C J Design of the Treasure Coast

Your Subtitle text


      1974 Vintage 22' Airstream Gypsy Caravan Trailer  (2007)

   This trailer was a spontaneous decision to jump into restoration of something
I thought would be a niche market.  Renovating Airstreams seemed an edgy trend for adventurous yuppies.  With experience living on boats and yacht design, I thought I'd give it a try.  My Quest was to use female's in the Trades only, but a few men were used to get the project completed.

As with boats, the best day of owning one is when you buy it...

     And when you Sell it!    (For a nice profit.)

             How it evolved:
The exterior was a 22' painted Argosy Airstream,
   which means that it was not the polished aluminum
   model that was more desirable to the buyer I was
   targeting.  But, the trailer was in good shape and
   inexpensive to begin its transformation.  If it had been
   the all unblemished aluminum exterior I think it would
   have limited my vision for the interior and I might have
   just refurbished it.

      The interior was mostly veneer built-ins with worn
   track curtains, dirty headliner, walls and floor that
   needed resurfacing.  The floor replaced, veneer
   cabinetry replaced or cleaned, and every surface was


     Large stereo speakers were
   removed and lighting was positioned
   inside a drop down soffit above the
   banco.  I studied books on Gypsy's
   and their nomadic caravans to
   incorporate the essence of their
   lifestyle in the design.


       I wanted to design an interior
   for a woman living un-
   conventionally and on the
   move.  Possibly for one that
   showed horses and was not
   afraid or apprehensive about
   pulling a trailer. 

The Banco
     The decorative bolsters
  hold bedding and sleeping
  pillows.  The dinette table
  is the base for lounging
  area/ bed.

   My team of women in the Trades:

Seamstress                                              Carpenter

Plumber                                               Gypsy 

All the original copper plumbing had to be replaced.  New batteries were installed and electrical redone to accommodate a few new placements of lights and stereo.

The Galley pantry and storage areas all needed new shelving.  I wanted the closets to resemble an armoire or beautiful trunks.  They were embellished with raised hand painted stenciling, mirrors, and 2 different kinds of molding (some gold leafed) which I cut and fitted. 
                                                    The Galley
  Before                                                      After                



Before                                               After                                                            

     Mirrors on either side of flat 
 walls, one as you enter the 
 Head, the other beside the
 banquette, expand the width
 and depth of the interior making
 it feel more spacious and open.


            The Head
     The lavatory area was cramped
  and I just could not visualize
  anyone washing their face in a
  sink so close to the other facility.
  It made good sense to put in a
  copper vessel sink and raise the
  sink level. While I was at it, why
  not make the head a throne?


                                     Banquette Seating


 Before                                               After                       


    The Gypsy trailer sold to the
  first couple that sat inside,
  who proclaimed it, "a work of
  art". They did have a horse
  ranch and decided to use the
  Gypsy trailer as a guest

                Lime Leaf Cottage     Tortola, BVI        (2004)

     The cottage is a special retreat to enjoy island life, to read, paint or write and just a 5 minute walk to Josiahs Bay Beach.  Lime Leaf is for sale or may be booked as a vacation rental.  Visit my Vacation Rental By Owner site at:
                            The Desk and Galley Kitchen
Before                                                       Before


    The compact size of the cottage, limited resources and the dollar budget made for ingenious design, unique resources and details.

  Hand tooled tin-work on newly made cabinet doors replaced sliding formica faced doors on the bottom cabinets.  I drew my design of grouper, coral and sea fans on rolled aluminum skirting that I picked up at the hardware store.  Using nails, and screwdrivers I punched the tin to fit as insert panels. 


Glass was installed in the top cabinets with a contrasting color painted on the back wall to better display dishes.  For an idea how scarce materials are on island I had to use glass from department store framed prints for the cabinet doors.  A tin-work sconce cover was made with a frog motif for the florescent kitchen work light.  A Balinese rod was used to hang a sarong wrap piece of material for the breezy curtain.

The Bedroom & In-Suite
Before                                                  Before 

This cluttered florescent lit sink & dressing area
  with ruined mirror, tarnished towel bars, scratched
  counter-top, stuck sliding doors all needed to be

I found a beautiful Balinese hand carved teak
  frame, added a mirror and shaved centimeters off
  one edge to fit into the niche allowed.

      The doors for the cabinet were replaced with
  wooded frames inserted with tin panels that
  duplicate artwork I painted to fit around the corner
  beside the bed area. 

Mosaic glass tiles also repeat the painting and
 tinwork motif on the counter top.


                                 The Living Area



The white walls were painted. The perimeter painted a soft light green to connect it with the outside foliage. The stripe side curtains help define the
room with sheer inserts keeping it light and airy while camouflaging the aluminum shutters and screens.

    Interior divisional wall is painted terra-cotta over cement block that
looks less hard when modulated. Art comes alive in an underwater fantasy.

    A teak entertainment console will
hold stereo system, TV and work as
Bar unit.


                                   The Dining Area

The lattice divider was removed along with the
    old taller refrigerator along with all the other
    appliances. Finals were added to the rods.  Walls
    were painted in an extra wide stripe of darker &
    lighter shades of the same green as living area,
    helping to define the space.  Bamboo shades help
    keep out suns glare and add another layer of
    interesting texture to the room. 
        The big yellow door was removed.  A
    decorative bead divider between bedroom & living
    area with colorful circles creates a design that
    is translated around the desk.



