Sometimes the best homes come on wheels. Take it from Brandon and Gabi Fox—a husband-and-wife team of wedding and elopement photographers and educators who transformed a 1972 Airstream Overlander into a mobile live/work studio.
How did they do it? With a little bit of elbow grease, a few innovative ideas, and an unrelenting dedication to transforming their visions into a reality.
Watch a video recap of their renovation here:
The couple's great love for the outdoors and appetite for adventure prompted them to explore their surroundings with a camera in one hand and a wheel in the other, allowing the Foxes to fulfill their life-long passions through an unconventional lifestyle and business model.
One bright and warm day in the middle of summer in 2015, the couple decided to invest in a 27-foot 1972 Airstream Overlander and transform the aluminum structure into a traveling tiny home of 190 square feet.
"In general, we didn't really know anything about renovating trailers, let alone Airstreams, before starting the project," Gabi says. "What we did have was a strong sense of 'we can do this' and just the right amount of naivety."
"Airstreams are known for being built very particularly and you have to pay a lot of attention to how you tear it down and build it back up," she says. The couple turned to online research, particularly Airforums.com, to look up answers to questions that arose during the process.
"We didn't just do interior cosmetic renovations," says Gabi, "but we actually took the Airstream apart and made some major structural fixes too."
One of the most challenging aspects of the renovation was replacing a section of rotted subfloor in the area around the rear bathroom. The tear-down phase was slow going, revealing lots of rusty bolts and insulation that had been infested with rodent waste. "This was all crucial work that we did—treating the frame for rust, putting in new subfloor and insulation, replacing the old mold-filled water tank with a brand new one," says Gabi. "By the time we had the shell back together, it was an amazing feeling."
"The rest of the work wasn't easy," she says, "but it was a lot more fun, and we started to see real progress."
"We racked our brains forever trying to decide on a layout," Gabi says. "One of the hardest things in general about renovating is just making decisions and going for it. You can be crippled by doubt and indecision and it can really hold up your progress."
Eventually, the couple learned to go with their guts, which sometimes made for learning experiences. "We definitely had situations where we had to undo what we just did and try it differently, but at least we had learned that was the wrong way and then could proceed knowing what the right way was," she says.
The transformed Airstream boasts a stove, dining area, and cozy master bedroom.
Today, Brandon and Gabi run their photography business out of their Airstream. Though they are based in Seattle, the duo travel all over the country to shoot epic weddings and elopements—you can see their developing 2018 schedule here.
With a full array of cameras and their trusted pup sidekick, the couple is ready to conquer the world together—and document it along the way.
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