I am so excited!!! We are actually putting more things into the airstream than we are tearing out of it! We had every intention of keeping the project as simple as possible, but once we got working, we realized that we really needed to rip more stuff out. We are breaking that habit. We have designated April as "Airstream awareness month." Due to a late March snow storm (11 inches!), Michael got held up at one of his retreats, so our spring break got a late start. On Monday he came home and we still had some homework to finish up. By Tuesday night, we were on site and hoping the snow would be mostly melted by morning. Actually, Michael was so excited about the new LED lights, that he started installing them right away, even though it was close to bedtime.
Feeling the time crunch, it would make sense to start with the essentials. We started the first day installing a new stereo and tinting the windows. It was still kind of swampy out and those were indoor jobs. I did sneak to the garage to paint the final coat on the cabinet doors. Michael finished wiring the lights.
The next day, we started bringing in the counter tops. They looked really sharp and we had to show them off to several family members. Only time will tell how well the stainless steel paint will hold up. Once we started installing the cabinet fronts it started to look like a place to live!
Since we have started this project, there have been a few panic moments. We have a fair amount of remodeling experience, but on the whole, we don't really know what we are doing. Luckily there is a large online community of Airstream renovators who post their stories, pictures, and videos so we can learn as we go. Our most recent panic occurred when installing the LED lights. One fixture had been missing when we purchased the Airstream. The switch was gone as well. When Michael installed a light there, it blew the fuse. This was not too concerning, but he knew that he would spend a major part of the day hunting down the trouble spot that was shorting it out. He sent me to get a handful of fuses for the test runs.
By the time that I got back from the store, he had the light working. He approached me to tell me about some mysterious wires, though. While looking under the Airstream, he noticed 2 large wires that were disconnected, but with wire nuts, dangling from near the tires. He assumed that they were from the brakes or a rigged brake repair. Brakes are a priority and we would have to have them professionally done. However, we have towed the Airstream almost a thousand miles already and we had no issues. Things just did not make sense. We worried, talked about it, and ultimately planned to check the forums at the end of the night and then schedule an appointment at an RV shop in St. Louis for Easter Monday. This may mean losing over a full week of work time for us. At the end of the night, we looked online and found that for 3 model years, the factory ran wires for a flat tire detection system and a refrigerator cut off switch. Our trailer was manufactured within those years. Those unused wires come from right near the fridge and tires. We slept a little easier that night.
We finally started working on the major systems. We have fewer pictures of these because they are not pretty and they required some creative thinking. Our first order of business was to hook up the toilet and test the water systems. The only trouble was that we had misplaced the toilet flange and there was no RV supply store in town. First, I searched every place we could think of for the flange. Then, after driving to 4 different stores, I was able to find a mobile home parts store that had what I needed. Upon testing, we realized the tile had added height and the threads did not reach each other. I returned the flange to the same place and the desk lady was nice enough to help me find a solution. She found a piece of 3" threaded pipe that we could cut to length and then use a slip flange on top. Success.
Next challenge. We took out a cabinet that had a nice, round vent for the heat. However the remaining kitchen sink cabinet showed had a jagged hole hacked through it. Michael had picked out a nice, square vent. Cutting the wood to size was easy enough, but now we had to adapt the 3" round tube to fit the 8" square. Well, it so happened that the mobile home parts store was also a heating and A/C repair place (got to love small towns). The same nice lady who helped with the plumbing had the shop fabricate a sheet metal box to fit the vent. Done.
Michael's dad came by and they started working on the galley dinette. They finished up the benches and I spent my two remaining days painting. They also got a "plan" for the beds in the rear bedroom and made a few first cuts. From there it was off to Easter dinners and egg hunts. The kids had school on Monday, but Michael stayed around to keep working.