Tag Archives: diy

The Highland Park Trailer Project

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-5-07-25-pm


I moved to Highland Park in North East Los Angeles (NELA) early 2014. I was steps away from Figueroa Street, a melting pot of history, culture, and the kind of diverse community one only dreams of. Day and night I heard the buzzing of cars traveling via the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway.

Highland Park Silver Streak Trailer

I’d stroll by the Highland Theater ,with its giant, glimmering marquee lights, and quickly became a deeply involved member of the Milagro Allegro Community Garden . Shortly after, I joined the Arroyo Seco Arts Collective, the longest standing active arts collective in East LA.

I lived with two brilliant physicists (my soon to be best friends) pursuing and ultimately receiving doctorates in particle and theoretical physics at CalTech University. I found them on Craigslist. Together we explored HP and its various and equally interesting surrounding neighborhoods. I adopted my dog, a xoloitzcuintli named Tesla, from my next door neighbors whom tended the Tierra de La Culebra Art Park, a long-time beacon of communal arts in the area.

One evening in summer I relocated living spaces just across the street almost as if from no where. All my belongings made the trek across the street in just two trips. On the preserved acre of land would be my landlord and close friend, a world-renowned artist (look her up here–), tediously working away in her studio and pouring her heart and soul into her land and art. It would not be a conventional living arrangement. I had to run across the yard to use the restroom, shower, use power, etc., but those were petty details. I was living the dream I didn’t even know I had.

The 19′ long 1969 Vintage Silverstreak “Jet” that I’d passed by wondering about everyday for well over a year had suddenly become the space and canvas for a most great art piece. Aside from the main frame, it was rebuilt from the ground up. There was undeniably work to be done, but she had my heart from the start. The renovation my full time job and obsession for at least the next two ensuing months.


Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015


In the 60s the trailer was used as a mobile office for the LA Department of Water and Power . Task #1—it had to be gutted. Whatever critters might have been calling it home would have to relocate elsewhere.

I installed three roof vent systems when I realized they were going to be the top priority in the stagnant and pounding heat. Until these, I slept on the breezy outdoor porch of the main house, or slept in my car with the trunk open (it was cooler in those spots than inside the 100+ year old, 100% American Craftsman home). We caulked, and sealed what needed to be done and decided privacy curtains would have to come later. I don’t need as much privacy as I ever thought!


Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015


This is what it looked like after the initial gutting. Luckily there was a pre-existing deck (this plays a major part soon).


Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015


After acquiring some beautiful lumber from my friend/owner (and one of the most up-and-coming contemporary  artists to watch of this time, Kyle Austin Dunn) of BayAreaCustomFurniture  , I began my own custom woodworking and accents. I used solid red wood floor panels replacing sheets of old, damp, plywood. The result gave a true breath of life to the space. Stark white walls were established after three layers of primer, three layers of paint, and two days of scrubbing and cleaning away years of grime and dust.


trailer update 2


Living a minimalist lifestyle has always been my chosen path. Each item in the trailer was of personal value. My goal was to create product of form and function working in concert—Pictures, curated salon wall, artwork of friends, antique furniture and accent pieces, the works. The vintage barber chair show is a stellar find from a local man of the neighborhood with an unparalleled skill collecting metal odds and ends selling them to local antique and vintage stores. We’d done business before, and he came to me first, knowing I’d be ecstatic. Um, yes please.


andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california


Hanging on the wall to the left in the photo below is the original hand drawn design plan for the the community garden. These sort of pieces are priceless. My bed shown above is small and an irregular shape. A special foam pad needed to be cut to accommodate the curved front of the trailer.

Those nights ended up being some of the best rests I’ve ever had. In the summer, when it was scorching, I’d sleep with the door wide open, facing palm trees, while Chopper, our sweetest property dog, staked out on the deck keeping me safe. In the winter, it was a different story. I had a small yet effective space heater. Yet my mother sensed the probability of changing weather conditions and mailed an electric blanket well in advance during the early fall…(thanks, Mom).


Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015


Power ran straight from the main house under a shallow ditch using a couple long, orange extension cords. Something tells me this isn’t to code. I’ll apologize later. Moving on!  It was thrifty clearly a project in which we had to be resourceful—not to mention, it worked perfectly. The hanging lanterns shown here proved my primary light sources. When it came to using the internet or talking on the phone I took that business out to the deck any hint of a signal.

