rosy progress report / november 5

There are so, so, SO many things to pull out of an Airstream in order to get to the subfloor.

The plan for today was to loosen or remove everything in the way of the floor. That means the fresh water tank, water pump, furnace, on-demand water heater, and the toilet. In the three-ish hours we were there, I pulled out the fresh tank, and Vick handled the furnace, and then both of us pulled out the ductwork. Because if you’re going to pull out the furnace, you might as well pull out the ductwork too. We aren’t totally sure we’re going to keep the furnace, anyway. It’s older and takes up a ton of valuable storage space. If anyone has any recommendations on space and energy saving alternatives, we are all ears!

removing airstream argosy ductwork

Before pulling ductwork:

removing airstream argosy ductwork

After pulling ductwork:

airstream argosy renovation wheel well

We did have to go primitive with standard hand tools for a bit for some hard to reach screws and bolts on the ductwork. We are so spoiled on power tools!

removing airstream argosy ductwork

I also loosened the on-demand water heater, which was affixed to the floor with a few three inch long screws.

airstream argosy renovation on demand water heater

Once all of that was taken care of, the trailer was an absolute mess, and I didn’t want to proceed any further until we tidied things up a bit.

We swept up as much debris as we could, except for what’s in the little nooks and crannies that are hard to reach – which is why we still have dozens of pop rivet mandrels left behind by Rosy’s previous owner (the little metal rods pictured below). They’ll get swept out eventually.

airstream argosy renovation pop rivet mandrel

Our toolbox desperately needed organizing, so we took care of that as well. We are typically so focused on whatever we’re working on, that once we’re done for the day at our worksite, tools are everywhere. We’re normally leaving the worksite in a rush to get home before Cowboys kickoff, so we usually just gather the tools as fast as we can and dump them wherever they fit in the box. This had gone too far, so I’m glad Arnavick instigated a toolbox organizing sesh – we were overdue.

airstream argosy organizing tools

We also sifted some trash out of our can o’ hardware – can you believe that all of these screws and hose clamps and such came out of our little 27-foot trailer? There are so many of them! And we still have more to go…

airstream argosy organizing tools screws

Suffice to say, after all that cleaning, we didn’t get to cross everything off of our list of items keeping us from getting to the subfloor. BUT, progress is progress, so we’re satisfied with that. We are a tad bit nervous about disconnecting the water pump and surrounding wires. Arnavick thinks some of the wires may be for the DVD/sound system our previous owner installed. To me, it just looks like a bunch of colorful cords. We have a friend that knows electrician things, so hopefully, we can get him out to take a look and give his expert advice.

airstream argosy renovation water pump wires

We also didn’t get the toilet out. We’ve been talking about this for weeks, but have been saving it for last. I feel like it’s best to pull out the ol’ pot just before handling the subfloor, just in case there are some icky fumes or minor biohazard situations that arise. We’ll already have everything else out of the way at that point, so it should minimize the impact of any potential issues.

Now’s a good time for a before and after, don’tcha think?

When we got the trailer:

airstream argosy renovation goucho before

Current status:

airstream argosy renovation goucho progress

Now I feel much better, after seeing what a difference we’ve made in just under three months. After all, we both work full time (and then some), and I go to school and am active in school organizations, which leaves us only one day per week to work on the rig. Progress is progress, right?

So who has hot tips on a space-saving furnace (pun always intended)? Or even full HVAC options? I’d love to get rid of the roof AC unit, too! Advice in the comments – go!

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tiny house jamboree – 2017

Okay, let’s get a couple of quickie things out of the way:

  1. This is not a sponsored or partner post (not that I’m not into that, wink). This is just a recap of an experience.
  2. Sorry in advance for the photo quality. These are mostly snaps that I saved in the moment. I was way too jazzed to get perfectly framed shots. #shrugemoji

Now that we’ve done that… OH. EM. GEE. you guys. The Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree was so much fun! I really loved being around so many like-minded people, and everyone we talked to was really helpful and encouraging.

We went for most of the day Sunday, and in hindsight, we should have done a full three day pass. We didn’t really get the opportunity to sit in on any of the programs, which I know would have been really insightful and inspiring for us. But, we still got to tour all kinds of Skoolies, Tiny Houses, and Vans, and got some great advice from some truly amazing people.

