7 Airstream Renovation Companies That’ll Take Your Vintage Cruiser to the Next Level

7 Airstream Renovation Companies That’ll Take Your Vintage Cruiser to the Next Level

By Melissa Dalton
These design-build outfits across the U.S. know their way around the iconic silver trailer.

Whether you need a mobile office or just want to hit the road in style, the allure of Airstreams is undeniable. For design enthusiasts looking for something more custom, retrofitting a vintage model can be an exhilarating project. Not up to doing it yourself, or need a bolt of inspiration? Here are seven of our favorite studios that specialize in remodeling Airstreams, turning their labors of love into full-time businesses.

Colorado Caravan

The couple found this 1969 Globetrotter through a Craigslist ad.

Patrick Neely and Kerri Cole are the husband-and-wife team behind Colorado Caravan, a Denver studio that renovates caravans, containers, and Airstreams. Neely, who used to flip houses and fix up vintage cars, does the build, while Cole designs and styles. They got their start with a 1969 Globetrotter named Bonnie that they renovated for $19,180.

"Most of the phone calls we get aren’t for travel," Neely tells Dwell. "People call wanting a mobile nail salon, or something they can park at businesses. These trailers are so iconic that you can do anything with them. They are a great structure—easy to move and very designable."

In the eating area of a 1966 Airstream Safari, "a custom table for two provides not only an eating space but also a deep bench to hang out on and watch the TV that is mounted on the opposite wall," explains Cole. The bench is upholstered with a faux leather, helping ensure any spills are easy to clean up.

The Kugelschiff is a vintage Airstream Bambi II with interiors that were designed by Robert Edmonds of Edmonds + Lee Architects; the build-out was handled by Sergey Shevchuk of Silver Bullet Trailers.

Sergey Shevchuk opened Vancouver, Washington–based Silver Bullet Trailers in 2014 after updating a vintage Airstream for personal use and realizing the market was receptive to his custom Airstream renovations and restorations. "Our company was started on a basic appreciation of timeless and unique American design," says Shevchuk, who created the live/work Kugelschiff for a tech entrepreneur and his daughter.

Client Jeff Kleck needed a mobile live/work space in 80 square feet, so the living components were seamlessly integrated with the workspace features. The desktop can be lowered to be converted to a bed platform, while the refrigerator is concealed behind the white ash cabinetry. 

The lounging and dining area doubles as a place for meetings thanks to a couch upholstered in Maharam wool and an Eero Saarinen–designed Tulip table.

This thirty-foot 1978 Airstream Argosy dubbed "Mae" received a full interior revamp, while the charming vintage exterior was kept. 

"Our favorite aspect is the challenge of being able to fit everything needed for full-time living within the limited space that’s available," says Zachary and Colleen Cashio of their work renovating Airstreams in North Central Arkansas. "Being able to make something functional for each set of clients is different, and they each have their own set of challenges, but in the end when you see the smile on their faces, it makes it all worth it."

The couple live in a 1972 Airstream Sovereign they spruced up for $23,000 with their two sons, Ezra and Harvey, and their Australian shepherd Luna.

The interior features custom cabinets and cherry wood slab countertops. Custom stools fashioned from iron pipes are tucked under the counter, and can be swung out when needed. 

A king-sized bed is surrounded by windows to make an inviting nook.

Craving more adventure, a couple decide to make a radical life change by becoming full-time Airstream residents and renovators.

Whether overhauling a tiny, 98-square-foot Caraval or something a bit bigger, like a 200-square-foot Airstream that evokes a Parisian apartment, inspiration is never in short supply when it comes to Modern Caravan. 

Run by self-taught renovators Kate Oliver (design) and wife Ellen Prasse (build), the company is well-known for both their craftsmanship and signature, pared-back schemes. "I tend to keep materials very minimal, and only use one to three main materials throughout the space," says Oliver. (Look for Oliver’s book on caravan living in spring of 2021.)

