Frequently Asked Questions
Some of your most asked questions and our (tough-love) answers.
Q: Where are you located?
A: We live on the road in our renovated 1994 Airstream. We do not have a studio, office, or permanent location, and travel to and live on site with our renovation projects.
Q: Can I come visit your shop to watch you work/learn how to do what you do/tour your Airstream?
A: We do not offer tours of our work sites, home, or client projects, though please feel free to browse our portfolio for virtual tours of our past projects. If you are interested in learning how to renovate an Airstream, please visit our learn page when it becomes available.
Q: Can I buy one of your Airstreams?
A: While there are renovation companies that flip Airstreams to sell, we are not one of them. We work on a client-by-client basis, designing and fully renovating one Airstream at a time, provided by our client. We may offer this service in the future, but for now, we do not.
Working With Us
Q: Why do you only take on one renovation at a time? Your wait list is too long and I want to get started on my project now.
A. Let me counter your question with a question, Ron Swanson style. Did you know there are only two people that work at The Modern Caravan? Hi, our names are Kate and Ellen. Kate's roles are designing the interiors, being hands on the build when needed (mostly sanding, tiling, painting, riveting), and running the business: maintaining the website, marketing, social media, bookkeeping, client contact, email management, et cetera. Ellen's job is the entire build, from demo to electrical, waterproofing to woodworking, welding to plumbing. Though we do spend anywhere from 10-16 hours a day working at The Modern Caravan in some form or another, we are also living on the road, in 200 square feet, with a daughter that we homeschool and three furries. Nice to meet you! I'm sorry we cannot accommodate your timeline.
Q. Why can't I just send you pictures or floor plans and you send me an estimate? Why do we have to 'meet' via Skype first?
A. Our work that we do is our art form - this is our passion. It's important that we connect and know that we'll work well together. This process is highly personal to us - we're building out tiny homes with heart. If meeting with us prior to working together isn't important to you, or you don't respect the way we are running our business, then we aren't well suited to work together - and that's okay. Compatibility and respect are very important to us, especially moving forward, and there are other renovation companies that do good work that have different approaches than we do.
Currently, the process works as follows: we are booked through the remainder of 2018, are taking time off to travel in 2019, and our wait list is full for 2020. When we begin to reach out to potential clients on the wait list, each person will receive an application. From there, an interview via Skype will follow, and we will select clients we feel we are compatible and we have mutual respect with. For us, this means that our clients will respect our family, our marriage, our gender, our time, our methodology, and fair wages.
Q. Speaking of the wait list, I saw that it's full. If your schedule happens to open up, will you take on my renovation first, before you tackle the wait list? I really want to get going on my project.
A. The wait list is full through 2020. We have so many names that we couldn't possibly get to all of them in one year. When we begin to reach out to those who have signed up to be on the waitlist, we will go in chronological order. Basically, this means that if you reached out after the 37 people who have asked to be on the waitlist, we will begin to add you to the following year, but those 37 people still have priority. If we schedule 4 renovations for 2020, then there are still 33 people who get dibs. We've gotten quite a few emails lately that include lengthy persuasions for why someone "deserves" a higher priority slot on the wait list because this is their dream, yet everyone who writes in has the same dream. No one person is more deserving than someone else. We will continue to play fair and go in order, and even within the wait list (see above question and answer), we still determine compatibility through an application and interview before taking on a client.
Q. I would love to have you renovate my Airstream, but I don't really have a lot of extra cash right now - but I do have an incredible social media following. Would you be willing to work for free for exposure / a discounted rate for exposure?
A. This should go without saying, but we don't work for free.
You wouldn't ask your doctor for a discount or a free visit after snapping his/her photo and tagging their practice on Instagram, would you? We'd go so far as to say you'd probably not ask a local contractor with a brick-and-mortar operation for a discount either only to tag them in a couple photos.
Having an online presence doesn't make us any less qualified or less a legitimate business. Exposure doesn't pay the bills and doesn't put food on the table - and we have a kid and two pets who've gotten used to being fed and taken care of. And if you know Kate at all, you know she needs a steady stream of Topo Chico running through her veins.
Renovating an Airstream/caravan is physical, emotional, and mental labor. It's demanding on the body and the mind. It is work, no way around it. What we do for our clients goes beyond the build itself: we spend hours planning, designing, researching, ordering supplies, and having conversations with our clients to personalize their projects. To ask us to work for free or for a discounted rate is insulting. It shows us you do not value our work or us as people.
