1965 Airstream Safari

1965 Airstream Safari
Coming Home

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!  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving - I am thankful for progress!

I cannot believe how fast time is going by.   When I first read about the length
of time some Airstream renovations took, I naively thought "that won't be us!" 
Lo and behold the weeks slip by.  Bottom line is it is a drag to have
to work and only be able to devote weekends
to the fun things in life like our Airstream! 

However, a few things are coming together and progress is obvious.
The biggies recently are the installation of our floor.  After reading numerous
blogs by other owners and weighing the pros and cons of various floor options
we chose cork. The reason was durability, flexibility, and how light weight it is.

It actually went in very easily. Thus sayeth the observer!
Due to the way we approached the renovation the floor is not under
any of the cabinets.  There is less flooring going in but also in the event
of a water issue we can pull up the floor without ripping out the
cabinetry/ furniture.  At least this is our theory.  It made the cutting/ install a
little more work, but Robert is an uber talented guy and he sailed through it.

Foam underlayment goes down.  

A little cutting in the bathroom.

I love the contrast with the color of the cabinets and benches!  Just need to add
the rest of the shoe mold and we are done!  Check!

At approximately the same time I decided to take on a little project. With the relocation
of the dinette we needed some lighting over the table.  The obvious solution is
an LED puck light.  Low energy use, they don't get hot and the color in LED
lighting is vastly improving.  We had removed a double head spot light
at the back wall.  So there were wires dangling in the closet that can be rerouted
to the new LED pucks.  I mounted them under the upper cabinets, then
drilled holes for the wires to pull up into the upper storage cabinets.

A nice clean look.

Since the wires don't lay flat this required creating
false floor in the upper cabinet so that things can still
be stored on a level surface. 

Robert was telling me he had a solution but I had to wait.  So I took matters
into my own hands (patience is not my strong point) and used
some of the left over cork flooring.  After cutting it to size, added some
  small pieces underneath to raise the surface and viola!
I have a nice clean stable floor for the cabinets and you can easily get
to the wiring if need be.  Robert still had a bit of a critical eye
(I think it is mostly because he didn't think of it) but he begrudgingly
gave me props for my simple and fast solution. All he has to do is
pull the available wires into the upper cabinet and we have light.

The last little project was the installation of the tile backsplash. As a
designer I can't imagine not having a tile splash but I am realistic enough
to not want to install something that will crack and pop off because
of the movement in our little trailer. After quite a bit of research and
consulting some of my talented tile contractors I have opted to 
use a small stone and metal mosaic and take it only 4" high.
I also opted to use a metal  trim piece in order to avoid having to
find a small decorative trim piece. My theory is the less glued to the wall the better.

Here is the metal being installed

We applied the tile with a silicone latex caulking.  Mold resistant, flexible,
and it should hold up great.

A close up of the tile.  I think it looks super clean.  Now I just need to grout it.

A larger shot of the splash.   The edge detail still needs to go on the countertop.
We are going to add a silver magnetic metal panel over the large space above the cooktop. 
Cuteness factor all the way. 

We also ordered a new furnace a couple of days ago.  We finally got around to turning on
the one in the trailer and the noise was deafening.  One more thing to add to the list
of stuff to do.  Seems like we check off a few things and add a few things every week.
Par for the course  and we will persevere!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

We have a bed (or at least a place for a bed!)

 Our new license plates for the Airstream have arrived! 

  I had extremely good intentions of updating this blog sooner.  While we are making steady progress 
we also seem to be generating quite a mess and the photo ops are few!  When thinking about how 
we wanted to use our Airstream we knew that we would prefer a full time bed versus making a bed
 out of the dinette every evening.  As I mentioned before, we did a big floor plan flip and have
 built a queen size bed platform where the original dinette was. 

We want to try and take advantage of every square inch and have created
some additional storage at the front of the Airstream that sits above the fresh water tank.

There is a fairly deep box right in the center that will be handy for pajamas or
something and then there is a bin at each end that can hold other things.  Maybe a good book!

