|Written by Margaret Foley|
|Wednesday, September 07, 2011|
When Mona and Doug Heath paid just over $3,000 for a 1969 Airstream Tradewind, they knew rehabilitating it would be a big job. The 25-foot trailer, damaged in the 2007 Vernonia flood, was still full of water when they purchased it six months later. It needed a complete overhaul before they could contemplate redoing the interior. “We had to dry it out and set off a lot of bug bombs,” says Mona. “I don’t even remember how many layers of [primer] we applied inside.” The Heaths did some of the initial work themselves, gutting it, replacing interior skins and installing a floating mahogany floor.
They modernized the Tradewind’s traditional floorplan by designing a logical flow through the space and opting for electricity instead of propane as an energy source. A lounge area gives way to a cooking and eating area defined by two counters with rounded ends topped with Avonite, a material made from recycled acrylic. Under the eating bar, a wine rack and 12-inch-deep cabinets provide additional storage. The back, which traditionally held a bathroom, was transformed into a sleeping area, or bedpod, with built-in shelving. A small closet functions as an as-needed lavatory. “Most of the places we go have facilities, so we decided to increase the living space,” says Mona. “We like to meet people wherever we go, and this layout works for socializing. We can have about seven people in here without it feeling cramped.”
To remodel the trailer, they hired Greg Simons, the owner of Buildesign in Portland, who worked on it from late 2009 until summer 2010. “This project had so many interesting dimensions,” says Simons. “I enjoyed the challenge of building in a space with curved walls. I couldn’t work with standard measurements. Everything was scribed by hand.”