Those of you who know me are probably raising an eyebrow at the mere mention of trailer (or Land Yacht). But I must say that since I visited Patrick Dempsey’s (“McDreamy” on Grey’s Anatomy) Malibu garden in 2011 with his petite Airstream cozied in as a guest house, I’ve had a whole new outlook on this mode of transportation.
Of course, I also have an hysterical satirist friend who years ago gave up her Atlanta belle life, married and moved to Wyoming (or was it Montana?) and penned a book titled From Debutante to Doublewide… but that’s a story for another day.
Our story for today is of another talented friend, Wooley Dutton, right over the Bay in Jamestown, who announced one day last summer that she and her husband were driving out to the midwest to pick up their old/new Airstream trailer… named “Runaround Sue” (after the song that was famous in 1961, the year she was manufactured). Indeed they did; as a matter of fact, I was sitting inside “Sue” late New Year’s day, sharing a rose’ Champagne (and hibiscus blossom garnish) with Wooley and her guests. Very nice party space!
But “Sue” really comes into her own as a stylish “sleep-around.” Imagine driving your suburban, with “Sue” in tow, and stopping wherever you wish in this beautiful country (I see an Instagram campaign in the making). Like in Anna Maria, Florida, where she is right now (our cold Newport spring was just too much) serving as a guest house for visitors to the Dutton cottage. Unfurl the attached roll-up awning, string some lights, pull out those colorful pillows, light the lanterns and let the party begin! Jimmy Buffett could be very happy here.
We couldn’t resist this take on Airstream’s original logo (especially since Wooley has such a nice collection of vintage scooters). Don’t you love that it’s referred to as a “land yacht”?!
The makings for s’mores…designer marshmallows ready to roast over the barbecue grill.
The goal of renovators New Prairie Construction (in Champaign-Urbana, Indiana) when they started this restoration project in 2009 was to include as many environmentally-friendly features as possible. The list is too long and comprehensive to include, but suffice it to say that “Sue” is probably greener than most of our homes.
As the ad on the company’s website stated, “Sue” is”22 feet of rambling Americana” (are you still with me?) After the disclaimer that expresses the obvious — don’t expect a project like this to be cheaper than buying a new trailer — we get to what attracted my friend Wooley: renovating allows you to create a space tailored to your needs and tastes while celebrating and preserving a piece of Americana. OK!
There’s a lot packed into these 22 feet — The Highlights:
- New aluminum cladding, buffed to a mirror-like shine, replaced the original fiberglass and plastic exterior skin. This same polished aluminum cladding also details certain areas of the interior, whose finished impression brings new meaning to the term “mid-century modern.”
- The entire interior was gutted and all wiring and plumbing was replaced.
- Reclaimed and sustainable materials on the interiors include aspen or white pine framing, the flooring of Marmoleum, countertops of reclaimed redwood and cabinets constructed from “Plyboo” (plywood made of bamboo).
- New Prairie also meticulously handcrafted all of the furniture, cupboards, doors, and trim, creating as many creature comforts as possible. The goal? Assets and features that would suit the majority of us to a “T”and make eco-nomads happy, too.
- Maximum storage is tucked into every nook and cranny — there is a dresser and closet, kitchen cabinet and drawers, storage under and over the couch area, and room for trailer equipment in the dining benches. Best of all? “Sue” sleeps 3-4; both the couch….
…and redwood tabletop can be converted into comfy beds.
- The bathroom packs a lot into a small space: composting toilet (because you don’t have to get the tank pumped, boondocking time is increased), redwood bench and counter, movable mirror, and an electrical outlet on the underside of the little cabinet.
A towel ring, and shower stall. Nifty, yes?!
- The kitchenette features a sink with a lift-up cover and brushed nickel hardware…
…a stove top with two propane and one electric burners, an extra flip-up counter top…
…and a fridge topped with reclaimed redwood.
- Lastly, solar panels power most of “Sue’s” needs, with deep-cycle batteries in place when power is needed over a longer period of time.
VOILA! Finished and ready to roll.
Happy trails to you!
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Hillary Dutton – Styling by Judy Selednik