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VIDEO: Before & after airstream renovation

Do you wanderlust and live for a good adventure?  Do you dream of hitting the open road? Love airstreams!?   Want to learn more about designing small spaces with big style?!  

You’ve come to the right place!

Love tiny spaces with big style? Get hitched with an airstream. Check out the before and after photos of the airstream by Lynne Knowlton!
See more of the airstream renovation on lynneknowlton.com #HappyCamperAirstream
Love airstreams? Click on the photo to see the before and after transformation of a vintage 1976 31 ft airstream!

 

This page is just the beginning of details about the airstream renovation.  I hope you get inspired to design small spaces with big style too!  I’ll show you how!

Q.

Tell me more about your airstream renovation.   I love to see before and after photos.
 

A.

I added about 643947436 photos of the airstream here on the blog… but before and after photos show the real deal.  You may need a barf bucket.  I lie. I lie.  The airstream in it’s original state was still a thing of beauty in my eyes.  I could see the potential because hey, it’s an airstream.  They are such gems!

Hawt tip:  The one thing to look for when buying an airstream is to ensure that the subfloor is dry and free of rot.  This can be a hidden problem, because hey… they can be 40 plus years old.  That is history in the making, and things age. Good to keep them in check.  Like wrinkles. Ahhem… laugh lines.


Love airstreams? Click on the photo to see the before and after transformation of a vintage 1976 31 ft airstream!
Check out the restoration of the 1976 vintage airstream with before and after photos. A real stunner!
 
Q.

Why did you remove the centre cabinetry of the airstream?
 

A.

An airstream renovation is inspiring and harrowing all at once!  It was a scary thought to remove so many walls and cabinets.  When renovating small spaces, the goal is to try to lighten it, brighten it and make it feel open & airy.  When we removed all the brown cabinetry, it was a game changer in creating a light and airy space.

Check it out....

Check out the restoration of the 1976 vintage airstream with before and after photos. A real stunner!

B E F O R E


The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com

A F T E R

 
Q.

Why white?  Seems like risky business for a trailer.

A.

Simple design is my jam, espesh when it comes to white. I may have a thing about white and the staggering simplicity it brings to a space.

 

I don’t do brown but white paint, gold faucets & simply designed  spaces are my three amigos.

Everything that wasn’t moving was painted white… white… and more white. I was in a paint coma, painting the interior SIMPLY WHITE for 2 months.    White seems to be the answer to all my renovation problems. 🙂

I pop in colour with throw pillows, art and decor.  Why?  It makes the space super easy to change up with the seasons or if you get tired of the space annnnnnd white gives you a nice blank canvas to work from.

It's hard to believe from this photo.. what a transformation can happen with a vintage airstream! Click on the photo to see the before and after pics of the gorgeous airstream now!!
Love airstreams? Click on the photo to see the before and after transformation of a vintage 1976 31 ft airstream!
 

Q.

White?!!!!  GAH.  How do you keep it clean?!!!

A.

We have four kids, we rent the airstream to guests and it yet it all is quite easy to keep clean.  I find linen duvets and pillow cases are quite durable and easy to bleach/clean. We even use these linen tea towels in the airstream.  They get better with age. ADORE.

I use these linen curtains in my home (ohhhhh how I love them, and the Etsy seller too!) and these ones as well.

For the airstream, Tonic Living made custom white linen curtains for us.  I have a back-flipping-kind-of-LOVE for those.  I bought these online and used them as the curtain tie backs. They are stunners in real life. Legit.

The paint on the walls and cabinetry is wipeable and durable.  The floor is an easy mop clean up.

The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com
The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com


 

 Q.

What style of airstream did you buy?

A.

When we first purchased the 1976 31′ Sovereign International Land Yacht, the overall design was zactly what I was looking for.
 

It has a center bath configuration, and surprisingly.. most airstreams have a bathroom at the very back.  

I consider it a super cool feature that we wouldn’t have to walk through  the bedroom to get to a bathroom.
 

Priorities, sista.

The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com
The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com

Q.  How did you do it?   No really.  Howwwwww?!

A.   The process of renovating any small space is to maximize the minimal space with small space living ideas.

 

 

The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com
Love airstreams? Click on the photo to see the before and after transformation of a vintage 1976 31 ft airstream!

The journey of looking for an airstream was a loooooooooong one.  We searched for two years for the perfect one (longer, if I’m reallllllly being truthful with myself).  We wanted an airstream that had great potential but not one that had been totally gutted.

