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/

    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.