After incessantly drooling over their 1975 remodelled Airstream, it was about time we struck up the courage to ask the owners of Mavis the Airstream for their story. If you can get past the amazing photos Sheena and Jason shared with us, be sure to read about their adventures remodelling their Airstream trailer, being full-time RVers, upcoming trips and where Jason would camp if he could camp anywhere in the world (it’s a gooder). Enjoy.
1. Tell us a little bit about your childhoods. Did you camp as kids? Where did you grow up? Do you think there’s a part of your childhood that lead to you eventually living in a trailer? We both grew up in north Georgia and loved having the mountains in our backyard. We took many hiking trips to the Appalachians but never did much camping. We never knew anyone with a travel trailer and had never even seen the inside of one until we bought our Airstream. I can’t say that any event in our childhood led us to living in an Airstream – our newly married adult selves were the ones that figured it out. We wanted to travel and see this beautiful country and didn’t want to wait for an allotted vacation time or our retirement. So, we bought an Airstream, remodelled it and our occupations allow us to live and work out of it from anywhere in the country.
2. How much did Mavis cost? We didn’t keep very good track but we figure our whole home cost about a third of the price of the truck we use to pull it with.
3. How long did it take to renovate Mavis to where you wanted it? In the span of a year, we did two separate remodels on Mavis. Last year, we spent seven months remodelling. We had the help of my dad and uncle who are both builders and my mom who is very talented at sewing. I learned a lot about carpentry and built many part of the inside completely myself. Jason learned some plumbing and electrical skills. We bought her completely original – shag carpeting, brown pressboard walls and all. We left a few things original the first go-round: the twin bed configuration, the wardrobe closet and the front sofa. We completely gutted and replaced the bathroom and kitchen as well as new paint, flooring, plumbing, some electrical. We lived in this configuration for three months and realized we made some design mistakes. We both worked from the Airstream yet we only had one desk. Another thing was the original 1975 sofa cushions were very short. It made it difficult to stretch out and especially difficult to watch TV since the sofa faced down the length of the trailer. We had to crane our necks to the side to watch TV. Also, we realized the twin bed configuration took up a lot of precious space. So, we made a pit-stop back in our hometown of Atlanta and parked Mavis at my folk’s house for remodel round two. This time, we spent three months and completely removed the front sofa and both twin beds. We replaced with a full-sized bed in the front of the trailer and nice, deep comfy sofa where one of the twin beds used to be. On the other side, we added built-ins for a TV and second desk. This change opened up an additional 2×7′ of floor space in the rear of the trailer. That might not seem like a lot, but now I have space for yoga!
4. What was the biggest challenge? For us, the biggest challenge was building in a space that is not traditional in any way. The space must be lightweight, be able to move and flex while going down the road and to top it off, it has curved walls. My dad liked to joke that building in an Airstream was like building inside of a fish bowl.
5. Where did you look for inspiration/ideas? We are old souls. Jason and I share a love for old music and vintage t-shirts. I’m totally inspired by the 70s with its bohemian style and free-spiritedness. I incorporated geometric Southwestern prints, honey-colored wood walls, splashes of turquoise and macramé galore in our space. It’s a nod to the 70s but with a clean, modern twist.
6. What do you do for work? I’m a graphic designer, photographer and co-owner of an e-commerce business for the past 12 years. Jason has a full-time telecommute job as a Senior Project Manager for a Fortune 50 company. We both work from wherever we are as long as we have internet!
7. Where have your travels taken you so far? We spent the first three months in Southport, North Carolina. The Wilmington area is where we want to settle one day so we knew it’s the first place we wanted to visit long-term. We are water lovers and the North Carolina coast has every type of water we’d ever want. Waterways, lakes, rivers and the ocean. It’s a paddle boarder’s dream.
8. Where to next? We have a twenty state National Park trek we are planning this summer. We are going to Iowa – to spend time with my family and from there we are making a big loop through the Dakotas, the Pacific Northwest and down through California, the desert and Texas.
9. It took a while to find Mavis and remodel. Would you ever do it again? Oh, we’d do it again in a heartbeat. It’s been one of the greatest decisions we ever made. In fact, we’ve inspired my parents and they’re recently purchased an Airstream – a 1978 Sovereign named Maude. So, actually we are doing it again. My dad has shifted his focus to trailer manufacturing and vintage remodelling after he got multiple requests after being part of the Mavis build – check him out over at moontrailers.com.
10. Finally, if you could go anywhere in the world to camp, where would it be? I’d camp in Greenland and sleep under the northern lights. Jason’s pick is the beach near the Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. Can anyone at NASA make that happen?