If I Could Change One Thing...

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Updated November 24, 2018
Airstream Kitchen

We’re coming up on 3.5 years on the road and I can’t help but look back at how crazy this journey has been. We’ve adventured in 33 states, driven over 100,000 miles and visited 42 NPS sites. We have grown so much in these last 3 years. We’ve been excited, hurt, ecstatic, humbled, anxious, scared and mostly just lived in a state of disbelief that this is our everyday life.

We’ve moved from 2700 sq ft, to 350 sq ft and now live comfortably in 200 sq ft. We’ve downsized and changed up our rig and all our belongings countless times and we’re just now finally at a point where we’re really comfortable and content with what we have, and what we don’t have.

Montana Sunset with Airstream

Being in the Airstream for 1.5 years now, it’s fun to look back at the process. We spent so much time researching how we wanted the Airstream to function, what we wanted it to look like and dreaming about how it would work for us, being a family of 6.

Ashley after demo

Now that we’ve really broke it in and know how we use the space, I wanted to share not one, but rather a few things I (Ashley) would have done differently. The first is I would have used butcher block countertops for both the kitchen area and our dinette table.

Airstream Kitchen

The solid surface counters we went with scratch very easily and have already cracked in one area (although that was totally our fault). Butcherblock, though possibly more maintenance, would have added more warmth and practicality to our everyday kitchen use.

I would have built a much smaller table, too.

Airstream Dinette

This one is beautiful and made out of walnut, but just a little too big and heavy. I think having a smaller and lighter table may have been a better choice. However, this one is so special to me because my dad and his brother spent so much time on it. So it stays!

And paint…I wouldn’t have painted anything in here!

Beddy's Bedding on Bunkbeds in Airstream

I would have left it all natural wood and sealed it with oil. White in a tiny house (even without kids) is just hard to keep looking nice. It’s already in need of a new paint job and I’m not looking forward to that task.

But friends...my biggest pet peeve that we didn’t do in here is PLUMB THE PEE!

Nature's Head Compost Toilet

As you know, we have a Nature’s Head composting toilet and we love it, except we don’t love dumping the pee bucket! Lots of people have plumbed the urine to go straight into the gray tank and that’s what we should have done. So friends, if you're adding a composting toilet, really consider plumbing the pee!

Are any of these things worth changing now? No, not really. We actually have no plans to change any of them unless something breaks, but it’s always good to look back and see ways that you could have improved a situation.

Now that we’ve looked at things I would have done differently, I want to also tell you a few things that I absolutely love.

The smaller fridge!

NovaKool Fridge

I was a bit nervous about the size of fridge we picked but it couldn’t be more perfect for us! We can fit a week’s worth of food for all 6 of us in here! And it runs on 12 volt power so our food is being cooled by the power of the sun! How awesome is that?

Dishes and utensil organizer!

Utensil Organizer for Airstream

We actually just added this a few months ago when visiting my family in Indiana! We found that as often as we’re using the dishes and utensils, it would just be nice to have them out all the time, but still be contained for travel. I drew up an idea I had and my dad made it for us! It really is one of my favorite things in here now.

Another thing we love is brining in elements from our old homes.

Airstream Bed

We recently acquired our old curtains that were in our 5th wheel (and originally in our old home) and cut and sewed them to the right length for our windows. We also brought in some fabric birds that we had in our old house that just add a little character to the place and serve as a reminder of where we came from.

Another thing I love is incorporating things that the kids make. Like macrame decor or watercolor paintings. Little things that add a lot of love in here.

1972 Airstream Remodeled

We’ve worked really hard on creating a space that is both functional and beautiful to us. I believe it’s so important to create a place that not only reflects who you are, but also gives you a beautiful place to retreat and rest.

We love this tiny home that we built and though we know we won’t live in it permanently, it’s a pretty fantastic house for now!

Wherever we go, we're home.

This post was written for inclusion in the September 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know!

Little Bungalow-- “The Budget is Broken” : I've always felt that one of the big benefits of living small was the ability to renovate on a budget - but our max spend has been reached and we still have projects on the wish list.

Small Home Family-- “Our Biggest Small House Regret” : There is one major oversight we made when choosing our house: not planning well enough for the future.

Tiny Found Us-- "Needing a little more space?" : After living small for over a year, I realize we haven't been living grand enough.

Tiny Ass Camper-- “Bathroom, Bathroom, Bathroom” : We intentionally chose to omit the bathroom from our camper and honestly haven't missed it much - until we did.

Fourth & West-- "Sunlight and SAD" : I wish I lived in a glass house.


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Ashley Longnecker

About the Author

Ashley Longnecker is the fiercely independent tattooed and dreaded half of Tiny Shiny Home. She's a woodworker, photographer and maker of delicious baked goods. She loathes schedules and makes every day an adventure.

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Posted September 18, 2018

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