Ben, Elizabeth and Lily's 1953 Flying Cloud

Not all of us are lucky enough to own a piece of Airstream history, but thanks to Ben, Elizabeth and Lily, we get the opportunity to peek inside a beautifully restored 1953 Flying Cloud. What fun it is to see the details of this 65 year old beauty. And, this family has done a wonderful job of helping preserve it so that it lasts well into the future. Here's Ben to tell you all about their journey....

You can see she needed some TLC…….

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In 2015 we moved from Silicon Valley to West Marin, CA.  At the time we were looking to get into a more natural environment in the woods, and I was switching professional roles from being a licensed mental health therapist at seven different public charter schools to assisting families in navigating the child welfare system.  And, in the best case scenario I was reuniting families after their children’s removal by CPS (Child Protective Services).  The owner of the property where we wanted to move suggested that we try living in an Airstream next to the creek!  We had our eye on a cabin on her property, but there was a bigger adventure in store for us…

This was our first introduction to the world of Airstream, and the Craigslist searching began… As it turned out, we found a 1956 Airstream Flying Cloud for sale in my home town of Santa Cruz, just 45 minutes from our rental in San Jose.  We were the first to look at this ’56, and after letting our daughter jump around in it for an hour, we decided to move forward with the purchase.  For two years we lived in the 21 foot Airstream in the woods of West Marin, our daughter started pre-school, and we survived massive flooding on the property.  Throughout that time I found out how difficult it was to work on the Airstream while living in it.  After replacing the sub-floor and a thorough cleaning, we sold the ’56 Flying Cloud to another family.  At that time I was offered an opportunity to transfer with the non-profit and we moved to Tacoma, WA.  

The Airstream bug still had me real bad though, and I found myself once again feverishly searching Craigslist throughout the country.  Eventually, in November 2017, I found what was incorrectly titled as a 1958 in Idaho.  At the time I asked the owner of Monsterpolish in Idaho to give me his professional opinion on the Airstream.  He had seen it before, but had not looked inside.  What he found was an immaculately preserved 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud with all working and original appliances: Panel Ray furnace, Dixie Wanderer stove/oven, electric Marvel fridge.  I bought the 1953 on the Monsterpolish recommendation in November 2017, and it would stay in his shop in Idaho throughout the winter.  Dent removal, polish, and seal were completed, and the Airstream was ready for delivery… We still had not laid eyes on it!  We moved from Tacoma to Wenatchee, WA, and the Monsterpolish shop was ready to move from Idaho to Arizona.  At the beginning of June 2018 we had the Airstream delivered to our driveway in Wenatchee where I was already working for a new non-profit as an outpatient mental health therapist.  Honestly, when that Airstream pulled into the driveway polished and timeless, I almost cried.  Now for getting our hands dirty!

Lily, now five years old, was ready to get back into another Airstream project right alongside me.  Any chance she can get she will join me in cleaning, sanding, and polishing!  She is also very good with sales and often brings up the family who purchased our first Airstream, pointing to the fact that she gave a set of blocks to their little boy.  My wife, Elizabeth, provides her professional interior paint skills, and also puts up with my constant perseveration on the project.  She has infinite patience…

Work done on the 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud:

  • Dent removal, polish, and seal by Monsterpolish

  • Letter of Origin from Airstream Inc. confirming the correct year: 1953

  • Title correction with the DMV to represent 1953 and put it in my name

  • Deep cleaning

  • Sand and treat original interior wood paneling

  • Powder coat: stovetop, stove splash, furnace heat shield, fridge shelves

  • New propane tanks

  • Clean and sand interior paint

  • Paint interior

  • New dinette shelf installed

  • New red oak hardwood front door step

  • New breaker box and electrical inlet

  • New 100% cotton white curtains

  • New back window glass (original was cracked)

  • New glass globe for gas boon-docking light

  • Paint interior and exterior of Marvel fridge

  • And archival documentation from Airstream Inc. provides the specifications for our 1953 Airstream: Overall length 21ft; Body length 19ft; Overall height 8'4"; Inside height 6'4"; Overall width 7'1"; Inside width 6'10"; Dry weight 2540#; Hitch weight 250#.

You can see with a little elbow grease and attention to detail, this space was simply and beautifully transformed….

So many great ways to use this cozy nook!

I love seeing the vintage details and how they’ve helped preserve them…..

Whenever faced with a question of design, we asked ourselves: What is closest to original?  What is bright, light, and airy?  While we were tempted to go back to the original Robin’s Egg blue speckled paint (you will find this in the closets still), we wanted a light and open feel and decided upon an off-white.  Same with the curtains: light, airy, and open feel.  The floor had already been refurbished with bamboo plank flooring laid in over the original Linoleum.

Often times, I will be in the backyard with Lily and she will start to reenact our story living out of the 1956 in California, pretending that we live in the 1953 which now rests in the driveway of our two-bedroom home here in Wenatchee.  This gives her the chance to own her life story, retell it how she sees fit, and feel empowered in herself!

This is our second Airstream renovation, and we see ourselves doing many more in the future.  While it feels too soon to call it a business, look out for “Northwest Restoration” soon when buying a renovated vintage Airstream!  

Things that I love about this work: doing projects together as a family, teaching Lily the value of physical work, designing the look and feel of the Airstream, and engaging in a rich history of American culture.

While we don’t add modern features to the Airstream that we work on, this may be a direction we take in the future.  For now, it is a work of restoring original aesthetic.  It is good for me to have something like this to work on after addressing mental health difficulties throughout the work-day.

Thank you Ben, Elizabeth and Lily for sharing your Airstream with us. We wish you all the best in your future ventures. 

Angel's 1990 Excella - Georgia

I feel so fortunate to be the host of "For the Love of Airstreams" because I get to learn about amazing people living their dreams and the beautiful Airstreams that help them achieve those dreams.  I received an e-mail from Angel, sharing the Airstream that has not only been her home, but now here business. Angel's Airstream now gets to bring joy to so many others as well. Here she is to tell you her story.....

I sold my house and purchased my Airstream in May 2017. Traveling to Georgia from Texas, my friend Juliet and I took the two day road trip of a lifetime, crossing six state lines (twice!) to bring my 29' 1990 Excella, Georgia, home. How did Georgia get her name? I named her after Willie Nelson's song "Georgia on My Mind." I lost my mom to breast cancer almost 11 years ago and Willie was her favorite singer of all time. Since my Airstream came from Georgia I knew it was meant to be when we drove across the state line and the sign said... "We're So Glad You Have Georgia On Your Mind!" We bought her in a town named Kingston, Georgia which was named Lovetown USA by Oprah for being the city with the most love!! I grew up watching Oprah with my mom - another one of her favorite people. It was so meant to be! I call her my Georgia girl even though she now resides in Texas - lol! 

I love all things vintage and once I stumbled upon my first picture of an Airstream I knew that was what I had to have. My original plan was to go mobile full-time until I figured out my life's destination. I moved about 45 miles from home to the beach on the Gulf Coast known as Crystal Beach. However, when Hurricane Harvey visited Southeast Texas a lot of things changed in our area and I decided to leave my job of three years to fully embrace the lifestyle change.  After about 7 months of full-time Airstream living/travel, two of my cousins and I talked in depth about starting up a small business together.  This February, I relocated to Spring, Texas and we started Stages Great Events which is a wedding and event planning company.  The name STAGES is an acronym for Sarah, Tiffany, Angel Great Events. We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous Airstream I own, so we transformed her into a beautiful, vintage bridal suite. We also rent her out for use as a photo booth, backdrop for photos and even for Corporate Events.

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This beautiful model/bride is Brittney Bates. She is Mrs. Montgomery County and was crowned Mrs. Texas, 2018.

This beautiful model/bride is Brittney Bates. She is Mrs. Montgomery County and was crowned Mrs. Texas, 2018.

I moved out of Georgia and into my cousin's guest house so the business transformation could begin.  The previous owner of the Airstream had started renovations so a massive gut and remodel was not required.  They had removed carpet, replaced the stove, toilet, and shower; they painted and added new window treatments. 

I didn't want a project trailer. I was looking for minimal work that I could do myself to make it my own within my budget. This AS was the one for me. She's a beauty and she is solid as a rock.  When I purchased her, the previous owners had removed the twin beds and there was only a mattress on the floor; I built a bed box for storage when I lived in her full-time but it was easy to disassemble for the business. I painted all of the cabinets a light ivory and distressed them for a shabby-chic look. The cabinets are all original. While learning about Airstreams, in the purchasing process I was able to identify the year and model I wanted. I specifically chose the Excella in this year because I wanted solid wood cabinets. I am a shabby-chic girl and I'll paint and distress anything if it sits still long enough. Having real wood was a high priority for me.

I installed Pergo flooring throughout and quarter round to finish it off. I knew the flooring was right for me the first time I saw it - I loved the rustic look with the gray undertones. 