**A note of advice: if anyone ever promises you exposure/promotion in exchange for your creativity/artwork/labor...run in the other direction. They don't respect you or your work, and will keep demanding of you because you let them do so in the first place. Learned this one the hard way, unfortunately.
Q. I asked you to give me your layout and measurements for your Airstream because I have the same model/length. Why didn't you do that?
A. Design work is layered, involved, complicated, and takes time, effort, and skill. If you are interested in working with us, great! We'd love to work with you. If you're looking for Kate to spend 40+ hours working on a design plan for you at no cost, then ask yourself how you'd feel if your boss decided not pay you for the week but still expected you to work.
Q. Would you consider renovating something other than an Airstream? I have an RV/Avion/Silver Streak/Spartan/Sprinter/Westy and would love to hire you.
A. Yes, we would. We aren't solely devoted to Airstream. It's our personal preference to live in, and the projects we've taken on just happen to be Airstream projects. We'd welcome a challenge and a change for sure.
Q. What Airstream models have you renovated?
A. We have renovated a 1957 27' Airstream Overlander, a 1977 27' Airstream Overlander, a 1976 31' Airstream Sovereign, a 1973 31' Airstream Excella 500, a 1994 30' Airstream Classic Limited, and a 1972 31' Airstream Sovereign. We also owned a 1961 16' Bambi for a short time and wish we'd been able to renovate that one, but time didn't allow, so we sold it to friends.
Q. How much do you charge to renovate an Airstream? Why can't you just send over a quote real quick?
A. There are many factors that go into us giving an accurate quote for our work - it's critical that we meet via Skype or FaceTime to determine these factors. Length, model, type of trailer, whether or not you've purchased a trailer yet, what fixtures and finishes you're interested in, condition of your trailer, the list goes on. Meeting with us first allows us to get to know you, your project, and establishes that you're serious about working with us before we write up a personalized quote.
Please be advised that there is a video online made by our first clients that lays out what they paid us, and we have smartly increased our pricing since then, as not only do we have more experience and our work improved since then, but businesses don’t tend to operate on a fixed cost pricing model (as a business grows, more revenue is needed to accommodate expanding business expenses). What we charged our first clients and what we’re charging future clients is different.
Q. Do you rent out your Airstreams? I have an event/trip coming up. If not, could I rent out yours?
A. No, we don’t rent out Airstreams. We don't have a fleet of them sitting somewhere! If we did, we’d list that service on our site (and wouldn't it be great if we did offer this?). We also don't rent out our Airstream, as we don't have a sticks and bricks in some city somewhere, we live and travel full-time in it.
Q. I sent you an email/direct message/left a comment asking for a brief summary of how to do ________ on my renovation project. Why didn’t you respond?
A. Be sure to read through this entire answer! Advice is throughout!
Most of the emails we receive start with a variation of the following opening sentence: “I know you’re so busy, but…”, inevitably followed by a series of questions asking for detailed instruction on how to plumb, run electrical, run an Airstream renovation business (what to charge clients, how to get clients, how to renovate, etc), how to design a layout for a family.
Insert confused/questioning emoji faces here.
So you know we’re busy…but if only we could just drop everything we’re doing for our paying clients or for our family and help you. You might think this answer sounds harsh, but seriously guys. It is beyond time for some tough love and truth. We’re actually pretty nice people who give our time for friends and family that we actually know in person, but we have to draw a line and have boundaries, same as anyone does.
A little history: we decided to start the business in 2016 when Kate realized she was spending several hours a day responding to these very emails. That was two years ago, and our online presence has, quite frankly, blown up since then, which we never expected. Being highly visible was never part of the plan, but it happened. We now receive 50+ emails/direct messages (this excludes comments on social media) per week asking for detailed answers for complicated subjects. It’s not as simple as a quick paragraph response - if it was, you wouldn’t be emailing us in the first place! You’d have already figured it out by now. There are no shortcuts in this work.
We live in a society that wants things right away. With immediacy at our fingertips for so many things (Amazon! Instacart! The Internet in General!), we come to expect it everywhere. Airstream/Caravan renovation is not for the faint of heart. It is not EASY. It takes hard work and sacrifice and learning that so many of us have forgotten that we inherently know how to do: we are all capable of so much more than we think, and our give-it-to-me now society hasn't helped matters. A little more history: when we set out to renovate our first Airstream, we had no money, no know-how, and were scared shitless. We did it anyway. We figured it out, step by step. We didn’t start projects until we’d researched and planned them thoroughly. We didn't rely on someone else to tell us how to do it. We had to seriously research and dig to find answers of any kind. Nowadays you can hop on Instagram, connect with other DIY renovators, and get so many questions answered from other novices who are a few steps ahead of you.