Some are like time capsules, still stuck in the era that they were born in.  I love that.  It gives you a chance to save vintage elements and yet modernize the important things like faucets and toilets.  Keeping it real.. keeping it real… toilet talk and all.


Champagne gold faucets
are like jewelry.

ART.

{and one of my fave fave fave elements in the airstream}

The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com

 

Q.   How did you find the airstream?

A.  I told every single soul that I knew that I had a dream of buying an airstream!!  Airstreams have such character and 60% of them are still on the road today.  They’ve been making Airstreams since 1931!  Holy batman,right??!!  Impressive!

One day, a friend called me and said… “You’ll never guess what I just saw for sale.  Never guess. Nevah evahhh

It was love at first sight.  Boom.  I was sold.

PS.  If you are going to invest in a trailer, have an end in mind.  Mine end in mind was obvs.

White.

Love airstreams? Click on the photo to see the before and after transformation of a vintage 1976 31 ft airstream!

 

Q.   With all the choices on the market, why an airstream?  

A.  I’m a big wuss when it comes to sleeping outdoors but I could imagine hitting the open road in an airstream .. no public washrooms… board games…soft fluffy linens…essential oils diffusing lightly in the air…. hours of nothing sprinkled with good conversations and kickass music.  These things are my jam.

 It’s the little things in life that really get my motor running.  Candles.  Playing Cards.   Airstream vibes.  Sorry I said vibes.  Was that awkward?  Don’t leave.  Airstreams are a good boho love fest.  Weirder?  Okay. Stopping now.

 

See the before & after transformation of this vintage airstream by @lynneknowlton !

Q.  How long did it take to renovate the airstream?   Where did you spend money, save money? 

A.   I imagined it would take a month for our dream to take shape.  It took 6 months.  Maybe longer.  Definitely longer.  It’s still happening. LOL…. annnnnd some things were extraordinarily expensive! Barf.  Like polishing.  Holy smokes, expensive.

Some things were really cost efficient too.   Like paint.  Paint is a small price to pay for a big change.   We primed every surface with a primer that is meant for metal, glass, wood, everything and anything.   Be sure to pick a primer that is a top drawer, high quality primer that sticks to everything.  The base/adhesion is super important for durability. Do it.

The big bananas were spent on polishing ( it takes 200-400 hours to polish an airstream exterior to a mirror like finish.  First, you have to strip the entire surface of the original clear coat.

Yes.  We hired strippers.

Then, after 44574573454056 hours of polishing… it was finally polished to a mirror like finish. We parked it on the pond and napped for 47347 hours to recuperate.    This is actually the home where we park our airstream for most of the year.

~  In our backyard ~

PS.  There are frogs in there.  We aren’t talking about that. ?

The before photo of a 1976 vintage airstream, transformed with white paint, gold accents and gorgeous home decor. A must see! Click on the photo to see more. Airstream by Lynne Knowlton from Design The Life You Want to Live www.lynneknowlton.com

 


Q.  How do we see the photos with the inside scoop and deets?

A.    You can see the airstream renovation process from start to finish here on Instagram #HappyCamperAirstream .

  • Follow along on the journey @LynneKnowlton Instagram…. where it’s cool to be square.
  • Sign up to the blog to follow our road trip.  Our next journey is to take the airstream into the United States for a road trip!!! <— freaking out with excitement.  We are currently working on a bucket list for my hubby Michael.  He was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.   You can read more about that here. xo
  • See more airstream photos on the blog here.
  • Love Pinterest? Go glamping on Pinterest here.

 Champagne Bronze Trinsic Faucet c/o Delta Faucet Canada  ||   Wallpaper // Gold Knots  c/o Hygge and West  ||  Flock circa throw pillows  White linen curtains  Turkish towels by Tonic Living || Flooring by  Ecolay EZlay vinyl flooring… no glue required for installation ||  Countertops are Formica in glossy white.   We made them by cutting MDF to size, and gluing glossy white formica on top || Brass plated drawer hardware is from Lee Valley

Shop the airstream here:

Happy glamping!!

Lynne

Over to you!  Any questions about glamping/airstream life?   Ask away… xoxox….  I’m here to help and SIP wine.  Wait.  Did I mention the sipping part?  SIP.

