Budget Breakdown: A 1972 Airstream Sovereign Is Transformed Into a Family Home For $23K
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Budget Breakdown: A 1972 Airstream Sovereign Is Transformed Into a Family Home For $23K

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Arkansas couple Colleen and Zach Cashio spent two years overhauling a 1972 Airstream Sovereign—where they now live with their sons, Ezra and Harvey, and their Australian Shepherd Luna.

Before embarking on their DIY renovation, the Cashios knew that the Airstream would become their full-time home—so it would have to be practical and family friendly. For $23,000, they transformed the tired-looking camper into a home with room for the boys to play with their toys, a bedroom that's separate from the living area, and a large kitchen that fits an apartment-sized fridge, a 24-inch oven, a 24-inch cooktop, and a microwave. 

$3,000
Trailer
$1,400
Flooring
$1,100
Electrical
$700
Plumbing
$1,900
Air Conditioner & Fans
$2,500
Lumber
$1,600
Tile
$700
Bed Decor
$500
Lighting
$1,000
Toilet
$1,500
Axles & Water Tanks
$1,500
Insulation
$1,000
Rivets & Sealant
$700
Trailer Parts & Accessories
$1,800
Appliances
$600
Couch Cushions
$1,500
Miscellaneous Extras

Grand Total: $23,000

The Cashios relocated the rear bathroom to the middle of the space, and installed electrical appliances instead of gas appliances. "In most RVs, the cooktop, oven, fridge, and furnace all have the option of using propane. The reason we chose electric was for peace of mind and safety. We did not feel comfortable having propane appliances with the kids. Even with having a 50 amp plug and using a microwave, we never had any issues with running multiple appliances simultaneously," says Colleen. 

The exterior of the Cashio's Airstream Sovereign.

The exterior of the Cashio's Airstream Sovereign.

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Before: The Entryway

Before: The entryway was in need of a major revamp.

Before: The entryway was in need of a major revamp.

Before: The space that would eventually become the kitchen and living area.

Before: The space that would eventually become the kitchen and living area.

After: The Entryway

After: The Cashios installed bench seating with shelves below.

After: The Cashios installed bench seating with shelves below.

After: A spot for the kids to play.

After: A spot for the kids to play.

The Cashios ditched the Airstream's worn-out aluminum interior walls for 1/8-inch plywood walls. They custom made all the furniture, and they built the cabinetry using half-inch birch plywood.

Before: The Kitchen

Before: The Cashios decided to relocate the bathroom to the middle of the trailer.

Before: The Cashios decided to relocate the bathroom to the middle of the trailer.

Before: The completely redesigned interior features new cork floors.

Before: The completely redesigned interior features new cork floors.

Before: A full-sized oven fits into the kitchen cabinetry.

Before: A full-sized oven fits into the kitchen cabinetry.

After: The Kitchen

After: The countertops are made from three-quarter-inch oak plywood stained "Weathered Oak" and coated with polycrylic.

After: The countertops are made from three-quarter-inch oak plywood stained "Weathered Oak" and coated with polycrylic.

After: The kitchen sink is from The Home Depot.

After: The kitchen sink is from The Home Depot.

Shop the Look
After: The oven and cooktop are both from Magic Chef.

After: The oven and cooktop are both from Magic Chef.

The Cashios tiled the shower and the kitchen backsplash, and they installed new, child-safe cork floors. 

Before: The Bedroom

Before: The old bedroom was dark, and a bathroom took up space at the rear of the trailer.

Before: The old bedroom was dark, and a bathroom took up space at the rear of the trailer.

After: The Bedroom

After: The décor is a mix of items from Hobby Lobby, Target, and things that the Cashios already owned.

After: The décor is a mix of items from Hobby Lobby, Target, and things that the Cashios already owned.

After: Storage spaces under the bed keep clutter out of sight.

After: Storage spaces under the bed keep clutter out of sight.

The most challenging part of the project was an eight-month period during the renovation when the shell of the Airstream sat untouched away from the frame because the couple started to run low on funds.

"This was not only nerve-wracking but also very disappointing. We had to put our dreams on hold. But eventually it all worked out. Another challenging aspect is just renovating an Airstream in general. Airstreams are not like anything else. They are very unique and this was our first time doing this. They are time-consuming, but what renovation isn’t, right?" says Zach. 

After: The Bathroom

After: The bathroom and kitchen backsplash feature Merola white matte penny tiles purchased from The Home Depot. 

After: The bathroom and kitchen backsplash feature Merola white matte penny tiles purchased from The Home Depot. 

Project Credits:

Interior Design: Zach and Colleen Cashio / @steadystreamincashios

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