So yes - we do have more experience than novices and first-time (or even second-time) renovators, but the reason we have more experience is because we work non-stop. We have renovated four Airstreams in the past year alone, and we're running a business on top of that. We're not being assholes by not responding, we're working and raising a family and trying to have a life outside of The Modern Caravan, which is already pretty impossible, given our demanding schedules. We're working hard to come up with a solution to this issue, because we really do want to help, but our deadlines and schedules are truly so demanding that it's really tough to find time to do. Please bear in mind we are also parents, and while a childless couple may have more time to put more content out there, or answer more questions, when we have free time, our priority is our daughter. Always. It doesn't mean we don't love the community, we do. We just love our kid way more, and we're learning to love ourselves more.
Another note: we give out a ton of information via Instagram and here on our website, and try to respond to every comment and question on social media, but we honestly just don’t have time to be on our phones as much as we did pre-client renovations. We do produce as much free content as possible through our social media, blog, and project page, but above all, we believe in valuing and prioritizing ourselves, our clients, and our time.
BUT since we’re not total Scrooges, we are going to give you some advice anyway, right here, right now. This is what we did and still do, and it’s our best kept secret. There are two parts:
- Learn by doing. If you really want this, you will figure it out, come hell or high water. Nothing will stop you. Remember, we didn’t know how to drill out a rivet when we began renovating our first Airstream four years ago. Six Airstreams later, and we’re still learning…but we’ve come a long ass way. If we could figure out how to renovate an Airstream (with far less information available than there is today), YOU CAN TOO. You just have to want it so badly you’ll put in the work to get that juicy before and after. And then the work will continue, because you're living in a vintage aluminum tube and hauling it down the road and things are gonna break. Don't think that 'after' picture is what you're after, just the same as a wedding is just a day - it's the marriage that matters.
**A side note: if you are wanting to start a competing business, we will not be handing over our hard-earned information, business plan, teach you how to renovate (if you don't know, you really don't have any reason to open a business doing it), pricing model, etc. We have learned as we have gone along. It's part of the job. It's part of being an entrepreneur of any kind. If you're gonna compete, then compete by being fully in the game. We have been busting our asses and working 80-100 hour work weeks for the past three years, sacrificing money, time, family - everything - for what we've got. We built something out of nothing and we're sure as hell not handing that over to you.
Q. Why don’t you post progress shots on Instagram anymore?
A. It really comes down to time and structure. Right now, we are renovating seven days a week, because we are renovating for a client and ourselves. We moved into our unfinished, 200 square foot Airstream just before Christmas 2017 and have been renovating while living in it ever since. We moved over 1200 miles from one client renovation job to the next in the middle of our personal renovation. For us, the name of the game right now is Boundaries and Priorities. Our clients come first, and with not one, but two deadlines looming, we’re not documenting very much at all. Instead, we’re putting our heads down, plugging away, and working. We cannot move our personal Airstream again until it’s finished entirely, as it was unsafe to move the first time. We’re simply not able to be on social media as much as we once were. It’s actually pretty freeing and we accomplish a hell of a lot more when we don’t feel the pressure to prove that we’re working behind the squares. You should try it. #NOFOMO.
Q. Do you think I should renovate an Airstream or not?
A. This is a great question, actually, and one we receive pretty regularly. The email starts something like this..."So I want to renovate an Airstream, but I'm not sure if I can pull it off...". This is usually followed by limitations such as budget, partners/spouses not on board, know-how, tool collections, uncertainty of how to find an Airstream, etc.
First, let us say this: we're not going to tell you whether or not you should renovate a vintage Airstream. It's a personal decision, and there are so many factors to consider. What we will do is share a bit of history with you: we never, not for one second, questioned whether or not we wanted to renovate Louise. Not before we found her, not when we drove ten hours to buy her and everything went wrong trying to get her home, not even when we realized we were looking at way more work than we ever considered, not when we kept running out of money and couldn't figure out how to do things during the renovation itself. We were always 100% sure that we were doing the exact right thing for us at that time in our lives.
