The Silver Suitcase Airstream

The Silver Suitcase Airstream

Monday, August 19, 2013

AIrstream Blog: Riveted

 I love reading about all the Airstream experiences that people have had- my new favorite blog about Airstreams is Riveted- they have great taste, and a lot of great info about Airstream trailers

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Upholstery, Lights, and Wastewater Tanks

Padded Lower Wall in Green Sunbrella w original table legs

Rear Sleeping Berth Overhead Cabinets

Midcentury Pendant Light over Dinette

Living Room Sofa Arm/Wall Padding

Full Grey Water Tank
Things are moving very swiftly now- the lower upholstered walls were installed- more sound insulation, and when the sleeper sofa in use, these function as a headboard.  They were finished in a green Sunbrella fabric that matches the green in the Marimekko fabric of draperies.  The sofa arms were installed, but the sofa can't be put in until the flooring gets installed (next Wednesday, HOORAY!).

Crandall's RV service has been putting in the lighting upgrades- the cabinets above the bed are going to have a dimmer switch for the surface mount vintage lights from Rejuvenation.  I also realized last night in the blinding glare of undercabinet halogen lights from my kitchen that I will also need a dimmer there.

The Pendant light from etsy looks fantastic over the dinette table- I just need a hook to pull the cord to one side while the light is in use.

Lastly, was over at the Airstream this morning, and noticed about 3-4 inches of water in the shower stall- I texted Crandall's and they said my greywater tanks probably needed to be emptied- I washed dished for the first time last night, and I guess I filled the tank- oops!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm Beginning to See the Light

I'm on the home stretch.  Little odds and ends are getting finished.  My lighting is starting to be installed.  The Airstream originally came with plastic surface mounted lights that were ok, but didn't have a nice quality to the light (they were small incandescent bulbs that were from the 80's).  I decided to add some vintage lighting, suitable for an Airstream in Palm Springs.

From the top: Cone-shaped sconces from Rejuvenation.  If you haven't visited their website, it's a fantastic array of reproduction lighting; these happen to be salvage lights that they polish up and rewire.  Their vintage lighting section is kind of breathtaking.  These sconces are going to be mounted on the walls in the living room, for reading lights.

Next are these cool drum-shaped surface mounted lights with perforations- they'll make the bedroom look 'starry' when they're lit up.  They are going to be mounted under the tambor door cabinet at the aft end of the trailer.  They also were sourced from the vintage section at Rejuvenation Lighting and House Parts.

The fabulous gold-toned pendant light came from Midcentury4U, an Etsy Seller in London.  I love that the ringed circle applique hides a reveal that lights the circles from behind.  It will be on a hook above the dinette table on a cord that will allow it to be taken down when the table is not in use.

The last photo shows the halogen undercabinet lights over my kitchen counter.  I am also having an LED rope light installed along the window soffit over the kitchen.

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's Curtains For You!

The upholstery has been done for weeks, but we are waiting on flooring to be installed.  We finally decided to install the draperies.  The fabric is a Marimekko fabric, love the colors.  There will also be green wall panels, and a green sofa.  You can see the installed (but not pressed) drapes in the bedroom, complete with my banana pillow from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Everything and the Kitchen Sink!

The kitchen is starting to come together.  I took out the original range that was black and Krylon'ed the Hell out of it in front of my space- not entirely happy with the result, but it looks better than it did.  The original oak tambor-door spice rack above the range came out- was too gross to clean up well.  It is replaced with a magnetic spice container that ties in nicely with the aluminum exterior.  The spoon collection is a tongue-in-cheek fun thing that I picked up in Canada a few weeks ago at a flea market.  The sink isn't attached yet, and neither is the faucet, but who cares, I don't have water yet!  I love the little folding counter space at the end of the kitchen.

Christmas In July

The boxes piled up while I was visiting my friends in British Columbia.  I was very busy buying buying buying everything I could think of for my Palm Springs Airstream on ebay, and now Liz has introduced me to the dark side of Etsy.

I ordered a knockoff tulip chair for my dinette table.  The table can be seen behind it; it folds neatly away into the wall under a ledge; and I couldn't resist this tiny late 1960's Sony black-and-white TV that will come in handy for me cutting down on TV watching.  Next to it is an Italian stash jar by Tackett that were marketed through Esquire magazine in the early 1960's- as a place to put condoms!

My first-ever Etsy purchase is this gold-toned 1960's pendant light that came from London, England.  It will be great hanging over the dinette table- on a hook, so I can take it down when not playing cards or eating at the table.

Countertop Installation!

I am so excited to see the counters go in!   Jacob is here installing the Italian laminate counters into the kitchen, folding dining table, TV stand, bath vanity, and the bedroom dresser.  The countertop material came from Modern Home in Palm Springs (they are expanding the showroom at the corner of Racquet Club and Palm Canyon Drive).

Now that these are looking good, the beige outlet covers look yucky- I just ordered white ones for installation by Crandall's Mobile RV.  I have a dead stock thermostat for the furnace that looks like it is from the mid/late 1960's that will go in over the dresser.  You can kind of get a peek at my new bullet planter from Just Modern in Palm Springs.

The beige section next to the dresser will be an upholstered panel that is the same green as the countertops, but in a Sunbrella fabris, which is also what the sofa will be reupholstered in.

Doesn't It Get Hot In There?

Well, let's see.  It's the Desert.  It's in Palm Springs. It's Summer.  It's 110 degrees outside.  The trailer is aluminum.

In all fairness, the Airstream does have a lot of insulation.  Remember, these were built for use in cold weather, too.  It has a separate furnace, even!  I am attaching a factory photo with all of the wonderful insulation that keeps the cool air inside.  Unfortunately, you need to have an air conditioning unit that works well, even when desert temperatures reach 120 or more.

