Sunday, February 13, 2011

Designing for the Road

Designing for the Road

Airstream trailers have recently become a popular home for travelers, tailgaters and trend followers. Actor Matthew McConaughey started the trend of renovating or customizing Airstream trailers and using it as their home. Architectural Digest wrote an article about McConaughey in 2008 that lit the fire under the tread. In the article McConaughey talks about how his trailer is the perfect home because he loves to travel and with the Airstream as his home he can wake up one morning and look out the window and see the beach and the next morning wake up to see the mountains. The article had interior images of his home and I believe it allowed people to see that the space functions so well and prove that we do not need the 3,000 plus square foot homes that society tells us to buy. The airstream has about 200 sq feet of livable space.

In my search to find fun Interiors in Airstream trailers I came across the website of design build firm Hofmann Architecture based in California. The Principal architect Matthew Hofmann remodeled a 1978 Airstream into his office, home and means of travel. On his blog Hofmann writes about why he decided to do this:

Here are a dozen real life reasons why living in 158 sq. ft. can be a very grand experience.

1. Lower utility bills - serious sustainability

2. Quicker to clean - 30 minutes tops

3. Less maintenance - Say “goodbye” to the chimney sweeper, garage door repairman, and gardener

4. A lot less clutter – I’ve reduced my paper use by 90%

5. Better connected to my girlfriend – the small space encourages us to interact and work out our problems – we no longer have our “caves” or sides of the house to escape to.

6. I’m taking more trips to the farmers market I’m purchasing more fresh fruits and vegetables. No excessive frig/freezer or pantry spaces stuffed with outdated food

7. Discourages procrastination – harder to ignore need-to-do’s when they’re staring right at you)

8. Less stuff gets lost - less places to hide, and when they do, they tend to surface a week later in a shirt pocket

9. Impulse buys – The question when purchasing an item “can I afford it.” Has changed into “can I store it?”

10. Fewer house guests – Thanksgiving is a great time to spend time with your family, and so much better enjoyed when they stay at hotels.

11. Simplified entertainment technology – I sold and no longer own: A dvd player, audio receiver, 7 speaker surround sound, plasma tv, desktop PC, laptop computer, countless remote controls, wireless home speaker system, and portable radio. I then purchased: an IMac.

12. I ended my dysfunctional relationship with Costco. – I realize now that I don’t really need a 5lb bag of peanuts or the treadmill that discourages me from ever leaving the confines of home. Though, I still enjoy accompanying a friend to the mega box store to try the free samples.

I am obsessed with the idea of redoing an Airstream and its now on my list of things I want to do in the future. I have included pictures from McConaughey’s home and Hoffman’s home along with some other great remodels; the blog Airstream love also has a collection of great images. In the Architectural Digest article McConaughey is quoted saying “Architecture is a Verb” and I love that idea and think that you will fall in love with the idea like I did, let me know what you think!

McConaughey outside his Airstream

McConaughey's "Office"

McConaughey's kitchen

Hofmann's trailer

Hofmann's office

Hofmann's kitchen area

Hofmann's bathroom


  1. I think this is a neat trend and I would also like to design an airstream trailer! The photos you posted are great! As for me living in them, I am not so sure about that just yet.

  2. My aunt and uncle have done this. I spent three weeks with them one summer and every weekend we would hook up the horse trailer and go camping all over the state. Every 6 months they drive from Michigan to Arizona. My aunt is a retired vet and picks up side jobs where ever they stop. It's so freeing!! My first house will probably be an RV. lol.

  3. Great images, you should check out Grey Dog here in the ville!