before & after: sarah’s airstream studio + katie’s dresser

when i wish i had studio space, i usually just scan craigslist for a space rentals, feel overwhelmed quickly, and give up. sarah had an almost opposite reaction, and decided to create an awesome workspace in an old 1963 airstream trailer! wowza. she and her husband did the renovations last spring, and apparently her space is so amazing, she has been able to convince some of her other artistic friends to work out of trailers as well. well done, sarah!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

CLICK HERE for katie’s dresser makeover after the jump!

i feel like i’ve seen (and passed over) dozens of beat up cabinets just like this one at yard sales and thrift stores, so i am very inspired to see someone who saw its potential and transformed it so completely. with simple blue tape and a few coats of paint, katie managed to add this crisp chevron pattern to a totally sad cabinet, and now it’s sittin’ pretty next to her bed. great work, katie!

  1. oh. my. word. that airstream studio is incredible. such a great idea for extra space for anyone really.

  2. ladylala says:

    this is so cute! i am jealous!

  3. WOW! That airstream studio is to die for! WOW!

  4. malimish says:

    love this airstream makeover. i am tempted to buy another airstream for my husband’s office. we already have a 25′ that we travel in. we LOVE airstreams. thanks for sharing!

  5. I’m loving this Airstream trend! I’m obsessed with the WonderCraft Airstream crafty boutique in Austin. Haven’t seen it in person yet, but I hope to one day – it’s amazing!

  6. Emma says:

    The airstream is great.

    What a great place to make your home office! So creative.

  7. MM says:

    I LOVE the Airstream makeover. Holy cow, I could totally do this! Beautiful work Sarah. But I have a question. The bowl. The bowl in the middle of the table in shot #1. Can you share your source on this? I found a similar one at a yard sale recently and I’m attempting to find out any history on this style. Can you help???

  8. That studio transformation is unbelieveable.

  9. Vicki says:

    That is an amazing transformation. I would love to work there.

  10. Kathryn says:

    That airstream trailer is a dream!

  11. TO. DIE. FOR. like malimish (hi malimish!) we too travel in a 27′ airstream, but to have one all to myself for a home office? sublime. great makeover.

  12. Irene says:

    That dresser is amazing. I love the Chevron pattern.

  13. I second and third all the wow wow wows on that trailer!


  14. Sing says:

    That studio is so cool.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Oh for a little Airstream studio of my own!

  16. Kristan says:

    The drawer unit is adorable! Gives me a good idea for a little side table in our guest room that needs sanding and repainting… (But I didn’t want it to be too plain. I like this soft color/zig-zag look.)

    Also, I would love the Airstream office! No idea where I would put it, lol, but it’s adorable. (Shared yard. I think my neighbors might protest…)

  17. Victoria says:

    Love the airstream makeover, very chic. I was able to convert my son’s room into my studio space (he just moved out last month), it is still a work in progress.

    I have no room to park a trailer, I live in a townhouse. But, we are looking into a trailer to renovate for traveling, that would be offsite parking.

    Seeing what you did, I now know it can be done, thanks!

  18. LindseyBee says:

    THAT is GENIUS. What an economical way to make a studio… I can’t get over how awesome this is!

  19. Lissette says:

    That dresser is beyond words!

  20. What a fabulous makeover! We have an Airstream that I would love to use as my studio space, but we enjoy using it as a ski condo in the Winter :)

  21. Bettina Lynn says:

    Love love love the airstream! That was what I was looking for when I found my new trailer/studio!! Of course I am now glad that mine is so much larger than I had originally planned on!

  22. Jamie says:

    I LOVE these before and after posts and I have a suggestion for how they could be improved every so slightly… how about information on how much these projects cost? Not only in dollars but in time too. It just would help give an accurate impression of what to expect for anyone who decides to take on a similar project.
    p.s. Love the airstream studio, how cool!

