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Didn’t want student loans, converted an old Airstream as dorm

Sometime between childhood and adulthood, Andreas Stravropoulos had a Peter Pan adventure. He spent 4 years living in an Airstream trailer.

He didn’t have a mortgage, he didn’t pay rent and he was able to pay off student loans. But it wasn’t just about gaining economic freedom.

Reconnecting Land and Architect

Stravropoulos is a landscape architect who worried about the disconnect in his profession between the architects and the land. So he moved back to the land. He parked his iconic mobile home in a backyard he was designing. From there he could watch shadows move across the land and observe how the yard’s inhabitants actually used the space.

When his adventure began Stravropoulos had been recently laid off and was launching his own landscape design business (XS Land Architects). Determined to find a mobile, modular and affordable home, he spent nights searching Craigslist until he located a 1959 Airstream travel trailer.

Functional not planned obsolescence

The Airstream is an American classic. It’s distinctive round aluminum body was first designed in the 1930s by Hawley Bowlus, the chief designer of Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft the Spirit of St. Louis.

The Airstream was designed to last. Even the company website mentions it: “Every inch of an Airstream has a functional purpose. There is no planned obsolescence.”

Updating a classic

Once Stravropoulos had purchased his piece of history, he installed it in a friend’s sculpture studio and began its transformation. Out went the wall-to-wall linoleum and flesh tone paint. In went cork flooring, track lighting and a light paint to open up the space.

Stravropoulos did all the work himself and the trailer reflects his love of workmanship. He exposed the riveted aluminum end caps. He created custom cabinets from a birch plywood.

In this video, Stravropoulos shows us his iconic mobile home- parked (for now) behind his current home in Berkeley, California- and talks about the joy of living with just a capsule of things.