One Year Ago!

Celebrating one year in our Airstream

Today marks one year! 

One year ago we pulled this renovated Airstream out of my parents driveway and headed south. After 195 days of blood, sweat and lots of tears, we were finally on our way. What I thought would be a quick renovation (2-3 months) turned into 6 months and 2 weeks. Things like this always take longer than you think they will. There are so many unknown factors when you begin an Airstream remodel. 

Airstream Before Demo

Until you've pulled everything out and examined every detail you really have no idea what kind of condition it's in. Luckily, for us, ours was in really good shape for being 45 years old.

Before Airstream Demo Dinette Area

Many people don’t have a clue about how much work goes into doing a project like this. Yes, the actual manual labor is long and can be frustrating. 

Dad working in old Airstream Bathroom

You'll feel like you'll never get it done. 

Ashley after demo

But what people may not realize is how much mental work goes into a project like this. How many countless hours researching, measuring, researching, sketching, researching…. 

taking walls down in Airstream

As I’m looking back at how it all happened, I can’t help but see how perfectly everything worked out for us. We had spent the summer in Oregon at a work-camping job and while we were there, our work slowed down a lot. It was perfect timing that we lined up this job and didn’t have to pay for a campsite, laundry and water and electric during our 4 months at this job. What a huge, unexpected blessing that was!

replacing tires on airstream

We knew we wanted to sell the 5th wheel and we listed it not long after we arrived in Oregon. It was a stressful 4 months as we looked tirelessly for an Airstream made around 2005-2010. We actually drove to Washington one weekend to look at a 27' that we thought we could buy and just add bunks. Once we arrived it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like ours. Plus we hadn’t sold the 5th wheel at the time so we didn’t have any cash to make the purchase and it turns out our bank won’t do loans when you have no assets like a physical house. Actually, they won't do loans on RV's period unless they're fairly new.

Airstream Solar Install

We left a little discouraged, but we knew it would all work out. I remember entering into our last month at the campground job. We had even made a walk-thru video of the 5th wheel and gotten a bunch of views, but no bites yet. We thought, if it doesn’t sell…we’ll just figure something else out.

Airstream Lights

Then I got an email. Someone wanted to come see it. Long story short, we sold it and within a few days we found this Airstream listed in Texas! We called immediately and spoke with the owner. Told him we were very interested and were able to put a deposit down until we could drive there to look at it in person. He said that someone else was coming to look at it and they were also very interested. We waited to hear back and the other couple who looked at it never came so we put our deposit down and made plans.

Dad in Dinette

We were able to leave our work-camping job 2 weeks early (I still feel bad about that) and make the drive to Dallas/Fort Worth in the 5th wheel. We booked 2 campsites by each other so that we could park the 5th wheel and go pick up the Airstream. We made the transition quickly by just shoving everything we own from the 5th wheel into the Airstream. It was PACKED which means we had no place to sleep that night before we were leaving Texas. We actually ended up sleeping in our 5th wheel in the bunk room while the new owners were in our old room. 

The next morning we headed out to Indiana with the Airstream in tow. What an adventure!

Dad on Airstream Bunks

Work was so slow for us, it got a little scary at times but looking back I can’t believe how incredibly orchestrated it all was. Jonathan was able to spend so much time on the renovation and researching and planning. Had he been working full-time it would have just been me and my dad and it would have taken so much longer. While money was tight and we surpassed our budget, it all worked out.

Dad and Jon working on electric

Jonathan’s work picked up right as we were heading out of Indiana and we were able to pay off that little bit of credit card debt very quickly. 

working on furnace

All this to say, we are so thankful. Thankful for my parents willingness to take on this project. For allowing us to invade their space, for teaching us so much along the way. My mom was there behind the scenes the whole time, too.

mom with grandkids

Making meals, helping with the kids, even helping us with sewing. She did so much for us during those 6 months.

mom reading with kids

I have very few pictures of all she did for us because I was outside woking on the Airstream, but her part in this was instrumental. We couldn't have done it without them.

Dad and Fred Working on Cabinets

They gave us their time, their expertise, even their extra bedrooms. But most importantly, they gave us our freedom. We couldn’t have done this without their love and support and dad’s knowledge of literally everything.

Airstream Flooring

 There is no way to repay them for giving us this gift. So all we can do is say THANK YOU!

Saying goodbye

Who knew that a 46 year old trailer could be so very special to us.

1972 Airstream Remodeled

I can’t help but get emotional as I look around at the perfectly crafted cabinets or the meticulously riveted end cap.

Airstream Dinette

 My dad is a perfectionist and this home is built like a tank. But it’s our tank, and we’re HOME!

Airstream at Sunset in Las Cruces

Thank you, Dad and Mom!

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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 March 16, 2018


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