AIRSTREAM TOUR | before

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

The moment I layed eyes on this airstream, I fell in love. It gave me so much hope that we could truly make an airstream our home. I knew we’d have to do work on any airstream we found, but I never dreamed we’d find a beautifully renovated airstream that fit our style so well.

Seeing an airstream that was already beautifully put together is what pushed us to take the plunged. While we had been decided on going tiny, the idea of an airstream was just one possibility of many. Then, we saw this beauty named Polly and we were sold.

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

The living room is a space we’re going to use as both living space AND our bedroom. We’re still deciding between a day bed or just a traditional pullout couch. We thought about keeping the futon, but if I’m going to put my bed away everyday, I’d at least like to keep the sheets on so I’m not completely making and unmaking a bed everyday.

Our goal is to figure out how we can maximize comfort, convenience, and space. I know something will have to give, but we want to figure our which of those three things is the most important and go from there.

What would you choose? (no seriously, I need help.)

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

The kitchen is already perfect. As far as making it “move-in ready,” there’s nothing that needs to be done but the moving in part! We’re keeping a very open mind about this airstream. If we hate it, it’s going to be an amazing opportunity to make some money through renting the space either short-term or long-term. If we LOVE it, I’m going to revisit the kitchen to possibly add in an oven. I know I’m going to miss my roasted veggies for a bit, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the time being. This move (and keeping it simple) is definitely more important right now.

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

This space is just for the boys. As crazy as it sounds, we’re actually going to remove the storage cabinets and build another platform so each boy can have his own bed. We contemplated bunkbeds, but since our oldest is only 2, we’re just going to put them both in beds with rails for the next few years. We also found some noise reducing curtains to hang in front of each bed so they can have a nice, cozy corner to sleep in where we won’t disturb them on our way to and from the bathroom.

If we’re still airstream living in the next two years, we will build some bunk beds and either reinstall the original cabinets, or build some new ones!

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

Finally, the bathroom. Another space we’re doing pretty much nothing too! The set up is very spacious. There are two decently sized closets and a sliding door with a full length mirror. There’s lots of cabinet space so, shockingly, Ian and I will have much less fighting over mirror/counter space in the airstream than we do in our current, 1,000 sqft apartment!

The only things we’ll do are add a shower curtain and (maybe) get a composting toilet. We’ll need to find a more compact one to make it work, but that is ultimately what we would like to do.

I have a few things I may do in the bathroom down the road, but that’s only because I’m a wallpaper/tile junkie so I may have to have some fun in there in the future!

So there’s the airstream in it’s current state! I’ll be sharing all the updates we do along the way. The very first step? The boys room. I have been dreaming of creating a room for my kids that is truly our own that I can really go all the way with, basically, since I was pregnant with Oliver. So yeah, I’m geeking out hard right now.

Photos and original renovation by Malley Johnson

WE GOT AN AIRSTREAM! | why we're going tiny + why we chose an airstream

WE GOT AN AIRSTREAM! | This Wild Home

Some really exciting things going on at the Jones’ house this week!

We made a highly anticipated impulse decision to move forward on a dream we’ve had for a very long time: living tiny, on wheels.

It’s something we’ve been talking about for years, but were never really sure if we’d actually do it. We’ve had debt to pay off, kids to think about, and in general it’s just not something that necessarily sounds “responsible.” But after a long time of dreaming and talking and researching, we took the plunge and bought an airstream. It’s equal parts terrifying and exciting but, ultimately, I think we will be so happy we made this choice.

WHY GO TINY?

The appeal of tiny living hit us around the time I got pregnant with Oliver. We were living in a big, expensive city and started shopping around to see what kind of house we could afford. At the time, I was definitely in the mindset of needing a big house with individual rooms for each member of the family, lots of bathrooms, playrooms, living rooms; the works. I felt like we would all need a lot of space to retreat to and to call our own. But in the city we were living in, the only real option was to live in areas we weren't too excited about.

All of that searching made us realize we didn’t need a big city to make us happy, so we moved to a small town. There were more career opportunities and much cheaper housing costs. We could see a light at the end of the tunnel for being able to purchase a home and have all of our (my) nesting dreams come true. It was at that time I had finally discovered minimalism, realized that maybe some shared bedrooms and one living room would be enough, and got rid of a ton of stuff.

We started on our path of evaluating what was truly important to us and what we really wanted from life.