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I removed all cabinet hardware and created my own using antique handles or door plates and knobs. I removed some of the cabinet doors to leave open storage.  For the most part, I added decorative touches to the inside to give it the vintage, shabby feel. I have added curtains throughout the interior to allow for privacy and to establish various changing areas. 

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How does renting a mobile bridal suite work? 

The bridal suite is designed for a bride and her ladies to relax, touch up hair and make up, enjoy a few cocktails and fun times before getting dressed to walk down the aisle. It's a shabby lil' suite that is perfect for a party of up to 6-8. 

Georgia can be rented with full power, A/C, refrigerator and facilities. We deliver her to the location of their choice and park it, secure it and leave. We return after the agreed upon time has expired. The rental includes a mimosa bar and all amenities that are set up inside. There is plenty of seating, a vintage vanity, multiple mirrors for makeup and touch-up, a full length mirror along with a clothes rack to hang and display dresses for photo opportunities.  

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Because the Texas heat can be brutal, we've recently created a seating option in which elderly guests can view the ceremony comfortably from the air conditioned interior of the Airstream.  We will set up a coffee and tea bar. 

We have also teamed up with a company (Dynamic Entertainment) to provide a full-service photo booth. We have furniture and props that can be set up inside or out; it's a fun option for receptions or other events all together.  Celebrating something other than a wedding? We do that too - check out this fun little tea party.

You can learn more about Georgia and Stages Great Events by visiting  www.stages-greatevents.com. @stagesgreatevents on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter.

Angel wanted to recognize some of her terrific partners; some featured here are Susan D. Photography, The Blooming Idea, Rene' Renee, and the Cake and Cookie Lady.

Angel, thank you for sharing your inspiring story and beautiful Airstream with us! We wish you much success and joy as you and your family continue to grow your business.

 

David, Shelby and Reagan's 2000 Excella - Eleanor

I'm so excited to be sharing this next beautiful Airstream. David and Shelby are starting a new adventure with their sweet daughter Reagan and English Golden Retriever, Harley. They have decided to live and travel full time in a 30' 2000 Excella they call Eleanor. They took a trailer that had great bones and gave it their own personal touch - it looks amazing! Here is David to tell you their story.......

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Shelby and I were living what most would think was the American Dream; we had a beautiful house in one of the nicest suburbs of Atlanta, we both drove luxury cars and had great friends and family close by.  But, we made the decision to change our lifestyle because as a family we value experiences and want to be able to spend as much time together as possible, making the most of all there is to see and do in the world. 

I work in wholesale sales for a large woman's accessories company and Shelby helps with my work while taking care of our (almost) 2 year old daughter, Reagan. During a recent month long trip we started talking about how much there is to see around the country/world. A few weeks later we made the decision to move into an RV; it took us a little less than a month to sell both cars, the house and everything inside. And, during that short time, we located, purchased and began renovating our new Airstream home. Once we put the house on the market, we starting searching for the perfect Airstream. We found one about 4 hours south of our house, so we woke up early one morning in order to be there by noon to meet the owner. The trailer ended up being in much worse condition than advertised and the buyer wouldn't negotiate on the price. We left disappointed and decided to get breakfast before heading home. Checking Craigslist one more time before we left turned out to be a great decision; another Airstream had just been listed about 20 minutes down the road. We called the owners and were there in less than 30 minutes. We fell in love and bought the Airstream on the spot!

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Once we got it back near our house in Marietta we decided to change a few things, starting with  the flooring. We ended up finding some compromised subfloor and faulty plumbing. We repaired the subfloor, changed the plumbing and then started the upgrades. We painted all the cabinets white and added flat black cabinet and drawer pulls. The paint has been one of the bigger challenges - we purchased high quality primer and paint and it has still taken four coats to cover the existing grey paint.  We continue to find places we need to sand and touch up. It's definitely a process. 

Shelby put in a tile and marble backsplash in both the kitchen and bathroom using a flexible silicone adhesive and grout. The backsplash was purchased from Floor & Decor and is called Mystic Lantern Glass Mosaic. We had new neutral colored wallpaper installed on the other walls in the living area.

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We removed the old countertops and replaced them with American black walnut butcher blocks.  We purchased the butcher block from Floor & Decor; they came in pieces that were 96" x 25" so we needed 3 pieces. One we cut down to size for the kitchen counter on the sink and stove side. We needed 10 inches from one of the slabs to make the kitchen/dining counter (it needed to be 96" x 35").  Then we used the remaining piece to cut out the bathroom countertop. Getting this angle right was definitely a challenge. They came as raw black walnut butcher blocks, so after a lot of sanding, we finished them by letting mineral oil soak into the wood in order to repel water. We then put a beeswax top coat for even further protection.

We changed the kitchen sink from a double basin sink to a larger single basin sink with a flat black faucet to match the cabinet pulls, and added a new stainless steel 4 burner stove. We carried the look into the bathroom, by installing a stainless steel sink and flat black faucet.

We removed the laminate flooring and put in a darker waterproof vinyl plank with new 1/4 round throughout. We purchased the flooring at Home Depot; it is from the Home Decorators Collection in Java Hickory. We replaced all the speakers and the head unit for better sound quality, and of course put in a new memory foam mattress! 

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We plan to continue to update as we live in the Airstream full time and figure out what works and what doesn't.  We are adjusting to life on the road; we knew going into this that living in a small space with our two year old daughter would be one of the biggest unknowns. But so far everything has gone really smoothly. At night she sleeps in a foldable portable crib (made by a company called Guava). It folds up really small when not in use. When she's ready for a toddler bed, we'll add a privacy curtain and transition the sofa to a bed. During the day she naps on our bed which has worked out really well for all of us. She loves being outside, swimming, going for hikes and learning to ride her new bike. This lifestyle is definitely keeping us all more active.  We are currently in Florida, and once we finish our loop here we plan to head north!  

David and Shelby, thank you for sharing your story. It is absolutely unbelievable to me how quickly you turned your vision into reality! Your family will make beautiful memories on this journey. Eleanor looks fabulous. You can follow David, Shelby and Reagan on Instagram @findthegoodchasethewyn.

Diane's 2010 Flying Cloud and a Whole Lot More!

Diane's story is fascinating - not many of us can say we've lived the adventure that she has and not many of us will ever own as many Airstreams as she has.  Diane has been the proud owner of six Airstreams over the last 15 years and number seven will be picked up soon!

Diane, who was home-schooled as a child, is a self-proclaimed gypsy. In her early twenties she lived in a sailboat in St. Tropez in the south of France. She was also a helicopter pilot. But, her carpentry skills and finances were not a match for boat ownership so she sold it and moved across the ocean with her two dogs in tow. That was 15 years ago.

Never having camped or towed a day in her life, but with an adventurous spirit, she purchased her first Airstream - Germaine, a beautiful 1971 Overlander. She hooked Germaine up, towed her new trailer five hours and finally made it to camp. She laughs looking back now at how little she knew about tow vehicles - she made that first venture with a Jeep Grand Cherokee.  She also recalls waking up that first night at 3:00 AM because the furnace quit on her. So, she ended up warming her hands on top of the burners; it was March in Quebec and still very chilly. But, she had no choice but to love her because she'd left her condo the day before not even knowing if this life would be for her. But, that was fifteen years ago; she's had so many adventures and made so many memories since then and she's never once regretted it. 

In love with her first Overlander, she decided to buy a second. This one was a 1975. Other than a good polishing, she kept the inside original and added some vintage accents. The third Airstream purchase was a brand new 2007 28ft International. She crossed Canada and the Northern States and then had that Airstream shipped to the south of France. There her son was born. She fondly remembers his first steps taken in that 28 foot silver beauty. 

Returning to Canada, she bought two Airstreams - a 1995 25ft Excella and and 1995 34ft Classic. She sold both Airstreams and a house on the east coast of Canada last year. They now full time in a 30ft 2010 Flying Cloud on Vancouver Island with 2 adults, a 7 year old boy and a dog.

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Diane admits that living in a house was never really meant for her - even when she owned a home, she still lived in her Airstream beside her house. She was just happier in her little nest.

They have a stationary site in an RV park by the beach on Vancouver Island that is rented year round and is used as their home base; but, they travel approximately 6000 miles per year. They've traveled all over the Canadian provinces and Northern States but still have all the southern states to visit.  They are looking forward to spending time in their new-to-them 2009 special edition Bambi 16ft DWR. There were only 12 produced. It’s located in Ontario and they plan to pick it up later this spring and take it to Salem, Oregon for the international rally. They’ll use the Bambi to easily access places where they would be less inclined to take the 30ft. 

She's downsized a lot over the years but still likes shopping for little trinkets. When she shops, she tries to ask herself two questions: “ Does it have a real purpose?” “Does it make me happy?” Once one of the questions gets a “yes” then she gets it. Every 3 months they go through everything in the Airstream to decide whether it's worth keeping or if it's time to give it away. Her son is learning the same habits with toys. Whenever something has not been used in the last 3 months it is donated. All of her trinkets stay in place when traveling thanks to Velcro. The only thing she needs to move are her plants which get temporarily stored in the shower.

