How Mr. Kate Turned an Airstream Kitchen into a Whimsical Paradise on Wheels

Bright and playful Airstream interior.

Courtesy of Kate Albrecht

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“We purchased this Airstream for our family in 2019 knowing that when we renovated, we wanted to pay homage to its nostalgia and heyday by using retro details and colors,” interior designer Kate Albrecht says. “We normally design and decorate traditional rooms with lines, 90-degree angles, and flat surfaces, but this Airstream had none of that, so we had to throw out everything we knew and totally innovate when it came to this very round space.”

Exterior of airstream near beach.

Courtesy of Kate Albrecht

Meet the Expert

Interior designers Kate Albrecht and Joey Zehr are the owners of Mr. Kate in Los Angeles, California. They're known for celebrating their clients' individual aesthetics with a fresh and colorful approach to interior design.

Before:

Tight inside of Airstream with oak cabinetry.

Courtesy of Kate Albrecht

“We wanted the Airstream to feel like a tiny house on wheels and needed to find opportunities where we could create more space,” interior designer Joey Zehr shares. “There was an overabundance of cabinets and a built-in fridge that was simply too large for the area. We had to balance our design ‘wants’ with space and weight restrictions, and decide which details were worth going all out for, like the porcelain farmhouse sink, and where we needed to compromise and be more efficient, like the faux marble countertops.”

After:

Kitchen with blue cabinetry and gold half-moon shaped hardware.

Courtesy of Kate Albrecht

“We started by painting the entire interior white to make it a blank canvas, then added in warm pinks, oranges, mints, and metallics to create a retro vibe,” Albrecht says. “Home-like details including softer lighting and faux-hardwood flooring transformed the space from being a vehicle to feeling more like a studio apartment. Every appliance and accessory had to be vetted in terms of size and stability, including the marine fridge, which allowed for more cubic feet because it doesn’t require the traditional ventilation clearance in the back.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Beach-inspired hues include pastel gold, spicy terracotta, pale pink, and smoky mint green. 
  • Cabinets: The bottom cabinets were painted a mint green and paired with unique 3” brass half-moon pulls, while the top white cabinets above the stove display hand-painted Matisse-inspired shapes. 
  • Countertop: The lightweight faux marble countertop is made of laminate over particleboard. 
  • Sink: The 20” deep porcelain farmhouse sink is paired with a brushed gold unibody faucet. 
  • Rug: The colors in this natural fiber Moroccan rug tie together all the colors in the kitchen.
  • Light: The gold sconce, with its glass globe, creates soft lighting over the sink and ties into the sink’s hardware.
  • Floor: A natural-looking wood vinyl composite was laid over the original vinyl floors. 
  • Windows: The windows were kept bare to expose one of the Airstream’s architectural treasures. 
  • Mural: Inspired by a landscape vista, the painted-on mural includes a sun, rolling hills, and a flock of birds.
  • Accessories: The white fruit basket and gold towel bar make the most of empty—yet valuable—air space.

Shop the Look:

Mural wall of sunset and soft couch.

Courtesy of Kate Albrecht

3" BRUSHED BRASS BIN PULL
CB2 3" Brushed Brass Bin Pull $20
Shop

“I love this hardware’s moon-shape, which is a big motif in our life—and the namesake of our son, Moon," Albrecht says.

20" Reinhard Fireclay Farmhouse Sink
Signature Hardware 20" Reinhard Fireclay Farmhouse Sink $529
Shop

“We needed something deep and durable because this is the only sink in the Airstream,” Albrecht says.

White Wire Macrame 3 Tier Hanging Basket
World Market White Wire Macrame 3 Tier Hanging Basket $35
Shop

“This storage basket is made of white wire for durability yet it looks like macrame,” Albrecht says. 

Related Stories