Upon receiving this 98-square-foot Caravel from Ohio, the couple demolished the interior in a few days. "We had two good friends visiting, and the four of us picked up the entire shell and moved it off the frame," says Oliver. "It was such a rush and so empowering to do that as a team of women." The silver shell had to be removed to execute a full chassis repair and replacement by a certified welder.

Oliver’s favorite detail in the trailer is the fiberglass and Bondo shower, crafted by Prasse. "I really wanted the shower to look like plaster, but in a moving trailer, that’s just not an option," says Oliver.

"Rita" is a 1980s Excella with an interior scheme that draws on a Cambodian hotel beloved by the owners. Plush velvet cushions are arranged in front of an electric fireplace. The TV is concealed on a lift in the cabinet.

"With every custom Airstream build-out, we approach it as if we were renovating a studio apartment," says Mountain Modern Airstream, which is operated by Anna Jacobs and Damian Schmitt in Bend, Oregon. 

The couple learned a lot on their first makeover, a 1966 Overlander named Gilda, and have since applied those lessons to more recent projects. "There’s a younger generation discovering Airstreams and realizing what they represented historically, but they’re also bringing a newer idea to it," says Schmitt.

Mountain Modern Airstream combined black quartz counters with custom walnut cabinets and a marble mosaic tile backsplash.

Custom shoe cubbies tuck away clutter.

The desktop can be converted to a dinette table.

Perhaps the most sculptural bathroom in an Airstream that we’ve ever seen: a black Quartz bench, counter, and inlay sink meet a custom walnut vanity. The faucet is by Brizo.

NüAbode and Mavis The Airstream transformed the 31-foot-long trailer into a mobile bachelor pad for Nashville musician Ryan Hunter Sanchez.

Mavis the Airstream is owned by Sheena Armstrong and husband Jason, a couple who renovated their first "Mavis," a 1975 Airstream Overlander, in 2016, before moving on to "Mavis 2.0," a 1977 Airstream Sovereign. 

They chronicle their renovations, extensive Airstream knowledge, and travels on their blog and Instagram channels under the trailer’s moniker. Interest in them has since led to Armstrong’s dad opening his own shop in Canton, Georgia, called NüAbode, with whom Armstrong works with as a designer. They tackled the conversion of a 1969 Airstream Sovereign into an on-the-go pad for Nashville musician Ryan Hunter Sanchez.

The design team took down interior walls and replaced the floors with dark plank vinyl.

"Ryan likes navy, so we decided to copy that theme throughout and bring in some warm tones to complement the honey-colored wood countertops," Armstrong says. "I always love to tie in all of the colors in a space with an area rug. I found the perfect old-world-feel traditional rug with some great navy and gold tones to tie it all together."

In the kitchen, birch cabinets painted in a bright white are topped with solid ash countertops.

Hudson Valley Airstream completed in "Roberta" in 2019, and it’s currently for sale. It’s a fully renovated, 29-foot Airstream Ambassador named for singer Roberta Flack, "because ‘Killing Me Softly’ was a hit in 1973, the same year this Airstream was made," says the studio.

Amy Rosenfeld and Ed Potokar are the pair behind Hudson Valley Airstream, a workshop located two hours north of New York City. They renovated their first trailer, a 1972 Sovereign Land YachtAirstream called Betty Jean, in 2017. Each renovation takes about nine months, is typically named for a female singer, and results in an Airstream outfitted with top-quality materials and stylish details.

"They take a long time because we try to think of everything to make it the most efficient use of space, most stylish interiors, and everything you'd need in a modern tiny home," says Rosenfeld. "We utilize the most modern systems and fixtures, but embrace the midcentury-modern aesthetic of when they were originally made. They really are a labor of love." 

Roberta features satin-white cabinetry and over 13 feet of wide-plank mahogany counters. The flooring is durable and weather-resistant, and the couch includes custom cushions and storage in the base.

The mahogany detail continues in the full-sized bathroom.

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