She also enjoys DIY projects, but tries to find lightweight materials for the road. For example, her stone wall in the kitchen is made of thin cut stones that you peel & stick. It was an easy project with materials found at Home Depot. Over the years she has painted, tiled, replaced flooring, upholstery and curtains. She always upgrades faucets and light fixtures. 

All of her Airstreams have had different styles depending on her state of mind and she's really enjoyed the variety in her decor.  Right now she classifies her style as eclectic, combining mid-century with a western theme. Peek Inside Diana's Airstream and see her 16ft Bambi, the newest addition to her Airstream family . 

This day bed provides a cozy place for her son to sleep  - but it's been known to be so comfy one can fall asleep watching TV a little too late into the night.  (Been there - done that. Ha! Ha!)

This day bed provides a cozy place for her son to sleep  - but it's been known to be so comfy one can fall asleep watching TV a little too late into the night.  (Been there - done that. Ha! Ha!)

Love these little Ikea storage pouches in the bathroom.

It will be fun to see how they personalize this little cutie.

It will be fun to see how they personalize this little cutie.

Check out these cute signs she had made by Weathered and Worn.

Diane, thank you so much for sharing your unique Airstream story. It is inspiring and your trailer is fun and eclectic!  We hope you find some fabulous new adventures in that adorable Bambi!

Tim and Caroyl's 1964 Overlander - Gracie

This is the story of Tim, Caroyl and their beautiful 1964 Airstream Overlander named “Gracie”. Tim and Caroyl raised their children in Arizona where they spent 23 years of their lives. During that time they owned three pop-up campers; as the kids got older and life got busy, however, they found they camped less. But Tim always had dreams of spending their retirement years traveling in an RV.  A layoff for Tim made those last few years of work life a little complicated as they found themselves moving to Georgia, Saudi Arabia and Simi Valley, CA before returning to Georgia. 

But, as the vision of retirement was in sight, they set out on a journey to find their perfect recreational vehicle.  They started their search at the LA RV show where they spent all day in search of something they’d love. They had never paid much attention to Airstreams, but Caroyl remembers how she fell in love with how light and bright they were. She liked how they didn’t look the same as everything else. A new Airstream seemed beyond their budget so they started researching vintage Airstreams; they had a good tow vehicle which could off-set the cost of the trailer.  A friend referred them to an Airstream restorer he knew of and they coordinated the purchase of Gracie through him.  There is both good and bad to that connection.  The “good”?  They love what Gracie the Airstream has become. The “bad”? That first part of Airstream ownership was full of disappointments.

Take a look at these "Before" Pictures.

With a promise of several months of work, they found that 15 months later there was very little accomplished and the work being done was not up to par. They decided a rescue mission was needed and they set off to reclaim their baby. At that point, they’d put too much money and energy into her to walk away. They drove from Georgia, picked up their Airstream. The restorer had accomplished a few things in that time - she was stripped and polished; her axles, flooring and subfloor were completed, she had new safety glass, fans and A/C. Not enough, however, for 15 months worth of work!

They drove Gracie straight to RetroRV in Phoenix, Arizona; there they left the trailer, parked their tow vehicle at a friends house and flew back to Georgia.  They had a fabulous experience with RetroRV - just three weeks later they flew back to pick up Gracie - she had all new plumbing and electrical. They were particularly excited about the installation of the Green Pipe plumbing which is freeze proof and can be connected to standard household parts and fixtures. They drove back to Georgia with a trailer that was completely empty except for the original bathtub, new tanks, water heater and toilet. They were ready to get to work.

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Fellow Airstream Addict, Tim McNutt, has also been tremendously helpful and a true professional during their renovation. He polished their gorgeous propane tanks and several patches that had been previously installed, but never polished. He installed all of their appliances and an entirely new propane system including new copper lines, valves, etc. He built custom rock guards; and, he even drove down to their home to help with several issues that they felt unable to address themselves.

Take a look at those shiny tanks!

Take a look at those shiny tanks!

But, with all of that said, these two put a huge amount of their own sweat equity into this project! I followed their work on the Airstream Addicts Facebook page and what never ceased to amaze me were the projects Caroyl would take on - woodworking, sewing….and not just standard projects - she has tackled some of the things all of us wish Airstream would think of in the design of their trailers. 

My most pressing question for Caroyl, “How in the heck did you learn how to do all of that?”  The answer was not what I anticipated.   After 15 years of living in their house in Arizona, she decided that she wanted to tackle a few home improvement projects, It wasn’t about “keeping up with the Jones’” as much as loving the space they were in. They didn’t want to owe money on the projects they took on, so being a Naval Reserve Officer, Caroyl took on a few extra weeks of "Annual Training" work. Tim, who had been paying extra on the mortgage each month, reduced that payment until they built up the savings.   With some money in the bank, patience and hard work, they would have a new kitchen. She bought the book, “Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets” by Jim Tolpin and Caroyl taught herself how to build quality cabinetry. For under $5000 they had a new kitchen. What happened when they bought their house in Georgia? Well, much of the same…..if she could do it once, she could do it again. Once Gracie arrived home, there was no project they didn’t feel they could tackle.  Building the bulkheads (interior wood walls) was the biggest challenge. The original restorer threw everything from the interior away without asking them. This made making templates from scratch rather tricky. Except for one bulkhead, all of the wood used was 1/2 inch maple plywood. They knew they wanted enough structure to build bunk beds for their grandkids.

Let’s take a look at some of the amazing projects they’ve accomplished. Caroyl doesn’t sketch out a lot of detailed plans - she says she feels like the statue “The Thinker.” She’ll just sit in the space and create a vision - pondering all of the details until she comes up with a solution. Everything in Gracie is custom - each cabinet, wall, drawer, table, bed and closet was built by Caroyl and Tim.  And, it doesn’t stop there…..the cushions and bunk were upholstered by Caroyl and the curtains and throw pillows sewn.

Airstream, Inc. should see this living area. The beauty and attention to detail is amazing. The banquette serves many roles - seating at the dinette table, storage and youth bed. A small walnut shelf was shaped to fit under the window to create a more functional use of space. But, the table is the piece I could not take my eyes off when I first saw it. Caroyl glued maple, cherry and walnut into a large “blank”, then took it to their local cabinet shop where they used their drum sander to smooth and flatten, and cut the blank to the finished size, but in two pieces. She then fit hinges to connect the two pieces and varnished the wood. When fully extended, the table is 26” (W) x 47” (L). She designed maple legs that fold up and a drawer underneath to support the half that flips out and create extra storage. And, do you ever feel like you have to slither your way onto the cushion to sit at your dinette table? Their’s moves side to side along the bottom edge of the window sill making access to the banquette easier for adults. Sweet!

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Quite possibly the most functional table in an Airstream.........

The floor is 1/2" engineered hardwood flooring with a hand scraped hickory surface layer. And, the cabinet face frames and door frames are solid walnut with 1/4" maple plywood panels. This style door is called frame and panel. Youngdale hinges were used throughout.

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Custom Spice Rack and Cutting Boards Work Perfectly!

Custom Spice Rack and Cutting Boards Work Perfectly!

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Because they love traveling with their children and grandchildren, the sleeping arrangements were also well thought out. They can use the beds as twins, convert the twins to a king, if desired, and they built a bunk over Caroyl’s bed. (Caroyl thinks she has Tim convinced to build a second bunk too.)

Tim’s bed is 76" x 31" and has hidden storage for fishing rods, or other long narrow camping gear. The front edge is supported by a walnut face frame, and the water pump is accessible via a door that drops down to utilize the space in front of it for storage. Accessing the two 6V AGM batteries under Caroyl’s bed was also something that needed to be taken into consideration. 

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They wanted to be able to transition the twins to a King bed if desired. They ordered 500 pound drawer slides from www.wwhardware.com (Woodworker's Hardware) and you can see from the photos how Caroyl’s bed can be extended across the aisle to butt up against Tim’s twin.  Using a purchased piece of foam which they upholstered, they can transform it into a bed that is 76” wide X 88” long. The foam can easily be stored on the bunk or left at home if not in use.

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The bunk, which is 24” x 72” is supported by galvanized steel pipes and maple u-shaped cleats. With the extra fabric they had from the other cushions, they created a bunk any grandchild would love to sleep on. Buttons underneath the bunk and button holes along the back edge of the sleep sack allow the bedding to stay in place. There is also a pouch in the sleep sack to to hold a pillow. A waterproof pad is positioned under the sleep sack and a pool noodle acts as a small safety edge. Everything can be removed and washed. The youngest granddaughter, nicknamed “Kitty” traveled with them recently - Caroyl found the perfect fabric for her sleep sack at Joann’s.

