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.

GOOD HABITS: MEAL PLANNING

GOOD HABITS: MEAL PLANNING - This Wild Home

There was once a time I thought I hated cooking. The idea of getting in a kitchen and making a meal only made me think of dishes and cleaning and lack-luster food that was barely edible. I mostly ate out, but I didn’t have enough money to eat from actual restaurants who might give me a real vegetable. So fast-food became my go-to for a very long time, and even that wasn’t as budget friendly as I hoped.

Fast forward to now and I’ve learned that I really enjoy cooking. I’m at a point where I can look in my kitchen at random ingredients and find a way to put them all together in a way that tastes good. I have a pile of recipes I can turn to when I can’t think of what to make and I have staples that are favorites amongst my family that I can always turn to when I don’t feel like putting in much effort.

This didn’t happen overnight, of course. It wasn’t something I just woke up and realized I could do. Cooking is a skill and it takes practice. Coming up with recipes on your own takes a lot of trial and error and reading of other recipes that others have made. It’s not as easy as going on Pinterest, finding some stuff that looks good, and becoming a master chef who makes creative meals every night.

Making your own food is definitely a habit you have to intentionally add to your life. There are mindsets you have to work on, things you have to learn, and an admiration you need to develop in order to make cooking at home something you do regularly. That may be why so many people opt for frozen dinners or take out.

IN A WORLD THAT REQUIRES YOU TO GO GO GO ALL THE TIME, YOU LOOSE ROOM FOR MONEY SAVERS AND HEALTH BOOSTERS LIKE HOME-COOKED MEALS.

So now that I’m at a point where I feel weird when I don’t cook at home and I’m able to cook all three meals for us every day, I’ve looked back on how I got here and what it really took for me to start cooking at home.

MEAL PLANNING

In order to meal plan, there are a few things you need to let go of in order to do it easily without the pressure of feeling like you need to have an exciting, gourmet meal for every single meal every day. Honestly, the best part of meal planning is you start to know your staples. Things that everyone likes and ingredients you know you can throw together anytime your tired or just not feeling up to it.

GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET

BUY WHAT YOU LIKE | There were so many times when I started cooking that I’d go to the store and pass some spinach and think, “I should eat more salad so I’ll get that.” Then, of course, it wound up in the trash all soggy and gross, never even opened.

You have to trust that you’ll get there. One day, cooking will be so second nature and healthier options will be so regular that you will eat a salad frequently enough to actually warrant purchasing a whole bunch of spinach. But in the beginning, just buy the stuff you know you like. Even if it’s just ground beef and hamburger helper. Whatever gets you moving around in the kitchen is key.

KEEP IT SIMPLE | I feel like it’s really easy to get wrapped up in Pinterest and social media. It feels like people are making complex, beautiful, healthy meals all day every day all the time. But they’re not. Some nights they have leftovers. Some nights they throw things together in a giant pot and call it a day. Some nights they make the same thing they’ve already made four times that week.

Meal planning doesn’t mean that every meal turns into something fancy all the time. It doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a master chef that makes fancy restaurant quality meals all the time. It simply means you’re making stuff that keeps you fed. That should really be your only goal: Can I eat this and is it good enough to keep us alive and energized for a few more hours?

VARIETY IS OVER RATED | The biggest thing that held me back, in the beginning, was feeling like I had to make something extremely different for every meal every day. I’d try to make sure we were having a different vegetable, meat, side, whatever every night. It was exhausting and way more expensive than necessary. But the reality is, food is only supposed to be fuel to keep your body running. You should try and eat healthy as much as possible and get a good variety of proteins and veggies and things every once in a while. But if you have the same smoothies every day for breakfast, the same avocado toasts every day for lunch, and the same power bowl for dinner, your life will be easier.

Of course, it’s good to switch things up and you may even have fun trying new things every once in a while, but that doesn’t need to be the priority. The only thing you truly need to focus on is getting yourself and anyone else fed.

FORMING THE HABIT

So once you let go of the idea that meal planning and cooking at home is some big flashy thing you have to do, starting the habit really just takes practice. It takes starting small and working your way up to it. For me, creating better habits requires no pressure. I have to make it fun and I have to make it easy or else it’ll never happen. So here’s how I got into the habit of cooking at home and meal planning.

START SMALL | If you go from 0 to 100, you’ll probably wind up with hundreds of dollars worth of food in the trash. Simply having the food at your house will not teach you how or motivate you to make it. It’s also hard to know how much of something you truly need until you’re already cooking consistently. The amount of food I over bought when I first tried to get in the habit of meal planning was such a waste for my wallet and just food in general.

The best thing to do is to start with one meal. Find a recipe that looks delicious and do-able and buy what you need for that. Then, the next week, make two meals and so on. This is a good way to build your recipe portfolio, learn what you like and what you don’t like, learn what’s too much work and what’s easy, and build your pantry inventory over time.

INVEST IN PREP | When I first started meal planning, I’d make giant batches of stuff. So one day I’d make enough spaghetti to feed a family of 10 (for two of us) and reheat that for the next couple of days. Or I’d make a giant batch of soup (seriously the easiest meal to make) and have it for lunch for the next week.

I don’t love overcooking to the point of needing to freeze because a lot of stuff just isn’t the same after it’s been prepared and frozen. But making big batches, especially in the beginning, can help you get in the habit of actually eating at home without having to be in the habit of cooking every day.

TRY A MEAL PLAN SUBSCRIPTION | No, they are not quite as budget-friendly, but they are so helpful with getting yourself in the habit of cooking at home. In a way, it’s almost like a cooking class right in your home. You get all of the ingredients you need, the exact amount you need, and all the recipes are made and decided (with a little help from you) so all you have to do it cook.

I think my biggest hurdle when getting into meal planning was simply just getting in the habit of cooking and building my confidence in that. So when I got a meal plan subscription, I already had the food at home, it was only three meals a week, and the instructions were so clear that I felt like I knew what I was doing. I learned different skills, different techniques, different pairings. All the things I needed to learn to really get in the habit of cooking consistently and planning my meals every week.

Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be learned.

Building your recipe book, getting stocked on some staples, and really getting in the habit of preparing your own food every day are all things that need to happen to build this habit. If you work at it and go at a comfortable pace, eventually you’ll be at a point where you feel the urge to get in the kitchen and cook up something good.