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  1. Maggie S says:

    Hello Lynne,
    Love the remodel. We have a 32’ Excello that we inherited from our Uncle. Yes, inherited!!! We are currently remodelling it and are at a standstill with the bathroom. Ours came with a bathtub/shower combo that took up the entire wall space from the kitchen to the bedroom (hope you can follow me on that one); Hence we removed it.
    Question: do you have a shower stall in your bathroom? If so, could you post a pic for me so I could take a boo at it?
    Thanks,
    Cheers

    Maggie S

    • Hi Maggie,

      That sounds like a super awesome inherit 🙂 !! We do have a shower stall in the bathroom, but it was the one that came originally with our airstream. It is handy tho, because it has a seat in it, and shower pan and we put in a new shower wand / faucet. Works like a charm. It is really hard to take pics of tho, because it is so small. I will pop through my photos and see what I can find, and email you a pic if I find one 🙂

      Big love,
      Lynne

  2. Jeanette says:

    Hi there,
    Really beautiful and very inspiring. Can you tell me where you bought your oven and hob from, I would love to source for a project I’m looking to do?
    Thanks 😁😁😁

  3. […] it only took 23,579 hours to renovate the airstream + 458 glasses of wine. I won’t tell you who drank all the wine, so don’t even try to […]

  4. Rick Edwards says:

    Love it, do you have airstream trailers you have done for sale.
    Thanks Rick

  5. Rebecca says:

    We just purchased a 1976 Airstream with the interior in very good shape. My original plan to gut the inside (before actually seeing it) has been discarded, and I plan on playing off and adding to the original. In regards to all of the roll up doors, do you have a suggestion for the best cleaner?? Also, I see that you seem to have painted the interior of the existing bathroom. Does attempting to paint the roll up doors pose any type of problem? Your thoughts?

  6. Robin Briggs says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great blog on your renovation! I read other blogs which warned of floor rot, copper pipes like swiss cheese in older Airstream models. Did you come across anything like this? Do you recommend not purchasing one that is older than a certain date?

    ~Robin

  7. Suzanne says:

    Hi Lynne I was wondering about the roller shades in your airstream are they Oceanair? I am looking for a source in the U.S.
    Thanks,
    Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne,
      The roller shades are just inexpensive ones that we found at home depot. For the curtains, we had them made at Tonic Living in Toronto (they are so pretty!)

      Hope that helps!
      Lynne xx

  8. Niki says:

    HI Lynne, greetings from Scotland. we have just brought a Airstream… and I have a question for you…..what did you/they use to strip the entire surface of the original clear coat? honestly I was not aware it had a clear coat on it…ours is in good condition but the silver is dull and we want to get a mirror like finish too…. I will be polishing it myself……any tips received gratefully.

    • Hi Niki,
      We had to buy a special remover to remove the clear coat. It is an airline stripper. It was wicked difficult to get but it worked really well. It took about 3474798745735987 hours longer than we thought it would take to strip it and polish it. Worth it, but wow. Work. If you can find a body shop to do it for you at an affordable price… it really is worth it.

      Hope that helps!
      Lynne

  9. Kristy says:

    Beautifully done! Did you have custom cabinets made for the kitchen or did you modify premade ones?

    • Hi Kristy!

      So sorry it took so long to reply to your question. I somehow missed it! We had our cabinets custom made as the space is so unique we couldn’t find anything that premade would work in.

      Hope that helps!
      Lynne

  10. Teresa Triggiano says:

    Love this site!! Love your writing and your style. You have inspired us. We have been looking for a trailer to renovate as we renovate apartments (everything is always white for me too :). We are now hoping to drastically redesign our lives. No matter how long you get in this world, it can feel too short and often is. I am sending a prayer that you and your family get every joy filled item on that bucket list. Thank you for demonstrating a different recipe for life. I love a good example of joyful living.

  11. Sheila Waterman says:

    Hello! We are the new owners of a ’76 Sovereign Airstream, and your design is such a great inspiration! This will be our home for the next 6-8 months, as our house goes under a complete remodel. I promise I won’t copy everything you did in yours….after all our couch is gold (and we only have 1), and we have a queen bed in the back 🙂 However, I would love to copy your floors. Are you happy with the flooring you chose? Does it have cork backing? I’m shopping that now and want something light in weight, durable, and light in color. Any advice or suggestions?

    • Hi Sheila,

      Oh my goodness…. I’m so sorry I took so long to answer your question… I just saw it now. Did you find flooring?

      Please, feel free to copy whatever you like 🙂 … it’s an honour to inspire others.

      You have a queen bed? You lucky dawg!!

