1965 Airstream Safari

1965 Airstream Safari
Coming Home

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Meet MayBelle!

In May of 1965, Airstream built our International Safari in California.
In honor of that anniversary we have named our little trailer "MayBelle".
21 feet of cuteness, my very own grownup play house and one
of our favorite remodeling projects to date.

When we brought her home in August of  2014, we felt the trailer was in fairly
good shape considering her age. And she was, except it seemed like it might
be a good idea to make a couple of easy changes!  Famous last words for
those in the Airstream world. It's a bit of a black hole that you are not really
warned about. However, I will say it is a fun hole to fall into.

All things considered we were able to turn this around fairly quickly.  By April
of 2015 we had taken our maiden voyage.  With a totally redesigned interior,
new frig, water heater, furnace, fantastic fans, plumbing, lights, electrical, kitchen,
new floor, cushions, drapes, mattress, windows and doors sealed and various other 
misc. 50 yr old trailer repairs we are ship shape.  We are currently waiting on our 
new awning and that  should just about wrap up all the big items we have on our list. 
There is some talk about a polish job in the future, but I am staying out of that. 
Oh yeah, and a door for the bathroom, but that is still in concept mode.

I have been promising for some time now photos of our finished interior.
Here they are, presenting to you.......
Our MayBelle!

Don't forget to notice our little chandelier!  Every life needs some whimsy!

Just as a quick review this is before

                                 The kitchen functions so nicely.  I am very happy with the decision to take out the stove and
and replace it with a cooktop and convection microwave. I love my Danze Anu faucet too!
I am such a fan of the magnetic wall behind the cooktop.  I spent hours looking at
other blogs and photos of Airstream kitchens.  I liked the idea in concept and 
am so glad we made it part of our kitchen too. It is super handy when cooking
With spices, knives, etc all just right there. The single bowl stainless sink is perfect. 
I have a collapsible dish drainer that I can get out if necessary. The flip up
 counter to the left of the cooktop is just the right amount of extra space. 

 What was once a dinette is now a permanent Queen bed that lifts up for extra storage.
   Another great decision for us. We store clothes underneath the bed and the dinette
has large pull out drawers under each bench that hold cooking items.

 We reused the original drawer latches and the Airstream Bins in the drawers under the bed.
The doors drop down and the bins slide out.  As much as we are firmly in the camp
of renovators rather than restorers, we did want to incorporate any of the original
features that we could that seemed appropriate to her updated interior.

The frig is new.  After considering the cost of repairing a 50 year old refrigerator we decided
to invest in a new one.  Of course there was not a straight across replacement.  The new one is taller
and thinner. Thanks to my husbands uber talented skill set he made it work. I have heard the new
ones aren't necessarily better, we opted to throw the dice and go ahead and replace it. 

So far so good. 

just a cuteness moment!

The bathroom has basically stayed the same. It is in very good shape and even had the original
hand shower, which I thought was very cool.  I had not seriously considered actually
taking a shower in this bathroom, figuring it would be just too small of a space.
However on our first trip out I thought "what the heck" I should at least give it a try.  I was so
surprised to find out what a great little shower it is.  Terrific water pressure, the hand shower
is perfect and the accordion shower curtain is very "Petticoat Junction" for those of you
old enough to know what that means!  To sum it up I love it and will not be heading down
to the RV campground showers any time soon.  We also added a new Danze Parma
faucet.  Nice little contemporary twist, but still a good style for the bathroom.

 One last little thing I did was add these decals above the bathroom window.
There are not a lot of ways to add decor to this bathroom.  I don't want to drill a
bunch of holes in the walls but I did want to add a feeling of art.  I thought the back
window valance reminded me a little bit of a window box so I decided to plant
some flowers.  The best part is when I get tired of them I can just peel them off. 
I am still keeping my eyes open for some other fun items to add to this
space but I think it will take some time to just find the right items.

 From our Airstream to yours.  Live Riveted!  It's a great way to go!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Maiden Voyage (or two)


We have taken our little Airstream on the road twice now.  It was so exciting to hit the open
road for the first time and it was even more exciting when nothing fell off!

