before and afterDIY

An Airstream Trailer Gets A Rustic Overhaul

by Maxwell Tielman

local_branch_trailer_header local_branch_trailer_form_1

A year ago, Mackenzie Edgerton and Blaine Vossler decided to quit their day jobs and turn their passions—handcrafted design—into a full-time job. They knew that they wanted to travel around the country, selling their wares at music festivals, craft fairs, and pop-up shops. Obtaining what they needed for this dream to become a reality—a traveling studio, office, and home—was the real challenge. As luck would have it, the duo came upon a seriously weatherworn 1979 Airstream trailer, one that was the perfect size for all of their needs. Crafters at heart and by profession, Mackenzie and Blaine rolled up their sleeves and applied their signature aesthetic to the trailer’s interior, crafting a space that functioned not just as an inspiring studio, but a genuinely homey house on wheels. A direct offshoot of their “Made Throughout America” ethos, this gorgeous camper allowed Mackenzie and Blaine’s business, The Local Branch, to get out of town and stretch its roots. Check out all of the photos, plus Mackenzie and Blaine’s design notes after the jump! —Max

local_branch_trailer_form_2 local_branch_trailer_1 local_branch_trailer_2 local_branch_trailer_3 local_branch_trailer_4 local_branch_trailer_form_3

“Our initial idea was to make the Airstream into an actual store- but after getting inside the 32′ bullet, we realized to live, to work and to have a store in this tight space would be, well, tight. So we focused on making it a functional, well-designed space where we could operate a business and live comfortably. We were both very aligned on the feel of the space – we wanted it to reflect us and our brand. It had to feel welcoming and rustic with an interesting mix of the things we make and the things we collect.”

local_branch_trailer_5 local_branch_trailer_6 local_branch_trailer_form_4

“We love old antiques and vintage finds, so we searched flea markets and salvage yards for the main pieces – like the found Homart sink and the old school lockers. We hand-picked all of the reclaimed redwood boards from a fencing company in Northern California – redwood is super light and beautiful, so it was our perfect match. Then, we traveled across the country for about five months, gathering the pieces that would add the character and tell the stories of our travels. We found the bison skull at a tiny trading post in Sedona, AZ and made the giant red pillow out of a rug we bought in El Paso. We turned two ballot boxes from the mid-1900s into stools and upholstered the tops with a plaid blanket that we got in San Francisco.”

local_branch_trailer_7 local_branch_trailer_8 local_branch_trailer_9 local_branch_trailer_10 local_branch_trailer_11 local_branch_trailer_12 local_branch_trailer_13 local_branch_trailer_14 local_branch_trailer_form_5 local_branch_trailer_15 local_branch_trailer_16 local_branch_trailer_form_6 local_branch_trailer_17 local_branch_trailer_18

Suggested For You


  • All these air streams and school buses have me thinking about renovating a trailer in a hip way. You know, a trashy, trailer park kind of trailer. I think it would be awesome gutted and restored with a vintage, kitschy vibe. Then park it up on a gorgeous piece of land somewhere. I’ll report back when complete.

  • The best part of this post is that they both quit their jobs to follow their dreams. Getting the opportunity to do something like that, while making money pursuing what you love is awesome! The totally cool renovated airstream is just icing :) Amazing transformation.

  • I have so wanted to do this to an Airstream. Perfect !
    Super inventive.
    My only problem is using the American flag as a window shade.

  • Thank you so much for all of the sweet comments everyone – and thank you Design*Sponge for sharing our story! As for the plants – yes! Those are outdoor gutters that we got from the hardware store and planted succulents in… and for the kitchen – we have the white Homart sink out in the open, and the mini fridge and propane camp stove live behind the wooden doors :)

  • Looks great! I love that they used things they found during their travels and incorporated them into permanent furnishings. Those plaid upholstered ballot boxes are great!

  • Y’all take that hatchet and bludgeoning tool of a flashlight down from RIGHT ABOVE THE BED! Everything else looks lovely :)

  • Very nice indeed. All that wood makes it a bit too dark for me, but comes off very CA. I also ask: is there still a kitchen?

  • I love this so much I’m now looking at where I can get imported Airstreams here. Nothing I like more than an automobile doer-upper! I have one question: what is in the space behind the bed? As far as I can work out there isn’t a photo of that area and I would love to understand the floor plan a little better.

  • Looks like a lot of fun and adventure just the process of thinking through the steps to be taken and then, to carry them out. I will keep my eye open for a flat bed trailer.

  • Been traveling in a large motor home but finding that there are areas we can’t get into due to size restrictions. Wanted a smaller travel trailer but balked at the cost of a second camper. We have overlooked some rough shape ones with acceptable prices. Will have to go back and revisit them now that we know the possibilities. Fantastic remodel!

  • I have a 1971 Airstream. It has the same layout. How did you fix the broken window? The window on the side above the bed is broken out. I am going to refurbish it and first have to take care of the window. I was going to sell it but I have seen many refurbished and thought I might want to give it a try. You did a fabulous job. How long did it take to do?

  • Was the budget for the renovation only? How much did you buy the airstream for? This is my dream….someday. Thanks for the inspiration

  • I am curious about what you craft & what specific kind of sewing machine you have…it looks like one for a specific purpose. An ax was once considered a tool of campers, now days you might need it for a defense weapon! Love your re-make! Happy trails!