That's how you get through the work, that's how you get through the impossible days, that's how you handle budget limitations. You've got to be ALL IN from the very start. And now, we're certainly not qualified therapists or anything, but if your partner or spouse isn't on board, you probably shouldn't dive into a project that's going to take all your time (away from your spouse and/or kids) and money (away from your spouse and/or kids).
You've got to be willing to put yourself in the vulnerable position of saying "I don't know how to do this" over and over again. Because you will be in that position. Even our dads, who both worked construction in their younger days, learned from us and used tools and techniques they'd never used before when they'd come help with our early renovations. You've got to be willing to sit at the computer and do Google searches in order to figure out how to buy your perfect Airstream. Once you get it, you've got to be willing to sit and research all over again.
You've got to have patience for the process. We really believe that if you are doing it because it means something to you, these things will fall into place far more naturally than if you're doing it for superficial reasons.
There are resolutions for just about everything if you're willing to put yourself in the way of hard work.
Q. How much did you spend on your first renovation? How much did you spend on your second? Will you please break it down for me and send me an itemized list?
A. We hesitate to give exact numbers, as the numbers we've shared about renovations we've done for ourselves do not include our labor. So here's an important distinction: there are the numbers you'll spend on supplies, the numbers you'll spend on tools, and the numbers you'll spend on labor. When you hire us, you'll spend from two of those categories (labor and supplies). When you renovate on your own, you'll spend from two (tools and supplies). No one budget is the same, but for a ballpark, expect to spend anywhere from $10-40k on supplies and tools. Labor is a completely different category, and all renovation companies are different.
Q.What truck do you drive? Is it new? Do you recommend it? What’s the interior like? Is it roomy enough for a family? What’s your towing capacity? Did you finance it? I don’t know what to buy to haul my Airstream!
A. We drive a 2014 Toyota Tundra. We love it. It can tow 10k lbs, and we opted for a crew cab because we needed the big backseat for our brood, though this meant we sacrificed some truck bed length. We bought the truck used so we could afford some luxury upgrades, like the leather interior, given the nature of travel (hint: it’s dirty). If you’re worried about having enough room for regular travel storage, our truck bed is only 5’ 8”, but with our custom Leer camper shell, we are able to haul around all the tools needed for full renovations, including large tools such as an air compressor, table saw, miter saw, etc., and all the rest of our extensive tool collection (to be fair, we didn’t have room to bring our band saw with us - Kate’s dad got to hang on to that one, lucky duck). We can also fit our Cobb grill, boogie boards, outdoor rug, etc. So if you're worried about having 'garage' space (aka, truck bed), just remember that we can renovate an entire Airstream from the ground up...from anywhere...with the tools we have on board, and we still have our outdoor gear back there too. It's more than enough space. We did finance the truck initially, but paid off the truck within six months and now own it outright, which is important to us, as we are working steadily towards becoming debt free. We can't recommend Toyota trucks enough, but everyone's needs are different.
Sourcing & Design
Q. Kate, I’ve read online that you aren't a fan of people using your designs in their own projects. Why?
A. Honestly? This one really blows my mind. When we started renovating our first Airstream, there were far fewer people doing this type of work (meaning turning campers into high-end homes) or wanting to live the nomadic lifestyle in comparison to the exodus from the suburbs that is happening today. In the past four years, it's become a more accepted way of life, which is great, but as it's become more normalized and popular, it's become less about the experiences, travel, and the reason for tiny homes on wheels.
Instead, it has become more about who has the best looking renovated RV on Instagram (and thus the most followers), not true, heart-changing experiences. With the rise of this trend, copying is running rampant. True designers actually do the work and come up with unique, fresh designs. I also believe in giving credit where credit is due, even when you use singular elements of someone else's design. I believe in rolling up your sleeves and putting in the hard work, not just in what you built, but in the design itself. In the place of personalized, meaningful projects, there is now just a sea of identical styles on social media, so much so that I can't tell one RV from the next. Very few stand out as individualized.
I believe in making a home that reflects you. I believe in integrity and honesty. I believe in true community, not the illusion of it to support empty reasoning for stealing. Real community is built on caring for others, not just taking from others to get you what you want or where you want to go. Real community is rooted in love, acceptance, and kindness. Taking from someone else, hurting them in the process by not giving them due credit? That's not community. Stealing someone's work and calling it your own? That's stealing. The fact that any of this even has to be explained to other adults is ridiculous.
