Over the past week we gathered an overload of inspiration and ideas for ways to update the camper in order to transform it into more of that glamping (glamorous camping) look and feel. We couldn't wait to get back out to the farm last Saturday with all of our tools in tow:
We supplied the donuts and Jocelyn brought out a large pot of fresh coffee while we all got started. Josiah's mug had us all entertained, since they specialize in heritage breed pork on the farm:
This space has a suite of different receptacles, including spaces for old phone jacks and a DC outlet. We're thinking about replacing the lower phone jack receptacle with some sort of mobile accessory storage compartment to make better use of this wall space. Also, can I just take a moment to say I love it when my husband puts on his tool belt? Thanks.
Alexander, Josiah and Jocelyn's 2 year old son is a farmer in the making and just to die for. He is so curious, always smiling and ready to "help out."
While getting started, we snapped as many "before" shots of the camper in its current state as we could and took measurements for things like curtains and the front living area to get an idea of whether or not we should tackle custom cushions to fit the current folding bed or if there might be room to remove this structure all together, freeing up space to bring in a more modern style futon.
Here's a more detailed view of the current fold-out seating area and built-in storage:
We felt like removing this closed-off storage would really open up the space, showing off the classic curve of the airstream ceiling — plus we have plans for exposed wood shelving, basket storage and metal rail racks to replace the function of the original overhead compartments.
First up, we needed to free up the gas-line wired through the outside of the compartment — this would have originally housed a gas lantern (like this):
What we didn't anticipate was just how long it would take to remove the overhead compartments. If you did not know, the airstream was originally modeled after the aircraft industry and everything is riveted, so very few nuts and bolts can be found in the construction —after a while, we thought we were deconstructing the space shuttle! Luckily, Josiah had an extensive user's manual we were able to reference to see exactly where each part was we'd need to dismantle, one by one.
We started out trying to reach the few screws we could find, which were installed in hard-to-reach angled areas.
We quickly realized pulling out the board atop of the fridge and cabinets would give us a couple of extra inches to work with, which actually turned out to be a huge help:
As much as we were hoping to just pop the screws out with a power drill and pull out the storage compartment out with ease, it took us about 2 solid hours to get the entire thing dismantled and removed — so you can imagine how good of a feeling it was when we were finally able to free up that upper space.
It was amazing just how much more open the camper appears with the removal of this upper compartment, and feels like such a bonus!
Here's a more proper before/after view to save you from scrolling back:
It might not look like much, but it was a huge accomplishment for the day, and we all agreed — this job is going to get a lot messier before it gets prettier. I think that's just part of the renovation process, right?
After the overhead storage was completely removed, we measured the open space for installing a large reclaimed wood exposed shelf. Josiah had a stack of milled oak wood drying in their farm workshop, so we picked the best from the pile and he propped it up on the bed of his truck, sawing it to size, giving the entire surface a good sanding, and finishing it with a healthy coat of Thompson's oil right then and there.
We brought the board into the camper to test for fit and it just slid right into place:
From here, we cleaned up and re-installed the wood covering for above the fridge, and Josiah has plans to cut and round the wooden support that held the older upper storage in place:
We also ended up taking the large brown plastic storage bins from the lower kitchen cabinets back home with us to clean up and paint. These original bins provide such great storage capacity and we think a bright coat of paint will help to give them an instantly updated feel in the space.
After we left, Josiah ripped out the veneered surfaces around the front of the camper, replacing them with new wood for a fresh feel. Here's a sneak peek of those:
Image from @FarmStream
Image from @FarmStream
Next up, we hope to begin painting the space, updating the kitchen counter and deciding on colors for things like cabinets, a potential foldout couch/bed, curtains and more. We can't wait!
Keep up with our airstream progress by following @FarmStream on Instagram and Twitter.