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Take a look at the features in the bath area - two wardrobes, refurbished tub, an adorable port-hole mirror, towel rack, a custom shower curtain and rod. Caroyl also figured out a way to provide a changing area and the necessary privacy for their bathroom. The larger wardrobe's door can open up and, with the locking mechanism she built, remain closed.  Brilliant! 

Gracie was named for Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, US Navy - Caroyl and Tim are both retired Navy Reserve Captains, each having served over thirty years.

Tim and Caroyl - you have created an amazing space. When I look at Gracie’s “before” pictures, I am shocked at the difference. I hope you can relax with family and friends and enjoy all that you’ve accomplished. She’s a beauty!  Thank you for sharing her with us.

 

Michael and Melissa's 1985 Excella - Airlie

I follow Michael and Melissa (with traveling pups Vito and Chino) on Instagram; I've been so intrigued with their fun off-grid adventures that I asked if we could "peek inside" their renovated 1985 Airstream Excella. These two have not let excuses get in the way of living their dream and here they are to share their story.....

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Michael was born and raised in Northampton, England where he lived until he was 18; he then moved to America to go to college at Harding University in Searcy, AR. Melissa was born in Dallas, raised in Cedar Hill, TX and she too went to Harding University. They met on Facebook - well, not quite, but kind of. They'd met a few years before at a coffeeshop while in school. They never saw each other again but somehow became friends on Facebook. Michael messaged Melissa one day to see how they'd become Facebook friends, and so it began. (Smooth move Michael!) They dated for about 18 months before Michael proposed and they were married 9 months later. Following their honeymoon on the Greek Island of Corfu, they came back to the Houston area, bought a house, adopted their two dogs and lived the suburban life. They commuted to work, furnished a big house, accumulated too many things, and got two weeks vacation a year. But it never really felt like that was what they were supposed to do. There was something missing. 

In July 2016, Michael's Aunt and Uncle came to visit; Michael and Melissa had been all over the world and expressed to them their desire to travel more but didn't feel they had time. Michael's Aunt and Uncle suggested they quit their jobs and travel for a year. With dogs and a budget, they decided that RV travel in the US and Canada made the most sense.  So in August 2016 they began dreaming and planning what this journey would look like. It would take budgeting, focus, work, planning and a lot of help from friends and family. But it would, if it panned out, be something so fun and exciting to do together before they had kids. So, they bought a 1985 Airstream Excella that needed a ton of work. But they're creating memories, right? They found their Airstream on Craigslist and purchased it from a private seller in Mississippi in November 2016. They spent 8 months renovating while working full time. They had never renovated anything in their lives and Melissa had never even spent the night in an RV.  It was definitely out of their comfort zone. They learned how to do everything from YouTube, other RV’ers, and friends willing to help on weekends. It was stressful at times but so rewarding when they finished; they turned an old abandoned (and smelly) Airstream into a cozy and comfortable home. Meet Airlie.

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The first thing Michael and Melissa had to do was figure out what they wanted to keep in the Airstream. They say that was probably the easiest decision they had during the whole renovation because the answer was…drum roll please…nothing! They wanted almost nothing that was original to the Airstream apart from the cabinets – they were in good shape and are built to fit so there was no reason to get new ones.  So, they removed everything, repaired the subfloor and started rebuilding from the bottom up.

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These "before" pictures show that Airlie definitely needed a little love.

These "before" pictures show that Airlie definitely needed a little love.

Now let's appreciate the amazing things Michael and Melissa did to transform this run down space into their new home. They made the kitchen counter, from scratch, out of red oak. It was $50 more expensive to make it rather than buy one but they thought, why not?! It’ll be fun! Right? Not so much. It was at first but then they felt it became tedious. It does look beautiful though and they have the pride of the accomplishment.

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They tore out the dinette and replaced it with a seating bar area. It saves a lot of space with just two adults living in the Airstream and means they can look outside easier while eating. The bar top was actually an IKEA closet door that was on clearance due to damage but as they were cutting it down to size it worked and was a lot cheaper!

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They built the bed frame from scratch so they could have a real queen and not an RV queen (which is definitely smaller). The bed frame was built to fit with storage around it as well as underneath. The headboard actually came from Home Depot and was on clearance for $6 – cha-ching. They utilized every last bit of space.

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The floor is Nucore luxury Vinyl Wood Plank in the color Ashen Oak. 

Melissa's mom made all the curtains. She’s very crafty and talented. They’re actually shower curtains from Target that they bought in bulk and then she sewed them.  The wrap around windows in the front and back had the original hardware. For all the other windows they used 1/4 PEX and spray painted it black and used brackets for the PEX. In hindsight, they think it would have been better to use metal conduit instead because they've found the PEX bends a little. 

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They didn't need to do anything major in the bathroom outside of cleaning and painting. They did tear out the counter top and made their own from pine. They spray painted the sink and the shower pan. The shower pans are pretty pricey so they cleaned it up and then used a waterproof paint. The toilet came with the Airstream and they kept the medicine cabinet and used chalk paint to match the sliding bathroom door.  

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Once again, Melissa's mom came to the rescue. She made all the cushions for the couch. Michael built the couch frame and then they found the fabric. They used pillow forms that they bought on sale at Costco. They say their couch is super comfy. 

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Chino and Vito love traveling and have been so much fun to have with them on this journey.

Some of their favorite places on this trip have been Glacier NP, Banff NP, Pismo Beach, Napa Valley, Joshua Tree and Death Valley, but they are also big city people and loved Portland, Vancouver, LA and San Francisco. There appreciated the many different cultures in the large west coast cities. After their Airstream adventures are complete, they plan to travel more internationally.

Michael and Melissa, thank you for letting us peek inside your beautiful home. I love seeing all the amazing places the two of you visit. Follow Michael and Melissa on Instagram @continentscollide or on their website https://continentscollide.com.

 

 

Mario and Kim's 1962 Overlander - Marilyn

Owning vintage trailers is nothing new to Mario and Kim - in fact, the Airstream is their third. Kim had wanted a vintage Airstream forever, even before she knew that vintage trailers were "a thing."  They decided to buy their first vintage trailer after realizing that when they needed to quickly evacuate their home, they had no easy place to go with their kids and sweet Labrador who was blind from diabetes. So, they bought a 1966 Cardinal for $400.  It was super cute and they realized that Mario had been hiding some pretty awesome carpentry skills.  What happened next? Kim didn't stay away from The Classifieds; and just a few weeks later they bought their second trailer, a 1965 Shasta. They joke that overnight they became "those neighbors." You know - the ones with all of the projects in their driveway?!?

Kim had been patiently waiting for the day they'd be Airstream owners; and, when Mario purchased a new truck (AKA tow vehicle big enough to tow something really great) she laughed and said, "You know what this means...." Kim was on a mission to get something bigger and silver; her dream was finally coming true.

Surprisingly, they found a 1962 Overlander in The Classifieds in a nearby town only a few minutes from their home. A young family had purchased it with visions of restoring it, but they just couldn't take on a project like that at that point in their lives. There were several low ball offers made by people who wanted to purchase the Overlander in order to "flip" it; but, the couple was so much happier selling it to Mario and Kim who were going to use it to make memories with family and friends. Structurally sound, no dents, cute twin beds, bathroom in tact, and all the original paperwork, they brought her home and named her Marilyn.  Why Marilyn, you ask? Well, she's got "curves for days" and she was built in California the same month and year that Marilyn Monroe passed away.

Take a look at her the day she arrived at her new home.

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Being true to Marilyn's vintage roots, they have done their best to preserve what they could of the original and restore or rebuild things in a manner that is authentic to the time period in which she was built. 

Mario repaired flooring, cabinetry and beds to ensure they were safe and travel worthy; he built a new couch that triples as a lounge, a bed, and storage. He also had to build, from scratch, part of the kitchen cabinetry and walls to match the existing.  They added a refrigerator and a microwave; they chose not to have a stove. They prefer to cook and eat outside when possible. The water tanks and lines were all professionally replaced and they replaced all the sinks and faucets. They sanded, painted and/or stained the entire interior, changed out light fixtures and laid laminate flooring. Check out these before and after's. 

The shades for the windows were purchased at Ikea.

The shades for the windows were purchased at Ikea.

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Marilyn's countertops are Formica laminate in Dogbone White - a retro pattern and style. Kim tagged their renovated cabinets and counters in a post - Formica liked them so much, they featured a picture of them. How cool is that?

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One of Kim's favorite things.... her broken old cooler - a $10 find because it is cracked inside.  But that didn't matter to her.  In the trailer it's a fantastic coffee table and storage for the extra blankets they need to make up the gaucho bed.  It can be used as a side table by camping chairs outside. The opportunities are endless for this repurposed find.