The stump pictured below is actually made of real California avocado wood, originating from a mature tree I knew during my time surfing for six months in Ventura, California  before making my post-graduation move to LA to pursue my burgeoning future as a writer and producer in Hollywood. The beautiful tree was tragically cut down, despite much protest from locals. Alas I collected the remnants I could. I created this stump and a live edge coffee table which I added hairpin legs to and use on a daily basis.


Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015


This is the even more fun part.

Months later after the bulk of the work was in good standing, a close friend of mine, a Senior Producer at The Ellen Show, approached me about an upcoming segment of the Ellen Show show called Grand Design. A professional crew would come in, and renovate various spaces across the country in just two days per project for under $1,000.Within a month the job was done and exceeded any and all expectations. See for yourself!


9


The revived shiny coat was achieved by using a finish that is used by airliners to maintain their appearance and upkeep. A turquoise stripe added just the right personal touch, matching the style of not only myself but also my eccentric property owner/artist whom generously allowed me to share her land.

The transformation was not only aesthetically transforming but also initiated a re-birth and revitalization in the mindsets and hearts of all that gave energy to this project.

Others seemed to agree!

Look at all the attention it received on social media!


Check out the articles here.

Want to see the episode? Click HERE!


10

IMG_7545.JPG


There were many of these lazy days I will always have a lifetime of gratitude, memories and pride in my work and the team of others that helped me with achieve my vision.


Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015

26


Advertisements

Home is where you park it! : Tiny living in my freshly renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer in Highland Park! (I did it under $1500)

Original post here: Home is where you park it! : Tiny living in my freshly renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer in Highland Park! (I did it under $1500)

trailer update 2

andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california
andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california

Andrea-Kainuma-Jackson-Whirling-Girlish-Highland-Park-Los-Angeles-California-Vinatge-Silver-Streak-Trailer-Renovation-2015

Walk in Highland Park

andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california

andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california     andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  IMG_5449andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaIMG_5484IMG_5485IMG_5488IMG_5489IMG_5490IMG_5492IMG_5499IMG_5500IMG_5502  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaIMG_5557

I made a thing! Handcrafted reclaimed avocado wood goodies!

Hello readers!

Just a full little side note of what I have been filling some of my free time with!

When we moved into our house, the yard behind it had the two biggest avocado trees that I have ever seen! The biggest a lot of people have ever seen. It made the biggest fruit. Seriously. It impressed people.

But the developer that owned the lot cut down the trees because he wants to build apartments (so horrible!). People protested, and they had the hardest time finding a company that would agree to cut them down….
But finally they did, and when they showed up, I ran into one of the guys hired for the job. Like everyone else…he was totally bummed! But the bills weren’t going to pay themselves. So I asked him if he could cut the tree in such a way that parts of it would be salvageable for woodworking projects!
They were really excited about that idea, and complied the best they could, trying to cut the slabs flat. After two days, the beautiful trees were gone, and in their places, just two large stumps and big piles of lumber.
So stump by stump, I started gathering pieces that I thought would make beautiful furniture, cutting boards etc. After about two days of rolling and lugging, we had a nice collection of genuine Ventura, California Avocado wood in our backyard!

There was one stump in particular that I knew would make the best side table! But the wood was really wet and still alive. I would have to wait a month at least for it to dry out. But in the meantime, I bought some chisels and hammered the bark off of the pieces I wanted to use! After a couple of weeks, the stump looked something like this…

And with some more chiseling and A LOT of sanding…it started looking like this…
and after it was sanded and smooth, I started added layers of boiled linseed oil to seal it from water and serve as a protective coating!
It is still unfinished (it still needs some coats), but so far this is what the top looks like…

And there was a slab section I knew I wanted to use as a coffee table. My favorite piece. It was cut from one of the main stumps. After a couple of months it warped a bit but I was able to saw it in half, and sand it down so that it was level! It was a lot of sanding. A lot.
But all worth it!
Today I applied the first coat of boiled linseed oil just this afternoon, and so far this is what it looks like…

And here is a side view. Right now it is just resting on another unfinished stump. Eventually I will add metal hairpin legs, and it will be a mid-century modern style avocado coffee table! Here’s a side view…There are definitely some knicks and nooks, but I kind of think it adds some character.

It still needs about a weeks’ worth more of varnish/oil, and then I need to attach the legs…but so far so good!
There are other stumps like the one below that have had no work done yet, and I plan on sectioning them off into cool cutting boards!