GTPulse: Retro Airstream is Transformed Into Dreamy, Traveling Event Space
Airstreams are an icon of combined Americana and nostalgia. Founded by a man named Wally Byam in the 1930s, the silver, oblong trailers were designed with American families in mind to make their “travel dreams come true.” Spending a large portion of his childhood living in a wooden wagon just off the Oregon trail, Wally was no stranger to #vanlife. He had an enthusiasm for camping and outdoor activities ingrained in him from growing up on a farm. His first wife didn’t share the same sentiment. After a couple’s camping trip gone awry, instead of swearing off camping altogether, Wally designed a makeshift tent on top of a Model T chassis. With some tweaking, he ended up with a more permanent, teardrop-shaped contraption that continually caught the eye of other travelers. The positive interest is what drove Wally to start a business selling the travel trailers, and the rest is history.
Airstreams today are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Still a desirable option for camping, they’re also being renovated to be used as tiny homes, food trucks, traveling event bars, and more. YouTube is filled with tours of beautifully renovated Airstreams, and home decor brand Pottery Barn recently teamed up with the brand to launch a collection inspired by the trailers. The popularity isn’t undeserved. They’re a great, long-lasting option for avid campers or tiny space living hopefuls. For Sarah Lange and Jeremy Smith, an Airstream was a perfect option for creating a traveling event space they’ve named Tucan Mobile Lounge.
“Well, Jeremy liked the shape of the Airstream like a toucan beak. It sounds tropical, it sounds fun. Where my head was at with it was that ‘Tu’ means ‘you’ in Spanish. You get to create what it is.”
The couple has lovingly renovated a 29-foot Airstream into a boho-chic lounge that Coachella dreams are made of. They reside in Traverse City where they first met years ago over cocktails at the bar on top of Park Place. They found the travel trailer while scouring around Facebook.
“We had found it on Facebook Marketplace. It used to be at a brewery in Illinois and they used it for external seating space.”
It wasn’t just bought on a whim, Jeremy had the idea while studying business in college.
“This was an idea I had back in college and just never really did anything with it.”
Jeremy also studied hospitality in school and had his fair share of the depleting experience that is setting up and breaking down events. The idea of an event space that didn’t require set up and tear down was appealing.
When they bought the Airstream, it had strong, bachelor in his first, post college apartment vibes with a saturation of dark colors and black leather. The bright, airy space that it’s been turned into is now the mobile lounge of their dreams.
With plenty of seating and counter space, the lounge works for a variety of functions and has varying decor options to suit different tastes.
“It’s extra seating, it can really be anything from a place for the bridal party to get ready, a VIP room, ” Sarah said.
Bought right after Christmas and opened for business this past memorial day weekend, they’ve transformed the travel trailer in an efficient amount of time, and although this season is a little quieter for events and weddings in northern Michigan, they’ve already generated interest and bookings for next summer.
“This next month or two we’re doing a lot of promotional events with different restaurants, we definitely have a lot of ideas, but the biggest thing is we want to showcase what a variety of things you can use this for. Beyond the wedding industry, a lot of our target is trade show conferences and corporate events. We’re okay if you want to put your logo or decal on it,” Jeremy said.
There is no limit on how far they’re willing to travel to rent out Tucan, and they’re interested in having it used at music festivals too.
“Doing a VIP area for either a band or VIP attendees. It can be anything,” he said.
But when it’s not being rented out, Sarah and Jeremy will enjoy it too.
“Oh yeah, we hang in here all the time!” Jeremy said.
From backyard BBQs to family reunions, or bridal parties, the options and Tucan Mobile Lounge are limitless.
Check them out at https://www.tucanmobilelounge.com.
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