Small silvery living spaces

In the past year or so I’ve become somewhat fascinated by the idea of owning an Airstream travel trailer. This is new for me. At some points throughout life I may have given brief and cursory consideration to owning an RV, but until recently never serious consideration. They cost too much, you have to store them, maintain them and so on.

This began to change last summer when friends visited on their way home from Washington state. All of the camping sites near town were full, so they parked their little camper on the slab in our backyard for a night. Something clicked at that point that allowed me to more seriously consider life with a camper.

Backyard shed with potential

This new thought was furthered this summer as I started a backyard project, building a shed, in order to gain room in the garage for a wood shop. As I got into the project, I began to imagine the possibilities in the lumber I was using. The possibility for a tiny house, living in a tiny space. Or a studio.

I’ve always loved the challenge of designing for small spaces (as do most architects, apparently, smaller than skyscrapers anyway). There’s so much less room for error than in a large space. It demands a higher level of organization — not that larger spaces shouldn’t also aspire to a high level of organization — and the client and designer have to know exactly how the space will be used.

The shed project — combined with Facebook photos from a friend refurbishing an Airstream, milling his own lumber (mesquite) for the flooring — brought me back to these sleek, aluminum houses on wheels this summer, to living in small spaces.

I still don’t know what I’d do, exactly, if I owned an Airstream trailer though. First off I’d have to buy a vehicle to pull it, then have somewhere to go often enough to warrant ownership. The practicality of it still nags at me when I remember some RV parks charge as much to park your trailer as it costs to stay in a hotel.

But the idea of being able to take your house with you somewhere, sleep in your own bed when you travel (to a degree) use your own kitchen on the road instead of having to eat out so much, these are happy thoughts (even considering how often I lament the transient nature of our American culture).

And of course, come Scissortail it could function as artist quarters as well.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to Small silvery living spaces

  1. Julie says:

    If you haven’t heard of Tumbleweed, check it out:

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