THE AIRSTREAM RENOVATION: AN UPDATE

I wanted to pop in with an Airstream update, something I've not done before! I thought it might be fun to share our progress and our future plans.

For those of you that might not know, we're renovating a vintage 1957 Airstream Overlander, which we purchased at the end of May 2014, nearly eight months ago. Our initial assessment of the Airstream left us hopeful - we hoped we wouldn't have much to tackle and that we would be able to salvage much of the original interior, including the vintage appliances. Unfortunately, after a more thorough inspection and cataloging of the old girl left us discouraged and facing a much, much more intensive project that we could have ever imagined. We got to work ripping out the old fixtures, cabinetry, and appliances, and with each toss of rubble out the door, we found more issues that would need to be fixed. Our summer was spent stripping the guts of our Airstream down to the bare bones, and by the beginning of September, had removed everything...the Airstream was just a shell balancing on the rusted chassis.

Day three of Airstream ownership looked like this.

We scrubbed the interior thoroughly, removing any last trace of the mice who had inhabited the trailer before us, and began repairing the chassis ourselves. Thankfully, Ellen is fairly skilled in metal work and was able to repair the chassis herself. We then painted the chassis with multiple layers of rust-stop paint and prepared to put in a new subfloor, which was one of the most challenging and exhausting tasks. We created templates from massive pieces of cardboard for the front and back (which are curved) and then used the templates to cut marine-grade plywood. Getting the pieces into place was the real challenge, especially when we reached the very last piece, at the back end of the trailer. We then bolted in the new floor and screwed and bolted the shell back to the floor and chassis.

We found ourselves between a rock and a hard place when we began waterproofing. Many of these tasks were simple - new rubber piping around the windows, sealant on all the cracks...but others were expensive and time-consuming. About this time, we began to go over budget, winter came early and it was often too cold to be working outside, and renovations slowed to a crawl. This was mid-November, 2014. We needed to step back and reassess our finances, and with the holidays fast-approaching, this seemed like the best time to do it. Our house was off the market for the month of December while we searched for a new realtor, so we decided to focus our efforts entirely on making the most of the holiday season, with a promise to return to the build and re-list our house no later than the second week in January - we held to both of these resolutions.

Currently, we are working on some custom fabrication for the Airstream. Louise's door needs some serious patching - after all, she's been around for fifty-eight years and has likely had multiple owners (three just that we know of). The door had multiple holes that had been poorly masked (the solution can't even be called a repair). There are a few dents/holes in one side, and we need to fabricate a new window for the back - it's nearly impossible to find a replacement window for any Airstream built prior to 1966, and when you do, they are astronomically priced. We are still waterproofing occasionally, when it rains we step out into the Airstream and watch for leaks...seriously exciting stuff here, guys.

After the metal fab is complete, we will be installing two new fans, and then beginning to wire for all new electrical. We plan to have the insulation and interior panels back up and painted by the first or second week in March. We will then lay down new flooring and begin the build out - all new everything from the floor up. Our design has tweaked only slightly since originally sketching it out over the summer, and I'm so excited to see it all come together. While I've been involved and helped with all the backbreaking work...this part is my domain. It's what I'm most thrilled about...I love the process of designing and executing said design in a space.

Our travel plans currently are to hit the road on June 1, 2015...just a mere four months from now, whether or not our house has sold. We plan to travel at least for two months this summer. If our house sells sometime in the next six months, we will continue to travel after the month of July, if it has not, we will have to return to Kentucky for awhile awaiting the sale of the house.

If we finish the Airstream by our projected date, we will complete the project in exactly one year. Wish us luck - unfortunately, weekends are our only chunk of time allotted for Airstream work. Both of us are currently working full-time and then some, raising a daughter, trying to start a business and blog, selling a house, still purging our possessions, and trying to stay healthy by cooking all of our meals at home and alternating days at the gym. However, we are incredibly determined, and the days are getting longer slowly...it's almost February and we're getting more and more daylight. We are ordering supplies and are staying well under budget so far. Now that the Airstream is ready to be built up and customized, we fully believe that we can stay on budget and finish by our projected date. Ellen has a spring vacation coming up and my dad will be coming down for nine days in April. I'm going to take the week off work then and he and I are going to bust out some serious work that week.

We don't have much time for a life these days, but we're alright with that. We know that the reward at the end is going to be worth the long days, exhaustion, and seemingly endless hours of backbreaking work. This will be our home, our place of sanctuary and retreat, and will be the vessel that takes us into this new life venture. We cannot wait.