I think what I love most about this Tiny Living community is the enthusiasm and willingness to give advice. Not only are people happy to talk about their journey, they’re eager to hear about ours, and ready to uplift us and cheer us on. For every time I’ve uttered “we’re not totally sure what we’re doing”, I’ve been met with “you’ll get there”, or “you can do it”. I am immeasurably grateful for this positive and helpful wanderer tribe to which we now belong!

Here are some shots I took of the event, and links where you can follow the fine folks behind these incredible dwellings! I wish I had taken more, but I’m still not so used to the idea of folks being eager for you to share pics of their homes on social media.

Okay, first off, they gave me a badge, which made me feel so official (even though everyone got one)!

Also, if you follow us on insta, you’ll know we made shirts. Arnavick did a Stranger Things theme and I did a more linear, color-blocked design.

We got to see this little cutie by Happier Camper – super cute and great for small toy hauling. I, of course, loved all the color selections they offered.

Our first tour was of The Creative Animal Tour Tiny House, which was awesome! You may recognize them from HGTV’s Tiny House Big Living. We chatted with Steph a bit (who did the blueprints for the house) and she showed us some super cool features, like trap door storage in the “ceiling” under their loft bed.

This tiny house looked like it could maybe be a super nice deer lease, if you’re into that kind of thing. Love that galvanized corrugated metal throughout!

Check out the windows on this guy:

I was super impressed with this tiny house that had its very own spiral staircase and observation deck! The interior was pretty cute too.

This tiny house by Red Deer Classics has insane hand carving and delicate woodwork, and the copper had a sick patina! I didn’t get an exterior pic – but you can check it out on their insta!

We got to see this sweet little Airstream, and Airstreams always make us happy!

We bought a 2×4 from 2x4s for Hope and wrote a special message for veterans on it. This organization is amazing – they build tiny homes for homeless veterans. This was just their exhibit, obviously, not an actual tiny house! Check out their website (linked above) for more info or to donate!

Arnavick really liked the look of this butcher block countertop. We’re considering this look for our little kitchen in the trailer.

I really, really, realllly loves all of the skoolies! I’ve been following Nomadic Millers for a little bit now, and I was so jazzed to see their bus in person! I only got one picture of the outside, and they were busy tending to kiddos while we toured, so I didn’t get the chance to tell them in person how cool their bus is, but it’s beautifully outfitted. Check out their Instagram – THAT KITCHEN! Love.

I hadn’t come across Trebventure on insta, but I’m really glad to be following them now. Not only was their home jaw-droppingly cool (excuse me they have a SKYLIGHT over their SHOWER), they were so sweet and encouraging! One of the questions I asked (which I’m sure they get a lot) is whether it was difficult to raise their kids on the road, since ‘Vick and I have hopes to start a family in the next few years. Ashley’s response was that having kids is just hard in general, but their simple lifestyle makes it easy, and that we can totally do it. It is so reassuring to see people living the way we’ve been dreaming of. Our crazy camper scheme isn’t so crazy after all.

We got a kick out of the #tinyfirehouse! It has a fireman’s pole in it. It looks like a short slide down the pole but probably fun all the same.

I’ve also been following tiny house expedition for a while now. Sadly, I didn’t get to see the inside, but I was glad to see the outside of this happy little house in person! Their website has some really helpful info on tiny house living – check it out if you’re interested!

Lil Red was a lil cutie! 66 square feet – can you imagine?! I was super impressed by the functionality of this lil house. I wish I took inside pics!

Last but certainly not least – method to nomadness. Much love to Sheena, who did not kick me out of their house during my excessive fangirling over the HAMMOCK that they have attached to their house! Genius. Seriously amazing.

Not pictured but worthy of mention:

Kevin and Christy from lifetwogo are a couple of van lifers and were really lovely to talk to! They were so encouraging, and they noticed my Rosy shirt and let us gush for a solid five minutes. We loved looking at their map and hearing about their travels!

Samantha from GoneVananas answered a couple of pretty personal questions re: showering, and talked to us about composting toilets and poo for a good while – a true saint! It’s not every day you talk commodes with a complete stranger, but we are grateful for her tips!

