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Vince’s stunning Airstream renovation

"It took our Airstream from 'bearable' in the winter, to nice and cozy."

Vince and his wife have been living in their converted Airstream full-time for 18 months now. They've spent most of their time in Flagstaff, and decided to keep chasing the cold weather.

Who are you? Tell us something about you!

I’m a freelance photographer that is currently traveling around the country, with my wife, in our ‘99 Airstream Classic. I haven’t had much work since COVID began. However, my wife is a nurse, and her job is very much in demand. She took a travel nursing job and we hit the road. We’ve always enjoyed hiking, biking, and kayaking in remote places. We also love taking road trips. Living in an Airstream simply combined everything we loved.

Where did you install your stove? Do you stay in cold climates much?

In our Airstream Classic. Before my wife took a travel nursing job, we lived in Flagstaff for 16 months. Both of us have primarily lived in warmer climates so, Flagstaff was very different for us. Most people don’t realize parts of Arizona can get very cold. Flagstaff can have temps below freezing 9 months out of the year, and gets several feet of snow. It was definitely a challenge, but we both really liked the cold winter. I think we’ll continue to chase cold climates. It’s so different from what we’re used to.

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How did your tiny living journey begin and what were your reasons?

After a few years of living in our 3 bedroom home, we both wanted a changed. We realized we didn’t need all that space. We were always going camping or on road trips. Plus, we only had guests a few times a year. It felt like we were only using a portion of our home anyway. We also knew we didn’t want to wait until we were both 65 to buy an rv and see the country. Why not start when we’re younger, and have more time to enjoy ourselves. So far, we’ve been in our Airstream a little over 18 months, and while there have been some tough times, we haven’t not regretted our decision.

How did you decide on a Dwarf stove?

I had initially run across the Cubic Mini. I thought it looked great, but was worried it might be a little too small. The Dwarf 3K seemed like the perfect size. It’s so well built, and packed with features. I also love how modular it is. You can add taller legs, heat shields, direct air, wood storage, or a colored door. It allowed me to create a truly unique setup.

I also really appreciated the customer service from the Tiny Wood Stove team. That’s tough to find these days. It’s great to talk to people who are truly passionate about their way of life and believe in what they’re selling.

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How difficult was the installation process? Did you need any assistance of any kind?

I wouldn’t say it was too difficult at all. Besides an oscillating saw (to cut the roof hole), and a drill, I used simple hand tools. I think the key is proper planning. Cutting a hole in the roof of your home is pretty nerve racking so, just take your time (and remember the whole “measure twice, cut once” thing). Dan, from Tiny Wood Stove, also answered all of my questions before I began the installation. It definitely gave me the confidence to tackle such a project.

How has your experience been using the Dwarf? Have you been enjoying having a tiny wood stove in your space?

Awesome! We use it every chance we get. It took our Airstream from “bearable” in the winter, to nice and cozy. We love to make tea or hot cocoa on it, and then curl up and watch a movie. I don’t find tending the fire a chore either. I enjoy the whole process of chopping wood, and making kindling. I’m still amazed at how little wood it uses for the amount of heat it puts off.

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Would you recommend a tiny wood stove to others? Why?

Absolutely! If you’re going to live in colder climates, it’s almost a must. Wood heat is so much better at drying out the interior when it’s humid. Plus, it doesn’t use any electricity, and you can cook on it. It’s honestly one of my favorite things we’ve done to our Airstream. We constantly get asked about the chimney sticking out of our roof. When I tell them we have a wood stove, the reaction is always the same, “That’s so cool, I wish we had one.” Hopefully a few of them actually checked out your website, or better yet, bought one of their own.

Would you like to add anything?

I’m just super proud of everything my wife and I have done over the past 18 months. The Tiny Wood Stove was one of our bigger projects. We had never tiled anything before, but we figured it out, and tiled our mini hearth. Neither of us had worked with copper (for our heat shields), or installed a stove of any kind either. We did it together and I think it turned out amazing.

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