B&A: A 200-Square-Foot 1977 Airstream Gutted and Rebuilt

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Name: Sheena, Jason, and Riley Armstrong
Designed by: Sheena Armstrong
Airstream build by: Mark and Cindy Lutes of nuabode.com (my parents’ shop!)
Lease: Atlanta, Georgia
Size: 200 square feet
Type of Home: 1977 Airstream Sovereign
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, owned

We live, work, and travel the US in our completely renovated 31-foot 1977 Airstream Sovereign. The Airstream was originally left to rot away at a storage facility in a muddy field in Tennessee. It sat for years, slowly being consumed by the earth. We rescued and completely renovated it from the ground up with help from my parents’ Airstream shop, NuAbode. The only thing that’s original on it is the outer shell, the frame, the interior walls, and the windows. Everything else was gutted and rebuilt — including the original orange shag carpeting, which I’m sure was pretty rad back in its glory days in the ’70s.

My husband and I, along with our senior dog, travel the US full-time, working from the road. So far in the last year and a half, we’ve traveled from Maine to Northern California to the Florida Keys and everywhere in between. What started as a way for us to travel while still making a living has sort of turned into a big bucket list for our senior dog. We are on a mission to take him to as many states as we can. So far his tally is 43.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

MyStyle: Eclectic bohemian.

Inspiration: I am so inspired by Justina Blakeney and her colorful style.

Favorite Item: Definitely the windows. There are literally 17 separate windows in this tiny Airstream. My favorite part of a moving space is that every time we park somewhere new, the lighting inside changes. Sometimes the sun comes up outside our bedroom, sometimes that’s where it sets.

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge was definitely the size. We built this space to live in full-time so finding adequate space to live, work, and just plain be comfortable in wasn’t easy. I designed the entire space in 3D and spent hours virtually navigating the space. I didn’t want to leave any space underutilized but at the same time, a clean, open space was also important. Designing in these tiny spaces is definitely a challenge. This was my second time around building an Airstream but my first time building it completely from scratch. I had worked out a lot of the issues in my 3D rendering so by the time it all came to fruition, there really weren’t any surprises.

Proudest DIY: Definitely our kitchen door. I designed the face of the door and assembled myself with 1/4” plywood planks. It’s my favorite part of our build not only because I built it myself but also because it’s how my husband and I lock the other away when we need time apart. Ha!

Biggest Indulgence: The most expensive part of our build was our cabinetry. It was all custom designed and built from scratch, featuring minimal brass drawer pulls and maple waterfall countertops.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Not only is this a travel trailer, it’s also our mobile office designed for *two* people. There’s even a door in between the two office spaces, which was absolutely imperative. When the door is shut and we’re both working, we barely sense that the other is even inside the trailer. An interior door makes full-time RV living with another human possible.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? The biggest thing that makes our RV feel like home is a real-life sofa. Our little apartment-sized Joybird sofa is our favorite place to crash and watch a movie.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I love organizing our space with baskets, whether they’re tucked away under our sofa or on our floating shelves we have throughout. How do they stay put? magnets!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Gorilla taps! It’s my all-time favorite tool for mobile spaces. Rather than disassembling our entire space every time we drive, almost everything — with the exception of glassware on our kitchen shelves — stays where it is thanks to Gorilla tape. Even the plants are fastened down. The larger ones are hooked to the wall with eye hooks.

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

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