The Project


This blog is about the process of renovating a vintage Airstream trailer using sustainable (‘green’) practices & materials, and sharing the many lessons learned, challenges faced, resources found, and inspirations sparked along the way.

I am currently working for a construction management company in NYC and am based on Long Island, but throughout the last fall & winter I’ve been a student at Yestermorrow Design / Build School in Waitsfield, VT, completing their certificate program in Sustainable Building & Design. One of my motivations in working on this renovation is to for it to be my final project for the certificate. I’m excited at the opportunity to explore what it means to renovate a mobile home structure that has all of its systems and useable living space within 160 square feet! And through this exercise, I expect to learn more about what it means to live modestly and responsibly, while enjoying the freedom and empowerment that will come with it.

For the moment, the scope is to begin by financing and purchasing a vintage Airstream, do any initial cleanup and tear-out, determine needed parts and a working budget, develop an interior design, and to implement plumbing, electrical systems, and complete basic structural renovation.

I chose the Airstream because I have a passion for travel and independence, and because the ‘Airstream lifestyle’ encourages simplicity & interaction with nature and other people. I believe that it is valuable to explore how one can rescue a relic of domesticity from the automotive age from the landfill, and help reposition ‘The Silver Bullet’ as an iconoclast in promoting a more ecologically thoughtful lifestyle.

Through my classes at Yestermorrow, I’ve already learned a lot about sustainable building & design (more on those experiences later), but really just enough to know that I can delve into it much further through a hands-on project like this one. I love working with my hands, but I’m very much a beginner at everything I’ll be learning through this process, so I hope that the experiences offered here will help others to find their confidence, get inspired to explore new insights, or enjoy a few moments of entertainment. I’m happy to share what I learn and have to consider, each step of the way.

James Berroya
Long Island, NY
June 18th, 2012

[UPDATE: The above is my original introduction, but the recent transition from this being a school project to a primarily more personal one is outlined here. Of course, feel free to check out the archives and latest posts to follow along with this story!]

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  1. James, your site is honest, funny, a little bit sad (the breakdown and costs), and inspires intrigue … where will James end up and how will he get there? The GF1 name is pretty cool, too. – Santa Monica Fan 🙂

  2. Yo, you need to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account so people can follow your progress with a little more ease, but I dig it! I also think you need custom plates that say “ECOMCDUK,” because who else is rolling a pimped out Land Yacht but an eco-friendly Scrooge McDuck?!

  3. Dear James,

    It was fun to meet you today. As we spoke about, my wife Sandy and I are big Airstream fans and hope to remodel one ourselves in the future. I wasn’t kidding, I’ve had my eye on yours for the longest time! When you explained your project, it was like meeting an old friend. I look forward to reading your past posts, and can’t wait to see the future for your Airstream. Sandy and I are always on Pin looking at the different ways people remodel their Airstreams. Best of luck, and if I see you in the yard working, you can count on me dropping by.

    Scotty & Sandy

    1. Scotty, it was a pleasure meeting you and Sandy the other day! Please feel free to drop by anytime. Weather permitting, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be out there polishing every chance I get. It’d be great to share the finished product with you two. You’ll enjoy seeing the interior cleaned and kitted out too, I’m sure : ) Since you like Pinterest, you might also check out my Instagram & YouTube accounts too when you have a chance (links are at the top of my home page)… I’ll have travel photos and some time-lapse video of the polishing process up online in the near future!

      See you soon : )

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