House Tour: Trailer Living, Reinvented

Architect Andrew Hinman builds a striking contemporary shelter around his client's prized possession—a 1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion. You've never seen trailer living quite like this before.

  1. Raison D'être

    Raison D'être

    In 2012, the owner of a 10,000-acre ranch in Texas went to architect Andrew Hinman with a specific idea in mind: He wanted a riverside shelter for one of his prized possessions—a mid-century aluminum-clad house trailer. Hinman describes the trailer as "the raison d’être for the entire project."

  2. 1954, 2013

    1954, 2013

    The Locomotive Ranch Trailer Home might be most accurately described as a 1,200 square-foot screened porch, one that was designed in 2013 to shelter a trailer manufactured by the Tulsa-based Spartan Aircraft Company in 1954.

  3. Texas Hill Country

    Texas Hill Country

    Decking surrounds the trailer and affords panoramic views of the Texas hill country. The client's family uses the trailer as a launch pad for hunting, fishing, and swimming adventures in and around the adjacent spring-fed river.

  4. Creature Comforts

    Creature Comforts

    Air conditioned, with a footprint of 150 square feet, the new bathroom includes a stone tub that was handmade in Italy and cost $18,000. All told, Hinman estimates the price tag for the entire project came out around $1 million.

  5. Dated Details

    Dated Details

    One part of the job was to restore the trailer itself, and Hinman did so by paneling the interior in bamboo, while updating many of its outdated fixtures and fittings. Formica countertops and period furniture harken back to the '50s.

  6. Sleeping Well

    Sleeping Well

    Completely enveloped in wood, the bedroom radiates warmth and refinement, even as the doors and windows of the trailer add vintage character to the space, which Hinman expanded by removing what had been an en suite shower.

  7. Look Out

    Look Out

    This is a view from the sleeping porch that Hinman perched atop the poured-in-place concrete tower. With 12-inch-thick walls, the tower anchors the architecture both visually and structurally. Here, occupants would be safe even from a flood of Biblical proportions.

    Related—Harbor Homes: 6 Lighthouses You Can Live In

  8. Trick of the Eye

    Trick of the Eye

    Thin and transparent, the new house appears to float over the river. That's due in part to advances in technology. Instead of conventional screening material, Hinman chose innovative fiberglass mesh, which lends a diaphanous look.

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