Vintage trailer becomes sleek 158-square-foot home

California architect remodels 1978 Airstream into live-work space with the environment in mind.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Mar 18, 2011 12:29PM

1978 Airstream trailer (Courtesy of Hofmann Architecture)We write often about the joys -- and the challenges -- people find living in small spaces.


But 158 square feet is really small, especially when it includes the office.

California architect Matthew Hofmann is living and working in a vintage 25-foot Airstream trailer he redesigned and remodeled, with an emphasis on sustainable materials.


"I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to live with less,” Hofmann told Kent Griswold of the Tiny House Blog.


He detailed the eight-month renovation of the 1978 Airstream for the Los Angeles Times.


Hofmann replaced the dining-table top with bamboo. The dining area also doubles as office space, guest quarters and a "media lounge," where he watches movies on a 27-inch iMac computer, a considerable downsizing from his previous entertainment system. His printer is in a drawer under the seat.


The couch becomes a bed large enough for his 6-foot-4 frame. The bathroom has a 14-inch vessel sink and a shower covered in tiny tiles, with a custom redwood shower pan.


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Hofmann told the Tiny House Blog:

Two years ago I moved from a large house. Moving has a way of making you consider the value of possessions. I wondered, while looking at the massive truckload of things, how would I feel if this truck ran off a cliff and all was lost? My stuff was beginning to feel like a burden, like luggage. Things that I needed to take around with me wherever I went; a truckload-sized ball and chain.

He shared 12 reasons why he likes living in a small space, including less maintenance, less clutter and simplified entertainment technology.

Renovating vintage Airstream trailers is a popular pastime. We wrote previously about a California landscape architect who lives in a 1959 Airstream in addition to having an office on wheels. In Austin, Texas, you can rent a renovated Airstream for a night.


Sierra Airstreams has an entire gallery of remodeling projects, and Airstream owners trade advice on the Airstream Knowledge Sharing Forums.

Hofmann's home may be small but his view is large: His Airstream is parked on an oceanfront property in Montecito, Calif., which had been the site of a home that was destroyed by fire.


"Some friends and family don't understand why I've chosen this lifestyle, while others say I'm living their dream," he told the Times. "Life-changing events, such as a fire, remind people that they can do with much less and be content."


Feb 4, 2012 10:17AM
I think this is amazing! I too, could live like that. Nothing like downsizing. So many natural resourses could be saved if more people would do this kind of thing. Right on, Brother!
Jan 14, 2012 3:25PM



I live aboard

Mar 18, 2011 5:13PM
OK, this remodel guy...can't be for real is he? I mean, he tells this rather portly guy to get rid of his PITCHER water filter and replace it with a ...tiny squeeze bottle? And getting a new light because, LIGHT BULBS take up space? Really? Like how much space do they take up? Where is this guy's common sense? Oh, I know, it went out the window with the rather bizarre, sexy painting The guy NEEDS good drinking water, he shouldn't have to wait for it. The black cube things were a good idea. That and the stacking bowls.
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