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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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 progress report / september 24

‘Vick and I are experiencing very sore muscles (and each a very minor facial injury) this week.

We got a lot done last Saturday! Funny thing is, the camper still looks pretty much the same as it did when we got there – the mess just keeps getting rearranged.

We have been sweating the kitchen removal – which is hilarious, because, in our camper, the kitchen is literally one lower cabinet and one upper cabinet, each about 5’ wide. It’s just the wires and the plumbing and the gas lines… oh my! It’s so much to deal with, and could be dangerous if done incorrectly.

We (loose “we”… Arnavick was most of the muscle here) managed to get it done with one very long break and a trip to the hardware store. Having the right size wrench makes a world of difference when disconnecting gas lines for the stove/oven.

Pretty much everything in this camper is riveted into the interior skin, so to get the cabinet out, we used a tack puller, hammer, and elbow grease to pop all the rivets out. 

Then there were the gas lines. Of the approximate 40 wrenches we have, we didn’t have a single on that fit the nut that was holding the gas line to the stove. No adjustable wrench either. That’s when we hit the wall.

Arnavick wasn’t feeling good, and we were both hungry, so we went home. After some lunch, though, we both got a second wind and decided to run by the hardware store for the right size wrench (as well as an adjustable one for good measure).

We also picked up a strap wrench, which came in handy for loosening the slip nuts connecting the sink drains to the pipes. 

A few turns of a wrench later, and the gas lines and pipes were disconnected – voila!

That made it easy peasy to pull the stove and the cabinet out! No more kitchen! It looks pretty much the same, but it was a check mark next to a to-do, and we’re satisfied by that! So here it is, an anticlimactic before and after of pre- and post-kitchen removal!

With Kitchen:

Without Kitchen:

Anyone else have reservations removing the kitchen like we did? What got you through it?

our awning works?!?!

Arnavick got really brave last weekend and decided to pull open our awning!

When we bought Rosy, her prior owner told us the canvas was trashed. We were expecting a rotted, nasty mess.

You guys, LOOK AT THIS AWNING RIGHT HERE!

It’s in pretty darn good shape compared to the image we had in mind. And the colors! The colors match our beloved exterior striping! Swoon!

So, there IS a little problem… well, two little problems. 
One, there’s some gunk at the very top of the awning. We will have to give it a good washing to see whether it’s just gunk, or if the canvas is rotting. I’ve never wished so hard for something to be gunk. 

Two, the thread came out of the seam that’s right by the door, causing a hole. I can sew really well, but I don’t know how to go about fixing this problem. I don’t want to take the awning off, and I am not confident in my sewing when I have to raise my hands over my head to do so. The great news is, the fabric there is intact.

I was thinking to possibly just gorilla glue the seam back together? Is that crazy?

rosy progress report / september 4

We’ve been hard at work pulling apart miss Rosy the Argosy, and I realized that I don’t really have an update here, just on social. Let’s take a look at the state of things shall we? Here is a progression of what we’ve done so far:

We’ve pulled out the following:

  • Five divider walls (1 wall-dining to kitchen, 2 walls-kitchen to bedroom, 2 walls-bedroom to bath)
  • Both twin beds
  • Upper cabinets above beds
  • Various brackets and metal framework

It took us two full days over two weekends to do all of that werk werk werk werk werk. In the Texas heat, y’all. At least we plug in the trailer and run the AC while we work.

Demo day on TV consists of folks smashing up cabinets with a sledge hammer, and pulling wreckage to the curb to be picked up by a disposal company. Demo day in real life, when you don’t have a Hollywood budget and have to be careful about the frame, walls, and windows of your camper, consists of hammering or drilling out rivets one by one, and removing hundreds of screws individually. We are replacing all of the particle board pieces with real wood, so we are being careful not to damage any pieces so that we can use them to measure. I REALLY don’t want to do the math it would take to measure out those Airstream curves.

We feel like we’re making pretty good progress! It’s hard doing our nine-to-fives and school all week when all we want to do is be working on Rosy! Gotta pay that reno bill, though, ya know?

Anyone have any reno stories to share? Post ’em in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

momentus moment alert!

Heyyyooo we just received the package for the very first item that we purchased for Rosy the Argosy! Exciting times!


Let me just tell you a crazy story. Friends, we purchased our trailer from Northeast Ohio. And we live in North Texas. We drove from North Texas to Northeast Ohio – 1,200 miles, not knowing for sure whether she was towable ALLLLLL the way home. We get there, and Rosy has a lot of surface rust on her tongue, but it’s only due to street salt from Ohio roads. After getting her all new tires, we were confident that she could make the drive.

And make it she did. ALLLLL the way home. ALLLLL the way to my parents driveway. The full 1,200 miles, and even through some sick thunderstorms and torrential rain in the Terrell, TX area. And four hours later, when we were trying to put a lock on it, the coupler broke. Broke! The metal. actually. broke! It blows my mind that we drove all that way without any issues, and it breaks in front of my parents house. After we unhitched (and ate dinner). Where she would be parked for at least a few days anyway. Wild.

I’m not here to discuss divinities, my beliefs, yours, or anyone else’s. But, WOW did we feel like that was a blessing! We are so grateful we made it here without anyone getting hurt. And now we’ve got a coupler repair kit that we can put on our gal! That is…. once we get the rust off of her tongue.

So… anyone want to share their best tips for painting our tongue once we get the rust off? 

XO – J