In the bathroom, they tiled the floor with white hexagon tiles. They were hoping to preserve the fabulous aqua colored shower, but they weren't able to remove the stains from the shower floor. So, they painted the shower floor, purchased a new shower head and cleaned up the original walls - a perfect compromise to freshen it up but preserve the integrity of the space.  When is it truly evident that you are restoring a vintage trailer? When you ask for a new toilet for your birthday. Yep! That's exactly what Kim did.

Mario and Kim live in Utah and have many beautiful camping spots within a relatively close range of home. Kim also likes to occasionally turn Marilyn into a Flamingo Cocktail Lounge;  it's not uncommon to find that Mario has delivered the trailer to a local campsite for "girls weekend." So fun!!

Kim jokingly says she wants to be buried in her beautiful Airstream someday. Marilyn is amazing - we can see why you love her so much!  Thank you for letting us "peek inside." 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

Phillip and Jamie's 1973 Sovereign - Betty the Airstream

In December 2017, Jamie won the heart of Airstream addicts everywhere when she posted the completed renovation of Betty the Airstream. There was an overwhelming interest in knowing how they transformed their 1973 31 foot Sovereign into the beauty it is, so I invited them to tell their story. And, luckily for the rest of us, they accepted. 

In 2014, Phillip and Jamie purchased their trailer from a local man in their tiny hometown. He clearly didn't understand the value of what he had and was offering it at a price they couldn't refuse. They weren't really looking at that moment, but knew that renovating an Airstream was something they wanted to do in the future. So, they decided to take advantage of the opportunity and became the proud owners of Betty the Airstream.

After purchasing Betty and doing some preliminary work, they put the Airstream project on hold. At the time, renovations were not something they had firsthand experience with. But that all changed when they purchased a home which was a major fixer-upper. With the help and guidance of Jamie's brother, who is a contractor, they became an integral part in the overhaul of their new home. Once they finished with that and got back to working on Betty they felt a lot more confident. Their trailer was not in horrible condition but it was dated and the 70's models weren't known for the best craftsmanship. The sofa and beds had been pulled out and replaced with cheap futons and a cobbled together booth.  So, they gutted it and got to work. They did contract out some of the work. They used P&S Trailer Service in Ohio for polishing as well as utility, tank and awning replacement.  But, that still left them with plenty to do!

Their beautiful cabinets were built by a local Amish cabinet maker; the attention to detail and storage capabilities are a site to be seen. But, even with his amazing skills, he admitted that working with the curves and details of the Airstream made it one of the most complicated projects he'd worked on. 

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They installed a luxury vinyl plank flooring, resembling cork, which they purchased at Home Depot. And, new appliances in the kitchen were a must. They purchased both a cooktop and microwave/convection oven combo. The links to those products can be found here.

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You have got to love their use of wallpaper! Jamie fell in love with it and I can see why. She and her dad wallpapered the exterior walls of the bathroom to give the space a pop of color and style. And, chalkboard paint on the fridge provides a fun place to express their personalities.

The boomerang pattern in their Formica dinette table and kitchen counters create a great retro vibe; both were crafted by a local laminate fabricator.

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    For the interior paint, they prepped the vinyl coated walls with Crud Cutter and a whole lot of elbow grease; then they primed with Extreme Bond Primer from Sherwin-Williams and painted with a standard interior latex called Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint.

    The upholstery fabric they chose is Sunbrella and Betty's fabulous pillows and accessories were purchased around town at stores like Ikea, Target and World Market.

    Betty's Dinette Before

    Betty's Dinette Before

    The furniture Bases were all built with hinged storage underneath. And, the dinette converts to a bed.

    The furniture Bases were all built with hinged storage underneath. And, the dinette converts to a bed.

    If you look closely at the photo above, you'll see how Jamie transformed this now decorative instrument panel from it's original state.

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    Jamie got creative using a variety of window coverings. She purchased the aqua Spoonflower fabric and sewed curtains for several of the windows.  The grey shades are the TUPPLER blinds from Ikea which she riveted onto the skins.  And, she made the white shades from plain white blackout fabric sewn in the shape of the windows; she sewed tabs on them to hold them when they are rolled up. She riveted snaps onto the window frames to attach them.  Perfect idea to help her little guys sleep after a busy day exploring!

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    In the bedroom, new bases were built and mattresses were cut using an electric knife to fit the curves of the walls. They created fabric covered headboards and hung adorable vintage looking light fixtures from Ikea.

    Futons in the bedroom were removed to create new twin beds and a cozy space for their boys.

    Futons in the bedroom were removed to create new twin beds and a cozy space for their boys.

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    In the bathroom they replaced the toilet, sink faucet and shower faucet with new fixtures. The sink and shower pan were painted with a Rustoleum Tub & Tile paint kit. The tile walls were created using Smart Tile adhesive tile (https://www.thesmarttiles.com/en_us/).  They were a bit concerned because the Smart Tiles aren't made for truly steamy environments, but they read reviews that said the product worked in a shower that wasn't used much, so they went for it and so far so good!  The medicine cabinet is from Ikea and the adorable flamingo shower curtain was sewn by Jamie with Spoonflower fabric.

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    There are so many fabulous little touches that make this trailer extra special. Jamie's dad built a teak shower mat as well as a custom cutting board to fit over their stove. And, Jamie painted Betty a personalized welcome mat.

    Jamie and Phillip, what you've created is really special. Thank you for sharing your space and accomplishments with the rest of us. Happy travels! You can follow Betty on Instagram @bettytheairstream. 

    Jamie and John's 1977 Sovereign - Ember Hairstream

    If I lived in Colorado, I may make my husband renew our wedding vows just so I could spend a day in this beautiful Airstream. Ember Hairstream, or "The Silver Beauty Queen", is a 1977 Sovereign that Jamie and John, with the help of family and friends, transformed into Jamie's dream mobile salon.

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    Jamie has a wonderful reputation as both a stylist and colorist and regularly found herself traveling to do hair and makeup for weddings and special events. In hopes of opening her own salon, she quickly realized that Denver's commercial lease rates were high and that a large number of salons in the area operate at a loss. That wasn't an option for Jamie. So, she got creative, started her search for an Airstream, checked with the state of Colorado to see if she could legally operate a mobile salon, and took a road trip to purchase a trailer in Casper, Wyoming.

    Ember Hairstream Before....

    Ember Hairstream Before....

    Three months pregnant, no experience with trucks, trailers, or renovations, you'd think the odds were stacked against them. But, with vision, determination and a deadline (a baby was coming!), they made the dream a reality.

    They purchased this silver beauty in February 2016, started renovating in June and finished in August, just 2 weeks before she delivered her baby.  They did a lot of the renovations themselves with the help of a friend who is a mechanic and carpenter. Jamie's father did much of the upholstery; he refurbished a vintage barber chair which is a perfect centerpiece to the space.

    They use the trailer for wedding hair, make up and barbering all over Colorado. Customers also love to use the Airstream for photos and as a dressing room. In Colorado, there are a lot of rustic, mountain, farm-style weddings that lack adequate facilities to get ready. They’ve really tapped into the “high-end, rustic, Colorado wedding” and they are having a blast!

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    There are numerous highlights to their space; they are very proud of the upholstered shell. It is all the original interior aluminum that they wrapped in recycled leather.  Jamie's dad works in the upholstery/furniture business and he ordered the recycled leather material; they used over 50 yards to wrap the original aluminum walls. 

    They love the Colorado style barn wood wall.

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    And, the beetle kill wood end cap, specially designed by one of their best friends, is a show stopper! He had no experience with Airstreams and they were completely stumped with what to do with the front end cap which was missing all the interior aluminum when they purchased it. He went right to work with drawings and calculations and completed the end cap in just 2 days!  The beetle kill end caps are a veneer wood that they soaked in water for 30-45 minutes after cutting to give them a slight bend. To secure them to the aluminum, they glued blocks of wood to the aluminum and after those dried, they used a nail gun to secure the bent veneer to the blocks of wood. They used a similar approach on the lower portions of the wall.

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    Their cabinets were purchased at Ikea and the laminate floor and adorable bathroom light fixture are from Lowes.

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    They enjoyed being creative and brainstorming together how to layout the Airstream for both beauty and function. They have 3 work stations - the Vintage Barber Chair is used as a barbering station and is the perfect backdrop for photos of the bride getting ready. There is a space by the door that they use for styling hair and a space right behind that they use as a make-up station. The back of the Airstream, which was likely once the bedroom, is used to wash hair; it has lay-down shampoo chair and sink but they can also take out the chair and use that space as a dressing room for brides. 

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    Jamie gives a huge shout out to local interior designer Megan Daughtry of Second Nature Interior who she credits for being the "brains" behind the whole design. Megan spent countless hours scouring Airstream forums to learn how others had re-done their vintage Airstreams. 

    Ember Hairstream was part of over 30 weddings in 2017; it is exciting to think what the future holds. Thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous Airstream - it is truly a silver beauty queen!

