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Airstream Remodel

Project:   Design + Build transformation of this 1968 Airstream Ambassador trailer into 28 ft. of functional office and social space.  We designed and crafted every aspect of this interior, including cabinets, pocket door, automated futon, and custom paint scheme.

Goal:   Designer Josh Ganshorn approached the project as if he was a designer in 1968.  This was the space age, and he imagined the Airstream as a futuristic camping vehicle for the moon.  He limited material choices to those available in 1968. The result is a modern feel with plenty of comforts, that still maintains a vintage vibe.  Josh aimed to open up the original floor plan and create a functional studio/social space that met our clients needs in an extraordinary way.  Read an interview with Josh here. 


The Process:

After clearing out the tattered built-ins original to the trailer, the Airstream was a blank canvas.  Pictured above, we've relocated the Control Panel, added Genuine Maple Veneer flooring, added halogen lighting, and completed our paint scheme.

In Josh's continual attempt to resemble a luxurious space capsule, He created this semi-oval pocket door with the large plexi-glass window. It separates the living/office area from the bathroom while still allowing valuable light to enter. 


A few in-progress photos for you...


Interior paint scheme, detail (no V.O.C. paint throughout.)






Touch up painting.   


Our pocket door template.


Building the pocket door.


Lovely light shines through...


 Pocket door, open.  

When rebuilding the wall, Josh managed to make the the upper half of the opening 4" wider than the original, creating a more ergonomic, and generally cooler shape, All of the wood in the bathroom is maple, as is the other side of the pocket door.



Curved cabinet doors, in progress.


The built-in globe is one of our favorite parts. After having the original idea, Josh began the search for the perfect globe. We narrowed it down to a certain brand, size, and era. After several eBay and Flea Market finds, we came across this one, with it's unusual metallic blue water, and limited color scheme. The red arrow and miniature Airstream (a little hard to see in this photo) remain stationary while the globe spins. Finally, we swapped out the original brown receptacle for this "high tech" space station orange one.


Giving the globe a test spin.

What's that under the globe? It's the Airstream Control Panel.  Although original to the Airstream we relocated and rewired the Control Panel (wired to the automated futon!)

Party ready, the lower section of the wardrobe cabinet houses a Sony sound system and JBL 8" powered sub, part of the great sounding JBL 5.1 speaker system mounted throughout.

All of the Airstream's walnut cabinetry and furniture, including these rounded cabinet doors, were built in our woodshop. We designed integrated door pulls for a sleek look, and to limit injuries in this compact space.


Analog Airstream "GPS"


Building the automated futon in our woodshop.


Garage door track incorporated into our automated futon.

One of the few requests our client had, was to swap out the original built-in sofa with something nice and new. An inherent challenge of working in a space with rounded corners is that everything needs to be custom. Most conventional futon beds require side or rear access for set-up, but with our layout that wasn't an option. Josh's solution -- automated, cantilevered bed, powered by a modified garage door motor, and wired to the original Airstream Control Panel! The result is surprisingly smooth and quiet.


Built in storage below the futon, and behind.


Bookshelf storage, accessible when the futon is down.


One of the design challenges was to make use of the wheel wells. We built cabinets on both sides, which include a pantry and flat-file storage. These built-ins also act as seating areas (a chair on one side, a bench on the other.) Because of the wheel-well depth, the bottom drawers are shallow -- perfect for storing anything from spice jars to paint brushes.

The desk area near the kitchen appliances contains a built-in laptop or iPod input, and offers plenty of room to spread out books, paper, and even a portable microscope, should your journey call for that.


Replacing the dilapidated windows with modern dual-glazed, insulated windows.



The molded bathroom components and countertop are original to the Airstream, and refinished with durable boat paint. All wood, doors, and lighting are new.


Polishing the Airstream.


An exit sign. Just in case.


This overhead cabinet is one of the few original components that remained completely untouched, and dictated our use of Walnut throughout. It originally housed the Airstream's Motorola stereo system, and now conceals 2 JBL speakers.



Blue wheels, a finishing touch.



Airstream Open House -- we welcomed dozens of excited guests.


Please contact us for a quote on your custom Airstream or recreational vehicle remodel!


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