A Small Town Airstream “Renovation Adventure”

We’ve all seen them. The big silver 70’s Delorean of the camper world. A few of us have thought, “Hey we should get one of those and fix it up.” Some have chased a lead or two down, and even fewer have made the plunge.  Early in the year a friend of ours asked me if I’d be interested in renovating a 27 foot 1974 Airstream she had just bought.  I’ve had the airstream bug at least into the levels of prowling craigslist and looking at pictures online of cool renovations and just had to do give it a try.


Melanie wanted a trailer that she could camp in with her family and cut hair at the campgrounds she visited. She is a professional stylist who “loves surprises” and didn’t want to see it again or know what was happening until it was finished. A good, old fashioned, legit, big reveal! So a few months later the big, shining, traveler was parked in the driveway of my shop and we were off.


Day 1




My first idea was the cabinetry, which is one of my favorite things.  I had enough good walnut sitting in the shop to do all the fittings so that was the first step.


I will have to tell you, Airstreams are about as complicated as it gets as far as a renovation goes. 110v system, 12v/propane system, multiple tanks for grey water, drinkable water, lots of curves, and trying to build light (weight) had my head spinning at first, but thanks to the handy internet, and my wife’s uncle Shawn Huber, all that stuff started to come together.


This cabinet has nine pieces that had to be scribed to perfectly fit the curves in the bathroom. (Actually, this was one of my favorite day or two of the project)


My happy place.


Anyways, The after- We had a little “big reveal” party with a bunch of friends and…. She loved it! (Woosh, I was glad! Ha Ha.) Here it is-






A hair cutting sink in the living room, with my longest piece of walnut holding it true.






I love the little scoop in the wood, I called it the “key holder”.


Denny Hiller at Hillers sheet metal did a great job with the stainless steel countertops and trim. He’s a real detail guy and does great work.







IMG_9616 (1)

Photo- Matt Sands

Thanks Melanie for fun project, and I hope she takes you on many adventures!


So many exciting things are afoot in our little town of Hillsboro, IL. Follow us on facebook for things that I’m working on and lots of things that the other talented people downtown are working on.

“Wherever you are, be all there”

-Small Town Cool


5 thoughts on “A Small Town Airstream “Renovation Adventure”

  1. Now this is awesome! I love seeing all of these cool things coming from my hometown. Believe me, out of town people are talking about how Hillsboro is becoming “hip” and “cool”! Soooo…any ideas on how to redo an interior on a VW bus???? Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We did a 23′ renovation and used similiar materials. Walnut bathroom counter, maple butcher block and walnut kitchen counters. Stainless sinks, Kohler modern faucets and spalted maple bath cabinets. We used cork for flooring and white on the walls. Send me an email address and I’ll share some pics of restoration of the Airsrteam and our 1836 Greek Revival. As centennial farmers we were country before country was cool.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s