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Today’s Blog courtesy of houzz….

Always up for a challenge, Aaron and Amy Carman went on the hunt for a vintage Airstream trailer to put their design and woodworking skills to the test. After scoring a 1971 Airstream Caravel on eBay, this Wisconsin couple spent four summers refashioning its outdated avocado-hued interior into a bright and modern space. Lightweight materials for easy towing — and a TV and Xbox — helped turn this Airstream into their perfect portable getaway. “I always saw it as a fort for grown-ups,” says Amy.

Project at a Glance
What: Complete Airstream remodel
Owners: Amy and Aaron Carman
Location: Milwaukee
Size: 128 square feet
Time: Remodeled over four summers
Cost: About $6,800

The Carmans had planned to gut the interior from the get-go, so they could’ve bought an Airstream that was a little worse for the wear. But they wanted their first foray into Airstream interiors to be successful, so they found a slightly put-together Airstream on eBay that had a layout they could work with and learn from. The design of this particular model had some fun shapes and silhouettes that easily lent themselves to a more modern look.

Both Amy and Aaron had plenty of experience working on remodels and interiors, but the Airstream’s curved shape and small layout presented some struggles. “It’s not unlike working on a boat,” says Amy, shown here. “The work was very time consuming.”

They stripped the Airstream down to the structure, carefully removing each piece so they knew exactly how everything had been put together. The goal was to make the small space light, bright and chock-full of effective storage. “We put a drawer or door everywhere we could,” says Amy. Extra cupboards were tucked under benches and sinks and above countertops.

Aaron designed the green sculptural wall by the kitchen using Paulownia, a lightweight, sustainable wood from Asia. Each piece was cut to fit in with the others like a puzzle. Sherwin-Williams’ Grassland paint ties it in with the rest of the interior.The orange sofa converts into a full-size bed. At first the Carmans wanted to have something custom made, but instead they came across a perfect and affordable model in Target’s dorm room collection.

Aaron built the new cabinetry, furniture and wall paneling and installed the kitchen countertops. The bathroom countertop is bamboo parquet from Teragren. Strips of Paulownia line the vanity.

The couple chose Corian countertops because it has a lighter weight than stone or concrete. A simple bamboo-hued laminate backsplash protects the wall.

Besides the original stove and refrigerator, little remains of the 1971 kitchen. New Paulownia cabinets with bamboo accents make for a light and clean material palette. Both the refrigerator and the stove can be powered by propane or electricity — one reason the Carmans chose this particular model.

Flexible trim and laminate walls accommodate the curved walls on the trailer’s front and back. Figuring out how to work with the Airstream’s rounded shape took some work — the couple had plenty of strikeouts before they landed on this combination. Aaron used Teragren bamboo parquet, the same material as the bathroom counter, for this custom flip-up breakfast table. The custom Crypton upholstery folds into a bed for the Carmans’ daughter.

From this angle, the top of the ceiling around the breakfast nook is visible. Amy and Aaron created a spot in the molded plastic treatment for an Xbox, so they could play games and watch movies on rainy camping days. The TV pops up out of a panel at the end of the breakfast nook.

The Airstream’s exterior was the only portion the couple needed help with. The aluminum siding had been treated with a clear coat commonly used on Airstreams in the 1960s and ’70s. Although it protected the aluminum, the clear coating had started to decay and peel. The Carmans had a professional remove the coating and buff the exterior to a polished shine, which took about $2,000 of their budget. They keep the Airstream in covered storage during the winter to protect the aluminum, but they can always can have it repolished to remove stains or rust.

Do you have an Airstream? Please tell us about any remodeling projects you’ve done – we’d love to see pictures too!


6101 Mallard RD, Thornburg, VA

540 735 1100 / 800 719 3507