After a spin as a cupcake truck in Flagstaff, AZ, a 1964 Kenskill camper has a new lease on life—as a vibrant tiny home in Oakland.
Discovered online by couple Ginger and Lewis, the vintage caravan is now the quite bright spot in a quaint urban garden.
"I saw the exterior and knew it was the perfect one," says Ginger, who met the camper's former owner, Cupcake Katie, shortly after she had moved to the Bay Area. Katie was in the market to sell thanks to stricter local laws on food trucks.
After buying a fixer-upper in North Oakland, Ginger and Lewis, both UC Berkeley alums, had the idea to turn their love of playing host to friends and family into a literally small-scale business. They decided to create a tiny home, "give Airbnb a try, and play innkeeper to folks passing through" the city they love.
"In all our travels, we've discovered that it's easy to visit a place, but it's hard to visit a time. If you want to experience a city that's alive, where something is happening—where the glory days are here and now—then Oakland is where you want to be."
The couple fully restored and customized the camper from the wheels up: They rearranged the interior to make things more spacious, and added a full bathroom with a proper flush toilet, sink, and a small shower that recycles gray water into the garden. (Biodegradable soap is provided to ensure it's safe for their plants and animals.) There is also a full kitchen with a working gas range, double sink, microwave, and fridge. "It was a full-time job for a few weeks to get it up to speed," says Ginger.
To stay in the old cupcake camper, which is now available by reservation on Airbnb, is to literally sleep in the couple's yard. But for folks with a sense of humor, there's no shortage of charm. "Our place is all front yard, and we positioned this trailer so you can sit at the dinette and enjoy a view of the garden and our silly flock of chickens." Plus, there are loaner bikes, coffee, tea, and, obviously, ridiculously local eggs.
The couple also has a small cottage onsite, making the property a great place to connect with other people and a good jumping-off point to explore the area. When the hosts aren't tending the garden or playing with their newborn son, they're happy to make recommendations for hangout spots in the area: "We love coffee, brew beer, throw barbecues, and religiously attend the East Bay Bike Party," says Ginger. She adds, "We're on the same block as Lois the Pie Queen—a neighborhood fixture and solid greasy spoon diner. Although our neighborhood is not the prettiest, we have a great community and are happy to be raising a family here."
// Vintage Caravan, $75/night (North Oakland), airbnb.com