Vacation architecture – cabins, Airstream renovation, A-Frames, tiny homes, etc. – has been an interest of mine for several years. Occasionally, we are commissioned to do a vacation design project for a client, but typically it is for my personal enjoyment or a project for my family. My first hands-on vacation design project was the renovation of our 1968 Airstream International Sovereign – “Airstream Betty.” Four years after a mostly cosmetic redo right after we purchased Betty, I decided to gut her and truly make her our style and a better fit for our family of five.
Two years after that renovation, I’m now designing our next vacation architecture project – a permanent home for Betty. 1968 Airstream Sovereigns, which were the largest and most luxurious Airstream in 1968, are known for a problem called rear-end sag. We had the floor pan removed and the frame lifted and braced right after purchasing Betty, but she’s showing signs of sagging again after nearly 15,000 miles on the road with us since 2013. Our dream for a while now has been to find a Texas Hill Country piece of land to build an “RVminium” – my term for a place to store and also use your RV. Maybe I didn’t come up with it, but I own the domain, so I’m claiming it! The original concept seen here was for a stylized metal storage building with large side doors and porch.
Finding Texas Hill Country land for a reasonable price and without deed restrictions can be challenging. We have searched off and on for two years to no avail. Recently, for completely different purposes, we purchased a 25’x140’ narrow city lot in Tomball, Texas which is only 20 minutes from our home. Tomball is a great little town with a Main Street consisting of antique stores, a micro-brew pub, live music venues, farmers market, and many festivals throughout the year. Our intent was to build two one-bedroom micro-homes of about 400 square feet each for rental. Unfortunately, our concept did not gain planning and zoning approval, so on to plan B (actually plan C or D. A couple of other concepts wouldn’t meet approval either).
We have now decided to put the Hill Country land dream on hold for a few years and build our RVminium on the Tomball lot. Because of its very narrow dimensions and 5’ side setbacks, the original RVminium concept does not even remotely work for the property. We only have 15’ of width to work with for the build. To meet local regulations, we have to have a minimum of 650 square feet of conditioned living space. The structure will contain a covered storage area for Betty where she will be permanently hooked up to electricity for use by us or guests. The living quarters will be two stories with a studio apartment on the first floor and a second-floor bunk room with access to a balcony over the large covered porch which faces a city park. The two-story side faces a line of great trees on the neighboring 25’ wide lot. Hopefully, no one else is crazy enough to buy a 25’ wide lot for a 15’ wide build, or those trees will be gone. Just in case that happens, no windows are placed on the side of the first floor. The overall form is a very modern design, but rustic materials help give it a rural Texas vibe.
If you have a recreation property and want an RVminium, modern cabin, cargo home, or tiny home of your own for your private use or vacation rental, reach out to us. Whether your style is modern architecture, traditional farmhouse, or something in between, we’ve got some great ideas for you!