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Old 10-26-2006, 07:16 PM   #1
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Odd floor plan?

Hello folks,

I've been looking around on the web at older Airstreams, and have a question about what seems to be the predominant floor plan.

From what I can tell, most of the trailers larger than 20' or so have a plan where the bathroom is in the rear, with a hallway flanked by two couches that convert into single beds, and the kitchen/sitting area in front. Pretty much all the trailers from the '70s that I've seen advertised have this setup.

It seems to me that this floor plan works well for traveling with a family, where being able to fold up the beds during the day and use them for couches would create necessary sitting room. However, this design seems exceedingly awkward and inconvenient for a couple living full-time in their trailer. For one thing, most couples prefer to share a single bed rather than two separate twins. For another, it seems as though it would be a bit difficult to get around the bed or beds to the bathroom during the day if they are left out. If one was to tear out the single beds and put in a double or queen sized, I don't see how one could easily walk around it to the bathroom.

I haven't actually walked through any old trailers, only newer models, so I might be totally off base with my assessment of this arrangement. But the way that many of the newer models have a bed in the rear next to the bathroom makes a lot more sense to me. At this point, I can hardly imagine being able to live with the floor plan from the older trailers -- I would want to rip stuff out and rearrange it somehow!

So, my question: how many of you are satisfied with the old floor plan as it is? If you are okay with it, how do you make it work? If you didn't like it, how did you change it?

My apologies if this has been gone over many times before. I didn't find a thread addressing this issue, but I might not have used good search terms.

Thanks for any and all input!

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Old 10-26-2006, 09:43 PM   #2
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One thing is, Airstreams are primarily travel trailers. While it's true, many people full-time or spend longer periods of time in their trailers, the flexibility of the multi-purpose gaucho bed "works" for them when traveling. I would agree, if your intent is to live solely in and Airstream, you would probably be more comfortable with one of the double models.

You may want to do a forum search using "single (or twins) double bed" as your keywords. Many have talked about their solution to reconfiguring their twins into a double configuration.

Another helpful location to check out different layouts is: Vintage Archives

Alot of the late 70's to current layouts have doubles and baths either in the middle or the back.

Good luck with your search for the "perfect" layout for you!


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Old 10-26-2006, 10:35 PM   #3
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Twin beds

We have a twin bed '66 Tradewind. It has the dinette gaucho in front which we like. My wife fought (me too) the thought of not sleeping next to each other. However, after 'living' a whole year in a recliner because of arthritic hips (got 2 new titainium ones this year) we did not fight the twins. With a double it is smaller width wise than twins and I would have to sleep on the inside as my wife is the one that gets up during the night (sorry Dear). But since I have too sleep on my back all the time now and cannot 'roll' out of bed......well the twin ain't that bad. The aisle between us is narrow enough that we reach across occassionally and 'touch.
Neil and Lynn Holman
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:19 PM   #4
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Not the first I have read wives prefer a double. My husband liked the twins. It appears there are the defenders of space and then there are the Cling-ons.

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Old 10-26-2006, 11:55 PM   #5
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Queen bed for sure!

Hi, The King still likes to sleep with the Queen. To me, twins is like next step to divorce.

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Old 10-27-2006, 02:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS
Hi, The King still likes to sleep with the Queen. To me, twins is like next step to divorce.

