Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Airstream

As those who know me are well aware, I am enamored of tiny houses. Since childhood, when I used to lie in the bathtub designing a little home of my own in that very tiny yellow and black bathroom, which couldn’t have been much larger than 45 or 50 square feet, I’ve thought about going small.

Our condo is – by Boston condo standards – of middling size: 1240 square feet. But when he was alive, my husband’s main room was the living room, in all its 400 square foot-ish glory. My home within the home was a mini-office, close in size to that childhood bathroom.

And then there’s my bucket list. It’s not a very developed one, but if there’s one item on it, that would be an overnight stay at one of Brownie’s Cabins, located on Cape Cod’s Route 6. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to stay at Brownie’s? Oh, it may seem a bit daffy, given that my sister has a beautiful, large, modern home just around the corner. I was going to say that Kath’s is the best B&B in Wellfleet, but it’s actually a Bed & Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner operation. Free to friends and family! Still, my plan is to someday spend a week or so at Brownie’s.

Keeping with the small and retro theme, I am also completely enamored of the Airstream Trailer. While I wouldn’t want to have to tow one anywhere, I’d be more than happy to spend time in one of these honeys. Small would be beautiful! Does a 15-Sport16_740_thumb[9]living (or traveling) space come any more adorable than this?

Well, as it turns out – at least according to Bloomberg – the Airstream is on trend. One place it’s been trending is the business world:

In recent years, hotels, offices, and restaurants have cropped up in stationary Airstreams on both coasts. Five have become a motel in Santa Barbara, Calif. Another five sell ice cream and juice in Seaside, Fla. A concert venue in Austin uses one for its green room. The B-52s singer Kate Pierson—the redhead—has a handful of rentable Airstreams outside Joshua Tree National Park. And Chief Executive Officer Tony Hsieh has been living in one for nine months. He recently bought 20 more to create his own Airstream trailer park for the aspiring tech bros he’s importing to redevelop downtown Las Vegas. “It’s by far my favorite place to live,” Hsieh says. “It has more amenities than the average hotel room.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Well, if ever I’m in Santa Barbara, I’ll try to line one up!

Meanwhile, whether its trailers are being used for business, residence, or pleasure, Airstream’s doing well. This year, “it’s selling five times as many [new trailers] as it did in 2009.”

It’s a great Made in the USA story. The company’s located in a pokey town in Ohio, its headquarters what was, during World War II, a bazooka factory. Airstream employs 560 people, and everything that goes into an Airstream is made by hand. (It’s not just Airstream: the overall RV industry is doing very well.)

The Airstream boom dovetails with a few other lifestyle trends: First, many Americans have become obsessed with decluttering, moving into so-called tiny homes and reading best-selling books like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Decluttering. Tiny homes. Never have I been so on-trend, at least in terms of wishful thinking. (That’s for tiny homes and Airstreams. I’m actually in fierce decluttering mode. This week’s toll included a pair of Indian dolls (Indian-Indian) that my father had sent home to my aunt when he was stationed in Trinidad during the war. Sorry to part with them, but they were falling apart to the touch. Also tossed: a Donald Duck plastic bank (large) that my late friend Marie gave me when we were in high school. I was going for the save, but when I tried washing it off, the paint started coming off.)

As for Airstream, I’m delighted with their success. I’m far more likely to stay in Brownie’s Cabins than I am to boogey around in an Airstream. But I can dream, can’t I? And add something else to my bucket list.

1 comment:

Frederick Wright said...

My spouse and I are huge fans of the tiny house movement but if pressed, I'd have a difficult time spelling out actual differences between a 'tiny house' and a really nicely tricked out AirStream, aside from cost. We're actually looking at land right now in Northeast Kingdom for a 'tiny vacation house'.