Speaking of pajamas I am so excited that Target is carrying some fun PJ's by Nick and Nora.
They are Airstream inspired and beyond cute with pink flamingos and little airstreams.
Being a now loyal Airstream groupie I felt obligated to buy myself a pair!
How can you not love these?

                      Back to the new bed.....we wanted to accomplish a couple of things with this bed frame. 
                                  1-Create usable storage  

                                  2- Keep a little bit of the vintage charm by reusing the original Airstream bins
                                         and hardware that were in the Safari when we purchased it. 

                                   I am super happy with Robert's creative skills and the results. 

The bed platform lifts up and you can reach the additional storage space easily.
We used lifts supports and they went in super easy per Robert. 

At the same time the new dinette is just about done.  While the storage looks original from the
exterior we now have some nice deep storage boxes inside!
Pots and pans should be extremely happy in there!

And I love the new cushions.  They are beyond adorable as far as I am concerned.

Pippa likes the cushions too!

Robert has just started working on the new countertops. This is the one that sits above the 
refrigerator. The pop of color is perfect! There is an existing cabinet that will sit back 
on top of it. I love the red laminate and the vintage metal edge trim is so cute.

looking back at the bed platform

Just a couple of more items.  I have been all over the map trying to come up with an overhead
bin storage solution that worked visually and practically.  The doors originally on these cabinets were
in good condition but in a moment of reckless abandon I removed the doors of the cabinets
which were covered in a wall paper type material.  I thought I would take the wallpaper off and
refinish them.  Upon further inspection the doors were actually a low quality plywood.
In the mean time the hardware that held these doors had been removed (oops) and it is just about
impossible to put it back on. So the quest for a new solution began.

If we were going to put on new doors I wanted some that had a opaque panel in them.
I really wanted a cool piece of resin from a company called 3form. Check them out if you
are the arty type.  They even have a remnant section which is perfect for our application.
 However, I could never find a piece that seemed to be the right choice, in the right size,
 at the right price.  So on to plan B.  I found this vinyl stick on stuff at Home Depot.  
I liked the pattern, liked  the price and we decided to give it a go. Robert
built the new doors and I applied the pattern vinyl to a clear plexiglass sheet.  Easy Peasy! 
 If someday 3form has the most amazing piece of resin available I can change it out.  
Win, win I think!

Last but not least, the new little LED lights have been installed by the bed.  The original
spot lights were a mix of broken and almost broken so we opted to change them out
to these.  Energy efficient, fairly vintage looking and affordable.  I like it.

Still on the list to finish:
  •   new counter top at sink side
  • new sink and cooktop,
  •  table at the dinette
  • install new refrigerator
  • install new hot water heater
  • install new microwave
  • new faucet in bathroom
  • install new flooring
  • hang up curtains and shades

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Renovation Continues and my Danze Faucets Arrive

I found this photo online of a Argosy Owner that has a towing set up that makes me smile. 
As a Mini Cooper owner, I think this is awesome!  Who wouldn't want to take their
"super cute Mini" with them while they hit the road with their "super cool vintage trailer!"
 On top of that it is completely color coordinated!  It makes my design mind so happy,
I call this perfection.

I had a very exciting thing happen a few weeks ago.  Danze faucets heard about our Airstream
renovation project and decided they wanted to be a part of it.  They very generously supplied
me with my new kitchen and bathroom faucets! I can hardly wait for the new countertop
to be installed so I can see how fabulous they are going to look.  Danze has a great
Pinterest page if you are looking for more plumbing fixture design ideas. Danze has
been my go to line of plumbing fixtures for many years. Check them out if you are
wanting a great quality faucet at a nice price. 

Taking old things apart generally results in a Pandora's box of new things to deal with.
  We have found our share to say the least. In the big picture it is all good, it just takes more
time and money than you had thought the week before!  I keep eagerly waiting for the
day we put in the fun stuff,  we keep finding additional (translate to time consuming)
projects to deal with first.