My 'Queen'' sleeps with her 'King' at our castle (on a queen). After nearly 38 years our relationship is still 'Excallibur' solid. However, our physical health circumstances call for an understanding adjustment when we tour the kingdom in our AS carriage.
Neil and Lynn.
Neil and Lynn Holman
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Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
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1969 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:34 AM   #7
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When we were looking for out trailer, we wanted a double bed setup. They are a little harder to find, but that's what we got. I feel that it is a much better setup for us. Another advantage of the double bed setup is the amount of storage you get on the other side of the aisle. The down side is the aisle is narrower when the bed is setup. We find that the aisle space is a very small price to pay and we leave the bed as a bed all of the time.
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:23 AM   #8
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When we bought our trailer what attracted us to a 25 ft Caravanner was the front gaucho that converted into a full bed. It sets up and stows easily and when stowed we have plenty of room when folks come by. From what I understand, not many Caravanners were made in 1978. Ours was made in CA. The 78 brochure call this a Salon model and the PO removed a curb side gaucho that doubled as a single bed and relpaced it with storage cabanet and drawers. While we like the storage, the extra seating would be nice but it is not missed.
Mario & Kelly
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:30 AM   #9
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From the first trailer I ever owned, a tiny Starcraft popup, through a Scamp fifth-wheel, a TrailManor, and 3 Airstreams, the one thing I have always insisted upon is a bed that always remains a bed. This is especially true because my wife is a night owl and I am an early riser.

The rear-bedroom queen with a sliding door is a perfect solution for us; she can watch Letterman while I turn in and I can watch the daybreak shows while she sleeps in.

On the rare occasions that a family member sleeps on the couch, I find it a pain to rearrange everything to open and make up the couch at night and then stow everything in the morning.

I think twins would be rather confining, especially with the cats sharing the space.
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:53 AM   #10
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Been there, Got that!


The floor plan of a rear side bath and double bed has been out through different times in the Airstream history. I think it goes back as far as the 50's. I have a 1970 23' "Safari Special". It has a side bath on the right hand side with a double pull out corner bed on the the left side. In the front is has a couch that makes into a double. What is nice about the unit, with the sliding door closed, in the front you feel like you're in a 27 footer, in the rear you feel like you're in a Globe or Bambi. The unit you're looking for is out there. Just take your time, you'll find one.

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Old 10-27-2006, 10:11 AM   #11
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We have a rear bath twin. The front gaucho was modified by a PO to form a full double (54" wide) bed, instead of the 3/4 (48") size of the standard couches. With our sons each occupying one of the twin beds (and having plenty of personal space for books and toys), we are very comfortable.

We really like the flexibility of the large credenza table (we bought a couple of lightweight wooden folding chairs at IKEA, and store them in the closet with a bungee cord). Yes, setting up and taking down are an inconvenience, but in nice weather we would probably eat outside.

We find the layout unconventional, by highly functional. It works perfectly for us - as well as my in-laws' 34' SOB (permanently parked) with a 60x75 (short!) rear queen. The rear bath in the A/S is more spacious too.
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:24 AM   #12
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Wow, thank y'all so much for all the input! Much appreciated.

Shari: oh yeah, guess I should have thought of those search terms. I'll plug 'em in and do some reading. Thanks!

Richard: now you're talkin'! That looks like a great setup.

Paul: wow, that 1973 Safari Special sounds like it has an excellent floor plan for our needs. I'll keep my eye out -- muchas gracias!

I can tell that this forum is going to be an amazing resource! Much obliged to all.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:35 AM   #13
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Smile Re: Floor Plans

I purchased a 76 Argosy a few years back and decided to re do the floor plan. A majot part of that decision was the fact that the interior was in very bad condition and neede major reworkin anyway. I gutted my trailer to the walls, removing all of the living area, kitchen and sleeping areas. The sleeping area was rebuilt with a full size bed by moving the walking aisle toward the road side of the trailer. I built in dressers above the hot water heater and wheel well. This plan has allowed for the bed and full access to the bathroom. Note: to accomplish this, a portion of the bathroom closet and the kitchen pantry needed to be redesigned, but it all works well.

Nothing is impossible, just takes some thought and diligence.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:56 AM   #14
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There is no reason you can't take a center twin setup, and make one (or both) of the twins into doubles. If you make both into doubles, you will have no aisleway bewtween them when they are open. The upside to this is you will have a coach that will sleep six, although getting to the bathroom may be an adventure.
Also, the current Airstream Life project trailer is a center bath, rear double, 1952 model. Many of the larger (25' and up) trailers have a center bath option through the 1970's, although most of them have rear twins.

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