Our Renovated Airstream Interior!

September 22, 2016 — 106 Comments

I’m sure you know the whole story by now, but if not, let me catch you up. In May, we bought a 20ft 1966 Airstream Globetrotter to renovate and have been working on it since. I quit my job back in June and my wife quit in early August so we could go full time to have it ready for a trip starting in September. You’ve probably seen some of the updates along the way, but let me do a full run down of where we stand today.

The good news – the interior of the Airstream is pretty much complete! It will be one of those projects that we can work on forever, but at least we have it to a final enough state to use. It’s been a hell of a project, and if you’re thinking about renovating an Airstream yourself, call me first!! It’s very challenging and requires a combination of mechanical, plumbing, electrical, cabinetry, painting, bug removal, window cleaning, polishing, carpentry, begging friends and relatives to help, and having some experts on call! But besides that, it was easy :).

The bad news – the exterior has a lot of work remaining. They estimate 8 hrs per each linear foot to complete the polishing, but I’m probably only 30 hrs in. I’ve completed most of the clean up, but I have a lot of buffing ahead of me. I’ll add a picture of the exterior on the bottom as I’m not as proud of it yet.

A huge thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us along the way… especially to my wife who deals with my crazy whims and supports my decisions; even if they’re sometimes bad! My parents and mother in law were hugely instrumental and helping us. Without their help (expertise, craftsmanship, sewing, organizing, setting up) we wouldn’t have made it. Also, a big thanks to my cousins Mike and Maggie who spent a couple of days with us and Jocelyn’s Uncle and Aunt who have supported us and allowed us to store stuff at their house again!

In an upcoming post, I’ll give some more details on our travel plans. We’re pretty much ready to start, but we’re working through our house decision (sale vs lease). The Dallas market is incredibly hot for leases, so we’ll probably go that direction. After we get that figured out, we’ll head to Kentucky to hang out with our niece/nephew and then move up to see other friends in the upper Midwest and on to the Northeast, hopefully to catch the leaves changing and meet up with more friends!

The pictures are pretty much in chronological order, but hopefully you can tell what’s old and what’s new :). Enjoy!

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106 responses to Our Renovated Airstream Interior!

  1. That is way cool Dan. I know it’s allot of work but it was worth it I’m sure.

  2. I have been thinking about doing the same thing to a school bus at some point. Happy travels.

    • We thought about tiny houses and school buses, but they’re just not as practical. It was nice having a camper that already had all of the plumbing and electrical systems designed for what we needed (even though we redid most of them)

  3. Great work Dan . Really cool and awesome idea was especially doing much more interested project work with your better half is so enzoyable. Enzoy your safe trip with family.

    • Thanks Simbu, it’s awesome that my wife and I (she is the much better half) have been able to accomplish this together. It’s been a lot of work, but we both get to be very proud of what we’ve done.

  4. Dan — Whew! Quite an undertaking and you still have the wanderlust. You’re young and now’s the time to turn your dream into a reality. On the road with the Meyers!

  5. Laurens van de Weg October 2, 2016 at 1:27 am

    I was checking linkedin and saw your message… From the Netherlands I wish you a great time!! Good decision! Enjoy and do the things you like while you still can!!

  6. Can show some view of the exterior too? Thanks

  7. Beautiful work Dan, I have always wanted to do this myself. I hope one day to follow in your footsteps. Couple of questions if you don’t mind sharing. Did you use any books for plans and tips, or did you use of any helpful online forums? Also, does your kitchen table double as your sleeping area, and if so could you share photos of what that looks like?

    • Hi Jason – I only recommend a total renovation if you’re a little bit crazy and have a ton of patience and persistence! I used Airstream forums (just google “Air Forums”) and watched videos on youtube. Also, Airstream classifieds is a great site to start pricing them out. Our couch folds out and makes the bed; the dining room table doesn’t make a full bed, but you can pull out one of the benches to make it longer. We want to eventually redesign it so it becomes a bed, but that’s phase 2. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  8. Very, Very Cool! Best wishes on your upcoming travels!

  9. I must say it is too Good. I wish you a good luck for your Journey. 🙂 May you have a great time ahead. 🙂

  10. Looks great! We have the Airstream “little brother” a 17ft Casita. We hope to do the travel adventure thing as well. Perhaps we will see you along the way.

  11. Wow! What a beautiful transformation!

  12. Wow.. you’re really an explorer. All the very best with you journey and touch those colorful and countless horizon. Look forward to your updates and pictures. Cheers.

  13. Very nice… excellent job!

  14. Great Job Done!!. All the Very Best for your Journey & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

  15. I think what your doing is amazing! I look forward to following you adventures!
    Tim

  16. Smart to do something like this to an Airstream in particular so there is some ROI involved! 😉 Walls. http://www.iTVset.com

  17. Enjoy your travels! I have checked out of the technology business and just doing some advisory work remotely. Wife and I travel for 5 months each year out of the country and don’t plan to look back

  18. That was indeed a great journey of making it and putted lot of effotel and support along with.. Great work done.

  19. Exciting transformation! Look forward to seeing your updates.

  20. Excellent, look forward to traveling with you.

  21. Dan,

    Congratulations on working towards your dreams! The fact that you have a wife who stands behind you and support you in this endeavor is fantastic and my hats off to her too!! I am excited for your adventure together and hope that you inspire others to follow their dreams!!

