8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream

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By Erika Heet / Published by Dwell
The iconic, and slightly atomic, form of the shiny silver Airstream is embedded in our cultural and design milieu.

Here are eight Airstream renovations that promise to inspire you to hit the road in style.

The Process of Creating an Airstream Life

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 1 of 8 - First came the idea. Then came the late nights of Craigslist searching. And then it happened quickly: a trip to a derelict horse ranch in the Salinas Valley, an exchange of cash in an old barn, and a harrowing towing adventure up Highway 101 netted me my current abode—a 1959 Airstream travel trailer.

First came the idea. Then came the late nights of Craigslist searching. And then it happened quickly: a trip to a derelict horse ranch in the Salinas Valley, an exchange of cash in an old barn, and a harrowing towing adventure up Highway 101 netted me my current abode—a 1959 Airstream travel trailer.

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 2 of 8 - The 28-foot Airstream International Series features interiors by Christopher C. Deam. It sleeps up to six people and includes camping chairs, a gas grill, kitchen amenities, and bike rack.

The 28-foot Airstream International Series features interiors by Christopher C. Deam. It sleeps up to six people and includes camping chairs, a gas grill, kitchen amenities, and bike rack.

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 3 of 8 - The long sofa, bar, and television were obvious choices for a pre-show hangout, but how to achieve the continuous curve of the revamped Airstream’s interior was not. Baldridge and his team labored to find a kind of wood that would accept the serious bend before deciding on mahogany veneer. As for the new entry, he imagined it as a "modern I Dream of Genie bottle."

The long sofa, bar, and television were obvious choices for a pre-show hangout, but how to achieve the continuous curve of the revamped Airstream’s interior was not. Baldridge and his team labored to find a kind of wood that would accept the serious bend before deciding on mahogany veneer. As for the new entry, he imagined it as a "modern I Dream of Genie bottle."

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 4 of 8 - Architect Christopher C. Deam designed Airstream's travel trailer, the International Sterling.

Architect Christopher C. Deam designed Airstream's travel trailer, the International Sterling.

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 5 of 8 - The egg-like living room doubles as the children’s bedroom after dark, thanks to mattresses stored in a custom banquette in the studio area. The sole decorative elements are Eames shell chairs, an Ikea table, and a balsa-like children’s mobile received as a gift.

The egg-like living room doubles as the children’s bedroom after dark, thanks to mattresses stored in a custom banquette in the studio area. The sole decorative elements are Eames shell chairs, an Ikea table, and a balsa-like children’s mobile received as a gift.

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 6 of 8 - Much like traditional Japanese futon beds, the mattress hidden in the table folds out for a softer place to sleep. 

Much like traditional Japanese futon beds, the mattress hidden in the table folds out for a softer place to sleep. 

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 7 of 8 - The makers of the "world's finest travel trailer" partnered with Victorinox Swiss Army to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the beloved survival tool, the Swiss Army Knife. As befits the anniversary, only 125 of the 19-foot-long trailers were produced, making the Victorinox Special an instant collector's item.

The makers of the "world's finest travel trailer" partnered with Victorinox Swiss Army to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the beloved survival tool, the Swiss Army Knife. As befits the anniversary, only 125 of the 19-foot-long trailers were produced, making the Victorinox Special an instant collector's item.

8 Ways to Renovate an Airstream - Photo 8 of 8 - "I found the Airstream in the high desert of Anza, California, and thought it was a pure TLC job. Wishful thinking!" says interior designer Caroline Brandes, who also rents renovated Airstreams on her property in Big Sur through Big Sur Getaway. "Even though the interior looked decent, once back home in Big Sur I had discovered water leaks, extensive floor rot under the linoleum tiles, and even frame damage." She hired Area 63 Productions, a professional Airstream renovation company, to help. 

"I found the Airstream in the high desert of Anza, California, and thought it was a pure TLC job. Wishful thinking!" says interior designer Caroline Brandes, who also rents renovated Airstreams on her property in Big Sur through Big Sur Getaway. "Even though the interior looked decent, once back home in Big Sur I had discovered water leaks, extensive floor rot under the linoleum tiles, and even frame damage." She hired Area 63 Productions, a professional Airstream renovation company, to help.