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See inside the cozy 1976 Airstream trailer a father and daughter call home

Jordan Menzel of Salt Lake City needed a change in his life, and soon realized that a 1976 Airstream trailer could be the answer. He found the trailer on Craigslist and managed to get it for a steal — around $4,000, or one-third of the asking price.

The exterior was in great shape, but the rest of it needed some work.

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“On the inside, it was exactly how it was in 1976,” he told Houzz TV. The place was filled with shag carpet, cluttery curtains and a cream and brown color scheme. So he gutted it and made it feel like a place he and his young daughter Penelope could call home.

The renovation project was intense, but ultimately it was something he credits to reminding him he could still be creative despite the challenges he was facing — and he got to reap the rewards from it.

Menzel tore out all of the laminate cabinets and rebuilt them from scratch. He also replaced the old toilet system with a composting one and removed the subfloor, adding one made from affordable scraps of bamboo flooring.

“In small spaces, making sure your kitchen is really functional makes the whole space feel functional,” he said of his decision to put in a whole new one. “So [now] the counter serves as a really long kitchen when you need it. It serves as a desk, a reading area when you need it, and kind of makes the whole space feel really open.”

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Menzel also created a custom pantry and storage space from hundreds of strip wood pallets that he was able to get for just $5. It gives the space a little character without so much of a dent in his tight budget.

Another creative space in the trailer is the couch that he built recently which can be converted to a dinette, coffee table space and can seat up to five people comfortably.

One of the challenges in the Airstream is finding space for material items, so it’s something Menzel has kept in mind as he designed it.

“Everything has a place — there are drawers and bins that are hidden under the bed and the dinette that all have a purpose.” he explained. “You have to minimize across the board. I minimize the clothes I wear, the things I have, and we’ve done that with [Penelope] as well.”

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He added about the trailer, “It’s been the best decision that I’ve made.”

  • Slideshow Photos

    Airstream home

    Mackenzie Edgerton and Blaine Vossler wanted to leave San Francisco and travel the country selling prints and leather goods, so they bought a beat-up Airstream trailer and turned it into a cozy space and studio that they now call home.

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    Home sweet home -

    When Mackenzie Edgerton and Blaine Vossler decided to take their print and leather goods company, The Local Branch, on the road, they needed the perfect trailer to make it happen. With four weeks and $3,000, the couple transformed an Airstream trailer into a cozy home and studio that they now live in full-time as they travel the country selling their products.

    Jack Strutz / Jack Strutz
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    Worn-down wonder -

    With the lease expiring on their San Francisco apartment, Edgerton and Vossler were in a time crunch to find a trailer. “We basically allotted a week to find the perfect fixer-upper,” Edgerton said.

    In January, they traveled throughout California, searching for the perfect trailer. With a little help from Craigslist, they found their new home: an Airstream trailer.

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    See the vision -

    “When we first saw the Airstream, it was in need of a major overhaul,” Edgerton said. “There were flat tires, mildew, lots of trash, layers of green slime, old wallpaper and a broken window."

    “It was actually a bit overwhelming,” Vossler said. “Even through all of that, we saw great potential.”

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    Get to work -

    The main renovation took approximately four weeks. The couple first gutted the entire trailer, then cleaned, painted and made plumbing and electrical repairs. Next, they installed cabinets and new floors before moving in permanently.

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    Coming together -

    “We were both really excited to take on this project, but we had to learn it all, including carpentry and plumbing, as we went,” Edgerton said. “There was a lot of trial and error.”

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    On the road -

    The couple selected reclaimed redwood planks from a fencing company in Northern California to use for their Airstream’s cabinets and countertops.

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    Hometown reminders -

    “Living in San Francisco, we spent a lot of time hiking and exploring in redwood forests,” Edgerton said. “It’s nice to take that experience with us.”

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    Work from home -

    The couple now sells their products out of their trailer at craft shows, music festivals and pop-up shops throughout the country. They have also made a point to pick one-of-a-kind décor items for their home from various spots in their travels.

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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    Memorable pieces -

    “There is an inherent story and history behind everything we collect,” Edgerton said about their home décor. Their bison skull came from a small trading post in Sedona, Arizona, while their 48-star flag came from a stop in Freehome, Georgia.

    Jack Strutz / Jack Strutz
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    Final touches -

    “We really wanted everything in our space to be a reflection of our travels, filled with souvenirs from many corners of the country.”

    The Local Branch; Jack Strutz / The Local Branch; Jack Strutz
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    Highway ride -

    “We’ve been all over the country, from San Francisco to Brooklyn, New Orleans to Portland,” Edgerton said. “No matter where we are, we’re always home.”

    The Local Branch / The Local Branch
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