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. 

    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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