Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
/ Source: TODAY
By Julie Pennell

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.

RELATED: Couple converts 480-square-foot garage into their home — and lives mortgage-free!

“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.

%3Cdiv%3E%3Ca%20href%3D'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fphotos%2F14789375%2FMy-Houzz-New-Life-and-Style-for-a-1976-Airstream-eclectic-salt-lake-city'%20target%3D'_blank'%3E%3Cimg%20src%3D'http%3A%2F%2Fst.hzcdn.com%2Fsimgs%2F31d1d3b103c8c0a8_8-3715%2Feclectic.jpg'%20alt%3D'My%20Houzz%3A%20New%20Life%20and%20Style%20for%20a%201976%20Airstream'%20border%3D0%20width%3D'500'%20height%3D'334'%20nopin%3D'nopin'%20%2F%3E%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E%3Cdiv%20style%3D'color%3A%23444%3B'%3E%3Csmall%3EBy%20%3Ca%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3Anone%3Bcolor%3A%23444%3B%22%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fpro%2Flucycall%2Flucy-call%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3ELucy%20Call%20Salt%20Lake%20City%3C%2Fa%3E%20-%20See%20more%20%3Ca%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3Anone%3Bcolor%3A%23444%3B%22%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fphotos%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3EHome%20Design%20Photos%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fsmall%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E

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.

%3Cdiv%3E%3Ca%20href%3D'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fphotos%2F14789487%2FMy-Houzz-New-Life-and-Style-for-a-1976-Airstream-eclectic-patio-salt-lake-city'%20target%3D'_blank'%3E%3Cimg%20src%3D'http%3A%2F%2Fst.hzcdn.com%2Fsimgs%2F6a51e7c803c8c183_8-2606%2Feclectic-patio.jpg'%20alt%3D'My%20Houzz%3A%20New%20Life%20and%20Style%20for%20a%201976%20Airstream'%20border%3D0%20width%3D'500'%20height%3D'334'%20nopin%3D'nopin'%20%2F%3E%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E%3Cdiv%20style%3D'color%3A%23444%3B'%3E%3Csmall%3E%3Ca%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3Anone%3Bcolor%3A%23444%3B%22%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fpro%2Flucycall%2Flucy-call%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3EPhoto%20by%20Lucy%20Call%3C%2Fa%3E%20-%20%3Ca%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3Anone%3Bcolor%3A%23444%3B%22%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fphotos%2Feclectic%2Fpatio%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3ESearch%20eclectic%20patio%20design%20ideas%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fsmall%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E

“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.”

RELATED: Before-and-after pics: See this Airstream trailer's hipster makeover

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.

%3Cdiv%3E%3Ca%20href%3D'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fphotos%2F14789431%2FMy-Houzz-New-Life-and-Style-for-a-1976-Airstream-contemporary-kitchen-salt-lake-city'%20target%3D'_blank'%3E%3Cimg%20src%3D'http%3A%2F%2Fst.hzcdn.com%2Fsimgs%2F614116f603c8c122_8-7767%2Fcontemporary-kitchen.jpg'%20alt%3D'My%20Houzz%3A%20New%20Life%20and%20Style%20for%20a%201976%20Airstream'%20border%3D0%20width%3D'500'%20height%3D'334'%20nopin%3D'nopin'%20%2F%3E%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E%3Cdiv%20style%3D'color%3A%23444%3B'%3E%3Csmall%3E%3Ca%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3Anone%3Bcolor%3A%23444%3B%22%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fpro%2Flucycall%2Flucy-call%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3EPhoto%20by%20Lucy%20Call%3C%2Fa%3E%20-%20%3Ca%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3Anone%3Bcolor%3A%23444%3B%22%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.houzz.com%2Fphotos%2Fcontemporary%2Fkitchen%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3EMore%20contemporary%20kitchen%20photos%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fsmall%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E

“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.”

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

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.