Our vintage Airstream trailer has been a home away from home on many summer weekends for our young family. My husband and I found it by chance in 2003 on the side of the road on our way out to Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia. The owner had just put the for sale sign up in the window that morning, and was asking only $1500.00!!! We pounced on it right away and scrounged up every penny we could that afternoon. Our dream of owning our very own piece an iconic travel trailer history was about to become a reality.
My interest in trailers began at a young age. My father is an architect and builder, and when I was a kid he had this wonderful gypsy caravan on his property. He had used the caravan to transport his handmade wooden kid’s rowboats and toys to sell at summer festivals across the British Columbia coastline.
Eventually he stopped doing the festivals but he kept the caravan on his property and let me sleep in it when I would visit him. I adored it, it was made entirely of wood and I loved the feeling of being in a small cosy hideaway.
When we got our Airstream it was in need of a lot of repair. We used it right away, but it functioned as more of a glorified tent than a trailer! The fridge and stove worked, but everything else was defunct.
Over the years we’ve completely renovated the inside. I designed a new layout that would function more efficiently and give us more storage. We took out the bathroom to make space for the bed in the back (there’s usually great bathrooms in the parks we stay at anyway). We love to cook so we created a larger and more functional kitchen area, plus a drop down table that would serve as another bed when needed.
When our girls were smaller we used to all fit into the tiny 17ft trailer! The girls would sleep end to end on the single bed in the eating area and us in the new 48″ wide (wink, cosy) bed in the back. Now we are a family of 5 with the addition of a boy, so we travel with a tent for the kids to camp out in and my husband and I get it all to ourselves again!
We’ve had a lot of help with this project along the way, including Henhouse’s expert cabinet maker Joe Gallant. Joe spent four months building all of the cabinetry on the interior to my specifications. It was a big technical challenge because of the curved shape of the trailer but Joe had no problem doing a fantastic job. All of the birch cabinetry and teak counters and floors are his custom handmade work.
Take a look at the before photos below! We are so thankful for Joe’s help.
We’ve also been lucky to have the help of Craig Dorsey – a master of vintage trailer restoration. Craig had been restoring Airstreams and other models for years in California and I’d been admiring his work from afar here in NS for a long time.
One day we were having an issue with the trailer and looked online for help. During my search I was shocked and overjoyed to discover that Craig had relocated to Clementsvale, NS! I was so excited to get to meet him and he’s been a big help to us ever since.
We still have a few more updates to tackle. Most recently we had all of the windows replaced, as well as some of the aluminum skins on the exterior. Next up is giving the skins a polish and adding a cute awning.
This project has been a wonderful journey for my family and I. From the first time we laid eyes on it as a young couple starting out, to watching the kids grow up, to getting help from friends and meeting lots of great ones along the way. It’s been really special, and I cherish it all. We’re looking forward to continuing our travels in our little home on wheels for many years to come!