Wednesday, February 12, 2014



Long story short, we bought an Airstream.  Kind of on a whim.  Kind of not.  Back in September.

We're a little old-school, the husband and I.  We're definitely old souls who grew up reading Louis L'Amour and Little House on the Prairie, Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson.  I think it's one of the common threads that binds us together so tightly - we both share a "can-do" spirit and love a good adventure.

I can't tell you exactly when this dream of ours got embedded in our souls, but we've often discussed our love of travel and our desire to have our children grow up experiencing the many beautiful places this country has to offer.  First, it was agreeing that we would travel with our someday children.  Then we had our oldest, and we learned some of the difficulties of traveling with little ones.  We realized our game plan for making it happen would need to shift a little, and somewhere along the way the allure of the Airstream began to reel us in.

On a gorgeous Friday evening this past September, the topic came up once again as we sat in our backyard playing with our kids.  On a whim, we thought we'd try searching Craigslist for Airstreams in our area, not sure how difficult it would be to find an old Airstream and not sure how much they would be selling for.  To our surprise, there were a handful of Airstreams for sale in Texas, within a reasonable driving distance, that met our criteria.  We wanted an older Airstream, 1970's or older, for two reasons: we wanted it to have that mid-century charm and because we needed it to be in our price range.  We wanted it to be as original as possible, because we had heads full of ideas for renovations and we wanted a clean slate.  And, the more we researched, the more we realized we needed to find one that was well-maintained and, for the most part, functioning properly.  There was just no way we could buy a completely rotted out travel trailer and bring it back to life in the time frame we were hoping for.

We found her and bought her two days later.

She was lovingly maintained, almost in full working order (no refrigerator and the AC isn't working), and we were fortunate enough to inherit her entire service history.  We are her fifth owners!


Almost everything was in original condition, including upholstery and draperies.  When you first walked in there was an overpowering, musty smell that you would expect from 34 year old fabric.  There was also some scary looking sooty dirt covering every wall.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you we were up at 5am the morning after we bought her, scrubbing down every surface.  We were so excited to get to work making the Airstream our own.  Thus, many of the "before" pictures are also sporting cups of coffee, rolls of paper towels and rags, and the baby monitor.  ;)


Check out those brown drapes with the cream colored ties!


The walls never were white, but this photo really shows you how yellowed they had become.


View from the sleeping berth looking into the kitchen.  Someone already knows every nook and cranny of the "Airstreamer".  You can see the space in the kitchen where a refrigerator will eventually go.


Sleeping berth with overhead storage and more of the lovely original drapes and upholstery.  You can see we'd already started spackling holes on the left.


A close-up of the overhead storage compartments.


A view of the closets and bathroom.  I'm standing in the sleeping berth facing the rear of the Airstream.


The shower.  The previous owners completely refinished the tub and updated the colors of the bathroom.  We're not loving their color choices (silver, light blue, and dark blue), but it's completely functional.  This room will be renovated eventually, but it'll be the last to get finished.


Blue bathtub.  It was originally white - the previous owners refinished the tub and vanity.


A view of the vanity and super glamorous toilet.  You can see the previous owners painted the sliding wood cabinet door a matte silver (spray paint perhaps?) and the finish is uneven.  You can also see where they painted the vinyl trim the exact shade of blue from the exterior of the Airstream.  I have some ideas for this...maybe just repainting white, or removing the trim altogether?


Bathroom sink/vanity.  You can see the cabinet door to the left is also painted a matte sliver, and the finish here is uneven as well.  All the handles in the bathroom were painted blue.  The sink hardware is original, however the previous owners spray painted the chrome faucet sliver.  I'm going to try to salvage the original faucet (I love the shape) and remove the spray paint, but we might end up purchasing a new facet and handles.


Some of my favorite details up close...this is the formerly state-of-the-art Solid State Control System.  It isn't in perfect working order, but I love everything about how this looks down to the typography and the little red lights.  We will be working to restore this.


The original NuTone Food Center!  This may be my very favorite feature.  We have the original cake-stand and blender that came with the Airstream and they are all in working order.  The previous owners replaced the original countertops with laminate and re-installed the Food Center in the process.  I'm so glad they did!


The original wood parquet flooring is in the Kitchen!  They need a good cleaning for sure, and maybe even to be refinished.  But they are in excellent shape and we're keeping them.


Most of the wood in the Airstream is laminated particleboard, but not these!  The china cabinets are solid wood and I love the clean lines of the etched glass.  The cabinets are lined with a flocked finish (similar to the inside of a jewelry box) and have spotlights from above.  All original features and they're in great shape.  You can see where my husband filled a couple dings above the refrigerator nook.


I absolutely love the look of the Chromometer that sits between the overhead compartments in the Living Room.  It's just a digital clock, but it's pretty with the wood grain laminate and the copper trim.  The plastic has yellowed with age and will need to be freshened up, but the copper trim and Chromometer are in great shape.

This is just the beginning!  We've already been hard at work cleaning, refreshing, restoring, and creating a new space out of the old.  Over the next few weeks I'll share with you some of the changes we've already made and some of our ideas for future renovations.  If you don't want to miss a post, be sure and subscribe (on the right) to receive updates by email.


  1. Love this, Judith. I just told Paul the other day that you guys had bought an Airstream. I got on your fb page to show him your posts about it. We'll love following your blog. We'd love to do the same. Thanks.

  2. Thank you, Phyllis! It's so good to hear from you. :)