Locomotive Ranch Trailer overlooking the Nueces River

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The Locomotive Ranch Trailer has been designed by Andrew Hinman Architecture situated along the Nueces River in Uvalde, Texas. The home consists of an all steel open deck that supports a 360 square foot, one bedroom vintage 1950s 40-foot trailer and a 200 square foot sleeping loft and concrete tower as well as two full bathrooms. The steel structure has a deck that cantilevers about 30 feet out over a river with a structural depth of only 16 inches, on concrete piers anchored 25 feet into the ground.. The concrete tower houses a restroom at the lower level and a viewing deck at the upper level.

From the architects, “One of the client’s cherished possessions is a vintage streamlined aluminum house (not travel) trailer, and he wanted to relocate the trailer to the family’s favorite spot on their South Texas ranch overlooking the Nueces River. Given the fragile geology and the flash-flood prone nature of the riverside location, the trailer’s foundation and protection required special considerations. The resulting solution is a steel-framed, metal-roofed cradle, right at home amongst the existing rain barns and ranch equipment sheds. The cradle lifts the trailer above the flood plain and provides accessory components, sweeping river views, and safe access to the fishing/swimming hole. The cradle is anchored by a concrete blockhouse containing utilities, storage, and bathroom and topped by a screened sleeping loft. Rainwater harvesting is SOP in South Texas. The trailer interior is refurbished with bamboo panels. Interior lighting is provided by LED cove & mini-spots. The Ipe and Douglas Fir decking is FSC certified.”

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The structure itself — built by Boothe General Contracting — is almost completely composed of steel tubes that were all welded together onsite. Hinman calls the structure surrounding the trailer a “Swiss Army knife. The whole project is an accessory to the trailer.” The redwood hot tub was salvaged by the homeowner.

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Many people think the porch is encased by glass, but the material is actually fine fabric mesh screens from Phifer.

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The trailer isn’t enclosed in the screened porch, but rather attached by a gasket connection method.

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A sliding barn door leads to a fully air-conditioned bathroom wrapped in oiled ipe wood. The homeowner had a mesquite wardrobe that he re-purposed as the vanity.

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The mirror can slide over the porthole window for privacy. The lights are recycled shop lamps.

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The metal roof reflects sunshine, while the Douglas fir ceiling helps insulate the home from radiating heat, as well as acts as a sound buffer during rainstorms.

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The trailer was also renovated by gutting its moldy pine interior and adding bamboo walls, ceilings and floors, and expanding the bedroom. LED can lights replaced original 1954 glass-reflector lights. The original refrigerator was too old and too loud to be recycled. Sub-Zero freezer drawers were installed in its place. Formica countertops and retro diner chairs nod to the 1950s era of the trailer.

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Hinman removed the trailer’s shower to expand the bedroom, which holds a queen-size bed.

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The homeowner’s teenage boys love using the tree-house-recalling sleeping loft at the top of the tower.

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Photos: Courtesy of Andrew Hinman Architecture

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