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Green Airstream Renovation: A Place to Call Home

2/7/2011 2:17:31 PM

Tags: Airstream, HofArc, Matthew Hofman, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

I’m an Airstream junkie. I’ve been coveting the iconic silver trailers since I was a kid, and I believe they make good, efficient homes and offices (and awesome traveling vehicles). HofArc founder Matthew Hofman shared his renovation of a 1978 25-foot Airstream Tradewind with me this week, and it's too good not to pass along.

Since he left his 9-to-5 job to start his own architectural design firm in Santa Barbara and San Diego, Hofman has used the Airstream as his office, home and recreational vehicle. He rescued the “abandoned rattletrap,” which he found on Craigslist, from behind a chain link fence, where it was being guarded by “a pit bull with an attitude.” The body of the 160-square-foot trailer was solid, he reports, but inside was a mess.

“It challenged me, and at this early point in my career I need to be stretched—it’s how I do my best work,” the 27-year-old architect writes. “Besides, in the business of fresh ideas, this is one that is clearly hitting on all cylinders. It’s efficient, it’s high-tech, and it’s home sweet home.”

Hofman saved much of the existing cabinetry, including the storage drawers underneath the bed and the faux wood paneling. Overhead cabinetry was removed, modified and re-installed; all overhead cabinetry hardware was saved and reused; and the original dinette set was refinished and painted. The original window trim, painted over by several previous owners, was removed and restored to a brushed aluminum finish. Scraps that couldn’t be reused were sent to a recycling yard, and the old appliances were sold on Craigslist or donated.

Hofman’s Airstream is now a sleek, efficient space (with an iMac mounted on the wall and a high-definition printer in a drawer underneath) that I would be happy to call home if I didn’t have two kids to shelter. Here are some highlights.

airstream matthew 

Matthew lounges in the entrance of his completely restored and polished Airstream 


The contemporary interior includes bamboo countertops, table and floors. 


The completely renovated bathroom includes recycled-glass tiles and bamboo countertops. 



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