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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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