My AC unit was the original one that was installed in 1988.  It worked.  It worked really well for something that is 25 years old.  It was noisy, and drew a lot of amps, and kept flipping the breaker on hot days.  So, a new one was ordered and delivered and installed by Crandall's Mobile RV Service, located right in the Happy Traveler Park in Palm Springs.  I have since started calling him the building super- they're great at fixing all the little things.  The AC unit was about $800 to install.  It works a lot better, much cooler, and WAY quieter.

Gifts? Yes, I LOVE Gifts!

Please find attached photographs of gifts suitable for that special someone who is moving into a trailer home.

It's a lot of fun getting presents in the mail; it's even more fun when they are technically presents for your great big honking Airstream.  From the top:  A Weber Grill (old-school charcoal) from Paul Kaplan (of The Paul Kaplan Group that I work for), and a great midcentury cone-shaped ashtray from a real estate client; four teak-handled spoons from my mom to round out a set that I am collecting; Pink Flamingos from my dad and his wife; a book on starting my own trailer haven from my friend Liz; and a string of Airstream lights for my awning, from my sister.

First Party!

It wasn't really much of a party, actually.  I had two friends over since they're all so damn curious about this trailer.  All of my lawn furniture was delivered, and it makes quite a transformation in the appearance of the space.  I bought the dinette chairs from Pelago ($90), the table from Palm Springs True Value (I think it was $199, it's a heavy metal one).  The two chaise lounge chairs came from a garage sale in Palm Springs ($200 for the pair), and the two Brown Jordan lounge chairs from the 60's came from a tag sale in Beaumont ($40 for the pair, thank you very much).  The artichoke light is a knockoff from Ikea. 

Green Machine

The countertop selection has happened.  I chose a green Italian-produced laminate with a high-gloss finish.  It's part of the Palm Springs-inspired color palette:  Blue Skies, Green Grass, and some brown sand...

I sure hope it looks as chic installed as it does in the sample from Modern Home.   Jacob, my cabinet guy, thinks I am buts for choosing this color.  I've had a few friends try to talk me into doing white. 

The blue striped awnings, which I keep getting compliments on, are the original Zip Dee-produced ones that came new with the trailer in 1988.  They look wonderful unfurled.  I need to find the original Zip Dee lawn chairs in matching fabric that fit into a cool compartment behind the oven/range.  There are a lot of clever storage tricks and cabinets in this rig!

Where Are You Going To Put All Your Stuff?

Well, for starters, have you ever looked at closet space in a Palm Springs midcentury home?  I have a massive wardrobe, and the closets here were designed for a few weeks' use, not a lifetime.  I've been in the desert clotheshorsing around for about ten years, so I've always had an air-conditioned storage unit for my clothing, but had to upgrade to a 10' x 10' unit.  I sold off the furniture that I thought was replaceable, and have almost filled it up.  There's still room for a few more trips to The Rose Bowl Flea Market. 

My 1962 Olds Ninety Eight (it's the champagne gold one in the back RT corner has moved to an air-conditioned facility with some very fancy Italian machinery (and a couple of vintage American cars.  It's only about a ten-minute drive to pick the car up if I want to drive something older than my 1988 Olds Custom Cruiser Wagon.

Cabinet Hardware Is Not the Most Interesting Topic

I knew that I wanted some different hardware from what I've been seeing.  I found these at Modern Home in Palm Springs.  The pull is a reproduction of a fairly common pull found in the late 1950's and 60's and comes in gold or a nickel finish.  I came very close to going with the Midas Touch, but went for the Nickel.  The backplates are what separates these from being just ho-hum cool.  These are about 3-4" across and really give the cabinets some flair- and now feel very nautical/aeronautical.

The fabric, you'll notice in the close up, is a Marimekko pattern that I found originally for a sportcoat, but then decided to use it as drapery fabric.  Urban Burp has been a great resource, working with my drapery workroom.  Electra (at Urban Burp) is always at the Modernism Show in Palm Springs during Modernism Week-

When One Door Closes...

Now that the painting is done, Jacob (of Jacob's Fancy Cabinets) has installed the new MDF doors that are flat and more architectural.  They clean up the look inside quite a bit, if I don't say so myself.  The fridge, you ask?  The oak trim will come off and will be white formica, to match surrounding cabinets.  The toilet is starting to creep me out.  It's beige and has a vinyl padded top.  I was starting to think "I could just go to the office when I need to use the toilet," but decided that it's probably more prudent to just put a new toilet in.

Grass? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Grass.

I couldn't take the concrete pad anymore.  I went to Lowe's and bought a 12' x 35' cheap indoor-outdoor carpeting off the roll and had it delivered.  Instant lawn!  Looks like the Brady Bunch backyard set. So much cuter now-

Step 2: Paint It White!

I wish I had a nickel for each time that I told someone to 'paint it white!'

Well, this doesn't look like much right now, but it's a vast improvement already over the glossy 1980's oak look that this had originally- the only thing is that now that it's painted "Swiss Coffee" (what the Hell is Swiss Coffee, anyhow?) the AC unit in the roof stands out quite a bit.  The mattresses are two custom twin beds that are coming out to make a platform for a queen bed with nightstands on either side (there was originally a nightstand in the middle, which will be removed.  My painters, Kurt and David of Las Palmas Painting have been wonderful.  They did an amazing job of masking everything off exceptionally well, which is the difference between a good paint job and a mediocre one. 

I am still surprised at how many people think I'm not actually going to live in this!