She is a well-respected artist that has been a consistently active part of Los Angeles art culture for the past 30 years. She crafts one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry from the studio built on her exotic property amid the urban neighborhood. To see her art click here.
I had passed by the old trailer in her yard for the better part of two years. My roommates were physicists (yeah…I know) in their final year of their doctoral programs at CalTech in Pasadena, and I knew it would be crunch time for them study-wise. (Or maybe rent was just going up…I can’t remember—moving on!) Either way, I was on the prowl for a cool space.
So I asked with nothing really to lose. If she thought I was crazy, I could just say I was joking—if she said yes, uh, then I was just going to figure out what to do from there?
I asked if I could move into the 1969 19′Silver Streak “Jet” I had seen so many times before, parked right there in her front yard. Silver Streaks are made by the same people who make ‘Airstreams’, but the Silver Streak is entirely insulated (and maybe a little cooler?)
Welp, I’m guessing from the title of the post, you guessed that she said “yes’, and you’re right.
Being a self proclaimed minimalist, the move was really just across the street, my belongings were inside the trailer (whose insides hadn’t really seen the light of day in years) in about an hour and a half. When that was done and the deal was made, I laid the idea of completely renovating the trailer on the table, and again, to my surprise, she was completely on board.
Wasn’t expecting that…
Nothing I couldn’t handle! There were a lot more cabinets and weird wooden fixtures on inside than I had expected. I learned later it had been used as a mobile office for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power during the 60s and 70s.
I’d recently acquired a lot of tools and some quality lumber and figured since I had time off from work, it was clearly an sign that I should take on this sort of project. I was excited about it, and ready for it.
There was probably an easier way to go about gutting the inside, but I took a sledgehammer and sort of let it do its thing. When that led to a flurry of splinters and small episodes of heat exhaustion, I broke down and just unscrewed the stupid cabinets like I was supposed to in the first place…
From then, it was actually pretty streamlined!
There were some original components of the trailer that I wanted to keep, so I set them aside, treated and replaced them later.
To assist in making it possible to work in the grueling heat, a friend and I were able to insert air vents in the top of the trailer.
I knew some pieces were going to be essential and had to be addressed first; a bed, a desk, closet space, and some air circulation—in the winter? Well, some heat!
After clearing the insides and scrubbing down years of grime from the walls and repainting them with a few coats of stark white paint, it was pretty easy to envision where I wanted to go from there.
Sure, it might not look like much…but this soon became the most important art project of mine. Most of my free time went into the trailer. I realized these sorts of projects were probably never really “finished”, and that’s okay. Slowly but surely, she started to really feel like home.
I scored some solid hardwood cherry floors, and that made a HUGE difference.
After using some of the lumber I got from a carpenter/artist pal of mine up in the San Francisco area (he also owns BayAreaCustomFurniture and is one of my favorite painters), it was time to move things in.
At this phase, the trailer really started to reflect my personality more. Because of the tiny-home living situation aka, little to no space, it caused me to really shed possessions that I didn’t use or didn’t need anymore. A fresh start!
I got some cool vintage pieces, and started collecting pictures and art that I organized to hang on my salon style wall. I painted the inside of the door yellow, got some awesome indoor plants, hung up some lanterns for light, and kicked back back to revel in what it had become. The sounds of angry drivers peeling around corners, crying babies, and helicopters flying overhead during the night, shining their lights into my little trailer, became my tropical breeze. Home, sweet home. It really is where you park it!
This all sounds like it might have happened in a day, but it was really more of a two month, or so, long process. Plus, I never seize to add little details here and there, or continue going back and finishing odds and ends that were overlooked before.
Feeling like a proud parent, and loving my neighborhood more than ever, I posted a couple blog pieces on The Whirling Girlish, showcasing how far we’d come as well as the beautiful and unique surrounding neighborhood that the trailer and myself call “home”!
You can go back and check out the articles here.
*I should note that the bed situation is WAY more comfortable than it looks.
Even though I was pleased with the interior transformation, and of course loved her for what she was already (I accepted her!), I couldn’t help but wish I had a more clear idea of what I wanted to do on the outside. There was the beautiful deck that I was using all the time, which really is a social space. Having people over at the trailer gets sort of crammed inside.
Like many things that are overthought, nothing really progressed after a while. I added some plants or pieces that were “works in progress”, but there’s no doubt there were alterations I wanted to make. It really just came down to a matter of “when and how?”.
And just like so many things that are overthought, so many things are also rushed. I decided to let the exterior of the trailer happen organically to give myself time to really get things done completely.
Here’s how it would go down;
A pair of contractors/TV personalities, originally from HGTV referred to as The Cousins, would come in with a team and re-design the outside deck—all within 24 hours, and all for under $1,000.
Was this real? Did I say “yes”?! Of course! They didn’t have to ask me twice. I was on board, they were excited about the project, and they would be at the gate, hammer in hand, at the end of the month.
Woah, man. What had I done right recently?
True to their word, it all happened, and it was an amazing experience in time. I met the cousins, saw that they were in love with the property, neighborhood, and most importantly, the trailer. They were excited about the project and it relieved any apprehension I had experienced leading up to the moment.
The anticipation about killed me…but it was worth it. The experience and end result are beyond what I had fathomed.
See for yourself.
Uh, yeah I was stoked.
But it wasn’t just me. Thousands of other people thought the transformation was amazing too! What a cool show. Something I had wanted to do for so long, completed in a day. Amazing. Not to mention it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I wouldn’t (and haven’t) changed a thing.
She’s pretty dreamy looking at night time too.
Want to see the episode? Click HERE! Enjoy!