Before and After: A Falling Apart 1960s Avion Holiday Trailer Gets a Groovy Retro-Inspired Redo

published Dec 9, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
RVs and Mobile
Tiny Home
Project Type
Dining Room
Mid-century Modern
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: the outside of a rusted metal trailer
Credit: Andy Schnack

Because they’re usually no more than 10 feet wide (on the larger side!), campers, trailers, and RVs are great inspiration for small space design — whether you’re interested in life on wheels or not. As with tiny apartments, it’s fun to see how intrepid home-on-wheels owners will make their tiny quarters work for cooking and relaxing.

Credit: Andy Schnack

Andy Schnack’s (@andystrailers) aluminum trailer is a prime example. Andy, who restores and sells trailers professionally, rescued this particular trailer from chaos and made its approximately 7-foot-by-24-foot footprint work completely. “The 1960 Avion Holiday was in very bad shape when we got it,” Andy says. “It needed to be completely rebuilt from the frame up, including all new interior components. I found it in rural Arkansas and drove it home. I needed to stop several times to secure parts of the trailer that were about to fly off.”

But, the long drive was worth it. “I thought this rare early model trailer was a cool piece of history and worth the effort to save,” Andy says. And the effort was extensive: He spent two years restoring the thing.

Credit: Andy Schnack

“It was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting RV buying boom, so some parts we had to wait a long time to get,” he recalls. “Like many restorations, to scope of work got bigger and and bigger as we disassembled it. Once we removed the old floor, it became evident that most of the trailer frame as well as the axles would have to be fully replaced.”

Once the framework was sound, Andy turned his attention to the decor, where he sought to honor the vehicle’s retro roots, which meant birch plywood and lots of it. “I dug through the internet for old photos of the birch cabinetry,” Andy says.

Credit: Andy Schnack

A few details in the birch you might not notice on first glance? The bed is actually a large cabinet in itself. “Check how the main sleeping area is hinged to the side to give access to a cavernous storage area for your bulky gear,” Andy writes on Instagram. “The front dinette converts into a secondary sleeping area for guests.”

The curved front dinette pieces are an homage to the past. “I had one old [cabinet] that we salvaged and used as a template,” Andy explains on Insta. “The unique angle is iconic Avion and had to be recreated.”

Two of Andy’s favorite dinette details? The stainless steel rim around the enamel sink, AKA the Hudee ring — “an icon of midcentury modern design,” Andy explains on Instagram — and the orange Smeg, of course. (The cabinet surrounding the Smeg was specially built with the Avion’s salvaged original screen door!)

Credit: Andy Schnack

As for decor, Andy kept it minimal (it’s mobile and things will slide around, after all, with a plant here and there, un-fussy bedding, and retro-inspired pillows and a kitchen rug. “I love the effort we made to create a vintage feeling in what is an entirely new interior.”

Credit: Andy Schnack

For as much time as Andy spent on the inside with all the birch cabinetry and 1960s-inspired details, he’s probably most proud of the outside. “I’m most proud of the aluminum riveting and polishing work we did to the exterior,” he says. “Each window was disassembled and restored. We had to replace whole panels of the aluminum exterior. The polishing process took hundreds of hours.”

Thankfully, in this case, hours of TLC to prep equals hours of fun on the road and at campsites in the future. Happy trail(er)s, Andy!