Creating a Dream world
We believe there exists a restless roaming spirit deep within all of us … it’s in our nature. It’s in our very being. It’s a magical, mysterious, romantic thing to set out on a journey … a journey with no exact route, no precise destination, no GPS. It’s the journey we fell in love with. The journey stole our hearts long ago and never let go. For us, the road — the wild blue yonder — beckons to us in our dreams, whispers to us over our morning coffee, and begs to us from the passenger seat. It’s the mystery of taking a new trail, the discovery of a hidden junk store, the chance meeting of the waitress at the diner that makes you know you are on the right path. A path that found you … a path that, if you let it, becomes part of your story forever.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.”
In the early days, we burned up the backroads of Texas … searching for that elusive piece of junk that would put us into a junk high for days. And it was more than the junk, it was the search. The hunt. And for us, hunting season was always open. From the beginning, it didn’t matter where we were headed, if any piece of junk or junk store on the side of the road was fair game.
We are about grit. Here’s the deal, we can apologize for being workaholics or we can embrace it. We can seek therapy to help cure our problem or we can own it. We can call Oprah for some one-on-one time, do a retreat, possibly a little rehab and conclude meditation/deep breathing and some feng shui is just what will fix us or we can be proud of the fact that it’s part of who we are. Who we were meant to be. It’s how we were raised. It comes with the territory. And without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
We come from a long line of hard working men and women. Our dad’s mom was a nurse, which we still find absolutely phenomenal for a woman who was born in 1904. She was a trailblazer. A rule breaker. She left home for nursing school, cut her waist length hair off to her chin in an act of rebellion, went on to become a RN, a mom of 7 boys on the farm, and let us not forget, bread baker extraordinaire. Mmm hmmmm, honey hush & pass the buttah. When the table was set at their house, there was always enough for the boys at the table and the stranger at the door, because in the country, that’s just the way you do things.
Mom’s mom was equally superhuman. She was a single mom of 3. Working multiple jobs at all times to support her family and at one point living in government projects; and one of the original Rosie the Riveters, which were the women who filed into the war factories during WW2 to replace the men that had gone off to war. Also a rebel, she was quirky and strong, with a real gypsy spirit and a station wagon that was always full of garage sale finds. We were taught many things as kids…how to ride a horse, always say thank you, don’t skip school (oh wait, wrong family). But one of the most important things we were taught is how to work.
And not just to work. To work hard. Because at the end of the day, nothing worth having comes easy. And when you do something yourself, with your own two hands, the intrinsic value increases exponentially. And your pride in the work is directly proportional to the amount of work and dedication you put into the project. We were taught the value of physical labor. Gettin’ down and dirty. Sweat-on-your-brow and dirt-under-your-fingernails type of work. Muscles achin’, back-breakin’, baby-needs-a-new-pair-of-shoes kind of work. It’s a little thing called sweat equity. Elbow grease. Good old fashioned “get in there and get it done.”
We were raised with no gender limitations. In fact, one of our favorite shirts when we were little said: “anything boys can do, girls can do better.” We were taught how to build a fence, use power tools, throw pizza dough, how to properly go muddin’ on a 4-wheeler (I think we actually probably figured that one out on our own), among many other things, and thank goodness because now we’re more intimidated by long lines at the shopping mall than our JG job requirements. Loading trailers (getting everything in the trailer is often a complex feat of Tetrisstyle proportions), strapping down junk, hooking up trailers, and donning almost any power tool is all just part of the job.
There’s something about being out of your office. Away from your desk. Disconnected. And reconnecting with the value of manual labor. Working with your hands. Your head. And your muscles. There’s something great about accomplishing something concrete. Something you can feel and see. And pat yourself on the back for. And I for one am so thankful our parents helped us discover sweat equity so early in life. I’m proud to continue the legacy of hard working women in our family…very proud. Because when you put in a little sweat equity, it makes the work all the sweeter.
About 10 years ago, country singer Miranda Lambert wrote a song called “The Airstream Song” and she said it was partly inspired by us, so of course we said we have to do an Airstream for you! So that journey started with a completely gutted 1952 Flying Cloud Airstream and it ended up as the “Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars” Airstream that she would haul to every concert venue across the United States and double as her vibe lounge, kind of a rolling saloon for her and the band and friends to hang out in after the show.
