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Old 06-07-2019, 12:50 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Ladysmith , British Columbia
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Vintage Airstream as cabin...

1970 31' Sovereign. I have a beautiful acre of land that was screaming for a guest cabin so I went down the Airstream rabbit hole again. I had a 1970 Overlander 27' that I had restored to close to original condition. I regret selling it 10 years ago as it would have been perfect for what I need now.

The Sovereign I found is virtually gutted, have some frame weakness, rear end separation, etc... but the shell and what's left of the interior are in pretty good shape with only one missing window.

My plan is to do a relatively quick reno for now (clean and possibly strip the vinyl walls, patch subfloor, etc) and maybe get her back to road worthy in a couple of years (shell off, frame repair, new wiring, insulation and subfloor).

I would likely leave the interior without built-ins for now as it leaves options open for a more extensive reno later.

I haven't decided just how far I'll go to start, but I know how deep the rabbit hole goes...

Thanks to everyone for sharing all their experiences, tips, and tricks!
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:23 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

Sounds like you know what you are up against, so good luck fighting the "as long as I'm here" slippery slope!

good luck!
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:34 PM   #3
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1970 31' Sovereign
Ladysmith , British Columbia
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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Welcome to the Forums!

Sounds like you know what you are up against, so good luck fighting the "as long as I'm here" slippery slope!

good luck!
Haha... Thanks! I know that exact feeling, and its why I waited so long to pull the trigger on this one! I'll bookmark that first post and review it in a year...
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:34 PM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Hello from Colorado; I am currently working on one of those Overlander 27's. I often sit in it and think to myself, I could actually live in this thing.

It sounds like you know what you are in for. The better you rebuild it, the happier you will be. You can take your time with it.

Next winter I plan on doing extensive work on a Sovereign myself. Keeps a retired guy busy. I enjoy working with my hands, and I enjoy Airstream trailers.

You can read about other's Sovereign renovation adventures in the Airstream Knowledgebase, then select Sovereign, and then your year range. Read up a bit, it may give you some ideas.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f17...ml#post2053792
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:05 AM   #5
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1970 31' Sovereign
Ladysmith , British Columbia
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Thanks David.

I subscribed to your renovation thread. I always appreciate those as it they are invaluable for guidance. I may turn mine into a parked full-timer on the property and rent out the house. I am putting a full bath in a shop I have on the property that will tie into my septic. That would take the strain off of the waste tanks in the trailer.

These trailers are addicting.

Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:09 AM   #6
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1972 27' Overlander
Heinsburg , AB
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Hello fellow canuck, look forward to following your progress.
CC
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:48 AM   #7
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1970 31' Sovereign
Thetis Island , British Columbia
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Ariesta, a Cabin on Thetis Island

Hi,
We have renovated/restored our 1970 (31ft) Sovereign Land Yacht, "Ariesta" on our rural property on Thetis Island. We bought Ariesta in Cassidy 20 years ago. One of my favourite renos is the removal of the furnace (replaced by 240v electric ) and installing an apartment size dishwasher! Flush toilet to septic tank, electric hot water, the settee, oak flooring, insulated perimeter skirting outside and of course the deck and roof...... It still feels and looks like an AS !
Good luck on your project! Perchance, did your AS come from Thetis as one was towed off the island a few years ago in similar condition?
Michael and Doreen
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:57 AM   #8
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1970 23' Safari
Victoria , British Columbia
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Hello from Victoria
I have a 1970 as well and did the full meal deal in 2014..... always thought it would be fun to turn one into a guest cabin.
My friend did one on her Arizona property and it is a favourite place for her friends and family.
Have fun!!
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Old 06-08-2019, 03:06 PM   #9
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1966 26' Overlander
San Luis Obispo , California
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Ariesta

Ariesta - Why the angled corners on the dinette table? Beautiful unit! Thx!
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:39 AM   #10
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1970 31' Sovereign
Ladysmith , British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariesta View Post
Hi,
We have renovated/restored our 1970 (31ft) Sovereign Land Yacht, "Ariesta" on our rural property on Thetis Island. We bought Ariesta in Cassidy 20 years ago. One of my favourite renos is the removal of the furnace (replaced by 240v electric ) and installing an apartment size dishwasher! Flush toilet to septic tank, electric hot water, the settee, oak flooring, insulated perimeter skirting outside and of course the deck and roof...... It still feels and looks like an AS !
Good luck on your project! Perchance, did your AS come from Thetis as one was towed off the island a few years ago in similar condition?
Michael and Doreen
Thanks all for the welcome.