    • Thanks so much Mike, I’m very fortunate as you’ve said! It’s not like there wasn’t any push back from either side though… it’s a difficult decision to make and scary not knowing what kind of “life changing” it will be.

  22. Congrats. Living the dream. At least for a few months anyway…
    Did you do anything with the exterior?

  23. What an exciting adventure ahead you have, it must have taken courage, drive and determination to do so! Congratulations and SAFE Travels! You only live once, so live it to the fullest! 🙂

  24. It looks Amazing Dan…Nice work and awesome redesigned…God Bless you and hope you will safely enjoy your trip.
    Best of Luck…

  25. Hi Dan, It is really fascinating and inspiring.
    In the busy life every one is running and chasing their jobs to live and earn enough money.
    You and your wife is somewhat different. I really appreciate you both. Have a great trip and I will follow you on facebook.
    -Durgalla Rai

  26. Amazing!! I would love to follow you on this..Good luck for your adventure and have fun!

  27. Bravo..Great work and enjoy your road trip…!!!!

  28. Amazing work Dan, this is something everyone always have back of their mind but very few achieves their dreams. Somwtimes how hard it is to follow what you have been dreaming of. You guys have done such a great great job on Airstream, now time to hit the road of great journey of your life. Amazing pictures. I wish you luck guys, enjoy it to fullest.

  29. amazing…Its a very well done job!

  30. Charlene Gorman October 12, 2016 at 9:49 am

    So amazing! I love the décor. You did a great job! My husband and I are working on a full DIY shell off renovation of a 1976 Sovereign. Would love to know how you worked through the carpentry piece of this… built it yourself, hired a carpenter / customer cabinet maker or purchased off the shelf cabinets, etc.?

    I’ll be following your adventure for sure! Congrats on taking the leap!

    • OH wow, you’re braver than us! Our Airstream probably could’ve used a shell off renovation, but we didn’t have the time and wanted to get out on the road. I’ve been pretty heavily involved in two of our home renovations, but carpentry isn’t something I’m great at. We did all of the work ourselves, and I tried to use as much as the original stuff as I could. There were some pieces I had to replace, but I just used the old pieces as templates or did the best I could. It’s not perfect, but it’s working :). Let me know if you have any other questions.

  31. Are you planning to work while you travel, if not about how much did you estimate your expenses to be?

    • We have some small income coming in from the blog and we’re leasing our house. We hope to start building some more income along the way. I’ll start doing monthly expenses like I did when we traveled the world, but I’m estimating around $3k per month.

  32. Awesome, Congrats on the renovation and good luck on the trip!

  33. Dan,
    This is such an amazing and exciting time for you guys and I can’t wait to take this Journey with you from my house of course.You and your wife are living many of our dreams. Please let me know all about you as we travel . where you grew up and how you met your wife. Where did you guys meet, how long have you been married and are you a young couple just starting out. Will your jobs waiting for you when you get back and I could go on and on. This could end up being a TV Special in the making. Please be safe and don’t forget cards, wine and your pillows. I can’t wait to get going and when do we leave?
    PS , are we taking any pets

    • Haha, thanks Eileen for the comment :). Well, the most important character in the story is our dog, Lucy! My wife and I have been married for seven years… and we both quit our jobs to do this. We traveled the world in 2013, so we knew what we were getting into, but I had a job to come back to then :).

  34. Wow. That is fabulous what you have done. Enjoy exploring.

  35. Heather McDonald October 13, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Wow, what an adventure, best of luck from Canada!
    I will be following you & look forward to travelling through your eyes!
    Take care & safe travels!
    -Heather

  36. Dan, If you and Jocelyn make it through Western New York and want/need a place to park one night, my husband and I would love to see the Airstream in person, and share dinner with you. What a beautiful, bright home. Congratulations on all of your hard work – and safe travels on your mobile adventure!

  37. I love the daring and unknown in doing something like this…It’s extreme, but hey, why not…Lots of luck to the both of you and keep up with LinkedIn from time to time.

    Oh, by the way…..Great Job on the Airstream!

  38. Building your own thing is so much more precious than buying your own. I love the fact that you are capturing the whole process which inspires me and many out there to always create staff in life that is meaningful to us. Have an adventurous journey

  39. Saw your posting on LinkedIn. This looks great. You guys will have a ton of fun along the way. I did a 6 month trip across the US and Canada many many moons ago with a cargo mini-van as our vehicle and it was awesome being on the road and discovering the country one mile at a time. Do you have a specific route planned? Enjoy the journey – I am jealous 🙂

    • Christoph – that sounds amazing. We did some of the smaller vans in Australia and New Zealand and loved it. We’re starting in the NE, will work along the East coast, down South, Southwest, West and then up the coast to Alaska. We wanted to do Alaska first, but we got out too late in the season

    • Don’t try the same trip today!

