From a design standpoint, the functionality in our first trailer was sorely lacking. I had no idea what we really needed, and due to budget and time restrictions, we cut corners and changed plans last minute, resulting in some thrown-together solutions that didn't work well for full-time living. For example, while I loved the look of our custom sliding cabinetry, it was often frustrating when using daily. Having to wait for someone to move to access something on the opposite end of the cabinet got old...and got old fast.
However, I really loved the overall feel of our trailer. We loved the birch plywood against the white walls and the organic elements throughout: linen, wool, metal, stone, and live plants. When we welcomed friends into our space, others could feel that the trailer was special. It was their favorite Airstream they'd been in, or it made them feel something wonderful, or it was so beautiful they just wanted to hitch it up and start traveling themselves. I can't help but agree - it was special. It was our truest dream, a place we built ourselves over the course of a year. Our Airstream wasn't perfect, but it was filled with love, dreams, hope, and the hardest work we've ever known. It was home.
The new Airstream will be our temporary home as we actively (and hopefully quickly!) pay down debt and start planning and building our tiny house! Because we will be living in the Airstream full-time in the Midwest (think very cold winters, stifling and humid summers), and will be going to full-time jobs and school, we are adding in all the amenities: heat, A/C, a water heater, a stove and oven, a real fridge, and even a compact dishwasher. Some of the other elements I've planned for: real countertops, deep drawers with locking mechanisms (for when we do travel), a wet bath with shower, toilet, and tiny sink, and a private bedroom. The main living space will consist of a deep sectional sofa wrapping around a table with a marine pedestal leg: this way we can drop the table down with ease and create a second full size bed.
Keeping the design simple and clean is important to me: I get overwhelmed when I see tiny spaces that have a million things going on. Though once again, I'm learning from my past mistakes: in our first Airstream, I didn't break up all the wood...I love brown, but it was a bit much, even for me! I was so afraid to have too much going on that I went overboard with one material. Currently I am leaning toward a solid wood countertop, marble tile (I love these geometric patterns popping up these days), and solid white drawer fronts in the kitchen. Whatever tile and countertop I end up choosing will be mimicked in the bathroom for continuity.
Just as I did with the 1957 Airstream's custom sliding door cabinetry inspired by mid-century credenzas and brass globe sconces similar to the original trailer lighting, it's important to me to incorporate a nod to the era the trailer was built. For our new Airstream design, warm wood tones and textured upholstery will pay homage to the 70s, with plenty of modern touches to keep the interior sleek and clean. The goal is to create an Airstream home that truly reflects who we are and what we love. Recognizing what we need, what we want, and what we love happened through the process of doing this once already, and I'm thankful for that experience. I am so excited to start building and craft a space that helps us truly embrace living tiny and reach our long-term goals.