    To learn more about Ember Hairstream visit www.emberhairstream.com or https://www.rockymountainbride.com/blog/urban-wedding-inspiration/

    Matthew and Susie's 2017 Flying Cloud - Dixie

    I think it's wonderful to be featuring Matthew and Susie's Airstream, Dixie; it seems only fitting because I knew the name "Susie Campbell" before I even owned an Airstream.  My mom (also an Airstream owner) was in love with Dixie's chandeliers.  It's so much fun seeing what these two have done to personalize their home away from home. And, the story of their journey to Airstream ownership is a special one. Here's Susie to tell you all about it........

    We began camping about 20 years ago. We owned three travel trailers over the years ranging from 18 to 30 feet and we were permanently set up on a lake about 30 miles away from home. We loved it, but soon found it difficult keeping up two homes, so we sold in 2015. 

    A couple years later we decided to begin travel camping that led us to buying a small Winnebago and then we ultimately ended up with our dream travel trailer...Dixie the Airstream. Who can resist those windows, right? We were always mesmerized by Airstream's beauty and the nostalgia associated with them. But the final straw in the decision was remembering my dad's plan to retire, buy an Airstream, and travel with my mom. That sounds adventurous, but he died at a young 51 leaving that dream unfulfilled. It was now our legacy. 

    For us, naming our Airstream was a big deal. After much thought, we decided on Dixie. That was the name of my mom and dad's first mobile home after they married. They loaded it up and moved from Virginia to Maryland. It was a whopping 10' x 50'...a tiny palace for a family of 5. We sure were a happy family. My dad's dream was now our reality when we purchased Dixie! He would have loved being on this journey with us. 

    Our Dixie is a 2017 25' Flying Cloud FB. While she already had a nostalgic simplicity to her, we wanted to make a few changes to give her an Art Deco elegance. A girl's gotta have a little glam!

    Dixie welcomes you with the beautifully crafted nameplate that Matthew created.

    Dixie welcomes you with the beautifully crafted nameplate that Matthew created.

    Our biggest addition was two small chandeliers. We added one over the sink in the kitchen and one over the dinette. The original lighting is still in place, but we made a chandelier shroud to cover it. My husband made the metal framing, bent it, and drilled the holes. Then I added the bling!

    Dixie's Kitchen Before Glam!

    Dixie's Kitchen Before Glam!

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    The next eye catcher was the addition of wallpaper. We chose Airstream's Wild Honey interior (not my favorite, but very practical for us). With the cabinets almost matching the upholstery, it was too monotone for me! The wallpaper broke it up nicely, and added a touch of sophistication.

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    Another inexpensive, classy touch was adding the little round mirrors. They are in the main living area, bathroom and bedroom. I wanted to tie it all together with little round reflections. After all, Airstreams are known for their round reflective bodies. The mirrors were $5/pack at Walmart. We spent about $30. 

    Dixie Was In Need of a Little Personality - This is Her Dinette "Before"

    Dixie Was In Need of a Little Personality - This is Her Dinette "Before"

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    If you look closely in the photo above you can see that we covered the electric and gas hot water switches in the bathroom. They were so close to the light switch that they could mistakenly be turned on or off. We bought a thermostat cover, and it solved the problem.

    We recently purchased "Beddy's" for our beds and we love them. They are one-piece high quality bedding sets that zip up so you don't have to fumble around walls or stationary furniture such as the nightstand. They are neat, fit well and are very easy to make.

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    Matthew and I still work full time (stressful) jobs. Dixie is how we unwind and put the wind back in our sails on the weekends. Our favorite thing to do is.........well, nothing. We love sitting by a fire, relaxing and watching the Alabama Crimson Tide play football on TV.  Being able to travel with our two fur babies is one of the main reasons we decided to start traveling in a camper. One is 2 and the other, who is deaf and blind, is 17. So now they get to go too, which you can see from the photos, they find just as relaxing as we do!

    Dixie lives in our driveway and we visit her often. When I walk inside, I immediately feel myself relaxing.  And that's when I know that buying this beauty was a great decision. When we get away we have our favorite place which is a few hours from home, but it already requires reservations a year in advance, so it's name will remain a secret (Ha! Ha!) - I can't handle it becoming a two year waiting period. Dixie won "best in show" during their Halloween contest this year. Fun times!

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    Matthew and Susie, thank you for sharing Dixie with the rest of us; it's easy to see why you find her the perfect get-away!

    Ron and Christine's 1976 Sovereign - American Silverstream's Airstream #1

    I am so excited to feature this next Airstream. One very early morning last month my alarm rang and when I went to shut it off I noticed I had an e-mail from Chris; I could not believe my eyes. The photos attached of their Airstream were stunning - what a great way to start my day! I know you'll feel the same after seeing what they've accomplished. Enjoy this beautiful transformation.

    Ron and Chris caught the Airstream bug about 3 years ago when Ron got the idea that he wanted to try his hand at renovating an Airstream. He loves to take old run down things and make them beautiful again and Chris has a passion for decorating - they are a perfect twosome.  Their home was once a 100 year old boarded up farmhouse - so they definitely had renovation experience.  

    A friend knew they were looking to purchase an old Airstream; when he saw one by the side of the road, he took down the phone number for them. The previous owner was living in it for a year and a half during the recession. It was in fine condition, but the smelly, dated 70's decor was not part of their vision. They purchased their 31 ft trailer, which they lovingly refer to as "Airstream 1", took it home and got to work.

    The renovations took a total of about 15 months. They gutted it to the outside skins. Ron did all the electrical and plumbing himself. In fact, when they took a 2 week vacation the book he brought with him was "RV Electrical Systems: A Basic Guide to Troubleshooting, Repairing and Improvement" (Picture eye roll from Chris here). While he had done wiring before, the components in a camper are different than traditional home construction.  Ron is a cabinet maker which makes sense when you see the incredible cabinet work and the well thought out storage design. And, what you won't see in these photos are the Magnum 2000 watt inverter, 2- 160 Amp AGM batteries, 2- 160 amp solar panels, 1500 btu Coleman air conditioner, Suburban tank-less water heater and the 3-Fantastic Fans they installed too.

    Let's take a look at this beautiful transformation.

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    The original design of the trailer included a gaucho couch, but they needed more space for their large family. So, they converted the space to include a booth with a dinette table which converts to a king bed.  The table is red laminate with a metal trim and they bought the legs on-line.

    When Chris began the interior design, she wanted to infuse elements that you would find in a home rather than a camper - colorful fabrics, farm sink, baskets for storage, and custom upholstery.

    In order to re-make the curtains, they went to an Airstream showroom and took photos of the components and how they were assembled. They then ordered those parts from the Airstream dealership but found that the little plastic clips/elastic that fit into the rails are pretty expensive so next time they'll try and re-use the existing components. They hired professionals to sew their curtains and upholster their cushions but that was the only work they did not complete themselves. 

    All of their fabric was purchased at International Market Square in Minneapolis. Here is what they used: 

    • The blue and white booth fabric is Duralee (indoor/outdoor) style - Mums in Cobalt
    • The solid blue fabric on the couch is Duralee (indoor/outdoor) style #15713 in Navy
    • The gold chair is covered in Robert Allen "Open Plain" in the color "Sunray"
    • The curtain fabric is Duralee #32754 in "Cherry"
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    The flooring they chose was Casa by Novalis in hand scraped walnut-mesquite.  Ron got creative with their storage and installed two 16 x 36 inch secret storage compartments under the floor boards; they currently use the space to store collapsible water jugs for boondocking.

    There was a massive amount of work done in the kitchen.  They created 33 drawers using ten 4 x 8 sheets of baltic birch. The cabinets were designed using marine grade catches to ensure their belongings remain safe during travel.  They installed a farm sink, convection oven, dishwasher and two 4 cubic ft. under-counter Dometic refrigerators.  What a difference in these before and after pictures!

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    An important phase in their design process involved building cardboard cabinet mock ups. This allowed them to identify any design or layout flaws and correct them before building and installing their actual cabinets. 

    Their countertop surface is Avonite which they chose because it is both beautiful and lightweight.  They used Oceanair shades on the windows above the kitchen and bathroom sinks as well as on the window above the desk.

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    Creative cabinet design allowed for a garbage pull-out and small drawers in otherwise wasted space.

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    They love the LED lighting installed underneath the upper cabinets.

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    The couch creates an additional place for people to relax or watch TV; it converts to a queen bed and, of course.......more storage!

    In the bathroom they used a 2016 Airstream stock shower and a residential  shower door purchased at Home Depot.  The black tank which sits under the toilet has a custom Corian cover and the shower is trimmed in the same Corian as well.  Because the countertop was so low, they chose to use a vessel sink to add height.  

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    You can say that Ron and Chris are "all in" when it comes to Airstream renovations. They now have 5 vintage Airstreams. The 1st one, shown above, is completely finished. The second one, a 28' 1961 Ambassador is currently being worked on and the others are patiently waiting their turn.  The have built what they call the "Airstream Hangar" to house these beauties and create space enough to work their magic .

