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Before and After: From a Gutted Airstream To a Perfect Tiny Home

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: The Foxes Photography)

Brandon and Gabi aren’t just living a dream life — traveling around and enjoying the beauty of our country — they’re doing it while living in this dreamy Airstream trailer. As we showed in their house tour, tons of thought went into the DIY details of their tiny mobile home, from storage to lighting and more. And while the end result is certainly beautiful, it took A LOT of work to get it there.

(Image credit: The Foxes Photography)
(Image credit: The Foxes Photography)

Brandon and Gabi shared how they scored this 27-foot-long, 190-square-foot 1972 Airstream Overlander:

“We scoured Airstream classifieds daily for about a month and a half until we finally found ours. We looked on Craigslists across the country, as well as AirstreamClassifieds.com. Ultimately, we found our Airstream on Craigslist down in Virginia. It was in great exterior condition and was completely gutted already on the inside (which we wanted since we’d be custom building it ourselves).”

Brandon and Gabi documented the entire renovation:

“It had just been listed and these things are a hot commodity, so to secure it we called the owner immediately, made a deposit, and drove 12 hours the next day from Boston down to Virginia to pick it up, and started the trip back home that same day.

We started work on it in mid-May and hit the road on November 6th, so about six months of renovation. The first three months were kind of slow going, just tearing it apart more to do structural fixes like replacing the rear sub-floor, treating the frame, and removing the interior skins for new insulation and wiring. Once we started putting it all back together, it was pretty nonstop for three months, regularly putting in 10-12 hour days. The entire interior furniture build-out came together in just three weeks.”

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Click through this gallery to see some in-process shots of the renovation. (Image credit: The Foxes Photography)

“We’re proud of the work we accomplished and want to share our space with the greater community of wanderers and adventurers. We’ve taken inspiration from many projects we’ve seen online and elsewhere, so we hope that sharing our home-on-the-road might do the same for others. Photography and travel are easily our two favorite things in life, and it’s amazing that we are fortunate enough to combine the two on a daily basis. There’s never a shortage of inspiration when you can pick up and go somewhere new at a moment’s notice. Living in a small space and often far off the beaten path definitely has its struggles, but the forced spontaneity keeps us on our toes and influences our work in a wonderful way.”

Resources they recommend:

First-hand accounts:
Our number one go-to-when-in-doubt site for the Airstream renovation was AirForums.com. It’s full of threads detailing people’s experiences doing any kind of renovation or repair you could possibly think of, even down to a specific year and model of vintage Airstream. I know they have similar forums for Sprinter Van conversions and other types of trailers, too. Nothing beats reading multiple first-hand accounts of a repair, especially with something as specialized as an Airstream.

(Image credit: The Foxes Photography)

Airstream design inspo:
We took lots of inspiration for the design from various accounts on Instagram. @hofarc and @themoderncaravan were two of the most visited. But we also perused a variety of hashtags where you could find many others who were undertaking similar projects — #liveriveted #airstreamrenovation #airstreamrestoration #homeiswhereyouparkit and many more are great places to find all kinds of inspiration.

When it came to sourcing original parts for our vintage Airstream, there are luckily a number of websites dedicated to selling them. Vintage Trailer Supply has parts for all kinds of vintage trailers. Out-of-Doors Mart is dedicated solely to Airstream parts and was our go to whenever we couldn’t find the part on Vintage Trailer Supply. And of course, Amazon sourced about half our trailer.

Life on the road:
We got to give a shout out to The RV Project, who were a big inspiration for our first year on the road. They’re both full-time traveling climbers and videographers/photographers who were living the life we wanted to live when we first hit the road. It was really encouraging to see someone else out there doing it, and learning about how they were doing it by reading their blog. Blogs of people who are already out there doing whatever it is you want to do are some of the best sources of information you can find.

On that note, I’ll plug our own blog, because we often write about renovations and life on the road. Our hope is that we can share some of the knowledge we’ve learned over the years and help others in their quest for a mobile life as well!

(Image credit: The Foxes Photography)

Thank you Brandon and Gabi! See their whole house tour. Check them out on Facebook: The Foxes Photography. And on Instagram. AND you can check out their climbing photography on Instagram @JustGoClimb.