**Design note: tiny spaces are not as limited as you may think. Contrary to some beliefs or advice purported online, you are not boxed into using only a few select materials. Tell that to our friends who have a hot pink frosted plexiglass door in their Airstream! You don't have to have white walls, and you don't have to use a palette of black, white, and grey if that's not your particular style. There are ways to make the space feel bigger without using monochrome (see Kevin and Mandy's brilliant use of color in their RV renovations, it's gorgeous!). There are infinite ways to combine materials and fixtures to create spaces that actually reflect the inhabitants. Don't be afraid to take chances!
**A little history: When we renovated Louise, we used birch plywood to not only save on money, but I LOVED the look of unfinished ply cabinetry and walls. Time and again we were told that it was "too brown and bland". In our current Airstream, we made an all white space that we hated because we felt we couldn't do all that ply again, even though we wanted to...but as I write this, we've just spent the weekend crafting raw maple plywood cabinetry to replace the white cabinetry we'd installed on others' advice (that we loathed), and we actually love our space now that we made it for us and not on the advice of others. We also used a terra cotta tile for our backsplashes in the kitchen and bath that is certainly a far stray from designs we've done in the past, but now we have a space that truly suits our aesthetic. Though it may not be popular or trendy or well-liked, it makes the people who live in the space feel at home...while at home. That's what matters. When designing, don't think about what your followers or your friends or your mom might like. Think about what you love. The most authentic spaces and people might not be the most popular, but they are the ones with heart...and that lasts and exists outside of social media.
Q. I would love to know where you purchased your appliances/pillows/faucets/tile/tea kettle/bedding! I want to get the exact same everything!
A. Check our Resources tab, we are updating as time allows. We also list/tag things regularly on Instagram to help you out. Just tap on those images if you see something you like! However, most of our decor (art, frames, bowls, etc.) are vintage/antique finds. We’re not big fans of purchasing from big box stores or large corporations, and prefer to wait until we can afford quality items made by artists we admire or we wait to find the perfect vintage item.
Q. Do you have go-to sources for your Airstream projects? Do you use the same appliance companies/tile companies/shops, et cetera, every time?
A. We definitely have our go-tos, but we're always, always researching and seeking out the best, most affordable options before recommending anything to our clients. We have been very fortunate, companies like Dometic, Vitrifrigo, and Furrion have all been willing to send products for us to test in our own renovations so we can know whether or not the products are up to our quality standards. We have used other appliance companies, such as the Isotherm fridge in Isla, or the Avallon fridge in June, but we're pretty happy using the above listed companies for sourcing, because the products meet our standards: versatile (off-grid capability), well-made, and attractive.
We have partnered with Fireclay Tile multiple times and prefer their methods (all the tile is made from recycled clay and made to order), and we also love the imperfect look, but we have used other tile in the past from Lowe's, AllModern, et cetera, if needed.
Kate is always researching new companies and if the design dictates something we've not done before (such as the herringbone flooring choice in Isla, or the upcoming project where she wanted a terrazzo marble feel and chose Marmoleum to replicate it), she has a bevy of resources she keeps on hand and peruses those first, but if she can't find what she's looking for there, the hunt begins...finding the perfect herringbone floor for Isla took 30 hours of work. She's always, always on the lookout for new products, companies, and design ideas - her job never really stops!
Outside of design, Ellen is always doing the same - researching new methods and products for the build itself. Each build we have done has improved both in design and quality because we are always looking to improve with not only our methodology and technique, but the products we use. Research and learning is a huge portion of our job.
Q. That looks like the perfect shade of white - what is it?
A. It's Benjamin Moore's Simply White (versatile white) OR Dune White (creamier and warmer white, still very versatile).
Q. Where did you purchase your cushions?
A. All cushions used in all of our projects are custom made. We source this out locally when we’re working for clients. Otherwise, Kate’s mom has made cushions for us in the past, or we will make them ourselves. We travel with a heavy duty Singer sewing machine, like most people. ;)
Q. What tools do you use on your renovations?
A. Check out our Resources tab. We have many of our tools listed and they are available for purchase through Amazon. We do receive a tiny commission from Amazon if you purchase your tools through our links.