  40. I’ve been working with an IT collegue who also owns a firm called Gekko-Trucks.de who build army-trucks into Safari Campers. Awesome to see one of his trucks in real live. http://www.gekkotruck.de/

  41. Does it get hot in the summer and cold in the winter? Any insulation?

    • Our walls are about 1.5″ thick, but it only has the original insulation as we didn’t take the interior walls off. Where we’re staying tonight is below freezing, so the walls are pretty cold, but it does a good job of keeping the heat in from our heater.

  42. Oh boy! This is huge work… Glad that you are doing what you like. Wish a happy journey.

  43. Hello – I read your post – love your Airstream and what you have done inside. Would love to do the travelling but not the renovation – I wonder if there is a company that does that to spec? Look forward to reading your blog as we want to do the same sort of things.

    • Thanks for leaving the comment, Claire! The renovation was a pain, so I don’t blame you for wanting to get it done… but it will cost you! The most famous Airstream renovator is Hoffmann Architecture out of Santa Barbara. You can also find quite a few that have been renovated through sites like Airstream Classifieds. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  44. Amazing journey guys. Wish you a safe and exciting journey ahead. Add me on facebook so i could follow u. Vicknesh gunabalan

  45. Dan, congratulations and wish you the best as you embark on the journey of self discovery. Your life has just began and you will enjoy much more than you ever imagined through this journey of pain and pleasure. Even through this sharing you will know yourself well and I believe by the end of the journey you will have found your purpose.

  46. Nice job! I once did something similar with a 27ft Airstream. Emptied it out completely, other than the bathroom. Pulled up the carpeting and replaced it with tile. Used it to move from Florida to northern Wisconsin in the middle of January, an interesting experience.

  47. Congratulations and safe travels. Did a similar trip in a 15 year old 24 ft Pace Arrow class A motor home (skipped the renovation part!) in 1981. 88 days, 11,000 miles and most of the states. Great journey with lots of stories. Enjoy yours.

  48. Wow….it might have so much fun doing it with your loved one and tiring too 🙂 but want to do a travel like that one day…Happy and safe journey and following you for the pics and amazing stories you would have while the travel ..

  49. Hi Dan, came across a post on LinkedIn with your story. Congratulation to you and your wife’s decision to take to the road. So many of us have not had the opportunity to travel this great country the way it is meant to be seen! I wish you and your wife safe travels.

  50. Hi Dan, What a wonderful life decision! Happy travels!

  51. It’s absolutely great to see you follow your dreams and doing what you enjoy. These days all I see on LinkedIn is about how to be more successful professionally. It’s nice to take a break once in a while and enjoy life otherwise it will pass you by.

  52. Wow , Am so envious of your decision to embark on new chapter and creating your dream space for you and your wife.
    Cant wait for pictures and the adventures…
    Wishing you all the Good luck & fun adventures of your travels.

    Warmly
    Natalya

  53. Olokunde Lekan Akande October 17, 2016 at 5:04 am

    @Dan Meyer, Please, love meeting you when you past through Nigeria. Hopefully so.

  54. Congratulations on your new adventure! My best wishes to you both, and be safe!

    – Mahgoub

  55. Wow. I love that transformation. A perfect metaphor for your next adventure. Enjoy your travels!

  56. Hi Dan – This is Ravi from India – U inspired me a lot. Have a great adventurous trip ahead.

  57. that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing. we used to have a travel trailer and a 5th wheel and I always wondered what it’d be like to overhaul an airstream since they are way to expensive brand new! good for you and your wife@! Have fun!

  58. You are my hero.

  59. Wow! Beautiful work! Saw this today on LinkedIn. May you have a safe and amazing journey. Looks like it might be a little tight, hope you keep your sense of humor and a camera ready.

  60. Can we see a photo of the exterior?

  61. Thanks for sharing your experience. My wife and I are contemplating something similar. She found this website https://harvesthosts.com/. It would provide some interesting experiences while giving you a location for a night’s stop. Good luck to you and safe travels!

  62. Good Job, Dan. Our friend “Vicki of Vermont” directed me to your site this morning. My wife and I stepped into a brand-new Airstream in a dealer showroom a couple of years ago, very nice, and it should have been for a hundred thousand. I’m assuming your restoration will include bearing and axle work, and new tires, right? We had a major blow-out on a rear tire with our 30′ class A motorhome earlier this year, “Good Sam” came out and put on the spare, which was one of the original tires from back-when, it lasted all of one hundred miles before blowing. I’d highly recommend the “Tire Minder” system, so you know what’s going on back there as you merrily tow your prize restoration down the road. Enjoy!

  63. What a nice thing to do – inspirational – I’m sure you guys will have an awesome trip. Will follow you on FB.
    Khaled Sadek from Egypt 🙂

  64. Dan…this is such an amazing project and the outcome is beautiful. You remind me of a couple that would do the same as you and your wife……I posted this on my facebook page. Thanks for sharing..!!

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