All of the hard work has paid off.  Everything worked just perfectly and the biggest surprise
was how fantastic the little shower in the bathroom is.  More about that later. 
Our new mattress is also super comfy and that was great news!

However, I have discovered something interesting.  With my current favorite hobby being shopping
for the Airstream I have discovered a huge hole in the world of "glamping accessories".
Cute folding camping chairs do not exist, unless you are under the age of  5
and can fit into a Little Mermaid Chair.  I did find some uber cool leather butterfly
chairs that were $200.00 each but I could not quite bring myself to invest in them.

After hours of searching online with no results I decided to create
my own glamping chairs.  I purchased two typical canvas folding
chairs, stencils, spray adhesive, fabric paint and went for it.

I removed the canvas from the seats, gave them a quick
ironing to eliminate the wrinkles and began stenciling. 
After a little trial and error I have decided the classic stencil
brush works the best.  I also should have let the
paint dry a little longer before I began the layering process. 
I tend to do high performance crafting (and cooking!)
Not always my best trait.

I think they turned out so cute for my first try.
I then went a little further and added decals to our new cooler.  

Here is a peak inside the Safari. It has turned out even better than I imagined!
I promise to get photos taken and post them soon. 

After returning from a short walk we found some members of the family
are making themselves a little too much at home. 

Here we are in Sedona on our second time out. There were actually a
total of 5 Airstreams in the park when we were there.  

  We ordered our new awning last week
and I can hardly wait for it to arrive. It will be out of the fabric
shown below.  Awning fabric is another stodgy place, void of cool fabric.  
If you want a stripe you are good, anything else you are out of luck.  
I may have to do something about that too.
(Just in case you are thinking "Sunbrella makes lots of cool fabrics", 
you are correct.  They just aren't awning fabrics)

 I have to be resigned to the fact that it will be a few more 
weeks before we are completely
decorated!  I promise complete photos are coming soon.

Sunbrella Saxon Cascade

  I have decided having this Airstream is like
being able to take your playhouse with you.
  It's more fun than we ever imagined.
I highly recommend it.

We are back on the road this weekend.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Deadline Looms

Things are hopping in our little Airstream. With the date of our maiden
voyage rapidly approaching, Robert is working on all the last
minute tasks every available minute he has.  Our weather has been fantastic
and it definitely makes being outside easy.   

We are checking off some big items on the to do list every day. 

  • New water heater is in
  • New furnace is in
  • Access doors for both, made and installed
  • New gaskets at front door (actually the only door)
  • TV bracket installed and TV is hanging
  • New rough in plumbing installed
  • Electrical ( almost complete)
  • All new plumbing fixtures in
  • Mattress in!!!!!!  (bed not made yet)
  • Window shades at sink and bathroom, cute valances added (bonus feature)
  • New brakes installed and under trailer stuff all cleared
  • Moon hubcaps on (love them!) 

Hopefully in a few days the last of the electrical will be complete
and I can start to put everything away.  
Today's little project was to get the bathroom faucet and hand-spray in. 
My good friends at Danze plumbing generously sent me a kitchen faucet and
our new bathroom faucet. They are perfect. 

Describing our bathroom as compact is a bit of an understatement.  It actually
makes a cruise ship bathroom look rather spacious. The faucet and the
hand-sprays all needed to be replaced. Thus Robert has had to get a little
creative with accessing the plumbing in our bathroom.

Hmmm..  Can we sell the copper?

Lovely new faucet

I love it!!!!!!  This is the Danze Parma faucet.
The clean sleek lines are perfect for this bathroom.
  One other little project was getting the roller shades
made and installed. I took a plain white vinyl shade and gave it
a face lift.  Using a fun fabric print that complimented the new curtains,
I used a spray adhesive and just glued the fabric right on top of the
vinyl shade and presto I had the perfect shade for the bathroom and kitchen.
You can easily find directions to do this on Pinterest.