  • Thanks everyone! Rebecca, the blanket on our bed is from Pendelton- it’s the Yakima Camp Blanket in green. We love it so much- it’s all wool so it’s really toasty, but we have a white duvet underneath too for hot days. Next, as for the space behind the bed, the photo with the hats gives a little glimpse- we have our closets and a little bathroom back there… And lastly, we make hand illustrated screenprinted apparel & leather goods- you can find the link to our website in the D*S article, http://www.TheLocalBranch.co!

  • Great creativity. Very courageous doing what you are doing, going around the country and running your own business. I envy you! keep up the good work for those to live vicariously through you!

  • I am dying to know how you laid out the bathroom/closet area. Can you please please share a photo or two? The wall placement is boggling my mind as to how you have it all fit in. Is there a shower?

  • I’m curious, did you do the interior work yourself? For only 3k? Or was the 3k simply the decorating cost? No leaks, rot, rusty bits, scratched or dented panels, no missing/destroyed/dented rivets, and all the tools you need to build the interior? Sounds pretty incredible.

  • Sweet. This is the nicest “anything” I’ve seen to date. Your home gives me inspiration and motivation for my own 360 sq/ft tiny home. Your house is The Kind. Right on.

  • This is SO gorgeous and yummy!
    I wondered if you weighed the trailer before and after, and if you would have done anything differently so it would weigh less. What was the finished weight? (Yes I have a trailer I’m remodeling) :)


  • Lovelovelove this reno! I will be doing something similar with my trailer. If you are interested in softening the line where your wood walls meet the white ceiling/walls, I have seen some renovations where rope was pushed into the corner and tacked in place. With a zillion types and colors of rope, you are assured to find the right style to accentuate your rustic decor!

  • This is just too amazing. I live in a tiny rustic cabin, and am in need of an exterior design workshop! This is such a great inspiration.

  • Amazing. It looks as though you used screws to affix the wood to the walls. Did you just do that on the interior walls, and not the exterior? If you attached the wood to the exterior walls, how did you do that? Love love love what you did. Thank you!

  • Beautiful and great inspiration. Is the floor reclaimed also or is it an engineered floor? I’m looking for a suitable wood floor for our camper and love the look of what you were able to accomplish.

  • I had no idea such a re-novation could be done so quickly and so well by two people. I am looking for my first trailer studio and you inspire me that I too can do this once I find the camper trailer.

  • Just picked up my vintage airstream, I usually don’t like looking at other ideas in fear of not creating from my own ideas. I have to admit I love the mix of things in this airstream. Great design layout. Just gutting mine now! Thanks for the awe inspiring ideas.

  • This is very nice like the wall’s but how much more weight is the trailer got to be close are over max

  • I’m also curious how the weight compares to stock.

    A friend of my mom developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and has spent the last 20 years living in a chemical free airstream in the country. I wondered if this was one of those or inspired by one? Her walls were white porcelain and everything inside had to be metal, wood, glass, wool, ceramic or stone. Old Airstream trailers are a cost effective way to create a chemical free living space. This was in the days before tiny homes, which could be made chemical free on a budget as well. I’m also diagnosed with MCS but not as severe, so was quite curious about your trailer.

    • hi, my husband has MCS and we’re getting an airstream that we want to redo so he is able to travel. We are wondering what to do for flooring, marmoleum seems to be a favorite, but I am not sure about the smell of the linseed.

  • This is so beautiful and I’ve been thinking about it ever since this article was first posted, but I am not writing because it is beautiful. I keep thinking about your cook surface.
    Please, please, please be careful using a camp stove (i.e. only use it outside in a well-ventilated area). Carbon Monoxide poisoning is no joke and is *very* deadly. Maybe a carbon monoxide detector would be a handy addition to your AMAZING and beautiful home?


  • I am Dutch. I love Camping. And I alsao love your very nice and cosy trailer. My compliments for what You made of this. Have many good times together. Thijsina

      • Becci, where are you located? What model airstream do you have available? I would be interested depending on condition of the trailer. :) Thanks!

  • I LOVE THIS! I am starting an RV renovation now and this is exactly what I am going for! Was it hard finding recycled and used materials?

  • I’m currently restoring a 27′ 1972 Airstream and having a blast doing it. I had given myself 6 months for the renovation but I think it will be closer to a year.

  • Hello!
    I would love to see how you did the entrance to the bathroom and the bathroom. We are converting our single goucho bed to a double/queen and are looking at ideas for flow to the back that make sense.

  • Mackenzie and Blaine: This RV looks incredible, not my style, but I love the way you used found objects to furnish it. This is my dream too, but I am little, no a LOT older than you are, and my husband is extremely hesitant to do this much work. I think it would be incredibly fun to do! Have a great time, happy to see you living out your dreams at such a young age! Best wishes!

  • Hello All, the reno on the Airstream is along the line I had in mind for mine. Alas, there are many projects in front of this one so, my 1973 Airstream Overlander 26′ is for sale. It’s cleaned out, but not stripped out. Axle bearings greased and new tires. We actually hauled it up from FL. Located in southeast Alabama. Anyone interested, please connect. Thanks!

  • Are you able to tell me more about that blanket on the bed? Your trailer is so comfy and cozy, what a wonderful way to travel.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.