The shell chandelier adds
    ambiance to a once naked bulb. The
    teak mirror in the corner of dining
    area helps to keep space feeling
    open and when standing in the galley
    kitchen you feel house is deeper. 

         The large teak table with 8 hand
    made chairs is for larger gatherings,
    but chairs work through house or
    outside at another table for El Fresco

From an Island Publication

                                   Stuart, FL        (2009)

                    This design I enjoyed in the Great Room for first year.

                         The Making of a New Home:

      Walking in the front door for the first time I could see a clean palate to work out my dreams.  The front door opened into a living area that opened to a lanai with cool blue water reflecting from the pool beyond- I knew I was home.

Foyer Before                                             After




The opening to the left of the door did not
 invite you to "collect" yourself and needed to
 be closed in visually to make a proper foyer
 and make the office area I envisioned



      I applied Venetian plaster with a diamond
  finish throughout the house that reflects light,
  softens hard edges, raising the level of
  sophistication.  The Venetian plaster not only
  glows from within giving the elegant
  characteristics of alabaster, but the home
  has 'soul'.
      To the right of the front door was a coat
 closet that I closed in and opened to the room
 on the other side so I did not loose the
 storage but gained a wall to display art.
 These small adjustments to the Foyer gave
 a 'soft landing' and a sense of arrival to the
 welcomed guest.
     The front landing I tiled in rough cut stone
 adding a sense of substance to the original
 poured concrete and slick tile.


      The ceiling above the entry is painted the same blue as living room walls around
  outside of the molding in a pearlized paint.

      White ceramic tile once covered the flooring throughout the home giving it a 'hollow
  sound'. I replaced tile with a wide plank solid European oak flooring in mid range tones
  that gave richness, warmth and a sounding board to the space. 





    I am really enjoying the Global Ethnic music feel to the new layout.  I am a big advocate to
 re-style a room from time to time to shift the energy and open to new ideas.

Looking toward family room and kitchen.

Before                                                         Before
The looming hall & walls blocking the view of family room, closing in the kitchen had to
 be altered.  The partial walls were only cosmetic to station kitchen cabinetry.  The
 bottom cabinets were moved to my office.  The top cabinets were re-positioned beside
 refrigerator in a new location.

                                                        The new open living areas.

                                      Art Studio /  Design Office

 Before                                                        After

       These are the cabinets that blocked the
kitchen from the family room.  When they were relocated the two areas could relate to one another.  Visually opening the space and un-blocking the artery of the house.  Now all energy flows smoothy.

                                  Family Room Transformation


Cream walls were a 'bore'.  Terra-Rosa
  Venetian Plaster was applied to fireplace
  walls and opposite wall where a bar was
  closed in and reversed to open into my
  studio.  The rich earth tones make for a cozy
  atmosphere and continuity of color.




                         Refinishing the Kitchen Cabinets and Island


Before                                                         After

   Using gel stains and rope molding I transformed the all white kitchen.  Warming the tones on the cabinets that blend with the Portobello Venetian Plaster the kitchen is inviting.
The lighting above the cabinets accent an antique Mexican wooden platters and ceramic Mexican sculpture collection.  The accoutrements of one of a kind details create curiosity and conversation.

After                                                           After

The island was painted a deep aubergine translated from the mahogany tones in
 the banquette seating.  New granite counter-top on the island has ribbons of rich
 golds, creams and aubergine that enhance the kitchen.  When remodeling small
 steps are sometimes taken to gradually do all the adjustments wanted or needed.  I
 would like to replace the remaining counter-tops.

      A bookshelf cubical was added to island to hold weight of granite, sculptures
 and cookbooks.


Before                                                        After                                            

The original position for the refrigerator was
removed to open up the kitchen, so I repositioned it.  Backing it half way into a hall closet I was able to build a pantry beside the frig. and still keep the closet for linens.  I used antique doors I hauled from New Mexico. Sanding down years of different colors of layered paints, they now looked "well patina'd".


Before                                                        After

Wet Bar was turned around but sink stayed in same place in new studio space or 'butler pantry'.  An earth tone venetian plaster wall now steadies the family room that displays art and helps to identify the space.  Laundry door is always kept shut to keep energy from rushing through the room.

Laundry room

A collection of antique Mexican serving
  pieces is displayed artistically in a distressed
  dish-rack on terra rosa venetian plaster wall.
  The terra cotta pottery 'speaks' to the wall
  with warm tones that relate and give an
  authentic feel to the space.

     Guest Bath


       It is always in the fascinating details and
   layering of objects that have connections
   between one another that make a
   compelling space. No matter how small a
   space it can make an impact on ones

                                            The Lanai

Before                                                         After


Fresco dining is the only way I really
  enjoy meals.  Surrounded by the sights,
  sounds and smell of nature is part of the
  delights of year round tropical weather.
  Even in the winter all one needs is a small
  heater or blanket to cozy up to fine dining




      Used more than any other room the
  covered lanai is the place to read, listen to
  music, have a glass of wine and enjoy the
  sunset mosquito free.

                                     Lanai Conversation Area