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Old 01-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
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Why Airstream?

Hi folks, I'm new here. My wife and I are looking to buy some land to build a house on and we're thinking of getting some sort of temporary living arrangement on the property until its done.

Being a designer myself, my first thought was Airstream, but I don't know much about them. What I'm looking for is why you purchased your Airstream versus a different brand trailer.

Also I'm interested in pointers on which one to go for. We are a small young family with one 2-year-old boy and another on the way. How big a trailer should we be looking at for extended living up to a year or 18 months?

Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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Airstreams are fantastic "travel" trailers, but are sub-optimized for extended living.
There are a number of threads on this topic on this Forum.
Rather than repeat the litany of pros and cons, I suggest you browse all the answers to your question that await your review.
Good luck with your choice!
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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Lorensson, I admire anyone who builds their own home with their own hands. This house was designed to be the camp as the family was building. Their story inspired us to do it, in increments as the money came in. As you are a designer I thought you might appreciate it.

http://www.prairiemodstuff.com/berge...yout_final.pdf

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:39 PM   #4
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For 18 months of static living you would be better off with one of the cheap, plastic boxes that pass for "some other brand" travel trailers. Get one with a slide out or two, a used one preferably, live in it until your house is finished and then sell it.

Later, when you find time to travel, get an Airstream and roll.

Mike
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
For 18 months of static living you would be better off with one of the cheap, plastic boxes that pass for "some other brand" travel trailers. Get one with a slide out or two, a used one preferably, live in it until your house is finished and then sell it.

Later, when you find time to travel, get an Airstream and roll.

Mike
Mike has given you solid advice. Buy one cheap, use it, sell it and get most of your money back, and then get you a Stream to travel with.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:02 PM   #6
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Lor', Mike's suggestion might be best for you. For less money, you can get a larger trailer than an Airstream. A recent used model one would be even better. So long as you are not traveling, it won't get that much wear and should be in good shape (if the 2 year old boy doesn't go at it) if you want to sell it after you move into the house.

My experience with home construction is that every project takes longer, sometimes much longer, than you think. It tends to cost more too. Some towns and counties only allow you a year to live in an RV before you move into the house. If you have a lot of experience with home construction, you can do it in a year to 18 months, but if you don't, it could take a lot longer.

Airstreams don't have a lot of storage, but 5th wheels do. Airstreams aren't that good for winter living, but I think Huntington Beach is in S. Cal., so you would be ok there. Airstreams look cool, but QC is a problem in recent years. A vintage one can be had cheaply, but you'll be spending time and money fixing it unless you buy a remodeled, updated one and then you'll spend a lot more up front. If you're building a house, you don't need to fix an RV. You'll need power, water and sewer right away or you'll probably get in trouble with local building codes fairly quickly.

Just food for thought—how about a yurt?

Gene
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the great advice everyone. We do want to travel a fair bit, but for the moment it's out of our system

(My wife is Welsh, I'm from SoCal, lived in England for 7 years and got see quite a bit of the world from there already- Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Greece, etc which as an American was a blast and a real eye opener for me!)

But now that's we've (just) settled back in CA we will likely do some domestic traveling in the next year or two.

For now, we need to build a house! ;-)
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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Be sure to check out local laws regarding living in a trailer on your property while you build. Some places allow it and some don't.

One friend in Galt, CA had no problem. Built a large garage, put an RV inside, then built a beautiful home. Another in Verdi Nevada wanted to build his garage first to live in his RV and was not allowed.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:55 PM   #9
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I lived in my Airstream while building my house and would do it again. As a designer, there's no other trailer that would have satisfied my own aesthetic. As mentioned, just make sure the local by laws or ordinances allow you to live in a trailer while you build.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:06 PM   #10
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This fellow has documented what he and his wife did using an Airstream to live in whilst building a home out in the country. He put together some really superb videos and photography. But you can subscribe to them and get their WHOLE story about it.
Moving - YouTube
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:24 PM   #11
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Wow guys thanks so much. Lots of great ideas and tips. For the record, I've never built a house before and I wasn't necessarily planning on building it myself literally. Although I'm tempted. Whatever piece of property we acquire will be 3-9 acres and we plan on building a lot more than houses in the next 10 years (long story)

I like the idea of building a garage first and then putting the RV inside it. Awesome.

I'm not all that fussed about the design of the trailer, more that it's reasonably liveable for our family for up to 18 months. We've been looking at all sorts of options including self-build, pre-fab, Eco-domes, CalEarth's mud buildings etc (but never considered a yurt yet ;-)

The trailer is not necessarily meant to be our living quarters for the duration of the build - but just until something more liveable is erected on site. One of the building we'll be putting up is a very large insulated steel hangar / shed which could serve well as a temporary garage while living accommodation is going up.

Lots of food for thought. Keep it coming! Thanks so much!
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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The yurt could end up being a guest house once you have a house or something ready to live in permanently. They're pretty easy to put up so far as I know (which isn't much).

Whatever you do, a multi-use approach whether it be an RV for living in and then traveling, a hanger (to hang out in I suppose), a yurt or whatever, is a good way to go.

I've been tempted to build a house myself, but I'd probably be in a perpetual struggle with the building dep't over new ways of doing things, old ways to do things, and I'm in my early 70's, so I may be slower than I used to be.

Other things to consider are straw bale, adobe or modular (different than pre-fab—you get modules and put them together and can combine with stick built parts). How to build adobe courses are available and that might be my preference if I were building myself.

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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The yurt could end up being a guest house once you have a house or something ready to live in permanently. They're pretty easy to put up so far as I know (which isn't much).

Whatever you do, a multi-use approach whether it be an RV for living in and then traveling, a hanger (to hang out in I suppose), a yurt or whatever, is a good way to go.

I've been tempted to build a house myself, but I'd probably be in a perpetual struggle with the building dep't over new ways of doing things, old ways to do things, and I'm in my early 70's, so I may be slower than I used to be.

Other things to consider are straw bale, adobe or modular (different than pre-fab—you get modules and put them together and can combine with stick built parts). How to build adobe courses are available and that might be my preference if I were building myself.

Gene
Thanks Gene. I'll look into straw bale and adobe as well. Modular is another one I forgot about. Have you seen the Cal Earth site? Google it - I've seen Nader Khalili's buildings in person and they're beautiful. I'm not quite your age but I know what you mean about being a little slower ;-)

If I may ask, why would you choose Adobe?

http://calearth.org
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:45 PM   #14
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If I may ask, why would you choose Adobe?
Thick walls provide lots of insulation and reduce heating and cooling bills. Because of the materials (dirt mainly), low environmental impact. They are fairly popular when it comes time to sell. My wife likes them and that has an influence on me.

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