Before & After: An Airstream Trailer Gets A Rustic Overhaul

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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

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“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.”

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“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.”

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kristina

For the plants above the windows, are they planted in gutters? I cannot tell, but I love it.

Amanda

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.

Brandi

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.

greg.org

am totally loving this rn, I hope they do a makeover on the Farnsworth House next!

Jana

Wait, where’d the kitchen go? Is there a stove somewhere?

Gayle

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.

Samantha Cobos

Love it! It was such a mess before BUT being a designer I always see potential. I have a thing for small well designed living spaces AND dream followers :)

Mackenzie & Blaine

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 :)

Nina

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!

linda

The hatchet/ax over the bed is a little disconcerting !

G

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

Angela

Sounds like an incredible adventure. What does the Local Branch sell?

Debbie

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?

Bridget from Refined Vintage

Very creative, the whole western rustic design is perfect. It certainly reflects your style aesthetics, I am curious as to what you craft and sell? You did a fantastic job of recreating the airstream.

Rebecca

Where can I find a blanket like one on their bed???

jamie.m.tubbs@gmail.com

Wow! Worst “before” ever on DS. Amazing job, I love it!!

Stitchalicious

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.

Andrés G. Nevares

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.

Dan

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!

Jill Zachow

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?

Hannah

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

Debbie Deatherage

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!

Mackenzie & Blaine

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!

Sarah

You two are amazing. Keep rockin’.
Hope to see you again, in SF or on the road.
Happy trails and safe travels!
~SW

eric

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!

teresa

Awesome…it has been a life long dream to own a vintage trailer and bring it back to life.
Thanks for sharing

Beth Linton

Love it!!! what is a homart sink – no good pics of it?

Ashley

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?

Hoppy Camper

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.

trail6

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.

mary talton

This looks just like Ralph Lauren did this! Y’all are good! It is gorgeous!Love it!

Susie

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) :)

thanks!

Krista

I am in love with this reno!! I am curious as to how you installed all the beautiful wood panels? More pics would be lovely!

Tami

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!

Bea

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.

David

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!

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