Sheena and Jason were your ordinary married couple. They lived a suburbia life of routine and worked full time. After six years, they came to realize that their fondest memories were not from this existence, but from epic road vacations.
The couple decided they wanted their entire lives to be one big adventure, with memorable moments every day – not just when they had the chance to go on holiday. They purchased a 1975 Airstream in 2016 and spent the next seven months turning ‘Mavis’ into a home on wheels.
When Jason and Sheena found the Airstream, they were amazed at how perfectly preserved she was. She was almost of showroom quality and required no dramatic repairs.
They reused some of the features, such as the cabinets and wardrobe, but transformed the central areas. The bus would have to be functional for Sheena, Jason, and their dog Riley. It would also have to be practical for their jobs – with Jason working as a corporate telecommuter, and Sheena, a freelance photographer and graphic designer.
The bedroom with a full-size bed was an area Jason and Sheena put a lot of thought into. They raised the bed on thick board and made the underneath area a place for storing the air compressor and toolbox.
The bedroom gains separation from the remainder of the bus with a wall hanging by Alexandra Sandecki from Calicclectic Studio. The artwork adheres to the framing of the bus and adds a sense of airiness.
Even though the bedroom looks like it has interior designer influences, it’s all Sheena’s work. She sourced her neutral linen, plant holders, and geometric throw pillows from Target. They work together to create a peaceful and harmonious sleeping nook.
To ensure that Mavis would cater to Jason and Sheena’s work-on-the-road lifestyle, they chose to build two workstations into the design. Both desks feature locally-sourced and century-old tongue and groove reclaimed barn wood and metal.
Sheena and Jason left the metal as-is, sealed it with clearcoat, and Sheena’s welder father constructed the framing for the desks. The area is tied together with a turquoise wall planter to match the chair and a macramé light.
The second workstation is between the bed and the refrigerator. It has the same chair as the other workstation, both of which are vintage stadium chairs. They have also made use of old cheese boxes which are narrow and fit into any small space.
In the kitchen, Jason and Sheena chose to go for a more modern, functional look. The Sektion cabinetry with a Veddinge finish is from Ikea and boasts a brilliant light oak finish.
In the early stages of the build, Sheena was determined to have wooden plank walls. As they added more and more heavy items to Mavis, they began to realize that it wouldn’t be feasible. They kept two pressboard divider walls. These dividers were not easy to paint, so they wallpapered them and searched for a wood plank-style solution to add warmth.
This came in the form of Stikwood – 1/8-inch wood planks with adhesive backing. Jason and Sheena were able to complete the kitchen walls with a warm wood look but without the weight.
The living area emphasized comfort. Wood flooring complements the self-built sofa which has a birch plywood sheet over the frame. Plumbing, a fuse box, and switches are hidden underneath. There are also overhead cabinets for additional storage.
The toilet was a cause of contention for Sheena because she saw value in a compostable loo, but no convenience. They settled on a standard model with a black tank. The toilet is in a nook with white painted pallet wood backing and one of the original cupboards.
The shower also carries on the wood pallet theme with the addition of an Ikea countertop traced from the original counter.
Completing the bathroom is a tub with ¼-inch Starboard marine-grade plywood. It’s waterproof and has a decorative backsplash to complete the look.
Once Mavis was complete, Jason and Sheena spent nearly two years traveling in their paradise on wheels. In spring of 2018, they sold Mavis to a San Francisco Bay couple and has now moved onto Mavis 2.0. You can follow their adventures on Mavistheairstream.com