    1. grace says:


      i thought about that, but the cost varies pretty wildly based on the project at hand. some people get hand me down dressers, in which case the cost of the project would be pretty low. but if you were to buy a similar piece and attempt something it would actually cost WAY more. also, skill level effects the price, too. for example, if you know how to reupholster, you can do something really cheaply, but if you don’t, you’ll have to pay a pro to do something, which is super expensive.

      in the case of most makeovers, paint and fabric are the primary cost, in which case it’s up to you how to decide how much you want to spend on both.

      we often ask people about prices and they’re not keen to share, so whenever they do, i promise we’ll include it :)

      *ps- we basically twisted people’s arms (nicely) for the d*s book and included prices with all the b&a projects. but it was tough ;)


  23. jan says:

    love it! can you share pics of your process? i’m in the market for an airstream too.

  24. rebecca says:

    i have a studio in a shared warehouse space. i never go there and wanted to have a space at my house. recently i have been looking at craigslist for a trailer, but wonder if airstreams are out of my price range. this is very inspirational because it is exactly what i want for a creative space. well done.

  25. Love the Airstream makeover. Not only could this be a studio option, but a studio apartment option…

    And it also coincides with my desire to see more trailer/mobile home makeovers in the design world. I’ve been fantasizing about purchasing an old mobile home from the 60s or 70s and totally gut renovating it into a model of sustainable, green living.

    In my opinion, this idea could be HUGE.

  26. Sylvia says:

    That is an amazing before & after! I’m insanely jealous that her trailer is so much lighter and brighter than my in-house workspace.

  27. Dani Boyd says:

    I loooooooooooooooooove the studio!!! I want one!!!

  28. Casey says:

    Airstream makeover is great! The only change I would make – reupholstering the brown floral chair to something a little fresher looking.

  29. sarahruba says:

    OKAY NOW I’M TRIPPING OUT. Not only do I have a Saab 900 like in the last post, but my name is Sarah and my husband and I also have a 63 Airstream (and a 61) that we have totally remodeled. Weeeeird! hm. maybe I should blog….oh right I sort of do sometimes:

  30. Laura says:

    very cool trailer- it is so important to have a space of one’s own! Love the total transformation.

  31. Anitra says:

    holey shirt that trailer is killer!! i want one!! a room all to myself! ahhhhhh!!!

  32. Jennifer says:

    airstream studio:

    i. am. in. awe.

    simply brilliant.

  33. i’m absolutely head over heels for the airstream studio. what a brilliant idea and flawless execution! thank you, D*S, for sharing!

  34. I’ve been dreaming about renovating a garden shed into a studio, but I like this Airstream idea so much better! Sunset ran a couple cool articles about Airstreams recently, one on another studio makeover (hope these links work).

  35. Sharon says:

    Fantastic use of space and a wickedly awesome design sense throughout ~ I would love to spend numerous hours drawing away!

    Well done :)

  36. OMG thats amazing! so jealous hehe

  37. The streamer is just gorgeous! Talk about starting from scrap…

  38. Awesome !!! I’m so impressed…

  39. Neaner says:

    The Airstream is fantastic. Great use of cheap Ikea accessories/furniture and vintage pieces.

  40. katy gray says:

    Loving the Airstream makeover – I’m insanely jealous! One question though – how do you get power in there? If I were to do it I’d need power to run computers and such and am not too keen on running a generator to do it.

  41. Airstreams are awesome and this particular one is fantabulous! What a beautiful, cozy, homey space to muse and work in.

  42. Shannon says:

    Oh. My. Stars. That airstream is a dream come true! I want to go to there…Well done!

  43. uberry says:


  44. Retromodgirl says:

    This is the most amazing transformation of an airstream I have EVER seen! Phenomenal!!!!

  45. molly clark says:

    i am hoping that i can get a little information about the material sarah used to replace the original vinyl walls of her airstream. i am in the process of renovating mine and will be opening a teeny weeny vintage boutique out of it. i’m super excited but am having trouble with this one step…and it’s a big one! any help would be greatly appreciated!
    thanks so much and i heart design sponge!!!

  46. Anne says:

    Great ideas and pics. I’m sleeping in my back yard in my old airstream while we renovate our house :\. Eventually I want to transform it into a rug hooking studio but in the summer it gets really hot. How do you deal with the heat? (it’s hooked up to electricity.) Thanks!

  47. bedarumica says:

    Great… fantastic meraviglioso… WOW :)

  48. Jessi says:

    I’d like to echo Molly’s question. What material was used on the walls?


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