The Breathe Easy
Breathe Easy nontoxic chemical free tiny house that is headed to southern California soon.
Breathe Easy nontoxic chemical free tiny house that is headed to southern California soon.
Or otherwise known as the “shiny tiny” part 2
A new trend is emerging among interior design minded road fanatics. The Airstream trailer is a very popular design. And everyone recognizes them!
Inspired by innovative airplane designs, the first Airstream trailer was introduced back in 1931. They were built out of aluminum and intended for only the mightiest
of road warriors. Their aerodynamic, rounded metallic designs gave them their badass futuristic demeanor. They’ve since diminished in popularity, but a creative Airstream uprising is just on the horizon.
Lately we’ve been seeing more and more people converting these old-fashioned, outdated contraptions into lavish, comfortable road wagons complete with beds, kitchens and even bathrooms. In fact, they’re becoming so popular that even Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey has his very own Airstream trailer that he invested over 200k in.
Here are the benefits of owning an Airstream trailer:
The new trailer was built to be the same as the old trailer with few modifications. One being we used a heavier gauge steel to minimize bounce in the frame. We salvaged old parts such as the axles, custom rigging for the axles that allowed for drop pans for the water and waste tank, and the trailer tongue/hitch steel.
After it was all welded back together, the frame went to the paint booth and painted with a Low VOC primer and paint before it was moved into place to be pushed under the shell. We also ripped Purebond hardwood plywood for the perimeter, front bow, and rear bow. We attached the bow plywood to the shell for rigidity. Since the original floor was 5/8 plywood and we were using ¾”, we had to plane down the edges to fit into the wall channels of the frame.
We used 2 forklifts to lift the shell while we pushed the frame under the shell.
After lowering it, we pulled the temporary steel supports and bolted the shell to the frame. We then installed the perimeter plywood and screwed that to the trailer frame.
The next step was insulating the floor perimeter with John Mansville foam board followed by installation of the rounded skirt aluminum. The drop pan housing followed shortly after with insulating the water and grey tank before lowering them into place.
Since we are doing a heated floor system, we installed a false floor for laying the mats and heat cables on. The heat tapes are under the floor so we used the reflective foil to bounce the heat to the flooring of the Airstream . One of the requirements was not to install the heat tape under cabinets and another was do not cut, knick, or damage the heat wires. Once they were installed, we poured a light weigh concrete over the wires and temporarily installed the plywood flooring, followed by building the toe kicks boxes of the cabinets.
We now have a list of what will be going into this airstream, that I am calling
The Shiny Tiny, part 1
In October, 2016, we received a phone call asking questions about building a tiny house that resembled an RV as they did a lot of relocating for their work and wanted to be able to stay at RV parks. However, they were experiencing a lot of pushback from RV parks about tiny houses, with one park owner saying “if it looked like an RV, say an Airstream, there would be no questions or issues.”
They then asked if we could renovate an Airstream to a nontoxic unit. They admitted that they called numerous places and no one could or would take on the project. They then asked, if I would consider doing it for them. I cautioned them that it would be out of our norm, but since we knew about nontoxic and chemical free tiny houses, we would do it. We set the budget and started looking for an older Airstream that could be gutted and rebuilt.
A “shiny turd” is an Airstream that has been polished but not updated in any other way. It is shined up to get a higher sell price from unsuspecting buyers.
Another key difference is that a restored, renovated, or modernized Airstream will have documentation to prove that trailer has been repaired, a new axle installed, or the flooring replaced. A “shiny turd” will have none of that. A shiny turd is like a sign that says “buyer beware.”
Tail separation is when the tail end of trailer frame has separated from the main trailer, usually in connections to the trailer frame at the axles. A simple way to check this is to stand on the bumper and move up and down while noticing if the body of the trailer also moves or just the frame does. It is costly to fix and at this point, we were not considering rebuilding the trailer.
What we found was a 31ft 1983 Excella Airstream in fair condition. There was dent in the roof, the top was balding, it smelled slightly musty, and some of the appliances did not work. Since we would be gutting it down to the shell and tossing everything, the trailer appeared doable for the project, so we made a deal.
