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.
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"
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!
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.
Creative cabinet design allowed for a garbage pull-out and small drawers in otherwise wasted space.
They love the LED lighting installed underneath the upper cabinets.
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.
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?
Thank you Ron and Chris for sharing your beautiful renovation. To learn more about their business and renovations, follow American Silverstream on Facebook.