This Remodeled 1973 Airstream Is a Gorgeous Road Trip Home—or Permanent Guest Room
From the custom tile to leather accents, everything was designed to withstand long trips on the road
Interior designer Tineke Triggs had always dreamed of owning an Airstream—and when her guest house burned down in the 2017 California wine country fires, it felt like the right opportunity. “We thought, why not replace it with guest quarters that we can take with us when we travel?” says Triggs.
Within a month of searching, Triggs and her husband found what they were looking for—a 1973 Airstream out in Michigan that they could completely restore and redesign. Working with a project manager and technical team in Utah, the couple remotely renovated the Airstream and drove it out to California once it was complete.
“The renovation took over a year, with top-to-bottom retrofits to create the portable adventure home we envisioned—not just one that looked pretty but didn’t travel well,” says Triggs. Especially since her husband is a big camper, the Airstream, now named “Roxy,” makes for a versatile combo of guest quarters at home and mobile home for future trips.
Triggs had branched out into interior design a few years earlier after a career in tech sales, picking up design projects for friends and family on the side before launching her business, Artistic Designs for Living. Designing around an Airstream’s shape and road adventures was a fresh challenge for her. “You need to think about the materials you are using and choose the sturdiest ones,” she says. “Driving an Airstream is a bit like putting it through millions of tiny earthquakes and everything needs to be as sturdy as possible to not move or break.”
“One of the bigger design challenges was to restructure the interior layout,” says Triggs. The original design had a fold-out bed in the front and a bathroom in the back, but Triggs was looking for a better separation of space. “For me, that separation is essential—you don’t want to be hosting people in your bedroom!”
Creating the new layout was a challenge, but Triggs succeeded in the end with a kitchen and dining space as you enter, and the bathroom and bedroom in the back for privacy.
The dining space creates plenty of room for eating on a road trip or for entertaining guests. Triggs also added houseplants to liven up the interior while the Airstream when it’s parked at home, but the plant babies don’t stick along when Triggs and her husband travel. “We’ve found they don’t like road trips as much as we do!”
Triggs’ aesthetic for the Airstream was a California casual-meets-Danish modern mix. “I wanted it to be modern but warm with a mix of masculine and feminine elements,” she says. “Most Airstreams are metal and dark, but I left the walls clean and bright to create a more airy feel as it’s such a small space. I love the rich look of walnut so I chose that for the cabinets. I also love the mix of leather, metal, and wood and found some amazing vintage leather pulls for the hardware.”
The kitchen includes an electric stovetop, along with a backsplash that matches the Airstream’s walls to continue the bright and open look.
The back half of the Airstream is home to the cozy bedroom and single bathroom, creating a private retreat.
One of Triggs’ favorite features in the entire Airstream? The custom tiles throughout the space that she designed with Maison Surfaces, with whom she collaborates on her namesake tile collection. “The flooring pattern was inspired by something I saw in a Parisian café, and we were careful to design patterns with smaller tiles to prevent them from cracking when we traveled.”
Where will Roxy the Airstream’s next road trip be? “We envision taking it down the Pacific Coast Highway on surfing trips with our teenage boys,” says Triggs. “We’d also love to visit the iconic national parks in the West. How great [would it be] to wake up with a good night’s sleep in a cozy space and step outside to see Old Faithful or the Tetons just out your door. We can’t wait!”