What would you do if someone offered you a fixer-upper Airstream? When a fellow San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, designer asked Jorge Almada and Anne-Marie Midy if they’d like to take on her father’s long-abandoned 1968 Overlander as part of a barter deal, the couple jumped to the challenge.
The two, owners of the luxe-rustic furnishings company Casamidy, were entirely new to the world of RVs. But Jorge had grown up hearing tales of his produce-farmer grandparents’ Airstream in the fifties: “They outfitted it as a bar that they’d take to the beach. My father and aunts spoke very fondly of those times and, in particular, that trailer.” An Airstream also seemed to fit right in to their already peripatetic life: The couple, who have two young sons, are based in Brussels; run their workroom out of San Miguel; and have a family ranch in Sonora, Mexico, just over the Arizona border.
Working with Casamidy’s team of skilled craftsmen, Jorge, who took charge, felt no qualms about doing things that purists would find sacrilegious. Who, for instance, paints an Airstream deep olive, panels it in leather, and plants a claw-footed Victorian card table inside? Join us for a look at Casamidy’s idiosyncratic version of style on wheels.
Photography courtesy of Casamidy.
Inspiration for the new color came from a small Bang & Olufsen speaker (see it below) and required multiple paint coats to get right: “First matte black, then iridescent yellow, then the green, and then a sealant because it’s going to be in the sun and we don’t want it to yellow,” explains Jorge. “The guy who did the painting is a true artist.”
Of the new paint job, he points out, “In daylight it’s olive, and at night it turns forest green
Rather than mimicking trailer furnishings, he made use of Casamidy’s signature Altamura sofas of waxed canvas and saddle leather. They’re bolted to the floor, and, Jorge quickly learned, everything else also has to be battened down or put away, so that when El Cornichon is on the road, all the pieces remain in place. The existing floor had a lot of rot and was replaced with a veneered oak slotted in board by board: “We went with veneer because it’s light; otherwise, we’d have had a weight issue.”
Pajamas and bedtime reading are kept in the hanging Leather Saddle Bags, and the overhead bin is piled with serapes. As for the copper window and skylight trim, Jorge explains, “Our ranch is near Bisbee, Arizona, and there’s a lot of copper mining in the area. All of the copper fittings are my way of acknowledging Bisbee and Sonora.”
The rugs are from Evoke the Spirit, which has shops in San Miguel and Sayulita.
The back wall closet and bathroom door are made of iron inset with stitched leather. And the fridge is tucked behind the “smoke-roomy” black-painted wall.
Striking the overall right tone, Jorge says, was tricky: “I didn’t want it to be too kitschy or too safari, so I tried to balance all the elements.” He also looked to nautical design: The wall lights are Original BTC Oval Bulkhead Light.
Another space-saving design decision was to forego having a shower in the trailer: Instead, when they’re on the road, Jorge hangs a solar shower (with curtain) from the tow vehicle.
Hard-pressed to come up a place for a queen-size bed in the trailer, Jorge found a two-person rooftop tent by Front Runner that fits atop the tow vehicle (see below), so that’s what the family uses when they’re on the road with El Cornichon.
“Everything here is functional,” Jorge says, “but since we don’t live here permanently, there’s also an element of fantasy.”
The small hanging Beoplay Portable Bluetooth Speaker inspired the color applied to the outside of the trailer. The tin lantern is a 1917 American Army relic that folds flat. And the steer head is made of ceramic and came from Evoke the Spirit.
For more spiffed-up vintage Airstreams, take a look at: