before and after

before & after: airstream trailer makeover

by Kate Pruitt

This is the second camper/trailer renovation we’ve received that features boldly patterned walls. I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to use a busy pattern in such a small space, but it’s an awesome idea. I like it not only because it packs a serious style punch, but also because it’s a nice homage to the groovy era when lounge vans were all the rage.

Vintage campers and trailers are certainly enjoying a resurgence lately, and it’s wonderful to see people adapting the interiors to suit various needs. Ida Gleaton, the woman behind this transformation, uses her airstream as a traveling storefront for her shop, The Urban Cottage, selling revamped vintage furniture pieces straight out of this lovely interior. So clever, and nicely done, Ida! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

See more of this trailer makeover after the jump . . .

Time: 3–4 months

Cost: about $4300 ($4000 for airstream and polishing service, $300 for interior decor, parts)

Basic Steps: The first thing we did was gut the entire airstream, taking out all the interior appliances and built-ins. It’s like working at a puzzle because each piece of furniture is connected to the next. Removing the 30-plus-year-old bathroom and plumbing was by far the worst part. We sold the interior on the cheap to those trying to restore their airstreams to original form. Then we repaired the rotten subfloor, rewired electrical where needed, sealed any leaks, laid the new laminate flooring, applied beadboard wallpaper to the wall and hand stenciled the top pattern on the wall. We also added molding and trim to create a clean, finished look. Keep in mind, nothing is straight in an airstream, so all your products need to be able to bend and flex with the wall curves. We got the exterior polished by the pros due to the sensitivity of aluminum.

Our advice: Be patient and do your research — there are a lot of steps in restoring the airstream, and a lot of repair items are not commonly found. We didn’t know the first thing about airstream restoration, and we relied heavily on airstream forums and our original 1975 airstream manual. Chances are there are others coming across the same issue you are, and they are always willing to help. Also, recruit some help. I somehow convinced my husband and family to help me out — I definitely couldn’t have done it without them. Keep the end goal in mind! — Ida

Mechanical questions: Airforums
Original airstream parts: Out of Doors Mart
Wall Stencil: Chez Ali pattern, Royal Designs

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  • I don’t quit understand the remodel. What are all of the desks and bureaus for? Where do people sit or sleep? Is it not being used as a camper trailer/lodging or is it a studio/workspace? Is there a bathroom?

  • This was so interesting. I’m actually considering purchasing a 1973 airstream that has been somewhat gutted. If you don’t mind sharing would love to know what you paid for the actual trailer? I know it varies. The one we are considering has a solid frame but the inside needs to be completely taken out.

    • Hi Tammy. I just paid $5k today for a 1973 Tradewind. In pretty good condition with working ac and fridge. I will be gutting and renovating her but I plan to reuse the cabinetry after painting it. I hope to strip the old vinyl interior walls so they will have the aluminum finish. I am in Florida. You will find the longer trailers are actually cheaper than the ones which are 25 feet and smaller.

  • Hello All – This is the 3rd reno I’ve looked at in the last hour and definitely have Airstream Envy. I have one, but have too many other projects to do. It’s a ’73 Airstream Overlander 26′ intact located in southeastern Alabama. Wheel bearings greased, new tires all around before we brought it up from FL. If interested, comment! Thanks, Ya’ll!

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