      The flooring we chose is basically a recycled plastic style of material, which you don’t need to glue. The good thing about it is that it can get wet and it would just ‘float’ in a flood. It was super easy to install. The bad thing about it is that it didn’t hold up as well as we had hoped. We have had hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people go through it for a home show display and it really beat the floors up… so I dunno.

      What did you go with? I will probably replace mine this summer.

      Happy travels!
      Lynne

  12. Melanie R says:

    This is a-ma-zing! Add me to the list of people who think you are their spirit animal/spirit sister (is there such a thing?). Hubby and I are currently renovating a 1981 Airstream Excella that we’re also living in. (We had been in another Airstream until we could get this one livable.)

    These pictures are such an inspiration! And living in and renovating an Airstream is sometimes exhausting and frustrating, so inspiration is a must.

    You rock! Feel free to come visit the east coast and lend your amazing design my way 😉

  13. Patti says:

    Hi Lynne,
    Zowie, I LOVE the Airstream remodel!! We have a 30′ that we havent’ used much because frankly the inside is so dark and gloomy! Now that I’ve seen your beautiful transformation, I’m going for the white paint!! Did you paint that fold out table top too or was that new? How did you find an aqua oven door or is that too PAINT?!

    Thanks for helping us see beyond the brown!
    You inspire me!
    Patti

  14. Cory says:

    Hi! I love your Airstream design. I am about to start a reno on a motorhome. It has been my dream for a while now. What white paint did you use and what sheen?

    Thanks

    • Hi Cory,

      I love SIMPLY WHITE OC 117 by Benjamin Moore, but the truth is, the most important part about painting your Airstream interior is the primer. Be sure to use a realllllllly great primer. We used one that sealed stains, covered mildew stains, and one that would adhere to just about anything… since we painted everything in sight. LOL!

      We finished it all with a cabinet/furniture paint rather than a wall paint. ADVANCE by Benjamin Moore is lovely, but you could go with any fantastic finishing paint.

      Hope that helps!

      Lynne xx

  15. Debbie Baker says:

    Oh my GOSH, I LOVE this!!!! I think you might be my spirit animal! 😉 Reading your blog is like talking to myself! (I do…. everyone does, right?)

    I am in the (SLOW) process of renovating a 1977 Airstream Excella into my tiny home, and am also painting everything white!!! It’s my absolute favorite, with pops of cherry red and maybe aqua and some sunflower yellow. My girl is named Opal, and although I have a slightly shabbier chic rustic style than you (I’m going to make my kitchen sink from a wash basin, and my countertop will be the top of an old homemade bench I found in a backyard and dragged inside and painted white kind of style) I absolutely LOVE your design!!!! Thank you so very much for the inspiration and ideas, it can get a little frustrating and downy when you’re trying to wing something entirely on your own. 😉

    Just wanted to say I’m so very sorry to hear about your husband, I have a close family member going through the same thing. Prayers for healing and peace!!!!

    Thank you for your wit, your humor, your sunny disposition, your FABULOUS ideas and inspiration. You are a gem and I’m so glad I discovered your blog! <3

  16. Sisi says:

    Love all the detail in your post. I’m curious about how much of the original interior you had to replace (kitchen cabinets, etc). Or, were you able to keep most of it and just repaint it to give it a new look? What was the most expensive part of refurbishing the interior? I have a relative who is giving us their old camper and I didnt want it, but after reading your post, I’m completely rethinking my decision. Amazing transformation and what woman doesn’t want her own space to play in?

  17. farmkiti says:

    Lynne, I absolutely LOVE it! And I love that you were able to keep the blue 60s couches in there. Or are they new? They look new, anyway. Except that they have that 60s feel. And the blue really goes with that airy feel that you captured.

    And LINEN: I know, right? My hubby is terrible on anything made of cloth; he gets it dirty, every time, all the time. I finally bought a linen comforter cover, and it washes clean every time. What a lifesaver! I’m seriously gonna think about getting more stuff made of linen. Did you know that linen is actually stronger when it’s wet? I’m just full of useless factoids like that.

    And finally: can I rent that Airstream as my apartment? Oh, I know, you’ve got much better uses for it than that. Plus I’d have to sell my house, and I really like my house! But I’ve lived in apartments that were much smaller and weren’t painted white. Talk about feeling like the walls are closing in on ya! You really did an AWESOME job on your Airstream. Hope you and your hubby and your kiddos have the best time ever using it!

  18. Kristina says:

    Duuude!! I randomly just stumbled across your page. & I am in <3. You might be my design soul sister. Seriously.

    Your adorably renovated Airstream?-A-ma,-zing.
    Your treehouse?- freakin' rocks.

    These are both things I have dreamt to do myself someday.. So Im kinda living vicariously through you & your oage now:D

    I also love your witty style! I can't wait to read more!! Keep 'em coming puh-lease!

    -.I meybe your new #1 fan if that isnt already obvious;)

  19. Mackenzie Knowlton says:

    Congratulations Mamma! It looks beautiful! You finally got your hands dirty and it turned out alright! JK it turned out perfectly! Whats the next project?

    • I rolled up my sleeves and got me hands dirty. ? Thanks for the love sweetie!

      Next project…. your bedroom. You may not recognize it when you come home. ?

      Love you sweet cheeks,
      Momma xx

  20. lisa thomson says:

    Nicely done, Lynn!! I love the vintage look (I know it’s legit). I have a question that’s probably dumb. I know nothing about travelling in an airstream so, do you park anywhere for overnight sleeps? Do you have to book at a RV park for extended visits? How does that work?

    I love the all white theme! And so nice you were able to keep the original stove. The video was really fun. thanks for sharing this and your design tips. Cheers! Oops,. I forgot, you DON’T drink. Neither do I (lies).

    • Hi Lisa!

      Thanks for the airstream love! Yes, you can park airstreams in RV parks, provincial parks, even a Walmart parking lot for overnight stays. We have not taken ours on a road trip yet (other than to display it at the Toronto Home show).

      Yes, RV parks can be booked for extended visits too. The cool thing about Airstreams is that they have their own club/forums/followings and you can meet up with other airstreamers along the way.

      Hiccup, ?
      Lynne xx

  21. Meg says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful.

  22. Alex says:

    Oh.
    My.
    GOODNESS!!

    I will glamp in your Airstream any day! Lynne, seriously, you make Martha Stewart look like a rookie. YAY AIRSTREAM!!!!

    Ps. I love your scripty fonts! would you mind sharing the name? I have a Christmas wedding invitation I’m designing at the moment, this would be purrfect.

    XO

    • Hahahahahaa.. you crack me up Alex. THANKS for the belly laugh.

      The scripty fonts on my blog are my own handwriting. I swear, I could write all.day.long… I love writing words. Anyhoo, a fab alternative is Creative Market! Just search “script fonts’ and you will see so many pretty ones! Some are free, and most are really reasonably priced.

      I’m actually writing about them in my Friday newsletter next week, I luv ’em so much. If you sign up for their weekly newsletter, they send 6 free downloads every week. OMG. Mind.Blown.

      Drops the mic. Walks off the stage.

      Lynne xx

      • Alex says:

        Oh, well….
        Martha Stewart is REALLy f*cking doomed now! HA HA

        I’m pretty damn amazed you do all of your own fonts – I didn’t think you could get any cooler, seriously. #goals

        Thank you so much!!!!
        XO

      • Kasey Brinlee says:

        I have read through all the comments on your blog to see if you mention the font you used. I am obsessed with it! Have you considered uploading it and making it available? My daughter has asked me several times to do the same with my own handwriting. I too love to write! When I go to meetings at work I get teased as everyone else pulls out their technology to take notes & I sit with a great pen & a pad of paper…
        If you do make it available as a font we can upload – please let us know!

        Kasey

  23. Debbie M says:

    So many good memories came back to me. I travelled in a 76′ Airstream for over a year, way back when.
    Jump ahead 30 some years and since last year I’ve had this must have one again. I have the perfect spot by my house, and after seeing yours redone, it’s jumped to the top of my list . Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Debbie!

      That’s so flipping cool that you travelled in a 76′ airstream! I’m jelly! LOL. I love your idea of having one at your house too. They are great for guest ‘cabins’ and for parties and even as a work studio. We’ve used our airstream for all of the above…and I’m crossing my fingers for a road trip in the spring.

      I LOVE how the airstreams are actually so gorgeous even after all these years.

      Vintage…in a good way!

      Happy trails!
      Lynne xx

  24. I love it so much. So, so much. It makes my belly ache.

    • One of these days, we have to get our butts in gear and drive it STRAIGHT TO YOU! East coast bucket list!!!! Look out.. you may see us peeking in your windows next spring. And that didn’t sound creepy at all. 🙂