added double windows and layers of textured throw pillows to make this a warm and comfortable space.

"Since we both work from home, this is the spot that sees the most action, so it was important to us that this area was especially inviting," says Taylor.

"Since we both work from home, this is the spot that sees the most action, so it was important to us that this area was especially inviting," says Taylor.

In the dining area hangs an industrial case pendant light shade from Lowes, and macramé wall art from a friend.

In the dining area hangs an industrial case pendant light shade from Lowes, and macramé wall art from a friend.


Before: Living Lounge

Before: the old sofa before the redesign

Before: the old sofa before the redesign

After: Living Lounge

A midcentury modern sofa from Wayfair and an infrared quartz electric fireplace purchased through Amazon completes the cozy living lounge.

A midcentury modern sofa from Wayfair and an infrared quartz electric fireplace purchased through Amazon completes the cozy living lounge.

A macrame throw pillow from Etsy, geometric table lamp from Target, and vintage radio add texture and character.

A macrame throw pillow from Etsy, geometric table lamp from Target, and vintage radio add texture and character.

Dark wood contrasts with white walls, and adds a natural touch.

Dark wood contrasts with white walls, and adds a natural touch.

A Minwax Wood Finish in Jacobean—which matches the Antique Woodland Oak vinyl plank flooring from Lowes—was used as the wood stain for the bed frame, booth, and forward shelving.

A Minwax Wood Finish in Jacobean—which matches the Antique Woodland Oak vinyl plank flooring from Lowes—was used as the wood stain for the bed frame, booth, and forward shelving.

Before: Kitchen

Before: the kitchen and dining areas are located between the living lounge and back bedroom

Before: the kitchen and dining areas are located between the living lounge and back bedroom


After: Kitchen

For the kitchen they incorporated a cool, pressed tin backsplash from Lowes, which brings the metallic of Augustine’s exteriors indoors. 

For the kitchen they incorporated a cool, pressed tin backsplash from Lowes, which brings the metallic of Augustine’s exteriors indoors. 

The Lavenders liked the original Airstream cabinets in the kitchen and bedroom, so rather than replace them, they sanded and painted them, and added new hinges and handles. The metal backsplash also helps to break up white walls and define the kitchen zone. 

Before: Bedroom

The subfloor had to be replaced along the front wall and in the back bedroom. 

The subfloor had to be replaced along the front wall and in the back bedroom. 


After: Bedroom

"Design strategies we used to maximize space include utilizing the space underneath the bed and the front shelving, and making those areas accessible with additional doors," says Taylor. "Nate built a hidden shoe cubby into the bed frame, and we left the large hallway closet as is to increase our storage options."

"Design strategies we used to maximize space include utilizing the space underneath the bed and the front shelving, and making those areas accessible with additional doors," says Taylor. "Nate built a hidden shoe cubby into the bed frame, and we left the large hallway closet as is to increase our storage options."

The Lavenders removed all the existing bedroom elements and replaced the subfloor, and Nate built a new queen-sized bed frame, which he installed in the bedroom. 

"Beddy’s bedding makes it 10 times easier to make the bed. A simple pull of a zipper and the bed is made—something imperative for keeping a small space neat," says Taylor.

In the bedroom, a Tuft & Needle mattress and bedding from Beddy’s rest on a built-in tabletop bed frame, which according to Taylor makes that area so much more practical and useful.

In the bedroom, a Tuft & Needle mattress and bedding from Beddy’s rest on a built-in tabletop bed frame, which according to Taylor makes that area so much more practical and useful.

"Our mattress sits snug inside a table-top frame and underneath is a storage area. We also replaced the couch in the front of the airstream and built a two-tiered bookshelf for extra storage," says Nate.

Before: Bathroom

Before: bathroom.

Before: bathroom.

They swapped the original toilet with a compost toilet instead. "We are really into the freedom it provides and don’t want to deal with the black water tank and worrying if we are ever in a place where we can’t empty," says Nate.

After: Bathroom

The bathroom walls were painted a rich blue-green to liven up the small space. 

The bathroom walls were painted a rich blue-green to liven up the small space. 

In the bathroom, tongue and groove planks were used to create what Taylor refers to as "a pseudo-wainscoting feel".  A new custom countertop, and porcelain vessel sink purchased through Amazon were installed in the space. The floor of the shower area is covered with treated wood planks, and the walls were re-finished with marine paint to give it this area a spa-like feel.

Rug from Home Goods and leather pouf from Amazon.

Rug from Home Goods and leather pouf from Amazon.

During the course of the DIY renovation, the couple encountered a number of challenges, which called for creative problem solving. Nate had to rework and update the plumbing in both the kitchen and the bathroom, and the exterior of the Airstream needed a good polish.

Nate and Taylor have been living in Augustine for nine months now, and still enjoy many things about small space living.

Nate and Taylor have been living in Augustine for nine months now, and still enjoy many things about small space living.

"We love napping under the tin roof during the rain, and the natural light that pours in every morning while we drink coffee. We love having only the things we need and nothing we don’t," says Taylor.

Floor plan sketch

Floor plan sketch

"Living in Augustine makes flexibility a priority. We wake up every day reminded that, by sundown, we could be halfway across the country, or not. We could chase the seasons or sit still and watch. Augustine is freedom in a tin can," says Nate.

Project Credits:

Interior design: Nate and Taylor Lavender

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