Earlier today, I caught up — thanks to the gang over at faircompanies — with what the always-entertaining and insightful small-home builder Derek Diedricksen is up to. To follow up on that post, I thought I’d take a look at the latest project from Matthew Hofmann, another young green builder/architect who I’ve blogged about in the past. Although the work of Diedricksen and Hofmann couldn't be more different, they both have a knack for working with limited square footage, things on wheels, and salvaged materials. So what’s Hofmann’s specialty, you ask? Try eco-friendly renovations of vintage Airstream trailers.
Although 28-year-old Hofmann, a LEED-accredited architect, is responsible for a handful of lovely more "traditional" residential properties, his passion for Airstream renovations began when he purchased a shiny, 25-foot long beauty from Craigslist, treated it to an eco-friendly makeover, parked it on an oceanfront lot, and moved right in with his girlfriend for a year.
Since then, Hofmann has emerged as a vintage trailer rehabilitation guru of sorts. His full-service architectural design firm, HoffArc, is now offering “a full range of services for restorations of vintage Airstream travel trailers and there's even a distinct HoffArc blog dedicated to the art of earth-friendly aluminum trailer touch-ups.
Santa Barbara-based Hofmann’s most recent completed Airstream project, his second this year, is a guesthouse for a Rottweiler- and horse-loving avocado rancher who wanted to transform a 27-foot 1972 Tradewind Airstream trailer into a homey place where guests could feel “comfortable and not worry about staining the carpet.”
Hofmann explains that his latest project is one that blurred “the client’s requirements for a small sustainable space, while providing visitors with a comfortable guesthouse:”
The client wanted a place to work without having to disturb the dining area or disassemble either of the sleeping spaces. She also wanted something durable because she lives in her jeans and cowboy boots on a 200-acre avocado ranch with another 40 acres for cattle and a couple horses.
Some in-depth design details courtesy of HoffArc:
A centrally located hi-def 19-inch video monitor displays either DVDs or streamed Netflix videos from anywhere in the trailer. A surround-sound audio system provides more than enough sound support. The monitor swivels on a pullout arm for optimal viewing adjustments and tucks away neatly behind a rollup cabinet.
Hofmann — who stands 6’4” — offers a refreshing change of space in the full height, stand-up shower. The lightweight 1/8-inch tiles span the shower basin and seal in the water more than a foot up three sides. And Hofmann guarantees the shower won’t leak, thanks to an alternative tile installation method that uses a foam backer with acrylic adhesive to substrate.
A high-design brushed stainless steel sink and faucet sits on an elegantly curved deck that faces another nifty addition — a see-through fish tank that’s visible from the office and bathroom, with only the fish seeing what's on each side.
The Cali Bamboo flooring is a nice sustainable feature. The backlit ceiling lights emit a soft glow against the brilliant white surfaces. Three LED puck lights over the kitchen/office stubbornly keep electric usage down and specific task lighting cranked up.
The dining area has been expanded to seat six comfortably at the table, with the addition of two fold-away chairs that adjoin the kitchen area. Underneath the left and right access benches are two "carry-on luggage-sized drawers," as Hofmann calls them. "They're for guests to store their travel bags.” The drawer guides, as are all installed drawers, constructed with silent closing Hafele German-crafted hardware that's sturdy enough for 50 pounds of gear.
Moving into culinary arts, there wasn't any skimping on the kitchen sink, either. The extra-deep stainless steel commercial-style basin will shock seasoned RVers. Most trailer kitchen sinks barely get both hands wet at the same time. An adequate pullout food pantry fits next to a generous refrigerator. The two-burner propane stove completes a no-hassles, no-nonsense food prep package.
For more on this specific project and Matthew Hoffman's in-the-works Airstream-related ventures, including an "Aussie outback model" for an Aussie client, check out the HoffArc Airstream renovations blog.
Any Airstream aficionados out there care to chime in?