Amy and Ed - Hudson Valley Airstream
Amy and Ed outside their house in the Hudson Valley that they designed and built themselves. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

  • Where other people see trash, Ed Potokar and Amy Rosenfeld of Hudson Valley Airstream see treasure.
  • Residents of New York’s Hudson Valley, the husband and wife spend their days transforming derelict Airstream trailers into tiny homes.
  • Since 2016, they have renovated four vintage Airstreams from the 1960s and ’70s and sold them for about $100,000 apiece.
  • Amy and Ed name the trailers after women they admire, including Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton, and Roberta Flack.
  • Look inside “Roberta,” a 29-foot trailer from 1973 that they spent nine months transforming from a heap of dusty 1970s furniture into a sleek, habitable space.

Amy Rosenfeld and Ed Potokar love designing spaces. Over the past decade, they’ve built three houses in the Hudson Valley and renovated an apartment in New York City. Now, they spend their days working on vintage Airstreams.

Amy and Ed - Hudson Valley Airstream
Amy and Ed outside their house in the Hudson Valley that they designed and built themselves. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Co-owners of Hudson Valley Airstream, Amy and Ed scour the eastern US for out-of-commission Airstream land yachts from the 1960s and ’70s and convert them into tiny modern homes.

Exterior side back Roberta - Hudson Valley Airstream
Exterior view of ‘Roberta,’ a 1973 vintage Airstream. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

“We really love to be styling the Airstreams from the late ’60s to the ’70s because that’s when they started making round windows. They were square before then,” Amy told Insider.

Exterior back Roberta - Hudson Valley Airstream
Rear view of ‘Roberta,’ a 1973 vintage Airstream. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

To date, they have renovated four trailers, which they found through word of mouth and browsing Craigslist.

Exterior side - Hudson Valley Airstream
Exterior view of ‘Roberta,’ a 1973 vintage Airstream. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

One of their latest renovations, a 29-foot trailer from 1973 named “Roberta,” was in such bad shape that they had to spend a month fixing it up before they could even drive it from Ohio back to the Hudson Valley.

Hudson Valley Airstream - Roberta
Exterior view of ‘Roberta,’ a 1973 vintage Airstream. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

When Amy and Ed first saw Roberta, she was filled with clutter: cereal boxes, broken lawn chairs, and ripped polyester pillows, among other decaying treasures.

Roberta_before2 - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior of ‘Roberta’ pre-renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

Amy has come to expect as much when purchasing vintage trailers. “It was disgusting … They’re all rotting because they’ve been outside for 50 years,” she said.

Roberta_before1 - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior of ‘Roberta’ pre-renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Before starting on the renovation, Amy and Ed sat down to decide on a name. They chose “Roberta” for Roberta Flack, who released her “Killing Me Softly” album in 1973, the same year the trailer was made.

Roberta Killing Me Softly Album & Keys - Hudson Valley Airstream
Flat lay of Roberta Flack’s 1973 ‘Killing Me Softy’ album next to keys and an Airstream key chain. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

The couple has named two other Airstreams after famous female singers. Their 1969 trailer is called “Janis,” after Janis Joplin, who performed in Woodstock that year.

Janis Joplin
Photo of Janis Joplin circa 1970. 

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

They also renovated a 1974 trailer named ‘Dolly’ in honor of Dolly Parton’s 1974 album “Jolene.” “It’s a way of paying homage to the years that the Airstream is from, and also honoring women that we think are awesome,” Amy said.

Dolly Parton in 1974
Country singer Dolly Parton performs onstage with an acoustic guitar circa 1974. 

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

 

Name chosen, Amy and Ed got to work gutting the interior, removing the plumbing, shelving, floor, and 50-year-old wiring and insulation.

guttedairstream - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior of ‘Roberta’ during renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Next, Ed laid the floors, rewired the trailer, and replaced the interior fiberglass shell with new insulation.

Roberta_gutted - Hudson Valley Airstream
Ed stands in ‘Roberta’ during renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

Amy and Ed thought that their experiences building houses would prepare them for their new endeavor. But renovating an Airstream comes with a unique set of challenges, Amy told Insider. “There are no straight lines. So everything has to be custom made,” she said.

Roberta_gutted2 - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior of ‘Roberta’ during renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Once Ed had updated all the plumbing and wires, he mapped out where each utility would go on the floor in blue tape, and Amy began sourcing materials and fixtures.

Roberta_floorplan - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior of ‘Roberta’ during renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

In total, Roberta took nine months to complete, with the majority of work taking place between April and November 2019. “When the weather is awesome, we’re working really long hours … like eight-, nine-hour days,” Amy said.

Ed+Airstream2 - Hudson Valley Airstream
Ed stands in the doorway of ‘Betty Jean,’ a 1972 Airstream. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Now Roberta is transformed.

Door inside Roberta - Hudson Valley Airstream
Exterior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

In place of the dusty, disintegrating coach and stained carpet is a custom blue daybed and wood floor.

Day bed to door - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

The trailer also includes a full kitchen with an L-shaped mahogany countertop, fridge, stove, and microwave. There is a bed, a bathroom with a shower, a row of cabinets, and a heating/AC unit.

Hudson Valley Airstream - Roberta
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

“Every inch is considered,” Amy told Insider. “There is storage everywhere.”

Interior from bed to door Roberta - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Amy appreciates how open the trailer feels. One way she and Ed achieved this effect is with this sliding barn door to the bathroom: The translucent panel filled with reeds allows light to shine into the bathroom while obscuring vision.

Barn door Roberta - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

 

The couple sold Roberta for $97,000 (which is about the average price for their trailers) in July, just weeks after listing her.

Roberta_towarddaybed - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

So far, Amy and Ed say their customers have used the converted Airstreams for several purposes. One rents her trailer out as Airbnb, another uses it for family camping, and Roberta’s buyer wants to use his as a guest house.

Roberta seating - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

While Amy and Ed did not sell Roberta furnished, they did include a copy of Roberta Flack’s 1973 “Killing Me Softly” album.

Bed Roberta - Hudson Valley Airstream
Interior view of ‘Roberta’ post renovation. 

Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld

Amy calls their business a labor of love. “It’s super satisfying to see the before and after, because we basically take these things that are destined to be rotting away and we restore them so that they can live on for decades,” she said.

Hudson Valley Airstream
Exterior view of ‘Roberta’ at night. Courtesy Amy Rosenfeld 

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Insider