But then, Ian’s job had us moving around… a lot. Our oldest son got to the point of living in 4 different cities before he was two. We went through a lot of places that we thought were going to be home. We settled in just to tear everything down and settle in again. It became very apparent to us that:

  1. We can’t truly be sure where we’ll ever settle down.

  2. While we love the idea of having a consistent space, the idea of committing to one city is very daunting to us.

I, personally, would love to be able to create a home for my family, but neither of us loves the idea of being stuck in one place long term. We kind of love the adventure of moving around but, being homebodies, we want a home that can come with us where ever we are. A little piece of comfort and familiarity for all of us.

While tiny living may not be for everyone, we have definitely found ourselves living a lifestyle where this really makes sense. And since we’re all in the same room all day every day anyway, why not get rid of the excess and get ourselves something that really works for us?

WHY AN AIRSTREAM?

There are so many different choices when deciding to go tiny. There’s traditional tiny homes, RVs, airstreams, and probably many more that I’m not even thinking of.

We actually started this whole process at a Buffalo Wild Wings. We sat down with each other and decided that it’s time to make this daydream a reality. We need to finally act on one of our big ideas. So we found a company to work with to have a custom tiny home build for us. They were so helpful, budget friendly, and ready to help us create a home that met all of our needs.

We ran into a problem though. Tiny homes are tough to finance. They aren’t defined enough for banks to be comfortable handing out loans. We thought about possibly just taking the time to save up the full amount, but for better or worse, we want this to happen as soon as possible. We also realized that no matter what kind of certification you have on your tiny home, the world just isn’t quite ready. We’re not willing to risk not finding places to park our tiny home. Especially having our two young kids with us. We need the security knowing we’ll have somewhere we can park our home no matter where we go.

So we turned to traditional travel trailers.

  • We knew we wanted something we can haul, not something with it’s own motor.

  • We needed something that is easily defined and comes with the assurance of being able to have a safe parking space anywhere we go.

  • We liked the idea of having something that can be stripped and renovated (in the future) to mold with us as our family grows.

  • We also knew we wanted something that looked really cool (this is our home after all, aesthetics are going to have some say).

So we decided the iconic, beautiful airstream would be the route we’d take.

HOW WE FOUND OUR AIRSTREAM

This is where the epitome of our impulse comes in. We actually weren’t looking too seriously when we found our airstream. We were simply at the crossroads of “Tiny house OR airstream?” when we decided to look on Airstream Classifieds to see what our options could be when we were finally ready to pull the trigger. To be honest, we actually weren’t planning on buying anything until the end of the year.

Knowing we aren’t extremely handy, we were looking for airstreams that needed minimal work to make our own. We didn't want to have to gut something completely and start over right now. Just simple paint jobs and maybe installing a few shelves. Nothing more. With in 5 minutes of looking, we found two beautiful, RENOVATED airstreams. After some careful consideration (and obviously a pros and cons list), we decided on a 1974 Airstream Sovereign all the way out in Kentucky. The interior was something I would’ve done myself which means it really doesn’t need much work at all. We’ll have to come up with some clever solutions to make it work for a family of 4, but for the most part it is everything we could’ve asked for.

We will be sharing our journey to going tiny. All the purging, the move in, and then life in an airstream! It’s going to be a crazy adventure for us all, but ultimately we are so excited to do something we’ve always dreamed of doing.

WHY I CHOOSE RESPECTFUL PARENTING

WHY I CHOOSE RESPECTFUL PARENTING - This Wild Home

Before my first son became a full-blown toddler, I hadn’t done any research at all on child-care, children, or how they develop. I had my own experiences, a basic understanding of some human psychology, and a fairly decent instinct. But when my angelic baby turned into a strong-willed toddler, I was convinced that everything I was doing was wrong and that I was making him unhappy and ill-mannered. I couldn’t shake the fear that somehow I had ruined him already and that I was doing everything all wrong.

I quickly took to the internet in a desperate attempt to save my toddler and the relationship between us. I found some resources that really opened my eyes and I read and read until I felt like I had a decent understanding of different methods and mindsets on parenting. Then, I found Janet Lansbury and the world of Respectful Parenting.

I went into motherhood with a basic idea of what I wanted it to look like. It didn’t feel right to punish my kids for things that didn’t seem morally wrong. We knew for sure there would be no spanking or physical punishments of any kind. Mostly, I knew I wanted my kids to grow up unafraid and uninhibited by me and my expectations. I knew I wanted my role to be provider and caretaker. My only real job, in my mind, is to be there when they fall and help them get back up again. (I mean, obviously be a model for manners and stuff too.)

Despite all that, I had no idea how to execute these goals the way I wanted. Before I discovered Respectful Parenting I really had no idea how to implement my ideas effectively in a way where I was still in control. Now that I have these tools and the knowhow to really make this peaceful and respectful bond between me and my boys grow while still effectively parenting them, I’ve seen the benefits of this style of parenting. It truly changed my mood, my mindset, and my relationship with my kids for the better.

WHY I CHOOSE RESPECTFUL PARENTING

  • IT TAKES THE PRESSURE OFF | This may not be the best way to phrase it, given that Respectful Parenting does have a lazy vibe on the outside. With all the lack of punishment and safe places and everything. I can honestly say that when I first discovered it, I was a little unsure of how parents were still in charge of the whole operation. But as I learned more and as I introduce more of the practice into my own home, I am finding that my toddler listens better and I don’t feel as much pressure when things aren’t perfect.

    The part of peaceful parenting that takes the pressure off is that the first step is to accept that toddlers don’t listen. It’s not their job to listen. Children have lots of feelings, the same as you and I do. We feel like screaming when things get overwhelming. I’ve hit a pillow or two out of extreme frustration over things that, in hindsight, were really quite ridiculous to be so upset over. And I’ve done all of this as a full grown adult with that one little thing we should have that kids don’t: self-control.

    When I finally realized that my toddler’s outbursts weren’t the beginnings of a bad seed, but simply the perfectly normal and natural expression of emotion, I was less afraid. I felt so much less pressure to prevent negative feelings and extreme reactions. I finally realized it’s not my job to tell them how to feel or to make sure they’re feeling happy 100% of the time. It’s simply my job to allow my kids to feel what they need and help them find the self-control to expel their feelings appropriately over time.

  • IT’S FOR RAISING ADULTS, NOT KIDS | I knew before my sons were born that I was raising future adults. I knew I wanted to go into parenting this way. I had a good idea of how I wanted to parent, but it is really nice knowing that there’s a group of people out there who are parenting this way too. And it’s nice being able to find that community of people who have their own tips and tricks on how to foster our children’s childhoods to help them grow into happy and productive adults.

    It’s always been tricky for me to think of children as children. Mostly because I’m always thinking 1,000 steps ahead. I look at my toddler and newborn son and see them as very tiny men. Tiny men who need me to help them be the best men that they can be. But in order to do that, I have to respect them as whole human beings with rights and developmental stages that can’t be rushed.

    We’re only with our kids for a short amount of time. They will likely have their own families longer than they were ever a full part of ours. They will be responsible for themselves, and others, before we know it. We’re raising men who will need to learn to be good to women and women who need to learn to be good to men and people who need to learn to be good to people. Most importantly, we’re raising people who need to learn how to be good to themselves no matter what others bring their way.

    With Respectful Parenting, it’s not about fixing the toddler problem to make a better toddler. It’s about allowing the toddler to get as much as he can out now in order to help him to walk into adulthood feeling light. Not weighed down by all the emotions he had to bury because we didn’t want a screaming toddler.

  • IT’S JUST AS MUCH CARING FOR YOURSELF AS IT IS CARING FOR YOUR KIDS | The older I get, the more I realize I’m a pretty sensitive person. Marriage and motherhood are two things that definitely motivate you to knock down your walls so you can share who you really are with the people closest to you. In that, you learn about yourself. So I’ve learned I’m a big sensitive baby. I’m not the type to let things roll by unaffected. I’m the type to feel everything, deeply, until I’ve finished feeling it. In return, how I’m feeling can affect everything around me. My productivity, the clothes I choose to wear, the activities I engage in, and ultimately, how effectively I can parent.

    When I decided to approach parenting in a way that encourages feelings and expression within my children, I learned that patience (my worst quality) needed to be at the forefront of my mind at all times. In order to do that, I needed to take care of myself. My emotions, my problems, my stress, my insecurities; everything. It all needed to be addressed and maintained. Because, if I’m not happy, how can I help my children find happiness?

    One thing that’s strongly encouraged in peaceful parenting is addressing your own issues and I love that. So many parents will feel wrong with tradition punishments and attitudes towards kids but still believe it’s the only way because thats what they were raised with. It usually stems from their own childhood. It’s something they have to work to overcome within themselves before they can implement the practice effectively in their own home. People who were raised with their own feelings being punishable offenses, shamed, or ignored have a hard time feeling like it’s okay when their kids express the same extreme feelings they need to express.

    When you take a look at how you respond to your kid’s feelings, it can give you some perspective on how your own feelings were handled as a kid and how you learned to deal with them growing up. It gives you an opportunity to fix yourself in order to give your kids a better chance of learning and coping and feeling productive. And better yet, it’s very encouraging to make sure you never forget to take care of yourself through the process of parenting.