Michael and Doreen,

I spent 20 years in Chemainus, so I was just a short ferry ride from you until last year when I went 'rural' out by Yellow Point. What you've done is very much along the lines that I'm thinking... plumb water in and run the waste to the septic. I have to be more discreet with the decking/skirting to conform to local codes. I'd love to come by and visit sometime.

I think that this one will suit the cabin style as I know there will be some frame issues. There is a big difference between parking them vs rolling them down the highway.

I'm not sure if this one was ever on Thetis. These trailers do get around. Amazing that 50 year old shells can still be relevant.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:11 PM   #11
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1969 18' Caravel
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Originally Posted by IslandLife View Post
Amazing that 50 year old shells can still be relevant.
Just wait 'til YOU get north of 50!
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:54 PM   #12
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1970 31' Sovereign
Thetis Island , British Columbia
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Ariesta, a Cabin on Thetis Island

Hello,
Having problems sending you a picture of the settee under reconstruction...this is my 3rd try! hopefully it will download okay?
I bought the settee from a Used Classified newspaper Ad....Originally, it was an "L" shaped settee and the table came with it. Also, the settee was covered in bright orange vinyl! The table was well built with a steel support and backing plate and solid oak edging, so we just changed the arborite to match the new upholstery.
I hired local RV Tech, Carl to change it into a "U" shaped settee then had it upholstered.

That was in 2000.....Carl, the RV tech was apprenticing at the time.....Later, he was an RV instructor......he lives in Cedar, BC......great Guy!

Keep in touch, Doreen & Michael
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:19 AM   #13
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1978 31' Sovereign
Green Valley Lake , California
Join Date: May 2015
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Yessir! Home sweet home. I was living in a '78 Soveriegn in the Sequoias, that had been gutted (basically a shaggin' wagon) with queen bed up front and rear bath (no shower) that had the unique distinction of housing a porcelain commode hand painted by Von Dutch.
I was attempting to do repairs, that's how I found this forum
(4 years and 70 posts later, I got my second rivet!).
30' very liveable for a single or cozy couple ( tho in my experience, a couple needs a door).
Gutted gives you so many options, but the difference between a "park model" and a road warrior is night and day.
Park it under a shady spot.
Can't wait to see your remodel ��
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:03 PM   #14
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1968 26' Overlander
Miami , Florida
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IMHO, that will offend at least somebody on this forum, a 70 Sovereign is better as a guest house than a TT.
Unless you replace the axles and beef up the frame, towing more than locally is stressful.
And if you gut it and dont replace most interior partitions, you then have a flexing, twisting cigar tube that will pop many of the interior pulled rivets every time you take it on the highway.
Of course you CAN make it a lean, mean camping machine. But it sounds like you have been there done that and aren't really up for all that work again.
As a back yard guest house, though, I think you have the best. Have fun with the reno!
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:09 AM   #15
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1970 31' Sovereign
Ladysmith , British Columbia
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I know that many would rather not have an airstream parked in one spot, but I also know that many spend years getting them road worthy, not actually using or enjoying them. I have a great sunny spot with pasture land on both sides of me. I live on an island that most people vacation to. I really dont need to take it anywhere. I have a fibreglass northern lite truck camper for little get always. Im trying to design this refurb as one that works as a cabin for now and possibly a shell off - frame rebuild later. But for now Ill scrub it clean, get it functional, and enjoy it. I have it parked close to my shop now while I work on it, and later Ill set it up in another spot.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:55 AM   #16
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2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
Nanoose Bay , British Columbia
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I am in cobble hill (close to Thetis) would like to contact Michael and Doreen to discuss their great project
Michael. 250 240 0914 mp@pageough.ca
Thanks
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