Before and After: A Rusty Airstream Gets the Dreamiest Scandi-Boho Revamp

published Oct 5, 2020
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About this before & after
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Before: interior of run-down airstream trailer

Ever take a trip and have a sudden hit of home inspiration? Francesca Coviello and her husband Gordon did. After one trip to Oregon back in 2018, the couple felt called to make a drastic change. “We explored the possibility of remodeling a vintage Airstream, and within a few weeks she was parked in our driveway,” Francesca says.

The idea of moving out of their house and into the Airstream began to sound more appealing. “We were living in a huge house and only using a portion of the space, which should have felt like our forever home,” Francesca says. “Our fixer-upper went on the market while trying to transform an old tin can into a tiny home.”

The renovations took about ten months to complete once Francesca and Gordon bought their rusty shell at the end of August 2018. The total budget for the project was $30,000—with $10,000 just for the Airstream—and the couple was able to fit their expenses into that frame.

“We had to be intentional with every inch of living space. We were transitioning from a 2,600 square foot house to under 200, so it needed to be hyper functional,” Francesca says. The couple turned to YouTubers and bloggers for guidance, and hired help for some of the bigger projects, like re-welding the trailer frame and windows, making the cabinetry, adding plumbing, and patching the exterior.

“We live in South Florida. In addition to the brutal heat and dramatic weather, there were so many setbacks, some were totally expected and others just deflating,” Francesca says. “We almost reached our breaking point multiple times but had to persevere, especially when our house sold.”

For instance: “All of the metal frames were removed to be re-welded right before a tropical storm. It was the week of leaks and our brand new subfloor got soaked for days,” Francesca says.

The “cozy and simple” results were worth it, though. Francesca and Gordon both love to cook, so gave their trailer a full gourmet kitchen with plenty of storage in its custom cabinets in a gray and wood finish. Francesca also added lots of plants for a homey feel.

“We love how functional the space is for us, and fits all of our needs,” she adds. “We have to be minimalist with it, so everything inside is carefully curated and has a purpose.”

White walls and other white finishes—like the white herringbone backsplash tile in the kitchen and white penny tile in the bathroom—make the whole trailer feel extra airy.

Francesca and Gordon were able to pack a lot of space into this tiny home, with one closet for each of them as well as hidden storage beneath their bed for towels and linens.

One hiccup? The fridge they got doesn’t stay cold enough for food, so they keep their cold items in a cooler in the back of the truck they use to haul the trailer. “We’ve considered replacing the fridge but that would require a mini renovation to change out,” Francesca says. So in the meantime, they’ve made the most out of their cooler-centric life, and even wrote a cookbook on off-the-grid cooking using only cooler items.

Francesca and Gordon were able to get on the road in June 2019, and haven’t looked back. Their advice for anyone else tempted to follow in their footsteps: “Pad your budget and timeline by 15% to be realistic, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Francesca says.

“We’ve been social distancing before it was a thing and now we feel extra grateful to be nomadic with all of the instability going on in the world today,” she adds. “Fancy free is the way to be, at least it is for us.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.