The theme then was what we called “Cosmic Cowgirl” … it was kind of Betsey Johnson meets Johnny Cash and, of course, since the airstream was a 1952 model, we paid homage to the 50’s design by adding in retro touches throughout like glitter vinyl and sputnik sconces. It was hot pink, electric turquoise and loads of glitter. Beautifully perfect for Miranda at that point.
Now, almost 10 years later, we all realized it was time for an overhaul. “Wanda the Wanderer,” as the airstream had been named over the years, was in dire need of some TLC…she had been on the road nearly a decade and the miles had not been good to her. Not only that, but of course Miranda has changed in that decade as well, musically, and in her life. She’d released 5 albums, gone through some life-changing events, moved into her 30s and has become the most-awarded artist in the Academy of Country Music’s history. So we felt like it was time to take Wanda back down to her bones and give her a whole new look. The trailer was delivered to us, and spent a couple of months in Round Top in our barn during the design process.
Miranda is notorious for giving us absolutely ZERO direction. She always says “I trust y’all! Do what you do!” The only thing she requested this time around was more seating and more storage. This is essentially a swanky place for her to hang out after a concert with her closest friends, so we put on her newest album “Weight of these Wings” (coincidentally the album cover was shot here in Gypsyville in front of our rusty steel winged gates store. mirandalambert.com/collections/music/products/the-weight-of-thesewings-vinyl ). and we channeled the vibe of what she is saying to the world now. Of course, we added in fringe and some glitter and might have even drank a touch of whiskey (all in the name of art) to get our labor of love to a place where we knew it would speak directly to Miranda.
A big part of Junk Gypsy is music. Every song tells us a story. We hear it and we can see how it looks in design, how the lyrics and the music translate into curtains, furniture, art and of the course the chandeliers. It’s the way they make you feel. Art on every level, in any medium, is simply about the way it makes you feel. Lyricism and interior design really aren’t so far apart to us.
So we started Miranda’s new airstream by listening to music, most specifically three songs. Miranda’s “Runnin’ Just in Case” spoke directly to our road-weary hearts, and two lines in this song kept resonating with us: “There’s trouble where I’m going but I’m gonna go there anyway” and “I ain’t unpacked my suitcase since the day that I turned twenty-one.” Then we listened to Miranda’s “Vice” and Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and envisioned what those songs look like in design. It’s amazing what putting a vinyl record on a record player, maybe pouring some whiskey and just sitting and listening can create.
We knew it had to be all the things that are Miranda, and a few that she’s not, to keep it interesting for her. We wanted it to be part “coming home” and part “escape”…we wanted our design for her to inspire her. So we brought in the rock n’ roll element in a heavy dose, by using faux snakeskin on the tufted, curved booth and using vintage chain mesh disco-era tops for curtains, and tambourines for light fixtures. Then we went back to our roots and added in a vintage element with flea market finds, like the salvaged wood floor, vintage crystal sconces and a 100 year old Hungarian church pew onto which we stenciled the line “Jesus Drank Wine” from Miranda’s “Heart Like Mine” song.
Then we went back to our hearts and added in the gypsy by creating crushed velvet curtains with hand-dyed ombre fringe, aubergine sequin panels, gold wings and a “home is wherever I roam” buffalo bar cabinet. Then, of course, we handmade a few
special touches like the glitter feather lampshade that hangs over the booth, the table which was made by our dad that uses a Victorian Grand piano leg and a carousel panel, the “scrap metal” light fixture that was made by our mom that has loads of vintage charms, watch parts, and cabinet hardware.
“Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— Mark Twain
There is a mix of salvage and new in this airstream. Almost everything is salvage except the snakeskin booth and the cabinet. The items came from everywhere … we scored the Hungarian pew at Bill Moore Antiques here in Round Top, we bought the fringed velvet chairs years ago at a flea market, the tambourine we used as wall decor was even old; we just decoupaged her mantra “music is medicine” to add a very personal touch. We gathered a lot of pieces for this project, like we always do, from the flea market, from our store, some things were even found online. And we have a “flea market explosion” and then we figure out what works and where. The rest will get sold in our store.
This trailer was a labor of love, and yes we logged hour upon hour inside of it working on every single detail. We sometimes wish we didn’t feel the need to be involved in every aspect, but the more we immerse ourselves into a project, the better it is. So for us, these type projects require us to be all in. Having dirt under our nails, bruises on our shins, and exhaustion beyond belief is pretty much part of our design process.