Airstream is one of the most iconic brands in America. The silver bullets are recognizable icons. Just as popular as the brand itself is restoring or renovating vintage models.
There’s something about putting your own touches on an iconic symbol of American innovation.
Let’s take a look at the five best vintage airstream renovations, and perhaps you’ll get some ideas for your own dream Airstream.
What Is a Vintage Airstream?
An Airstream is vintage if it was made in the ‘50s, ‘60s, or ‘70s. As we get farther into the 2020s, we may see the ‘80s creep into vintage contention.
These models are cheaper than newer models but still expensive when compared to other used RVs.
However, as models manufactured before the 1970s are getting more scarce, the price of a vintage Airstream will increase.
The 5 Best Vintage Airstream Renovations
Owning an Airstream is one thing. Renovating a vintage Airstream is very different. The time, effort, and money put into an Airstream renovation can mount up, depending on how complete you want the renovation to be.
Let’s look at the five best vintage Airstream renovations. Maybe they’ll inspire you to complete your own!
‘Mae’ the 1978 Airstream Argosy
This 1978 Airstream Argosy is 30 ft long and features a California king bed surrounded by large windows. There’s storage under the bed, and it lifts to provide access to the freshwater tank.
Zack and Colleen Cashio, the renovators, kept the original oven to maintain a vintage feel. They installed a Dometic three-way refrigerator underneath a large countertop with shelving above on the adjacent walls. Two large floor-to-ceiling cabinets complete the kitchen space.
Along the entire side entry wall is a countertop for workspace, eating, playing games, etc. Innovate stools swing out on arms made from piping. A cushion for lounging rounds out the living space. The white paint combined with the olive green cabinetry creates a clean, modern yet vintage feel throughout the Airstream.
A curtain divides the bathroom from the living space. The bathroom features a large closet, shower, sink, toilet, and lots of storage space. A long countertop space also provides additional space for getting ready in the mornings. And a deep black backsplash adds a new color to this room.
The Ultimate Live and Work Mobile Space in an Airstream Bambi II
Built in 1964-65, the Kugelschiff (German for bullet ship) is an 80-sq-ft Airstream Bambi II. One of the biggest needs in renovating this vintage Airstream was creating a workspace. The owners worked from home and traveled between projects.
The interior features a full-length workspace along the rear wall with side bench seating for added lounging and entertaining space. The sleek, white desktop matches the two additional countertops in the kitchen space.
The workspace is super functional. You can lower the piston legs to create a bed frame with the adjacent bench seating. When the kitchen isn’t in use, you can cover the sink, and the refrigerator is already concealed under the counter. Visually, this creates a clean, decluttered space in the center of the Airstream.
On the other end of the Airstream is the entertaining and meeting space. Bench seating surrounds a Tulip table, providing ample space to hold meetings for work or entertain guests. White ash cabinetry and flooring combined with the white-painted aluminum wall panels create a clean, modern look. The glossy finish makes light bounce off the curved surfaces to create clean lines and a clutter-free lifestyle. This renovation is ideal for single travelers or couples who need to work while on the road.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have an Airstream of your own to adventure in, check out Airstreams Virtual Tour of Yellowstone National Park.
‘Roberta’ the 1973 Airstream Ambassador
In 1973, Roberta Flack’s hit song “Killing Me Softly” debuted. In that same year, Roberta — an Airstream Ambassador — was born. This 29-ft vintage Airstream features high-end mahogany wood finishes combined with stainless steel.
A beautiful mahogany wood plank L-shaped countertop is great for food prep. On the other side of the Airstream, there’s another 13.5 feet of countertop. Instead of installing the typical rectangular sink in the kitchen, the renovators chose a round stainless steel sink.
Other features of this vintage Airstream include white satin cabinets, a porcelain toilet, a full-size shower, and weather-resistant, durable flooring. A daybed along the front end of the Airstream has pull-out storage to provide additional seating and a table for dining and entertaining.
On the other end, a beautiful sliding glass door opens into the bathroom. Right before the bathroom is the sleeping area, featuring a headboard with shelves.
Additional cabinetry across from the bed provides even more storage. The Roberta is a work of art showcasing the iconic silver bullet outside with a modern interior design.
The Modern Caravan’s 1957 Airstream
Kate and Ellen of The Modern Caravan bought a 1957 Airstream to renovate for a Texas couple. They had to rebuild the electrical system, add solar power, install new insulation and windows, and add conveniences like USB outlets.
The owners wanted a practical space for their family, which included two dogs. So Kate and Ellen kept an open floor space for the dogs and guests.
Along the front of the Airstream is an L-shaped blush couch with a coffee table and area rug. The kitchen features custom walnut cabinetry, soft-close drawers, a Dometic range, and an Isotherm fridge and freezer. The fridge and freezer run off of AC and DC power.
Although the owners wanted a king-size bed, it wouldn’t fit, so Kate and Ellen had one custom-made. A pocket door gives extra privacy.
A floor-to-ceiling wardrobe provides ample storage for clothing with additional storage under the bed and in the nightstands.
In the bathroom, Kate and Ellen installed a detachable showerhead to make dog-washing easier and included a composting toilet. They put the same deep sink that’s in the kitchen in the bathroom and accentuated the space with walnut and marble.
‘Mavis’ the 1975 Airstream Overlander
This 27-ft 1975 Airstream Overlander was partially renovated in 2017. The Mavis 1.0 features two dedicated workspaces. Along the back wall are a desk and chair and an entertainment center with ample storage space. A couch with underneath storage sits on the opposite wall.
This part of the Airstream is separated from the kitchen and bedroom by a curtain, and wooden doors separate it from the rear bathroom.
A full bed sits at the front of the Airstream. Another dedicated workspace is beside the bed, and additional storage is underneath the bed.
A rope valence hangs over the bedroom space, creating a homey feel.
Beautiful wood floors extend through the Mavis 1.0 and combine well with the white paint and cabinetry. The kitchen area has a vintage overhead storage compartment and a modern countertop. In the rear, a rustic farmhouse look completes the bathroom.
This renovation isn’t meant for full-time living unless you’re willing to sacrifice some conveniences of home. It only comes with a portable cooktop, sink, and refrigerator — no oven, microwave, or freezer. But for singles or couples taking a few adventures a year, this renovated Airstream is a perfect combination of old and new.
How Much Does It Cost to Renovate an Old Airstream?
The price of a vintage Airstream will vary from model to model, year to year, and length to length. You might find one for $35,000 and another for $45,000. You’ll still be paying a hefty price upfront before renovations even begin. Also, consider how much labor you’ll do yourself. If you’re a DIYer with experience and skills, you’ll save more money than someone who has never done any renovation work. If you aren’t comfortable with your DIY skills, you’ll have to hire workers, which will be more expensive.
Depending on the complexity and how much labor you do yourself, a vintage Airstream renovation could cost $10,000. Or you could spend $100,000 if you hire someone and go all out with the renovation. It’s a huge range in price because of materials, as well.
Pro Tip: If you’re considering investing in an Airstream, you might be wondering Are Airstreams Worth The Price? Let’s find out!
Is Renovating an Airstream Worth It?
If you’re considering renovating a vintage Airstream and have the money to do it, you’re going to love the finished product. Airstreams maintain their value at a much higher rate than other RVs. So you’ll get back at least some of the money you put into it when it comes time to sell.
Do you already have a vintage Airstream you’re considering renovating? Did these five examples inspire you? Drop a comment below!
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