Archive for the ‘paint’ Category

We have been wanting to remodel the airstream kitchen, since we purchased it in 2011. We tried to live with it the way it is, with cracked counters, broken tambour, cabinet bottoms failing and latches not functioning. After our last road adventure in February, we realized that the end was near. We’ve been so busy with work (my sister and I own a real estate company and my husband, Matt, is a carpenter) that we have been putting off our various airstream projects for lack of spare time. That….oh, and the heat! Our 1974 air conditioning is a champ when it is under 100 degrees, but struggles hard when it is hotter. The heat is such a motivation-killer! In about 1-2 months, the weather in AZ will be perfect. And, hopefully, by then we’ll be able to start our adventures again, once the kitchen is finished.

We agreed to start demoing 1 side of the kitchen at a time, so we started with the refrigerator side. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to get started on this project!

Here are a couple before photos of the refrigerator side of the kitchen:

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Tearing it apart:

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Here is the empty space, as it stands now. The side panels will be replaced with new walnut veneered panels:

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We have the old refrigerator venting, which we are going to build a cabinet around, until we purchase a 2-way refrigerator. Right now, since we aren’t planning to take more than a few weekend trips a year, we are totally fine with our electric mini fridge/freezer.

We’ve decided to go with a walnut veneer for the cabinets, green formica for counters (just like the original counters), circle latch knobs and eventually a new 2-way refrigerator. We’ll be reusing the cooktop (it is very hard to find a new 4 burner stove), the oven and the sink. I am going to paint the entry door to match the one below.

Here are a few photos of the abused sink side of the kitchen:

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When disassembling the kitchen, we noticed the metal brackets in the kitchen were stamped ‘airstream’. Pretty groovy.

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Here is our inspiration board for the sink side of the kitchen.

Airstreamy kitchen design (sink wall)
And our refrigerator side of the kitchen:
Airstreamy kitchen design (refrigerator wall)


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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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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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From my previous posts, you’ve probably seen that plastic from the 1970s doesn’t age well. It turns yellow and stains really easily. After watching a rad tutorial online from the show Classic Rides, I learned how I could transform my tub, sink and counters with epoxy paint. We went to Lowes to find epoxy and came across one that didn’t say it was suitable for plastic, but we took a risk with it and bought it. The results are nothing short of amazing. The new finish was applied with a 6″ foam roller and a 2″ foam paint brush. 3 hours of applying two coats of epoxy and it’s ready for some pretty new fixtures.

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After everything was primed throughout, we painted with Olympic no voc paint in a natural white. It is amazing what a difference paint makes!

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I have lost 8.5 lbs in 6 days. I have only owned the Airstream for 6 days! Until we get a 30 amp outlet installed in our garage, we don’t have enough power to test the AC. So, that makes for a hotttttttttttt working area. When it’s like 104 outside, it feels like 104 inside the Airstream. I have a temperature gun….I am going to test the inside vs outside temperature to see which is hotter…inside or outside the airstream.

Priming the walls was a nightmare….2 long days of taping and priming with thick gooey oil-based primer. I don’t want to see oil-based primer again for as long as I live. Trust me, neither do you. Priming plastic tambour was a painful experience. I have to get into every little groove and ensure that I didn’t paint the sliding cabinet doors shut. Christie and Matt helped me prime, which made it go a lot quicker.

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After we ripped up the existing vinyl flooring and sanded the plywood, we covered the floors and prepped all wall and ceiling surfaces for painting. Since much of the interior is plastic, we had to use an oil-based primer. I searched for a no voc oil-based primer, but couldn’t find one. We did find a natural white no-voc latex paint to use to freshen up the walls.

The bathroom was by far the scariest room in the airstream. It was dirty, dingy and all the plastic was discolored. And, the walnut laminate bathroom wall skirting was being covered up by black and white vinyl tiles….ew!

Here are some photos from the paint prepping and bathroom vinyl skirt removal.

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