We towed it to the shop and started gutting it to the shell, and found that the floor had rot, which since all Airstreams leak, it was not a surprise. What we encountered next did surprise us. We removed the flooring and found the musty smell was strong. The pink fiberglass insulation in the floor had absorbed moisture with mouse droppings scattered on the top. Mice!!!
Upon removal, we found that the underbelly had holes that allowed mice to get inside as well as many mouse carcasses. Upon closer examination, we decided to do a separation of the shell from the trailer so we could work on both. Once we had separation, we could see the holes in the frame from rust and corrosion as well as broken welds in outriggers. The trailer needed some major work.
After consulting with the buyers, it was determined to rebuild the trailer with heavier steel while reusing the axles, step assembly, tongue and hitch, as well as tank enclosures. The rebuilt trailer cost $800 more than trying to fix the old frame.
The trailer was built for the Airstream in the background making sure we followed the old trailer design so that the shell could be reattached. This Airstream is being modernized to a nontoxic chemical free status. The couple chose the Airstream model over a tiny house as it would be accepted in RV parks for long stays without question.
Some have said that there is not much left of the original and while that is true, the most important parts are left; the RV certification and the shell which says I am an RV, and an Airstream! And it will provide a “safe” home for the owners to live in year around.
It has been said that you have not renovated an Airstream until you stood on the ground while inside the Airstream.
Airstream has a lot of different meaning for its’ parts such as “banana peels”
If you want to follow the place we post pictures of the build click on the link Airstream Build
Come back for the next update to learn about that and more.
Emily Tiny House
The Wildflower II tiny house, micro home is built to the specifications of our healthy homes series. It is 8′ x 22′ with a 3′ covered front porch. The hardwood finish is a Tung oil hand-rubbed finish, steel roof that is classified as Class IV hail resistant, steel lap siding, and a 3/4″ x 6″ White Ash Character grade paneling, with white ash cabinetry and custom white ash doors.
To see what the inside of the most recently completed Wildflower II looks like follow this link The Grand Tour
What happens when you announce that you’re going to live in a tiny house?
For Emily and Justin Gerde, thirty-somethings who have a 2½-year-old son, Wyatt, this is what happened:
“Our whole family was kind of skeptical before everything came together,” Emily says. “You say, ‘350 square feet’ and everyone just loses their minds. It’s actually not that small. And people were worried about Wyatt: ‘Will he have a normal childhood?’ ”
“Of course we don’t want him to have a normal childhood!” she says with a laugh.
Wyatt’s unusual childhood so far includes appearing on HGTV: His family’s tiny home was featured on an episode of “Tiny House, Big Living”: “Young Couple Builds Custom Tiny Birch House.”
It all started with HGTV, actually.
“Our sister-in-law is very earthy and she had been looking into tiny homes,” Emily says. “She helped us find our contractor after a local TV station did a story about Kim Kasl (another local tiny-home dweller). Half the show was about Kim’s house and the other half was about the local contractor and how they were being featured on ‘Tiny House Nation.’
“That got us excited about it. It was just a neat idea at first, but as I researched it, I realized, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is totally doable for us.’ ”
Her husband, however …
“He was definitely not on board at first,” Emily says.
Various tiny house screen shots saved from the show, Tiny House, Big Living when we were on HGTV in May 2016. The show was filmed over 4 months of the actual build.
Some tiny houses do appreciate in value, and the Ravenlore did. Nicki changed her career path which required a relocation to California and flying as a stewardess for Virgin Airlines. With that, she had to make a hard decision about her tiny house. Rather than take it with her, she decided to sell it as she would seldom be home, but traveling the globe. So she put it up for sale and the Ravenlore sold quickly………..for more money that she paid for it. Like several thousands of dollars more.
We send Nicki best wishes for her new adventures. And if you are thinking of buying a Ravenlore tiny house, we can create one just for you. We do have a Ravenlore starting the “que” in production within 30 days for a customer that decided to purchase one before the price increased.
A new model in the Breathe Easy series of nontoxic tiny homes for people that are chemically and environmentally sensitive.
This a prototype so the pricing is being worked out. Right now for this model, the price is approx $45000 and it can be made smaller from a 12′ unit or as long as 28′ in 2′ increments.
Call or email for pricing