How to Craft Unique Designs in Small and Mobile Spaces With Nate Stover

Interior Design Podcast, Interior Design Career, Interior Design School, Interior Design Business, Interior Design Mentor, Interior Designer, Airstreams, trailers, RVs

Did you know you can incorporate Airstreams and trailers into your Airbnb vacation rental design area? However, designing for Airstreams and trailers is more than a job. It is an art that requires creativity with a side of engineering.

In today’s episode, I sit down with Nate Stover, founder and creative force behind Innovative Spaces. He shares insights into the niche world of designing small and mobile spaces, highlighting the challenges of crafting functional Airstreams and trailers where everything from storage to power supply needs to be meticulously planned within a compact area. He emphasizes the importance of keeping builds simple, utilizing materials like ultralight plywood to withstand the rigors of travel, ensuring that the trailers last for decades. 

We discuss industry challenges, such as the shortage of skilled trades and the need for more respect towards blue-collar work.

Nate also shares insider knowledge about the current downturn in van life’s popularity. This means it is the perfect time to invest in your own van, RV, or trailer and start your adventure! And that’s not all – he has also spotted a new trend emerging: converting vintage trailers into unique Airbnb rentals. Imagine the endless possibilities for creative design and unforgettable experiences. Whether you are an aspiring designer or a seasoned pro looking to expand your expertise, tuning in is a must! 

Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
  • Learn the secrets of small and mobile space design
  • Discover a burgeoning vacation rental and consider adding it to your design area
  • Get expert insights and advice on the world of trailer design
    About the Guest:

    Nate Stover is the founder, owner, and head builder & designer of Innovative Spaces.

    From an early age, he became involved in the trades, from building furniture to building entire homes. His work has taken him through a myriad of crafts, which have constantly been stretched to new limits in the small spaces and vintage trailer world. The trailers he works on at Innovative Spaces allow him to stretch all that he has learned and acquired through his years of experience to their full potential. He does not just use his previous building skills, he is also able to exercise his creative skills to produce something truly unique and functional. Every project that leaves the Innovative Spaces yard represents their ingenuity and years of craftsmanship.

    Connect with Nate Stover:

    Website: Innovative Spaces
    Instagram: @innovativespace 

      Check out these episode highlights

      02:37 – Nate’s journey from being a general contractor to building trailers and small spaces, despite initial doubts

      07:27 – The challenges of designing and building custom mobile space, Airstreams, and trailers 

      • The need to research lighter and stronger materials for Airstream renovations due to industry slowness in design progress

      • The need to use innovative materials and systems to elevate builds despite challenges

      • The need to focus on sustainability and user experience

      “Keeping it simple but super usable is the challenge.”

      13:18 – How to design custom mobile space for comfort and functionality

      • Prioritize user-friendliness and idiot-proofing for off-grid RVs and trailers.

      • Make the space feel larger with features like less full-height cabinetry and strategic placement of bathrooms to create an open feel.

      • The design varies depending on the number of occupants, with center baths used for single people and separate workspaces for couples or working professionals.

      • Maximize the space in trailer design, including considerations for light, zoning, and human scale.

      • Understand the client’s design aesthetic and functionality in the design process.

      • Use Pinterest interest boards to gather information on the client’s likes and dislikes, and then create a design that caters to their specific needs and preferences.

      19:47 – The unique construction challenges of building for small mobile spaces compared to traditional homes

      22:22 – The length of time Airstream owners keep their designs and the lifespan of the built

      23:27 – Advice for a designer interested in transitioning to the RV, Airstreams, and trailer industry

      • Work with a reputable builder to learn the industry and avoid a steep learning curve.

      • Collaborate with outside designers for exposure to new ideas

      25:50 – The shortage of skilled workers in the industry, particularly younger trades who have the aptitude and willingness to learn

      27:56 – The importance of identifying and training the right people, as they are difficult to find and retain

      28:55 – The impact of Covid-19 on the popularity of van life and mobile living trends

      32:19 – Advice for aspiring designers

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        Thanks for listening! I hope this helps you discover if interior design is the career for you. See you next week…