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Archive for the ‘living area’ Category

Christie and I have been dreaming of going camping, so we decided to get serious about getting the airstream camp-ready. We basically took a long hiatus because the Airstream needs SO much work. We decided to focus on the plumbing, as this is the system that needs the most work. We already have the toilet. Today we went to Camping World to pick up supplies for installing the toilet. We bought black and gray water tanks last year. We need to mount them, which requires a lot of work. It’s amazing how much goes into making all the systems work. A 70s airstream like a classic car and a old house combined; repairs aren’t always as simple as they seem.

After a lot of research, we decided against getting a tankless water heater for the airstream. The reviews online are surprisingly bad. I was looking forward to reducing the trailer weight and contributing to a green renovation, but all research pointed to an LP 6 gallon water heater. We bought our new Suburban water heater through PPLmotorhomes.com. We’ll be spray-painting the new exterior door silver, so it matches the airstream.

I took some photos of Airstreamy today, as motivation to get it on the road! Can’t wait to go glamping! It’s sooooo dusty inside…time to clean!

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We have owned Airstreamy for about 1.5 months and keep working on getting her ready for the road. Our custom-order black and grey water tanks arrived a couple days ago. We now have the task of installing them, which should be a lot of fun (not!). Since this airstream was lived in, a lot of the traveling components were discarded, by a prior owner. We haven’t been able to test the plumbing yet. We have heard the water pump turn on when we use the control center on button, but we haven’t filled the water tank. The waste tank install is a major hurdle to getting us on the road. We also have to take the airstream in for service to have all our gas appliances pressure-tested, to ensure they are safe for use. We hope to do that in the next couple weeks.

There aren’t many things that Christie and I can do in the trailer, as we have no mechanical knowledge whatsoever. We’re good on the cosmetic/design side. We’ve been hunting for some good drapery fabric, but still coming up slim on options. Most of the patterns we find are too busy, so we think we’ll go with a simple off white. I put together a $10 table I got at Ikea for a coffee table; It’ll work just perfect. We got all the ceiling lights working and bought brand new plastic covers for them. The covers don’t fit properly, so we have to make a few adjustments to the power knobs to get them to fit snug. I got the old speakers all painted and ready to be installed, but Matt thinks we should get new ones. Speakers are low on my priority list, as we can just bring a stereo with us. I have been spray painting the screen door silver and working on some kitchen solutions. I wish there was a way to repair our existing kitchen cabinet tambour doors, but they are in rough shape. We might build new cabinet doors or buy new tambour…we haven’t decided yet. Here’s some updated progress photos:

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We knew we wanted ‘bullet’ style lights in the airstream, so I was tasked to find the light covers. I looked at vintage ones, but realized I could get a similar look with some Ikea hacking. We bought 2 $9.99 lights (similar to these) and took them apart. Matt reinstalled the lights and they are perfect! They are adjustable and cast a cool pattern on the walls.

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I guess it is a good thing that I suck at measuring things. In an effort to get the sofa bed to fit where it is supposed to fit, we decided to take out the side living room cabinet with the 8 track player (*tear*). We had noticed a small area of rot in an inaccessible area behind the cabinet. So, we picked up from 23/32″ plywood (really Lowes, no 5/8″ plywood?!….geez) to repair the damage. We were able to replace the damaged plywood in 2 of the areas and used bondo by the door. Matt sanded the bondo and got dust evvveeerrrryyywwwhhhheeerrrreeee! I was so sad because I had been cleaning this airstream for weeks now (assuming demo was done!). He redeemed himself by thoroughly cleaning the sofa and floors. I primed and painted the wall that was behind the cabinet. Next, we have to caulk the edges of the floor where the patches are and install the new flooring over it.

We’re making progress with other projects. We ordered new blackwater and graywater tanks today. They are being custom made and should be here in 4-6 weeks. I feel like making a paper chain counting down the days because that is a long time to wait!!