Q. Are you guys married to each other? Tell me more about your family.
A. We are married to each other, yes. We got married in November 2014, and we were married in a different state than the one we lived in. The following spring, our marriage would be legally recognized in all fifty states. We don't celebrate our wedding anniversary so much as we celebrate the day we began, and we have been together for six years as of May 6, 2018. We have known one another since 2004, when we met as college freshman. We were best friends instantly and later lost touch when Kate transferred schools. Seven years would pass before we reconnected via Facebook, and we knew instantly that we felt something much deeper for one another than friendship. It feels an awful lot like kismet at times, and we love that our love has such a strong foundation. Our relationship has certainly stood the tests of trial and hardship and adversity, and we continue to love one another deeply and truly throughout it all. We feel very fortunate to have found one another and work daily to keep our relationship and love flourishing.
We have a daughter who is 8 years old. You won't see much of her online, as she doesn't like the idea of being seen by anyone and everyone constantly, and we respect that. We will never exploit her for our own personal gain: we explained the internet to her and she has asked to approve every single image we do post. She's an incredible, thoughtful, beautiful kid who brings so much light and joy and purpose into our lives. We love her so much! While she is from Kate's previous marriage, we do not refer to Ellen as "stepmom". Adelaide calls Ellen "Mo" or "Mom", and Kate is "Mama". Ellen's role is that of an actual parent. Our daughter has two moms and a dad and she's very proud of that fact. Hell, the Tanner daughters had three dads, so...yeah. Family is what you make it.
We also have two chocolate labs, who are both rescues. Sofie is our oldest pup, and she's 12. Ellen adopted her when she was 5, from a family who was going through some difficulty. When they couldn't keep her, Ellen offered to take Sofie in. Kate and Sofie met a year later, and over the years, Sofie has become Kate's dog more than anyone's. Sofie's favorite pastime is chasing a ball, especially off the end of the dock at our Canadian lake cottage. She has a sweet, gentle nature, and is a wonderful family dog. Most days, you can find Sofie sleeping at Kate's feet.
Whiskey is our young pup, and she is 1.5. We adopted her at Thanksgiving last year, when we were back in Kate's hometown. Kate's younger sister works at the local humane society, and Whiskey was returned to the shelter when her owners decided they no longer wanted her, because she was "too crazy". Kate's sister felt that we might be a good fit for Whiskey, and though she was definitely out of control, she rode in the truck like a champ, which is pretty important for travelers. We renamed her Whiskey when we adopted her, and her name suits her perfectly (her eyes literally look like the liquid gold). We've been training her for the past six months and her behavior has rapidly improved, though we aren't squeezing all the crazy out of her. It just makes her all the more lovable.
Last but not least, we have a cuddly cat named Memphis, though we don't really consider ourselves "cat people". He chose us, so to speak, on adoption day at a local Petco (we went in to buy dog food and came out with a cat who had irritable bowel syndrome). He certainly brings a coziness to our lives and we love his sleeping positions and antics. He's big on attacking the rugs in our Airstream and then fights back, as if he didn't start the rug fight in the first place. He's terrified of things that have snakelike appearances, such as belts, dog collars, shoelaces, etc., and will freak the fuck out if you toss your belt on the bed and he's trying to nap there.
Q. What personal pronouns do you use?
A. We both were born and identify as female. She/her pronouns, please!
Q. Why is your business (only) women-run? I think that's sexist. You should be willing to hire men.
A. Well, for starters, it's not. You want to know what's sexist? See question below. Other options: follow us around at the hardware store to see how often we're talked down to because of our gender. See what we are up against when our male clients question our knowledge and peer over our shoulders while we're working, making "suggestions" or asking pointed questions, though they hired us because they have never renovated an Airstream before and didn't even know where to begin or how to do any of it. Take a peek at our email inbox to see men offer to do the "dirty" work for us because "there's no point in making it pretty if you haven't made it safe and functional first", assuming we don't do the welding/brakes/new axle installation/propane/electrical/plumbing...and only design and install pretty tile at the end. We have dealt with not being paid for our work and not given credit for our work, which we highly doubt would happen if we were men.
We've been taken advantage of quite a bit, and we're speaking that truth because we're no longer allowing it to happen. We're standing up for ourselves, and people who call us crazy bitches for asking to be paid and treated fairly can take a hike, but then again, we don't have to deal with it too much. Our audience, after all, is 87% female, and we'll let that statistic speak for itself. If you do support us, lift us up, care about us - thank you. Thank you for standing up for the LGBTQ+ community and women. We need more of this kind of community in the world, more people who stand up to people who feel invisible, lesser-than, and/or judged so much of the time. If you believe that this treatment of gay people and women doesn't exist, you may want to check your privilege. Even through our struggles as gay women, we're aware of the white privilege that we do have and work to understand it further every single day.
