July 29, 2014

Project Airstream: Renovation Continues!

If you follow along regularly, you'll know we've been helping to restore a 1976 Airstream camper that belongs to our friends, Josiah and Jocelyn of Lockhart Family Farm. This past Saturday we hit the road with a gallon of Kilz primer, ready to get back at it.

When we left off last, we'd initially gotten into the camper to take measurements, assess potential projects, update outlets and begin a semi-gutting of the overhead compartmental storage unit. We drove off looking a little something like this.

Upon arrival, Josiah had moved the camper to the summer/fall farm location amidst a few trees. He'd chopped down a tree that had some dangerous hanging branches (that he called widowmakers), and arranged the logs on either side of the airstream to help frame out a pretty view:

As soon as we saw all the cut logs, we thought these could make amazing rustic seats around a future fire pit. We also got a chance to see the new baby chicks on the farm:

They raise these chicks as egg layers and had enough this year that they're selling some of the flock locally — it's cases like these that we wish we had a better setup for chickens!

We love how rustic the farm feels — almost all of the structures were built by hand using materials from the farm:

Pollinators, like bees and butterflies are abundant — I can't believe I was able to stand still long enough to get this shot:

One of the best parts? Josiah's dad props Alexander (his grandson) on his lap while "riding the tractor" each week, and Alexander inevitably falls asleep during the ride before he's put down to nap:

We were eager to see the progress Josiah had made inside the camper over the past week. We couldn't wait to see the fresh wood surfaces that he'd replaced the older veneer fold-out tables with:

I have no background in woodworking (I know enough to be dangerous), so it was pretty exciting for us to see how he'd created these wood surfaces in the same size and shape of the older dated finishes. Once we get a fresh coat of paint on the other parts, we think everything will really pop:

He'd also made big progress on the exposed shelf we'd started on last week. He ended up swapping in a thinner poplar board to match the other lighter (and fresh) wood surfaces going in, creating a rounded edge. You might also notice he rounded down the original Airstream's support that held the older upper storage in place:

For reference (and to save you from scrolling), here's what it looked like before so you can see the differences:

First on the agenda Saturday was prepping the walls for priming. Josiah had been working hard that morning to remove all the screens in order to make ventilation and painting around tight spots that much easier:

As part of the prepping process, Mary and I went around all the windows and walls with an all-purpose cleaner to wash away any hidden dirt and debris — it was amazing how clean the walls came with a little elbow grease:

Since we have plans to update the curtain situation in the camper, Josiah removed all the original drapery, and pulled down the curtain hardware pictured above while we were there. He'd also cut out portions of the upper curtain shelves — which I'm holding up below:

It's amazing how removing even the smallest elements seems to really open the overall space in this part of the camper.

Next up? Removing the fold-out seating from the front of the camper. We'd been trying to decide whether or not to make a new custom cushion for this existing fold-out or remove it all together to bring something new in. In the end, we decided a full update would help give the camper a fresher look and feel — so we got to work:

This left us with the lower storage unit, which we also debated over, but ultimately decided to remove:

Alexander had a front row seat during the entire removal process, giving Mary the full play-by-play as everything went down:

Before removing the lower storage, we took out the lower curtain railing that wrapped around the entire front area of the camper and the front-most shelf underneath the bay window pictured below:

Then it was time to pull out the lower storage unit, which came free by removing a few (several) screws:

It was pretty crazy seeing it go. The flooring underneath the fold-out seating was different than the wood laminate throughout the rest of the camper:

Upon further inspection, it appeared the right portion of that corner flooring was pretty weak from age and previous moisture:

Some of this board crumbled easily with a hammer, so we were thankful we'd removed everything up front in order to discover the damage. Josiah ended up cutting all the bad flooring out completely, cutting a new base panel to swap in its place for the time being:

We're still thinking about flooring options for this front area, but discussed the idea of creating a small platform to differentiate from the rest of the floor that would make somewhat if a raised focal point for the new seating area.

After clearing everything out and cleaning everything up, it was time to start priming the walls:

Since we'll be tackling the renovation in stages, we decided to just prime the entire wall surfaces at this point, even though we'll eventually paint the cabinets and most every other surface that remains. After doing a little research, we opted for Kilz oderless oil-based primer to paint directly onto the vinyl riveted walls. It's a fast drying primer, sealer and stainblocker that helps reduce odors and a good base for the final coat of paint.

While we were both priming, Josiah worked on building a new shelf where the original had been up front in the same poplar wood as the other shelving that's been going in (nothing like having an on-site carpenter):

We also explored the idea of removing the upper cabinet above the kitchen sink:

Because this cabinet houses the Airstream control center (yes, that's what it's called), ventilation and more receptacles, we've left it up there but removed the rolling doors to give them a more open feel: 

After the first coat of primer went on the walls, we called it a day and grabbed a few final progress shots of how things are shaping up at this stage:

While we certainly have a long way to go, we're feeling like we made some solid progress and already see the space opening up:

At the end of the day, we had quite the salvage pile:

We're already looking forward to going back to continue work on the Airstream. Next up, we'll continue with paining all of the walls a bright white finish and are still deciding on colors for the cabinets and closet doors.

Check out where we started with the Airstream in this post and see some of the original "before" shots in this post. Keep up with our airstream progress by following @FarmStream on Instagram and Twitter.

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