Airstream: Vintage Aircraft Shells as Luxury Homes on Wheels

Airstream: Vintage Aircraft Shells as Luxury Homes on Wheels

When a 26-year-old Matthew Hofman launched his own architecture firm, he bought a 1978 Airstream trailer and redesigned it to live in. He received so much attention for his own tiny home on wheels (160 square feet) that he began renovating Airstreams for clients.

Less than 5 years later he’s recrafted more than 60 Airstreams, but he finds each one a design challenge given their aircraft-style shell.
“Airstreams are like an egg. They’re what’s called semi-monocoque construction which is like, it’s an airplane so that creates the integrity as a whole so everything moves together. So there are no walls, there are no roofs, there are no diaphragms that create load, but it’s all one unit. It needs to be whole. And then once you start to do things like cutting out panels, then it really starts to become a design challenge.”

The first riveted aluminum trailer, the “Road Chief”, was designed in 1934 by aircraft designer Hawley Bowlus who had worked on the Spirit of St. Louis. Two years later, Wally Byam, who had helped sell the “Road Chief”, launched his own company called Airstream. The original “Clippers” cost 00, expensive for the time, but Byam couldn’t fill orders fast enough.

Like the “Road Chief”, Airstreams were designed more like aircraft than traditional travel trailers. It’s a style which has earned them a loyal following.

When we visited HofArc’s 20,000-square-foot yard in Santa Barbara, CA, the team were working on “Wanda” for an Australian family of 5 to tour the Outback and a Spartan (Airstream competitor) mobile home for clients to use as a vacation pod in Hawaii. Hofman sees the tiny homes that pass through as providing his clients with freedom.
“We’re all after a sense of freedom, it’s really the driver on the great American road trip.”

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75 Year Old Man Travels World With Incredible House Truck

75 Year Old Man Travels World With Incredible House Truck

John, 75, is no stranger to building tiny homes, house trucks, expedition vehicles and DIY campers. In fact, he has designed and built twelve mobile alternative dwellings in the last 35 years!

Originally from Minnesota, John retired from the construction industry at 45 years old. With his wife and two kids, he decided to pursue a nomadic lifestyle. The family has traveled all over the world in John’s homemade RVs, homeschooling and adventuring. Instead of collecting belongings, John’s family has collected memories, experiences and photographs.

John’s House Truck is built on a Mitsubishi Fuso chassis and took only four weeks to construct. With two water tanks, an outdoor shower, solar panels, propane appliances and ample storage, John and his wife are able to travel to remote locations all over the world. Their most recent adventure lead them through some rugged terrain in South America and the next big trip will take the House Truck to Russia.

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Tiny House Floor Plans: 32′ Long Tiny Home on Wheels Design

Tiny House Floor Plans: 32′ Long Tiny Home on Wheels Design

Tiny House Floor Plans: 32′ Long Tiny Home on Wheels Design

I love tinkering around designing/building tiny houses especially as small as a house as possible but still have all the conveniences that you find in a ‘McMansion’.

I know the idea about tiny living is supposed to be living with less but if you can cram everything into a small- less than 300 sq. ft.- moveable home without making it claustrophobic…

Why not, right?

So here I’m showing you a 32′ long tiny house design I’ve recently finished working on. Let me know what ya think in the comments down below!

I’d also like to show you a 28′ design that’s obviously a bit shorter. It has less square footage but it could be used as a 3 bedroom young family tiny home or just a backyard guest building by utilizing two sleeping lofts. Check it out and let me know what you think below:
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Nomadic Couple Create Incredible Small Homestead

Nomadic Couple Create Incredible Small Homestead

Molly and Al lived an incredible life together on the road in their House Truck before finding their own idillic piece of land to set up a small homestead in the South Island of New Zealand. Their story shows an evolution from living in a house truck, to finding a more permanent solution for their retirement, that still allows them the freedom to hit the road when they desire.

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Gypsy Tiny House on Wheels Tour

Gypsy Tiny House on Wheels Tour

Gypsy Tiny House on Wheels Tour

Tiny house on wheels with Susanne, my new gypsy friend! Take the tiny house tour and join the tiny house movement in our tiny house nation! This gypsy wagon is really cool. It’s very small. Just tiny! You may want to build a tiny house on wheels. See this gypsy tiny house also known as a vardo. Much better than a camper! Has style! It’s a real gypsy wagon you can live in on the road! Who knows Derek Deek Diedrickson? Not me! Don’t paint it yellow like a tini yellow house. Ugly! —————————–

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