    Being entrepreneurs at heart, their plan is to renovate Airstreams and rent them out for corporate events, weddings, trade shows, etc. For that reason, they have chosen to design their spaces with open floor plans, plenty of seating and no permanent bedroom. While they are developing their business and marketing plans, they have enjoyed using her for family trips to Texas, Utah and Urban-Air in Michigan.

    They used the Airstream this summer for their daughter's wedding. I can't imagine a more perfect backdrop for this gorgeous picture- can you?

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    Thank you Ron and Chris for sharing your beautiful renovation. To learn more about their business and renovations, follow American Silverstream on Facebook.

     

     

    Brian and Sabrina's 2013 International Serenity - Jizo

    Dreams really do come true (even if it takes 20 years!). Brian and Sabrina have been dreaming of full-time travel for a very long time. When their children were much younger they owned a few pop ups, a hard sided trailer and spent about a month in 1999 traveling in a 36 foot RV - they caught the traveling bug bad.  They decided to take a year off and become full-timers. But, due to an accident and unforeseen circumstances, their dream of being on the road quickly faded. Flash forward twenty years.....over a glass of wine or two, these empty nesters decided it was time for a "radical sabbatical."  They left their jobs and put their house on the market - selling most of what they owned in a few days. 

    They started their Airstream search at a dealership, but quickly became disheartened by the fierce sticker shock they experienced when looking at new trailers. But, it was all worth it when they found a very well cared for 2013 International Serenity in Littleton, Colorado. They were smitten with her - and thank goodness, because they had driven all the way from Austin, Texas to see her! This Traveling Zen Den is named Jizo (Gee-zo). In Japan Jizō is the protector and patron of women, children and travelers! He's the littlest big hearted monk and is quite beloved for serving those who suffer, need extra protection while traveling & want to experience or offer others joyful living. 

    Sabrina challenged herself to take some of the basic principles of Feng Shui and the Kon-Marie method to personalize their moving home. The Serenity was the perfect blank canvas for her to add amazing and playful boho-gypsy colors - think "pops of color!"  She has created a lovely balance - providing an environment that is both playful and has a mix of empty spaces for the eye and spirit to rest. 

    Come on in. Let's take a look.......

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    In the dining area, they used a small hand woven rug from World Market for the table runner and used a table runner to recover their Container Store folding storage ottoman. They use the ottoman to store breakable items on travel days. Boho vintage rugs from Rugs USA are spread throughout. Sabrina made most of the pillow covers, curtain tie-backs and lamp deco from quilts and fabric she purchased on Etsy.  She has curated accessories from thrift stores and looks forward to "thrifting" on the road. The galvanized letters above the dinette cabinets were purchased at Hobby Lobby. The fox represents Sabrina's dad, who passed three years ago; he was quite the trickster. The Cheshire Cat was a gift from her mom that makes her smile.

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    In the living area, an acrylic ledge from the Container Store was placed above the TV to “float” family photos, and provide a spot for little goodies they find along the way that spark joy! Brian and Sabrina take turns coming up with sayings for the felt board. This quote, by Linda Hogan, is about honoring and resourcing our ancestors. The ledge below (four dollars at IKEA!) serves as an end table and can hold a beverage and acts as a phone charging station. They changed out the cabinetry handles throughout; they purchased them at IKEA for about $6 a pair (17 in total). The fridge needed to be magnetized. Where else would they put their collection of travel magnets? So, they purchased a magnetic board & used 3M Velcro to install.

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    BIG changes were made in the kitchen! They were not thrilled with the shiny burnt orange walls so they found a cool solution! Creative Coverings, Removable Temporary Paint by Con-Tact Brand is available through Amazon ($19 for 30 sq ft). They found the smaller wall, by the entryway door, was much easier to put on than the kitchen walls because of the required curved cut. They made patterns or templates for both.  They totally love the matte finish and final results. It completely brightens up the boho vibe of the space! Another large magnetic board with tiny mesh bins for pens, spices and catch-alls was installed. The little magnets are Sabrina's latest creations, hand painted owls and Jizo. She has been collecting pebbles and stones from river beds and sandy beaches as they travel and then painting these little Jizos - giving away and leaving behind a few where ever they go in the hopes that they will make someone smile! When a few people requested to purchase them she began selling them. You can contact her at psych2grow@gmail.com if you're interested.

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    Pillows, pillows and more pillows - most were handmade by Sabrina and the others were purchased through Etsy. She liked making the easy tie backs out of quilt fabric and added a handmade boho dream catcher to both sides of the bed. Thankfully the first owners upgraded the queen mattress. They call it their sweet dreams bed! Little Jizos painted on a found piece of driftwood hang above the window beside two hand cut tin birds gracefully taking flight. The map photo, from hobby lobby, that hangs at the foot of the bed is for planning, dreaming and noting accomplishments. They'll be using a thin red Washi tape to delineate where they’ve been and where they're going. Nighty night Sabrina and Brian!

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    Brian and Sabrina have been "rehearsing" for full-time travel which they will begin in February, 2018. They will be charting a four-leaf clover path over the USA following friendly weather. They will return to Austin, Texas to check on family every 3-4 months thinking their tour will take about a year.  Upon each return they will see if they want to continue their journey.  They are looking forward to feeling connected and enjoying fellow RV traveling buffs; you can follow them at  instagram.com/travelingzenden.

    If you'd like to learn more about the process Sabrina and Brian used to minimize their belongings, you can read the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. And, to gain a greater understanding of Feng Shui which in Chinese means "wind and water," look for Sabrina's favorite book called Practical Feng Shui: Arrange and decorate your home to promote health, wellbeing and joy.

    Thank you both for sharing the Zen Den with the Airstream community. Sweet dreams and a year of amazing adventures Sabrina and Brian!

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    Rick and Linda's 2018 Flying Cloud - Summer Place

    Despite Rick growing up spending summers roaming the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas with his cousins, camping was not something that Rick and Linda had done together during their nearly 50 year marriage. In fact, if you met Linda, you’d assume she’d be more comfortable at a high end resort. How do I know this? They are my parents. 

    Their Airstream journey began Thanksgiving weekend 2016.  My husband and I had just purchased a pop-up camper and were looking forward to spending time visiting state and national parks. When my mom said she wanted to camp too, I thought it was a joke.  But, while the turkey was in the oven we found ourselves spending time on Craigslist looking at Airstreams.  There was a beautiful 2013 22 ft Bambi at a dealership nearby.  When the family all packed up and headed home, Rick and Linda took a drive to look at what would become their “first” Airstream.  I never could have imagined that they’d love Airstream ownership as much as they do.  Their goal was to use it at least once per month and they have had no problem making time to enjoy all of California.  They’ve traveled to Yosemite, Tahoe, Malibu, Newport, Buellton, Ventura, Carmel Valley, Costanoa, San Diego, Palm Desert, Nevada City and more. But, they discovered they wanted a little more storage and twin beds. So, slightly less than one year later, they traded up for a 2018 Flying Cloud 25FB Twin that they named “Summer Place.”

    There are “campers” and “glampers.”  Rick and Linda are enjoying all the beauty of the amazing state in which they live, but are doing it in true glamping fashion. Join me in taking a look at the ways these two have personalized their new space. As Christmas approaches, you'll find sweet little holiday touches throughout.

    In the bedroom, Linda found she was able to work with the bedding that came with the trailer.  By adding throw pillows and blankets to each twin bed, their personalities shine through.  Rick, who is the king of all wanderers, has a gold framed print at the foot of his bed that says "Not all who wander are lost." When he asked for a "big game trophy," I'm not sure the cute little wool mountain goat was what he had in mind. Ha! Ha! And, Linda found an adorable flower-adorned flamingo print in a local shop that she hangs at the foot of her bed. But, we've found it on Amazon and you can find the link below.

    Sparkly gold placemats adorn the table accompanied by fresh flowers (always!) cozy and beautiful fur throws (Mongolian Sheepskin from annieselke.com) and brightly colored Lily Pulitzer pillows (See Amazon Link Below). Flamingos throughout play tribute to the symbiotic partnership of Americana - Airstreams and the 1950's pink birds we've come to love.

    In the kitchen, they house their spices in magnetic spice holders on the stovetop hood. Not wanting to drill into the aluminum, Linda ordered an adhesive towel bar on Amazon.  And, the wood cutting board from Airstream Life fits perfectly over the sink and adds both beauty and versatility to the space.  They enjoy their meals served on fun flamingo plates purchased at Sur La Table.

    The bathroom in Summer Place is simple, beautiful and functional.

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    So, for those of you who never pictured yourself as a "camper", you might want to think again. Thank you both for sharing your beautiful space! Safe Travels.