The only down side was after they were installed the existing metal
headrail did not cover the roller part of the shade and it all looked a
little disappointing. I asked Robert if he could whip out a little valance
and he came back with this (see photo below)!   I did a quick stain job and
it was the perfect solution.  He also made one for the kitchen shade.
  I actually think it turned out so nice I want him to make two more
for the windows at the bed area.  

Pre - Valance, not thrilled with the roller showing so much.

With Valance, much better.

How do you like my little garden?  These are stick on appliques.  I am kind 
of in love with how this turned out.  I wanted to add a little art in the bathroom.
With the curved walls and not really being able to hang a picture this
seemed like a great idea. The best part is if I get tired of it I can just take it down!

Hopefully my next post will have pictures of our little cutie all put together.
I am collecting packing lists and compiling my own. Trying to think back to
what we use to need when we camped years ago and what "Glamping" items
I may need now. Fortunately we will be with family on this first trip
and they have everything. Worst case scenario we can just walk
over to their site and look helpless and someone should take pity on us! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Almost Ready to Live Riveted!!

Just a few short weeks ago we had a little snow and I thought our Little Wheelies looked awfully cute!

We are going to take our Little House on The Wheelies on the road in mid-April!  
It will be our maiden voyage and I am beyond excited!

With our looming deadline we (as in Robert) are really moving rapidly in our
renovations these last few weeks.  New water heater is in, new plumbing is done,
new furnace is 75% installed, new refrigerator is in and waiting for it's stainless panel.
The best part is we have water in the kitchen!
My beautiful Danze Anu faucet is stunning or should I say running!

 Another element I wanted was a stainless panel behind the cooktop.
I have noticed others using it as a magnetic storage surface
and a cute spot to decorate.  Works for me. 

My first rivet!  It's actually not that hard!

Ta Dah! I am so proud of that little thing!

And it's in!  I can hardly wait to stick stuff on it.
  We also added a stainless panel at the underside of the top cabinets
The range hood was no longer working and we could not find a match that worked 
with the existing venting so we have opted to cover it in the metal.  Which makes
us fire resistant in the event of some over enthusiastic cooking and it really looks cool.
We have two new fantastic fans to install so we should be just fine.
I am prone to high performance cooking but I am anticipating more
BBQing than actual cooking on the cooktop.
I will post a photo of all of it soon. 

On another note Robert decided to replace all the rest of the copper plumbing
with Pex. He turned the water on this winter and he found a pipe had burst.
Not wanting to be dealing with this every year he said "to heck with it" and tore
the rest of the old plumbing out.  When it was all replumbed we gathered
around like new parents to see if it was all going to work. Well we were a
bit surprised when we had a "water feature"coming out of the bottom of the
rear of the trailer.  Though it was kind of interesting we knew this would not
be a long term hit in the RV parks!  Fortunately Robert remembered he had

taken a cap off and it was just waiting to be put back on.
Water feature eliminated!

One last thing,  when Robert replaced the water heater it came with a new access
door and it was white.  I decided to put my crafty paint skills to work and
we now have a faux aluminum access door. A couple of cans of Aluminum
colored spray paint got me there.  We shall see how it holds up but I think it
is a pretty good match. 



I am putting together my list of supplies for our little sojourn.  Planning and dreaming
about all the cute things we will need.    Maybe, maybe this weekend
I will finally get to put that mattress in there.

Back to you soon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

All Quiet on the Western Front

With the holidays, work and chilly weather we haven't done much on our Airstream project lately.

A couple of Saturdays ago we had a nice warm day so I decided to tackle a couple of little things.
After chatting with several of my tile contractor friends and reading the blogs of other renovators,
 I decided to go ahead and grout my splash.  The goal is to keep the tile and grout from cracking 
while the trailer is being towed.  I deliberately kept it low.  It's just a little over 3" tall.  Then I decided
 I would use a poly/latex grout.  With that decision made, I jumped in.

On a side note, we are going to add a magnetic metal panel above the splash and cooktop.
A great place for extra storage and cuteness to flourish. 

I am super happy with my tile choice, it's neutral, hip and with the little metal accents
it looks very Airstreamy to me!

