Architect Matthew Hofmann recently completed a contemporary renovation of a vintage 1970’s Airstream trailer, which he now calls home with his girlfriend in Santa Barbara, CA. A lesson in living small, the updated Airstream shows thoughtful use of space and storage as well as catering to the modernist aesthetic. Read Mathew’s comments on the project below:
Project Location: Roaming free in Southern California – Currently Santa Barbara.
Project goal: Living in just 158 square feet of space isn’t for everyone. That’s like living in about half a typical 15’ x 20’ bedroom. Some people would never like or be able to adjust to it. Still, the reality of living in a small space does offer many unique advantages. For me, living with less in a smaller space was my choice. After four years of working for a mid-sized architectural company in Santa Barbara, I started my own firm. Naturally, I like the idea of reducing my costs, but I also wanted a quiet, comfortable place to work – a space that was mobile, and easily converted from residence to workspace.
Matthew’s description: Often, the creative process is always accomplished by adding more, but by taking away what is distracting. The design questions were, “How much does one remove? How much does one keep?”
To me, sustainable practices are a mere starting point for design. This included the use of regional materials and reusable products, such as bamboo for flooring, countertops, dining room/worktable, along with a recycling management plan throughout construction. Weight was also a huge issue. Less was more. Lighter was better. And like luggage packed on an airplane, the load needed to be properly balanced.
I wanted to create open space in small space, using honest materials. In Southern California, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior space can be a very successful strategy. The design needed to be bright and airy by nature, yet warm and multi-functional. “For me, a space that serves only one purpose is a waste of space. But for someone else it may not work.”
I need a place to park it – and not in a trailer park – so I went back to the most logical place – CraigList. Shortly after, I arranged to park it on an ocean view Montecito lot where a home had burned down in a recent firestorm. The city of Santa Barbara has issued temporary trailer permits for homeowners whose homes were destroyed in the recent wildfires.
The Airstream’s pantry (left) and office (right).
Kitchen area counter (left) and bathroom sink (right).
View of bathroom.
Matthew Hofmann is a licensed architect, founder of HofArc, offering design services, big and small, to clients all over the world. He is currently looking for new thoughtful and progressive architectural clients. Follow his design blog about the lifestyle of living in an Airstream trailer. Go to: http://www.hofarc.com/category/blog/
Telephone: (805) 618-2461.