Before & After: Bold Wallpaper Brings Dreamy Vibes to a Dated Airstream

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By Lucy Wang
Beautifully executed finishes and varied textures turn a tired 1960s Airstream into a vibrant home.

When Bonnie Christine and her husband, David, decided to take their two young kids on a long cross-country road trip, they began hunting for a pre-owned Airstream they could renovate and make their own.

Having spent nearly a decade casually leafing through the classifieds for a trailer, the couple developed a keen eye that quickly led them to the perfect purchase—a 1962 Airstream Overlander for $18,000.

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The family of four recently completed their 8,000-mile, one-month road trip. Starting from their home in North Carolina, they visited Colorado, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Oregon, California and Arizona.

The family of four recently completed their 8,000-mile, one-month road trip. Starting from their home in North Carolina, they visited Colorado, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Oregon, California and Arizona.

"We weren’t quite up for a full renovation," explains Bonnie of why she and David were drawn to the 150-square-foot trailer. "The previous owner had down a complete shell-off restoration, so we knew it had great bones. She was the perfect blank slate!"

She adds, "We scooped her up, and while looking through the original paperwork, found that a 'Miss Marjorie' was the original owner and had bought her in 1962. So in honor of her beginnings, we decided to name her Marjorie."

Before:

Before: Despite the 1962 Airstream's initial appearance, Bonnie saw great potential in the 26-foot-long trailer.

Before: Despite the 1962 Airstream's initial appearance, Bonnie saw great potential in the 26-foot-long trailer.

Before: A look at the original state of the trailer towards the rear bathroom. Bonnie notes, "I believe that the 26' Airstream is the shortest camper that comes with a full bathroom, and it's possibly my favorite part! Aside from being incredibly functional and helpful, I love that it's in the back of the camper (many are in the middle, now)."

Before: A look at the original state of the trailer towards the rear bathroom. Bonnie notes, "I believe that the 26' Airstream is the shortest camper that comes with a full bathroom, and it's possibly my favorite part! Aside from being incredibly functional and helpful, I love that it's in the back of the camper (many are in the middle, now)."

As an artist and surface pattern designer, Bonnie was in her element crafting Marjorie into a chic, dreamy home.

When Bonnie and David purchased the Airstream, the previous owner had already added new axles, updated plumbing and electrical, and new cabinetry.

When Bonnie and David purchased the Airstream, the previous owner had already added new axles, updated plumbing and electrical, and new cabinetry.

After:

Sliding walls wallpapered with Pimpernell by William Morris separate the bathroom from the lounge/sleeping space.

Sliding walls wallpapered with Pimpernell by William Morris separate the bathroom from the lounge/sleeping space.

From the reupholstered green velvet couch to variated penny tile, the diverse finishes and textures breathe new life and charm into the Airstream. Yet perhaps the most stunning addition of all is the William Morris "Pimpernell" wallpaper.

"As a surface pattern designer, I wanted to give a nod to the father of surface design himself by using a William Morris wallpaper," Bonnie says. "I find it endlessly inspiring! It was the first thing I decided to use in the design, and what the rest of the design decisions were based from."

The upholstery fabric is Gentle Dream Cargo by Robert Allen. All the lights in the Airstream have been custom made by Worley's Lighting.

The upholstery fabric is Gentle Dream Cargo by Robert Allen. All the lights in the Airstream have been custom made by Worley's Lighting.

"There are two potential places to sleep in Marjorie, one is where the table is, but our favorite is where the two sofas are," says Bonnie. "I installed a small ledge right beneath the cushion and had a piece of wood cut to match its size. It lives underneath one of the cushions and at night, we slide it out to make a bed. The back cushions fit side by side on top of the wood to make it a complete king-size bed!"

"There are two potential places to sleep in Marjorie, one is where the table is, but our favorite is where the two sofas are," says Bonnie. "I installed a small ledge right beneath the cushion and had a piece of wood cut to match its size. It lives underneath one of the cushions and at night, we slide it out to make a bed. The back cushions fit side by side on top of the wood to make it a complete king-size bed!"

The couple spent a total of four months working on Airstream and finished the morning before they took off for their month-long, 8,000-mile cross-country road trip with their two kids, Bear (4) and Ollie (2).

The dining space is located at the front of the trailer. The chevron flooring is Oak Fortress Rochesta by Kaindl and the upholstery is by Joybird.

The dining space is located at the front of the trailer. The chevron flooring is Oak Fortress Rochesta by Kaindl and the upholstery is by Joybird.

The table in the dining area folds down to make a bed; however, Bonnie says that the family actually prefers to sleep together in the convertible sofa area.

The table in the dining area folds down to make a bed; however, Bonnie says that the family actually prefers to sleep together in the convertible sofa area.

Having returned from a successful adventure out west, Marjorie is now parked at Bonnie and David’s house in North Carolina. 

"She lives at our house and serves as an excellent additional office space for my husband and I when we need a quiet moment," Bonnie explains. "We've also got several trips planned over the next year. We can't wait to do more traveling!" 

Finishing the kitchen cabinets was Bonnie's biggest challenge. "I initially stained the cabinets a deep walnut color but when my plan for quartz countertops fell through I decided to use real walnut for the countertops instead. I deconstructed the cabinets (again) and began the process of sanding and painting over the stain. It was tedious, but I'm so glad I did it." The cabinets are painted Light Blue by Farrow and Ball and fitted with Emtek hardware.

Finishing the kitchen cabinets was Bonnie's biggest challenge. "I initially stained the cabinets a deep walnut color but when my plan for quartz countertops fell through I decided to use real walnut for the countertops instead. I deconstructed the cabinets (again) and began the process of sanding and painting over the stain. It was tedious, but I'm so glad I did it." The cabinets are painted Light Blue by Farrow and Ball and fitted with Emtek hardware.

The Dometic Range oven has three burners and a glass lid for extra counter space. The walnut countertops were locally made by Adam Garret Designs.

The Dometic Range oven has three burners and a glass lid for extra counter space. The walnut countertops were locally made by Adam Garret Designs.

"The tiny backsplash is perhaps my favorite addition," says Bonnie of the kitchen remodel. "I think I did more research on flexible grout than I have on anything before. We ended up using Tec AccuColor Unsanded Grout mixed with Tec Acrylic Grout Additive for increase flexibility, and so far so great." The backsplash is Salt Wood Chip by Mudtile.

"The tiny backsplash is perhaps my favorite addition," says Bonnie of the kitchen remodel. "I think I did more research on flexible grout than I have on anything before. We ended up using Tec AccuColor Unsanded Grout mixed with Tec Acrylic Grout Additive for increase flexibility, and so far so great." The backsplash is Salt Wood Chip by Mudtile.

The shower is lined with penny tiles (The Lounge - Lyric Wafer Penny Tiles) with dark grout. The shower also features a Delta Adjustable Hand Shower.

The shower is lined with penny tiles (The Lounge - Lyric Wafer Penny Tiles) with dark grout. The shower also features a Delta Adjustable Hand Shower.

See more of Bonnie Christine's designs, including her art prints for sale, on her website.

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