Young father converts vintage Airstream trailer into eclectic family home (Video)

Houzz
Video screen capture Houzz

It's a funny thing, but when we're faced with adversity, some of us may withdraw, dig in the heels and become despondent. Others will see obstacles as an opportunity for change and for living new, unexpected experiences -- it's all a matter of one's outlook, rather than the cruddiness of circumstances, real or imagined.

Recently separated from his wife a couple of years ago, Salt Lake City, Utah resident Jordan Menzel had just sold their house and was looking for a place to live. One afternoon during a bike ride, Menzel passed by a vintage 1976 Airstream that was apparently on sale. He'd never owned nor lived in a RV before, but after only thinking about it for a few hours, Menzel took the plunge and bought the trailer for USD $4,000 -- with the intention of renovating it into full-time residence for him and his young daughter. Menzel gives Houzz a tour of the eclectic, modern interior that he came up with:

HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture

The 32-year-old Menzel tells Houzz that the idea was to save money in a personally creative and meaningful way:

I didn’t want to buy a home again, and I didn’t want to spend obscene amounts on rent, either. [..] At first people thought, Oh, Jordan’s going through a midlife crisis. But it’s not a trend for me. [..] The concept of tiny homes is very appealing to me. It forces one to eliminate unnecessary items and use one’s own space to communicate personality.

Menzel spent three months working on the 29-foot-long Ambassador class Airstream, removing decades-old shag carpet and completely redoing the cabinetry, using reclaimed pallet wood to build the cabinets and closet. The idea was to really open up the space and eliminate that cramped feel that's common in old Airstreams with their over-padded, panelled interiors.

Houzz© Houzz

One side features a long counter that not only acts as the kitchen space, but also the work space.

Houzz© Houzz

In the reclaimed pallet wood cabinet, there is space for drawers, a closet for clothes, and a space for the refrigerator.

HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture
HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture

Typical of other trailers, the dining table at one end can be transformed into a big bed.

HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture
HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture
HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture
HouzzHouzz/Video screen capture

For Menzel, the Airstream has become not only a renovation project in the practical sense, but also an emotional touchpoint for this new stage of his life:

The happiest moment was, hands down, the first night I slept in it. Not only had I just spent a long, cold winter working on it late at night, but I had also been floating from one living space to the next. While doing the remodel, I was also in the middle of some large life changes, and finishing the Airstream was so much more than just a project. It was a symbolic gesture to myself that I still had the capacity to take on a wild idea and bring it to life. Falling asleep in this hilariously odd creation sort of put to rest all my personal struggles and allowed me to have a renewed sense of who I am and what I wanted: a simple, happy life.

Indeed, it makes sense that the home you make is the sweetest home you can have; read more over at Houzz.

Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | Small Spaces | Utah

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