Photos by April Pizana www.aprilpizana.com
Not all vintage Airstreams in Austin Texas have been converted into food trucks. This one has been lovingly restored and decorated by husband and wife team Todd Sanders and Sarah Thompson. Inspired by folk-rock-country pioneer Gram Parsons and his band, the “Flying Burrito” is now a weekend retreat for Sarah, Todd, their son Jack and dog Hank Jr Jr Jr (aka Hank Williams the 4th)
With Gram’s Nudie (Cohen) suits as inspiration, Sarah sewed the curtains and pillows adding rhinestones and embroidered flowers. Over the top in an understated way was the intention. Gold fringe and crystal edging were chosen in slightly muted shades to ensure a glamorous edge without the glare. Decanters made into vases and wild horse additions are meant to reference Grams time with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Joshua tree images remind of us the time Gram spent there with Keith, Anita and friends in the late 1960s. Beautiful black and white photographs of their trip together that were the true inspiration for the airstream. Ethereal sun kissed people relaxed and happy in cool crisp California desert air. Like its bohemian artist inspiration, the Airstream hosts a tarnished champagne bucket sitting at the ready for spontaneous celebrations at any time in its journey. Bed pillows sewn from worn denim with patches evoke a feeling of camp. Of sleeping in the woods under the stars. A drum serves dual purpose as toy for their son and as a mock coffee table to hold books to entertain the family. Tambourines found at the city flea market were wired together as a chandelier. The influence of music completely fills the Airstream with warmth and love.
There isn’t an ineffective use of space in the camper and Todd and Sarah tried to keep as much of the original look and layout as it was designed. Although one of the overhead compartment doors was missing they cut a matching sized board and recovered them both in faux suede so they’d match. The same suede was used to make a dust ruffle for the bed. The back window curtain shade was designed by Sarah to be reminiscent of an old bus scroll with its stop destinations on a black background. Instead of cities Sarah chose some of the most important musical venues where she’s gone to hear music. Her appreciation and love of music was what originally lured her away from her family in Canada to Austin and arguably lead her on her path to find her soul mate in Todd.
So if you ever see the Flying Burrito crawling along a dirt road in Texas you can be pretty sure there will be music playing and crystals clinking along with the beat.