The other designerish thing was finally getting to hang the drapes.  The drapes were the first thing I 
made after we purchased the Airstream. They have been draped over the back of a chair in our guest 
room for months now.  With the major construction out of the way, I think Robert opted to throw me
a bone to keep me distracted and not pestering him about things like vents and water heaters.

So I put them up and they are adorable!  Just as cute as I imagined. 

I thought while I was on a roll I would just throw out the idea of putting in the mattress
(which could quickly be followed by more cute stuff.)  That idea was met with "the" look
and eye roll.  Back to waiting.  However it is still pleasantly warm for February and
I may just work on another little decorative item this weekend.
 Back to you soon. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cuteness Corner Turned!

This was a good weekend!  We did something that actually created a
sense of the coming completion of our project. 

We, Robert tackled the countertops this weekend.  They are cute, cute, cute!
The Mandarin Red Wilsonart Laminate looks as terrific as I imagined.

 Here are a couple of DIY photos.  We wanted to use a vintage look metal
band at the edge of the tops.  Very appropriate for a 1965 airstream.
We picked this ribbed metal edge.

after gluing the laminate to the wood Robert began to apply the metal edge.
note the thin slot on the table edge that the metal slides into.

carefully tap the edge into the slot cut into the wood

 After much discussion and beta testing we decided the
removable leg should go right here!

I love it!  The pop of red is perfect!  Not too red, not too orange, just right!

On a totally different subject I did a little window repair recently.  I was so
frustrated trying to pull out 50 year old rubber that had basically melted into the
window track.  After quite a bit of research on how to solve my repair dilemma
I found my way and want to share it.  Hopefully it will save someone else some time.

When I first tried pulling out the old seal it basically disintegrated in my hands.
It came out in chunks and left all kinds of gunk in the track.  If there is anything left 
in the track you will not be able to put the new seal in. 

I tried scraping out the track with just about anything I could lay my hands on. 
Screwdrivers, paint can opener, razerblade, you name it, I tried it.  After virtually no success
I hit the internet and decided to see what others had done.  Thank goodness
everyone is so ready to share their renovation stories.  

I came back and decided to use the following tips:
  1. Use a heat gun or blow dryer to heat the old rubber and soften it up. 
  2. be patient
  3. Use a small pick to scrape out the track
  4. be patient
  5. Use soapy water or lubricant on the track to allow new seal to slide into track 
  6. be patient
  7. Use a screwdriver to poke the seal into the teeny tiny track
  8. be VERY patient
  9. make sure you put the fatter side of the seal in first (this is towards the window side)
  10. Be super excited when you are done!!!
They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, so here it is in pictures....

Trying to scrape out the OLD rubber seal with my new pick.
Not quite doing the job.

heating up the old seal piece left in the track to soften it up.

Heating up the track and old seal remnants so it will scrape out.  I used this little
pick we Robert found at Walmart.  Like a dental pick but larger.
  A dental pick might not be a bad option if you have one laying around.

The track is very clean.  I opted to use WD40 as the lubricant for the track. 
Don't use too much or you will have it running down the outside of your trailer.

Measure the new seal and cut with box cutter

Take your time as you push the thin seal flange into the teeny tiny track.  It tears fairly
easily but with the added lubricant and patience it will go right in.
Be careful not to over stretch the seal.  I think this will probably shrink somewhat after
being installed so you don't want to stretch it way out and then have it shrink up
even more than expected.

I promise you this will work.  I did all the windows.  There are other window repairs to do,
but I need to work up my enthusiasm for this particular job! 
 If you are looking for repair supplies check out vintage trailer supply  
they have just about everything you could want. 

Next on the list: 
  1. finish up the electrical and install the microwave. 
  2. add stainless panel behind range
  3.  Install the new refrigerator
  4. heater
  5. hot water tank. 
  6. replace gasket at entry door
  7. install new fans at ceiling
  8. Install new faucets
  9. Probably about 10 other things I am forgetting
  10.  Add cute stuff! I just want to do this one!