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    For the Love of Airstreams -

    Amazon Links - Summer Place Accessories

    Jim and Marlene's 1975 Land Yacht Sovereign - The Silver Moose

    Jim and his wife Marlene purchased their 1975 31’ Airstream Land Yacht Sovereign in 2015 when they happened upon what has become somewhat famously known in the Airstream community as The Silver Moose.  I wanted to know how it was they came to restore this vintage beauty; so Jim was kind enough to let me interview him and share their story.  

    Jim and Marlene have two sons; when their boys were young, they spent time camping and enjoying the outdoors in a pop-up camper.  But, when the opportunity arose to sell the pop-up and, for the same price, purchase a timeshare and travel with their boys, they took advantage of it.  Well, the boys are now grown and Jim and Marlene fell in love with camping all over again when Jim built a teardrop camper. But, the small size wasn’t ideal for the long term so they began their search for a larger trailer with more of the amenities of home. The two could not justify spending $45,000 for a trailer they would use a handful of times per year.  At that point, they weren’t necessarily on the lookout for an Airstream. But, an Airstream found them.  They saw a somewhat neglected Airstream for $4500 at a nearby dealership.  Someone had gutted the trailer and had taken it to the dealership to replace the electric jack, water heater and exterior lights. But, the owners abandoned it, never coming to pick it up. That worked in Jim’s favor - he offered the dealership $2000 and they accepted.  

    It was a big project - it smelled absolutely horrible, had mice damage, and the only thing left in the trailer was a rotted kitchen.  Jim is a home builder so he had both the knowledge and tools to take on this kind of project. They wanted a different layout than the original design, so they moved the bedroom to the rear, traded the twin beds for a queen and put the bathroom in the middle of the trailer.  After they finished gutting the trailer, they repaired the frame, installed a new subfloor as well as all new plumbing and electrical. With that finished, they had a blank slate. Their goal was to create the feel of a Northern Maine cabin. The interior birch skins are absolutely gorgeous and make this such a unique project. Jim used 1/4 inch birch throughout; bending the boards was initially a challenge. He broke a few and at $65 a sheet, that is definitely a bummer.  He learned that if he got them a little damp, it went much easier. 

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    All of the maple cabinetry in the kitchen and living room is a combination of store bought and custom. Jim built the boxes and face frames for the cabinets since in an Airstream you are working around things like curved walls and wheel wells. And, he installed cabinet doors that they had purchased.  The warm wood tones make everything feel so inviting and I love the shallow cabinets he built in the living area that house small tables - such a great use of space.  The countertops are all Corian, which Jim built as well.

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    For the cabinetry in the bedroom and bathroom, Jim repurposed doors he had leftover from other projects and built the cabinetry around them.  

    He purchased a new shower pan at Home Depot and built a custom shower using Formica kitchen countertops that looked like granite and fit their decor.  

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    The floors throughout the main part of the trailer are snap together laminate with a foam rubber backing; and the floors in the entry and bathroom are a heavy linoleum (1/8 inch thick) that came in 18x36 inch tiles. They liked how the linoleum picked up the color of the laminate floor. They purchased all of the flooring at a discount flooring company for a total of $180. 

    The fireplace fits perfectly with their cabin feel. They thought about refurbishing the furnace, but even if they did, the furnace would still be forty years old. So, they opted for an electric fireplace.  They aren’t boondockers, so an electric heat source was perfectly fine for them.  They can also turn off the heat and just use the flame for ambiance. Nice!!!!

    Jim and Marlene’s son can be credited for the beautiful logo work. At college he had access to a laser cutter. Take a look at the Airstream and Silver Moose logos and speaker grills he created. He even made them custom coasters and salt/pepper carrier. The screen door protector was created locally at a friends shop.

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    The couch is a futon they ordered on-line. The aluminum arched legs make it perfect to recreate the arch of the Airstream!  Jim credits his wife for the pillows, clock, shower curtain and all the great moose decor.  They even found moose shower curtain hooks; because they didn’t need all of them for such a small shower, he used them to customize a shelf in the living area.

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    So, how did the Silver Moose get it’s name?  Playing around with names that just didn’t fit, one day Jim picked up a small silver moose keychain from a client. It hit him. He talked with his wife and they both knew that would be the name of their home away from home. 

    It is amazing that in his spare time he completed all of this in about 6 months. As a result of this project, the two realized that there was a need to save and repair vintage campers and thus, Silver Moose Restorations was born. Jim will repair, rebuild or remodel any vintage camper. You can find Silver Moose Restorations on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/silvermooserestorations/or visit www.silvermoose.me. Reach out to Jim directly at jroy187@aol.com.

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    Sammy, Christee and Jacob's 1977 Argosy - Wundertow

    I am so excited to present this first Airstream. Sammy, Christee and Jacob are living their lifelong dream of full-time travel in a vintage Airstream they renovated themselves. I love how crisp and clean everything looks with little pops of color (check out their door!) and the warm wood floors and counters. Here's Christee to tell you all about it.........

    Welcome to Wundertow…one family’s journey into dreams and possibilities. 

    In August 2014, we brought home a 1977 28 ft Airstream Argosy that we found through the Airstream classifieds…..unloved and uncared for in the woods of the Florida panhandle. 

    Neither of us had any experience with trailer renovation, but what we did have was a vision for the finished product and a desire to free ourselves from the “grind” so many people find themselves in. To ditch the rat race, get rid of most of our "stuff" and take-on fulltime living on the road while traveling the U.S.

    In June 2017, we finished our renovations and hit the road -  exploring the country living as temporary locals wherever we go. Here are some of the highlights of our renovation.

    In the galley, a window had broken and a piece of plexiglass was crammed into place with a plastic bag in an attempt to keep water out. It didn’t work. The cabinets and the floor were completely rotten (see below how we replaced the floor). We used cabinets that we purchased on Craigslist for $20 each and created our own covering side-piece to match the curve of the wall. Because we were working around a wheel well, we had to cut a bottom portion of one of the cabinets out to fit over the top. To see how we attached them to the walls, you can visit http://www.wundertow.com/airstream_cabinets.html.

    To paint the cabinets a "shabby-chic" style, we lightly spray painted them in black, followed by a rough brushing of the vintage turquoise color we have used throughout the trailer. And, finally, lots and lots of white - until you can no longer see any of the color from underneath. We then sanded the seams and edges until the black and turquoise peeked through. We finished them with two layers of clear coat.

    We splurged on a butcher block counter; it was the scariest cut we've ever made.  We finished the area with a backslash made from Lowe's PVC tiles that we found in their kitchen section. We sanded, painted them black, white and then white again, sanded again, applied clear coat and then riveted them to the wall. 

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    In the living area, the original idea was to replace just the floor as it was rotten all the way around. However, in order to replace the floor we had to expose the C-channel (the part that attaches the shell to the floor), which required the removal of the lower skins. Once we did that we saw quite a bit of rot and vermin excrement mixed in with the insulation. Thus our “replace just the floor” quickly became “gut the whole thing and build from scratch”.

    For the floors we replaced the belly pan, all the subfloor insulation, the ply-wood sub-floor, then laid down vinyl planks. We kept looking at different flooring options…and simply could not bring ourselves to spend $500 to $600 on flooring. Like our kitchen cabinets…we kept our eyes peeled on Craiglist and found a man with several boxes of new vinyl planking leftover from a project. I only needed 200sq ft and he sold it to me for $60.  They are the kind you have to glue down yourself. We have had zero issue with them. My one warning is to make sure the sub-floor is free of knots and crevices. If you have a knot-hole in your plywood, make certain you fill it with a quality wood filler…we didn’t in one spot (somehow missed it…but filled all the others) and the vinyl has molded down to the shape of the hole. It is not in an obvious spot, so we are not bothered by it.

    The couch we bought from Ikea. It is a futon that fit the area and we added a 1 ½” memory foam topper from Bed, Bath and Beyond. We sleep great! To secure it to the floor we bought 2 electrical outlet boxes; we secured them to the floor with wood screws and simply have the back legs of the futon inside the cup. This lets us open and close it with ease.

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    Another major source of moisture was the bathroom. The back of the Argosy definitely had some major subfloor damage. The bathroom fan was a leak source so we replaced it.

    A thrift store find, we altered a standard cabinet to fit our space and create a more-open feeling bath area. We ordered the sink and faucet but used reclaimed lumber that we stained and varnished to create our countertop. Using largely materials we had on hand we were able to transform the cabinet into a beautiful vanity.

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    Our particular Argosy came with a set of twin beds over the wheel wells.

    Keeping with the original design somewhat, we also knew we needed a functioning work space for our business and home school. The booth also converts into a matching twin bed.

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    Quite a bit of work went into the body. There were dents and gashes. The awning had long been ripped off in a storm which left gaping holes. Bondo filler and sealant was haphazardly smeared everywhere.

    New paint, new lights …we think she is beautiful!  Even now it is hard for me to believe we did this…that we managed to rebuild our tiny, vintage home.

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    We think she's beautiful too! You did such amazing work. Thanks so much for sharing. Follow their adventures at http://www.wundertow.com

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