Straight away, I want to say that I'm going to express my opinion on a few things; it isn't meant to offend anyone. I don't wish to upset anyone, nor do I want to throw stones at the purists. Take it all with a bucket of salt, and feel free to share your objections!
I think I spent more than a few hours in my 66 Safari project....pacing the floor, pulling measurements, and scratching my head. I know the mantra "make only improvements", so I knew I shouldn't be making any changes to the original floor plan unless I considered it a genuine 'improvement'.
Before I continue, I want to say I like this model in stock form, but I don't LOVE
it. If I'm gonna spend months of filthy labor, and thousands of dollars, by gosh I better love it! To love it means I need to make a few improvements. To find out what should be modified (and what should be left alone), I made a list of what I liked, and what I didn't. It went something like this:
-I like the size. It's the Goldilocks thing- not too big, not too small, but just right. The overall dimensions seem pleasing to me. The height:length ratio is what I consider an archetypical Airstream.
-I like the curbside kitchen. When I step up in a vintage Airstream, I like looking at a lounge area; it seems like an invite of sorts. When I look directly at cabinets, it's mildly standoffish in terms of architecture. Likewise, when you walk into a residential dwelling, you almost always see a living/lounging area first. It should feel open and inviting, and offer an immediate place to sit.
-I like the grouping, which is to say I like how there are definable "living, food prep, washroom" areas.
Here's what I don't like:
-The shower. I'm not a fan of the fiberglass molded washrooms. Perhaps it's psychological, but I feel cramped when trying to shower in a rounded corner. I don't like the look of it, either. I'm sure it looked sweet at one time, but I'm just not a fan overall. Furthermore, I don't see anyone in my family taking an actual bath in there, so why not just have a shower pan (?).
-The washroom sink. I hate it. It's too low, and awkwardly placed. It seems like a design afterthought.
-The fridge location. I think it should be with the other kitchen components. The fridge interrupts the lounging areas, too. It just seems "off"...like the designers just stuck it there because they couldn't shoehorn it in anywhere else.
I'm gutting this girl down to the ribs, and all the systems in it are toast. This is liberating, because I can do it any way I like. The troubling part is I didn't want to stray too far
from what makes it a Safari. I wanted to keep the kitchen where it was, and keep a rear bath...but make improvements to those areas.
need some of the appointments that came stock with this model, so that was the best place to create some "wiggle room" for the things I really wanted. For example, I don't need
a four-burner range, or a double sink. I don't want a black tank, either (it's a composting toilet all the way for me); I'd rather have larger grey/fresh tanks in its place. In the end, those few little things seem to be about the only things I'm giving up. When I look at a lot of the newer models, I see smaller kitchen sinks, and the lack of an oven as a common trend. With that in mind, I don't think I'm ruining anything for someone who might own this in the future.
Lastly, I wanted to cram as much seating into the front as I could. I see a lot of card playing, board game trash talking, big meal feasting going on in here.
With all this in mind, here's a picture of the original floor plan of the 66 safari:
Here's an image of the original compared to my proposed layout:
By relocating the fridge (now next to sink), I was able to slide the location of the pull out lounge closer to the front. This gives me the room to put a normal shower pan in the rear washroom. Everything just slides up the wall. I have bunk bed attachments that can be relocated along with the pull out lounge (directly above it).
The main lounge arrangement is modified, too (I've seen a similar set-up on other Airstream models, but can't remember what they are). The table is also larger, and folds up into a shallow storage cabinet along the street side wall (just under the window). Again, this is a common Airstream theme; I know I've seen it before.
The washroom gets a completely new look, but is the same footprint as the original. The only exception is the shower, which bumps a portion out about a foot or so (behind a proposed shelved wall). The sink has open access and is at a normal countertop height- complete with a little custom medicine cabinet above it. The rear window is open and free from obstructions- making the layout seem sunnier and larger than what it is.
The cost of all this is realized in the kitchen area, which is a mild set of compromises. The sink size is reduced, and gone is the range- replaced by a smart little Gaggenau two burner LP cooktop (already in my possession). Counter space isn't radically different from the original, but to increase it somewhat I'll fabricate a cutting board for the sink.
So, what do you experts think? Did I butcher it, or make improvements? Does anyone see major flaws with this design? Tell me now before I spend the blood and cash on it!