We got the 1974 AC working for about 1 minute. We’re pretty sure it’s gonna be trash because A) It is impossible to find someone locally to work on it, B) It uses R-11 refrigerant, which is basically for sale at the price of gold, and, C) We could spend $450 and get a brand new one a lot easier than trying to fix this one.

Christie and I priced out fabrics for curtains. I am not in love with any of the patterns available locally, so I am researching some good modern fabrics online, but we might just go with $.99/yard muslin and possibly use it as a liner, once we find some rad fabric for curtains.

I cleaned the inside of all the kitchen cabinets….all I can say is EW. Gross. Yucky.

I’m thinking we could be ready for camping in about 30-45 days, depending on when our waste water tanks come in. Or, we can find a KOA with bathroom facilities and take airstreamy out sooner. Can’t wait!

Here are some photos of what we’ve been up to over the last few days:

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This project sounds easier than it was. We bought a sofa bed ‘site-to-store’ from Walmart called the Atherton Home Manhattan Convertible Futon Sofa Bed and Lounger (Pearl color) for $269. It had great reviews and was the cheapest, nicest looking one we could find online. We picked up the sofa in a big box last night that barely fit in the back of Matt’s Expedition. We decided to wait for daylight to move the sofa into the airstream. We kept it wrapped and carefully wiggled it inside. Once inside we had to install the short little legs and figure out the ‘click-clack’ function. The sofa bed can be a sofa, double chaise lounge or a bed, with a couple clicks. We got it all put together and tried to squeeze it into the area it was supposed to go….it didn’t fit! Boo! I took measurements before buying the sofa to ensure it would fit, but what I didn’t account for was the slight curve at the front of the airstream, which strips us of 1-2″ of square space.  The sofa base is square and can’t be changed. So, in the meantime, we have it set up as a double chaise. Matt is going to do some measurements to see if it will fit snugly, if we cut the countertop to the side back a little bit. It sure does make the space look cleaner and newer. Every project gets us a step closer to a modernized airstream. Don’t mind the filthy floors in the photos….we just finished laying them last night. We still have some trim pieces to install before they’re finished.

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The airstream definitely needed new flooring; the existing vinyl flooring was worn and didn’t match the retro trailer. Once we started taking up the vinyl flooring, we realized it was not only glued down (and super sticky), but it was also nailed down. We spent a while sanding the sticky floor with 3 sanders and removed all the nails. I had originally thought of sanding the plywood smooth and painting a glossy white finish over it, but the time and cost associated with that project made me think more towards traditional floors. I really wanted white flooring, but Christie and Matt talked me into a dark wood laminate instead, which they said will be easier to keep clean. We got 7 boxes of the Tundra dark brown laminate from Ikea, which should be enough to cover the living area and bedrooms. The cost per/sq ft is $1.15, so it ended up being a very cost-effective improvement.

We are about 1/3 of the way done with the flooring. Matt hurt his back yesterday, so we are on a short hiatus until he recovers. I’ve been cleaning the inside of cabinets and working on little projects on the inside. I have to locate a light-weight modern/contemporary flooring for the bathroom and find a good fabric for the drapery this week. We have a new sleeper-sofa coming on Friday, which will get us another step closer to getting this trailer out of town. We also just got the owner’s/service manual in the mail. We are looking at dimensions for the blackwater and graywater tanks, so we can get those installed asap.  This week is expected to be HOT…some forecasts say up to 116 degrees. Until we have our 30 amp circuit installed in the garage, we won’t be able to test and/or fix the AC unit. I am counting down the days to AC!!!

UPDATE 8/24/11: We have finished laying the flooring in the living space and bedroom area. We just have to install some trim pieces and transitions.

Here are some before and progress photos of the flooring:

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Yesterday our friend Christine and her son Espen came over. They came right before a big dust storm hit, so we had to close up the airstream while the storm rolled through. This morning we worked on installing new electrical outlets and covers to continue with the crisp white updates. We also took down the 70s wall speakers and spray-painted the yellowed plastic white. The speaker grills look like little chocolate bars…I wanna eat them. We have to connect a couple wires up to see if the 8 track player works. We’ll probably work on that tomorrow.

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