ALSO. It's women-run because there are only TWO OF US doing the work. See above Q + A. The two people that founded The Modern Caravan are the only two people who run it. Why? Because we like it that way. Yeah, it's tough and our schedules are crazy, but it allows us to live on the road with little overhead. We're able to run our business the way we want it to be run. We work with one client at a time, allowing us to create one of a kind, strong designs and builds. In the future, you bet we'll be hiring and empowering other women because there are enough men in this industry who think it's theirs and theirs alone. We're not just renovating Airstreams, we're breaking down barriers that shouldn't be there in the first place.
Q. I think you do amazing work, but I'm worried that you are unable to handle the tougher aspects of the job. Do you hire out the welding/electrical/plumbing, etc.? I just want to be sure that my renovation is top notch.
A. This question always, always comes from a man. So here's the thing: women can do anything a man can. The alternative is not always the case though, is it? We are strong, capable, knowledgable women who do every single aspect of this work, from welding to delicate woodworking details. It's also not because we're gay (that's a stereotype, in case you're wondering). The reason we know how to do all of this is because we decided to renovate a 1957 Airstream four years ago and spent a year on the renovation. If we didn't know how to do something, we learned how to do it by first researching, then planning, then doing. We then renovated a second Airstream and realized that we'd learned even more and gotten better by honing our skills.
The pro when working with women in construction is that we don't assume we know how to do something (or are good at it) just because of our gender. We are humble enough to know that we are still learning, but we are strong enough to stand up for ourselves and what we know: which is a LOT. We are in an incredibly specialized niche business where we wear multiple hats and have to be able to wear them well, and we have spent the last four years working to learn everything we can about Airstream renovation. And just remember - we're the ones that started and run a successful renovation company. If you're uncertain of our ability, then we don't want to work with you. We've done that enough thus far.
Q. I think we'd be great friends. Can we meet up while you're in my city?
A. We have met up with quite a few traveling and stationary families over the last four years, yet we tend to only meet up with people that we have established communication with already OR we meet by happenstance at a campsite. While in Austin, TX, we received so many messages about meeting up that we considered doing an event, but time just didn't allow for the planning and execution. While it would be great to meet everyone who wants to meet up with us, our schedule is just too crazed to be able to meet up with everyone who asks. However, that doesn't mean we can't work to establish a relationship via social media, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you feel connection. Kate's got quite a few "pen pals" that she's never met in person, but loves corresponding with.
Q. You aren't posting photos of landscapes or your Airstream in really cool locations. Do you actually travel full-time?
A. Travel looks different for everyone. It should be noted that while we are in one location for the duration of a renovation (3-5 months), we do live in an Airstream with wheels and live on land that we don't own. We travel to each renovation and keep our entire tool collection in the back of our truck. We do not have a brick-and-mortar in a city somewhere to return to, our only home is our Airstream. We do not have a fixed address to receive mail, and we have to relearn the streets of new towns and aisles of new grocery stores every few months. With the exception of a small storage unit for some books, artwork, and a couple one-of-a-kind antique furniture pieces, everything we own is on board our Airstream. While we would love to have the ability and option to travel more often, our work as renovators does keep us stationary for longer. Yet we still very much consider ourselves full-time travelers, even though the photos we post aren't up to travel-blogger snuff, and traveled for about ten months (cumulative, not chronological) at our own pace in the past. We plan to spend 2019 traveling at our own pace again and have already begun mapping out our journey. We've been traveling or renovating for the past four years, and though it's not always looked like what Instagram says it's supposed to, it is what it is, and we've always been honest about where we are in our journey (aka, our life).
Q. What camera do you use? What filters do you put on your photos?
A. I shoot all final Airstream images for website galleries with a Canon 5D Classic (bought used), with a 35mm L f1.4 lens. I do not apply presets (aka filters) to those images, but I do shoot RAW and play around with curves in Lightroom. Any other images I post are taken with my iPhone, and I shoot in the VSCO app. I, like many people on Instagram, use the M5 filter, but I tend to lighten the overall effect and pull it down from 12 (strongest), to 6, so it's not overly yellow or orange. I then adjust the contrast subtly, sharpen, and play around with highlight and shadow after exporting the image to Instagram. The entire process of shooting, editing, and exporting on my phone takes about one minute or less.