We toured This Little Home Of Mine at Earth Day last year, at which point it was only a shell on top of a gooseneck trailer with wood walls and sharpie outlines of Brittnie’s layout. We were so pumped to see the interior now that she’s almost completely done! She was a total sweetheart, and we are super impressed with what she’s done with her place!

We had such an awesome time, and can’t wait for the next time we attend the Jamboree! Should be all shacked up in Rosy the Argosy by then!

Who else attended? I’d love to hear your takeaways!

our aesthetic is…

When people find out we’re remodeling a camper and plan to live in it, generally, we get two schools of response. Response A – people think we’re crazy hippies (they’re not totally wrong). Response 2 – they’re fascinated and ask tons of questions. 

One that’s been challenging to answer is what it will look like when we’re done. Its a little tough to just ball all of our wild ideas into a compact little package of aesthetic explanation in one conversation. But I thought it would be fun to talk about it here, while we’re still in the midst of pulling Rosy apart. After all, the designing and decorating is where the real action is at, amiright?!

So here are some high-level representations and annotations of our ideal aesthetic:

*Painted white interior skin and walls. Don’t have a solid visual representation of this, but you get it, right?

*Weathered/barnwood style flooring. The second one here is my favorite! I love the slight warm tones with the burnt grays.

*Counter and table surfaces will either be faux concrete or hardwood (undecided)!

*Pops of sage green, rose, peach and rose gold! Most of the metal in the camper is already rose gold (that was a freebie) and I’ve seen some pretty rad rose gold spray paint on the market.

*Black on white simplistic, linear graphic accents (like the cacti sheets I bought to turn into curtains).

*Plants. All the plants.

We are really going for a light and airy, minimalistic aesthetic, with well thought out storage, and multi-use zones.
We also got a lot of inspiration (and the decision to go with white walls) from following Mavis, Dunes, and Tin Can Homestead on insta. 

Hopefully that gives whomever so reads this some sort of mental picture of how we plan on outfitting Rosy. Now if we could just pick a floor plan. I made some templates for us to draw out multiple layouts, which should help us get closer to nailing that down. DIY pun intended.

Happy camping, everyone! 

a hot topic – ovens

^^^ See what I did there?! *winks and nudges Internet with elbow*

We recently pulled out the kitchen in Rosy the Argosy

…and it got me wondering, “Do we really, truly, ABSOLUTELY neeeed an oven”? The Great Debate, I call this. 

Let me back track a little bit. Once upon a time, three years ago, a girl moved into a quaint little apartment. The apartment was small and suited the girl’s few needs. Though this girl believes she has an eye for detail, she somehow completely missed the fact that this apartment did not have a MICROWAVE. 

Obviously, the girl is me, and obviously, my first instinct was to panic, because who in the heck can live a normal life without a mickey to heat up her mac n’ cheese leftovers?!

Somehow, three years later, I’m still alive and breathing, even without the modern convenience of concentrated, high powered heat waves to zap my food into a palateable temperature. ‘Vick moved in two years ago, and has also survived sans-microwave, thank goodness. We both grew up with microwaves in our homes, so neither of us had done much reheating in an oven or on the stove before. Google has been our friend in these trying times.

So, now that we’ve brought ourselves current, let’s talk about this oven thing…

Ovens take up so much space! Our range is small, and yet it still seems to take over a lot of valuable real estate in the kitchen area. When you’re planning on living in 200 sq ft, space becomes such a precious commodity!

This isn’t a great angle (or a great photo at all for that matter), but hopefully this gives you a general idea of the size of it.

When I’m not letting chain restaurants do my cooking for me, I do a lot of cooking on the stove. Really, the only time I regularly use the oven is for heating/reheating pizza (because pizza is life). And the occasional batch of cookies. And it’s great for storing a Costco rotisserie chicken for about an hour if I’m not starving, but will want to eat soon, and still want it to be hot.

But, is all of that enough for us to take up so much precious space in our little abode? Can we live without pizza? Of course not, let me try again – are there other ways to make pizza? Would we be solid with just a space saving induction cooktop? If we can live without a microwave, certainly we could live without an oven, right?