Though the original refrigerator was humming along nicely and all the experts said if you
have a working frig keep it, we realized the investment of replacing all the gaskets
and a couple of freezer door hinges was going to add up to about 1/3 of the cost of a new frig.
  So then you have to ask yourself, do we invest that much in something that is 50 years old?
  Ultimately, we decided no and out came the old frig.  I think we can sell it for scrap and
make a couple of bucks.  I have also decided there is a huge profit margin in refrigerator
gaskets and we should have been selling them all these years instead of building houses.
We might be retired by now.

 Robert had to do a little adjusting of the opening for the new one.  I ordered a new frig
with a stainless panel, so it's all good. It's going in soon I have been told.

The bed frame is just about done and I will update on this project soon too.
Lots still to do, but it is coming along.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let's Get Serious, Building the New Dinette!

We finally reached a place where we are ready to build something.
Yea! As I am busy imagining fun little meals at our new dinette with
cute dishes and a great view out the window,  Robert is
working on the nuts and bolts of what we want to accomplish.
Good thing we both understand our "jobs". 

We had decided that the "gaucho" or couch as the rest of us
would call it needed to come out and be replaced by a small dinette.
Since 99% of the time it will just be the two of us and our cute
little dogs,otherwise known as "the girls" we don't need the large dinette
space up front. We can convert that to a permanent bed and skip
the annoyance of having to make up the bed every night. 

There were two control points that created exactly how large this dinette
could be.  We had the refrigerator location that was not moving,
and the back wall to the bathroom was also a fixed point.  With that in
mind and knowing we had to incorporate the wheel well space
into our design we moved forward.  This is where I love the internet.
I spent several hours searching for other peoples solution to this
change to get an idea on what we wanted and how to do it.

Though we are building and designing homes everyday 
we are newbies to the world of RV construction.
 It is a bit of a learning curve to have everything you 
build be controlled by the idea that smaller is better, 
it must be uber functional and as light weight as 
possible. On top of that we need to build things that 
can become something else.  Add the need to keep a cool
vintage vibe to this and there is a lot to think about.
However, we are extremely resourceful
and we will figure this out!

Robert's tip of the day: "find the center of the trailer,
lay down a chalk line and work out from there."
He felt that helped more than anything while building the dinette
due the curving of the airstream walls. 

With a vintage trailer some things are a little brittle, when the wheel
well was exposed you could see the flange had chipped. Robert used a
flexible flashing tape that completely sealed it. Clever!

 We moved two regular chairs in and out of the Airstream
multiple times trying to get an idea for how the dinette would
feel after it was built.  There are certain dimensions that make for a
comfortable sitting experience and we tried to hold true to those
while staying within the building space.  We also wanted it
to be able to become a twin bed if ever needed.
The final dimensions for the dinette are
bench 36" Wide
 seat height 15" tall
the finished seat depth is 19", overall build depth was 24"
seat back is 18 3/4 " high. 
This allows for a 4" cushion and hopefully a comfortable bed if need be.
This gives us a table that is approx 28" W x 36 " L

Dry fitting for the wheel well cover

Framing at the wall for the bench seats
 You can see we added a tall panel behind the bench
leading into the bathroom.  We are going to add
a real door here.  The original accordion door was
in bad shape and didn't appeal to me as a permanent
solution for the bathroom door. As a bonus it creates
more wall space in the bathroom. 

Trying to figure out how much slope we can
add to the bench back
Up close view of the height difference of the bench and wheel
well cover.  The table will drop down into this space when it
becomes a bed.  He added a cleat to the bench front upon completion

 The dinette is just about complete.  The under the bench storage
still needs doors.  Then we stain and move forward!  I have ordered the
wall bracket for the table, a removable table leg, the vintage
table edge moulding and the laminate.  I am an awesome
material supply manager!

Lest we loose sight of the big picture this is the fabric
for the new cushions. They are currently in production
with the upholsterer! 

Cushion fabric
New stain color

Love this new poppy red color for the table top
On to the new bed frame next!