• Janessa

Airstream Renovation: The Beginning

Details, Budget, Timeline, Blueprints, and Plans

So, we bought an Airstream! Well, my husband did! It was actually my 2018 Christmas present and boy was I thrilled! Running out of the house with bare feet, jumping up and down with joy! Owning an Airstream has been a dream of mine for years. It's the perfect accompaniment to my gypsy soul; happiest on the road than any stagnant location. Of course, I'd honestly be happy with any RV but the vintage timeless style of the Airstream really appeals to me. I mean, they're gorgeous!

We are excited to haul the Airstream on our long drives (with kids) and family road trips. It's definitely gonna kick camping up a notch! Along with planning to use the Airstream for week-long family vacations, we primarily want the Airstream to be our weekend escape vehicle. Exploring family-friendly destinations around the Southeast USA: campgrounds, state parks, beaches, natural springs, here we come!

But first, we have some work to do...follow along on the blog and YouTube channel to keep up with our renovation progress. We don't have much to show now because this is the beginning, the calm before the storm! We've taken out all the old furniture, we've disassembled and removed the original bed, removed the window shades, and taken apart the bar in the kitchen. Here are the details and our renovation plans below.

Pictured below, left to right: (1) interior view of our 1974 Airstream with newer wood floors, this will be the living room (2) the kitchen of the Airstream, the view from sink (3) interior view of the Airstream, looking toward the back


Our 1974 31 foot Airstream Sovereign, ready for renovations

The Details

1974 31' Airstream Sovereign

Rear Bathroom Model

Good Condition

PAID: $4,000

Towing: Chevy Silverado 3500

Our Budget

Can I just start laughing now?! So, our budget is minimal, as in we really don't have excess money for this project. We bought the Airstream in very good condition so we're hoping (fingers crossed) to not run into too many large expenses. Also, we are ready to DIY and get our hands dirty! My hubby and I (mostly Matt) and hopefully my dad will be completing all projects so we won't have to pay for labor. And, we're are all about buying second-hand items and finding great deals! Our hope is that we can keep the entire renovation under $5,000-$7,000.


6 months! We want our Airstream completed by December's end 2019. We'll be working only on the weekends, on holidays, and spare time.


The Blueprint(s)

Layout Plan #1

1. convert back bathroom to king bed area

2. extend kitchen

3. take out closets and convert to full bath

Our first layout was a total rehaul, tearing down all the walls and re-configuring the Airstream's original layout, moving the rear bathroom to the right side and creating a full bedroom and full size kitchen

Stage 1 Blueprints and layout for Airstream renovation

Layout Plan #2

1. Keep rear bathroom, just remodel & add shower

2. keep original closets

3. convert full bed into smaller day bed next to kitchen

4. create and extend countertops next to refrigerator

5. make wrap around couch with day to night bed feature

Our second layout is scaled way back. We had to do a lot of thinking about how we were going to use the Airstream. We decided that our purpose of Nellie (our Airstream) was to create a comfortable glamping experience NOT a tiny house on wheels. So, we are going to keep the original rear bathroom layout and create a day-to-night wrap around couch that converts to a king bed for sleeping.

Stage 2 Blueprint and layout for Airstream renovation


Before Video: Meet "Nellie" the Airstream

Our Plans for Airstream Renovation

1. Dream & Scheme

2. Check Rear Subfloor (and complete Airstream Inspection Assessment)

- inspection assessment is available at AirForums.com

3. Gut Kitchen

4. Clean & Paint Interior Skins

5. Fix AC Unit

6. Plumbing and Electrical

7. Bathroom Reno

8. Build Furniture & Cabinetry

-day bed

-day to night wrap-around couch/bed

-kitchen cabinet frames

9. Customize & Accessorize

10. ENJOY!


So, what do you think? Are we crazy? Have you ever done a renovation and want to share some advice? Know where we can find wholesale appliances and home goods? All positive tips appreciated. Share below!

Look for a blog post coming up soon of the Airstreams on the road which are inspiring our reno! For now, follow my Airstream Renovation Pinterest board for dreamy drool-worthy completed projects.

As always,

Many Blessings and Happy Travels,


We're the Martin family and we're in love with family road trips and family travel! We're currently renovating a 1974 Airstream Sovereign so we can continue our family road trippin' adventures across North America! We're hoping to inspire others to pack up and head out on the road! 


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Enjoying the Airstream renovation and travel tips? Want  to buy us a cup of coffee, a tank of gas, or supplies for the renovation...three of our favorite things! We'd be deeply grateful for your support.