So talk to me, campers. To oven, or not to oven? That is the question. What’s your setup like? What are the pros and cons? What do we do?!

rosy the argosy – the before tour

If we’re gonna chronicle our renovation progress on Rosy the Argosy, we must start with the obligatory “before” tour, yes? Follow me…

Rosy is a 1979 model Airstream Argosy. She is 27′ long. The thing about the Argosy models that’s different than other Airstreams is that their exterior is white, not the shiny silver most people think of when they hear “Airstream”. Ours is the first Argosy I’ve ever seen with green stripes on the outside. I’ve only ever seen orange or blue striping. We are going to do our darnedest to preserve that striping! If it doesn’t make it through the reno and a vigorous exterior cleaning, we’ll replace it with an exact replica. We love the retro look it gives her! She’s a little rusty on the outside in some spots, but we plan on brushing/sanding/sandblasting and re-painting the rough parts.

We have yet to open our awning, but we’re told that the canvas is trashed. Sad face. The good news is, we can buy a custom awning to match the green stripes. The bad news is, it’s an expensive fix. We’ll post on that when the time comes.

Shall we go inside?


(we are the bottom layout in above)

Rosy’s plumbing and electric work are intact – impressive for a gal her age! She’s outfitted with a seating area, fold out dining table, kitchen with 4-burner gas stove and oven, twin beds, a back bath with a commode, sink and bath tub, three storage closets, and overhead storage cabinets throughout.

We’re keeping the bath and kitchen where they’re located but replacing the breaking, aging plastic and particle board with new, high quality materials. The twin beds will be pulled and replaced with a murphy-style full or queen bed and storage cabinets. The dining and seating area will also remain in the same spot, but will be updated with newer, better materials and a style that is uniquely #teamjamavick.

Perhaps our favorite feature (and part of how we chose her name) is her rose colored glasses!

Her previous owner tinted the wrap-around windows in front! We love the ROSY shadows the tint casts in the dining “room”! It’s weird, and we’re keeping it.

We have TONS to do before getting Rosy live-in ready, and we’ll post the ups, downs, ins, and outs as we go!

Happy camping, everyone!

on airstreams and minimalism

I’ve dreamed of renovating and living in a vintage Airstream for years. A dream I frequently discussed with family, friends, and coworkers. I believe in putting stuff out there in the universe, you feel me? Put your best goods out there, and good comes back to you. Before Arnavick and I bought Rosy, I was often asked “why an Airstream?” or “how are you going to live in such a small space?”. Lets discuss…

Why Airstream? First off, there are so many super cool camper styles there on the market. Small ones that tow easily, big ones that get even bigger via expanding sides, ones you can drive, tall ones, short ones; we could list them all a la Bubba in Forrest Gump, but that would make this post way too wordy. There’s just something about that iconic shape and rich Americana history that rattle me deep down in my soul, in the best way. Like a big baked potato on wheels. They are so obviously different than other campers. Am I a brand snob? Maybe. But I know what I like, and Airstream is it. And I’m not the only one, just check out one of the hundreds of books, facebook pages, instagram accounts, and blogs dedicated to Airstreams. They’re kind of a big deal…

So how are we going to live in such a small space? Well, finding out is going to be fun! Our current apartment is 570 sf. Small, yes, but no camper. Let me level with you guys. I am in my early thirties. I’ve acquired a lot of stuff over the years. And sometimes, I have trouble getting rid of it (hi I’m Jamie and I am a hoarder). Having stuff I don’t use has become a bit of a burden on my soul. It’s wasteful and impractical for us to have a bunch of furniture, craft supplies, electronics, wares etc that are not being utilized. And, it’s just extra stuff that we have to clean! Shenanigans. Cleaning is probably #teamjamavick’s least favorite chore. I’m really looking forward to giving a bunch of stuff away and starting fresh. The philosophy of a minimalist lifestyle is calling to me, and I’m trying to pick up the phone.

Another side of it, is that we really love the idea of being able to pick up and go if the mood strikes. Arnavick’s family lives in Colorado, and we are excited to be able to go visit them without trying to find a pet friendly hotel or airbnb. We are driving our camper to Michigan next summer for our wedding. We want to see the Grand Canyon. Yellowstone. Mount Rushmore. Living in an Airstream means that we can go anywhere we want, and still have our creature comforts, and our creatures (dogs) with us. And we won’t need to prep the house for leaving, pack ours and our dogs stuff, and wonder for days whether we left a burner on, or the back door unlocked.

A question to all of our camper-living friends out there… what do you love most about living on the road?