After nearly a minute heading down a long, windy driveway in upstate New York, I finally reach Ed Potokar and Amy Rosenfeld's private property. First, I see a workshop—music is playing, and Ed is somewhere inside, probably welding metal or sketching—and then I spot the Airstream. And then another Airstream. And again, another Airstream. The door to the shiniest trailer on the property opens, and Amy is walking down the steps. "Hello," she says before introducing me to Janis. Janis is the 29-foot 1969 Airstream that's parked behind her, which is fittingly named after the 1960s "Piece Of My Heart" singer.
Amy and Ed are rockstars in their own right, at least they're becoming ones in the tiny living world. The couple has been together for more than twenty years, and while their past lives have nothing to do with renovating—Amy is a creative director in New York City, and Ed works in music—they've recently (and accidentally) become Airstream flippers, better known as .
"It's always been one of my fantasies to do an Airstream, something that I always had a fascination with [was] a small, confined space but to do something that [is] very contemporary," says Ed. The couple first renovated a 1972 Airstream last fall for fun, and after a couple asked to buy it from them, they realized they had a business opportunity.
Tiny living has been popular for a few years now, and as of late, the trend has extended into tiny Airstream living. With dreamy trailers listed on Airbnb from upwards of $650/night, to a going viral after living in one, people are obsessed. And, for the record, regardless of how chic and trendy they look on Instagram, the renovation process goes far beyond slapping on a coat of paint and installing a new, pretty countertop.
"Oftentimes, they have a tendency to rot around the doors and windows, and that's a big problem. They're usually infested with mice, big spiders, they're leaking. They're a mess," Ed explains. "It's quite an endeavor to renovate these things. It's not for the faint of heart."
Ed, who literally rips the Airstreams down to the frame and completely rebuilds it—himself, thank you very much—customizes every aspect of the trailer. "You have to because there's not a straight line, everything is rounded," explains Amy.
While Ed custom-designs the interior with sketches—from hand-cutting cabinets in his shop and welding metal to make custom shower curtain rods tiny enough to fit the space— Amy focuses on the design. A couple with three kids commissioned Ed and Amy to make Janis (it won't be their full-time residence), hiring Amy to style the entire trailer from bedding to glassware, so all they need to do is pack a bag and hit the road.
"I wanted everything inside to not just feel like you went to a department store and bought everything, I wanted it to have more soul," says Amy. She often scours a variety of places to incorporate vintage pieces that have history and character.
In addition to picking the colors and accent pieces, Amy names all of the trailers after women, the same way boats are named. After Janis, the couple will renovate Dolly and Roberta. It's one thing to read about their work; you can't truly appreciate it until you see it. Watch how the couple transforms the vintage trailers in the video above. It may make you contemplate a new way of living—or earning a living.
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