Airstream Renovation: Weeks 14-17 - Building the Dinette, Installing Lithium Batteries, Lighting, & Cabinetry

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Updated March 01, 2022
2016 Christmas Longneckers

I am so excited to look back at the last few weeks and see what we have accomplished. As of our last update, we had just finished putting in the front endcap. Well, so much has happened since then. Let’s take a look!

We insulated and boxed in the wheel wells.

Jon And Jax Wheel Wells Jon And Jax Getting It Done

We put in a sweet dinette/bed structure. It’s 85% complete. We also added storage by adding this shelf/storage/backrest and I wish the picture could do it justice. If you’re around us, make sure you come in and just feel that shelf. It’s so slick! I finished it with dark walnut stain and some polycrylic and then a nice coat of paste wax. I’m super excited about that shelf! It’s the little things for me.


My dad has had to do lots of weird things on this project but this is probably my favorite so far.

Dad Getting In Storage Dad In Storage

When the dinette and storage lids were done, we were able to hook up batteries, converter, inverter and all that stuff that goes with it. This whole set up will require a post but for now, just know it was super complicated but it's now working and we couldn't be happier!

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Update: We have two deep dive posts on our electrical:

Dad Working On Wiring Batteries

We also put up our battery monitors temporarily so we can watch what happens with the solar panels and batteries. The men can’t quit staring at them. It’s actually really neat to see that we’re just using the sun to run our house. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Boys Looking At Solar Panel Display

We installed the ‘runway’ (that’s what we call it). It’s home to our lights and makes it much easier if we need to access any wires down the road. We finished installing the air conditioner cover, vent covers and all the LED lights.

Jon Wiring Lights Lights Wireed Jon Wiring Lights From The Good Side Lights On

What a difference that makes. We are now able turn our lights on whenever we need them and we are no longer running into wires when we’re walking inside. So nice!

We installed our speakers, too! We made custom speaker mounts out of our poplar and they are so slick! It’s these little touches that are making me so excited about this project. We have put SO MANY hours planning and working on this beast. It’s so exciting to see it start coming together.

Speaker Mounts Speakers Mounted
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We were able to clean out our storage unit! It’ll be so nice to not have that extra bill!

Empty Storage Unit

My dad came up with this cool clamp for the solar and antenna wires. He always thinks of the coolest things. Since these wires will be running behind our pantry, we didn’t want them hanging in the way hitting stuff so we put them in a neat row along the back wall and no there are NO WIRES TO RUN INTO! Wahoo!

Solar Wires Clamp

Just this week we have made and installed the lower portion of our pantry cabinet. Our Nova Kool fridge will be to the right of it and the wall to the side of the fridge. We have it installed and primed as of yesterday. We also made our first floor to ceiling wall. Luckily we only have 4 of these partitions because they are a bit complicated to figure out the curve of the wall.

Lower Pantry Built In Garage Pantry Installed

With this big wall in place we were able to build the bottom bed for one of our kids. (Only 3 more beds left to build!) We were all surprised at the amount of storage we created this week. We're able to keep our tools in the dinette storage and we still have all this pantry storage as well as the four big openings under the bed. 

Wall Clamped First Bed Built

When I primed the dinette and lower pantry cabinet, I went ahead and primed the plastic end cap that is in the bathroom. That thing was so dirty and grimy but now it looks brand new.

Bathroom Primed

We are thrilled with how everything is coming together. I know I've said it before but without my dad's help (and mom helping with the kids), we would never have been able to do this. He is teaching us so much. We went into this with hardly any knowledge of electrical wiring, solar, or general construction. Dad is helping us change that. It's the best feeling to be able to help build your own house. This experience has been life changing for Jonathan and I. We are so grateful for this time of learning.

I feel like we have accomplished so much these last few weeks. We are coming up on 4 months of this project. My guess of 2 months was way off but I am so happy with our progress.

We're closer than we were.

Next up, the kid's bunk beds!

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Ashley Longnecker

About the Author

Ashley Longnecker is the fiercely independent tattooed and dreaded half of Tiny Shiny Home. She's a woodworker, photographer and maker of delicious baked goods. She loathes schedules and makes every day an adventure.

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Posted December 31, 2016

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