Ava Carman enjoys hanging out in her parentsí restored
vintage Airstream trailer as much as they do. "Itís
sort of like a fort for grown-ups," Aaron Carman says.
likens owning a vintage Airstream trailer to owning a classic car,
both for the wow factor on the open road and the ongoing maintenance
issues. He and wife Amy found the 1971 Airstream about five years ago
on eBay ó it was in a barn in Eau Claire ó and have been restoring
it ever since.
Aaron, a cabinet
maker turned project manager for a commercial design-build firm, and
Amy, owner of Amy Carman Design, gutted the trailer to the metal
skeleton, purging the avocado green appliances and dark walnut
paneling, and redid the interior into a fresh, bright and functional
designer, Iím always intrigued by small spaces," Amy Carman
says. "It forces you to be creative and resourceful and make the
most of every inch."
not a straight line anywhere," Aaron Carman says of the Airstream
interior. "Itís the kind of project that takes 10 times longer
than youíd expect. Itís a challenge from a design standpoint but
also from an engineering standpoint. How are we going to make this
included all the modern conveniences ó flat-screen TV, Corian
counters and updated appliances ó and added lots of storage for
camping trips with daughter Ava, 3.
former cabinet maker, Aaron Carman negotiated the Airstreamís
curves in restoring the interior. He used lightweight
Paulownia wood to craft a sculptural wall inside the trailer.
punctuated the neutral interior with orange bursts of color. "It
lent itself to something really modern and really creative. It was a
chance to do some things we canít get away with in our own
home," Amy Carman says.
biggest challenge was dealing with stuff we werenít so well-versed
in," Aaron Carman says. "Plumbing is an ongoing battle with
a 40-year-old vintage trailer."
interior is nearly overshadowed by the shiny aluminum of the trailerís
exterior. The Wauwatosa couple decided they werenít up for the
polishing, which took a couple of months by a craftsman in Illinois.
"It takes about eight hours to do one lineal foot," Aaron
Carman says of the labor-intensive process.
quite the attraction on the road and at campgrounds by fellow trailer
enthusiasts. "There is a whole subculture of people you can
connect with if you want to. We didnít know we were buying into it
when we got it," Aaron Carman says. "We are pretty low-key
people, so it sort of doesnít fit with our personalities," Amy
Carman says, but she and Aaron say they are enjoying the hospitality
of other campers and the new world into which their Airstream has
designer Amy Carman says the interior has a peaceful and fun
feel to it with its soothing sage green color scheme accented by