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Old 12-08-2014, 04:42 PM   #1
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Renovating for family of 4

Hi guys! I'm new here and my husband and I will be buying an airstream to Reno and live in full time with our almost 3 year old and 17 moth old. We are hoping to find a 31' for as much space as possible but would love to put in bunk beds for the kids. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has ideas on how to get the optimum amount of space and open feeling for what we are wanting. Any floor plans? Ideas? Pictures? Thanks in advance for any input!
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:44 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. You might want to be a bit more specific with what your budget is, what your background for home repairs/renovation is and what your timeframe is for the whole project? With two young kids in tow, it may be that you need something fairly quickly and in mostly move in condition. Just give us some more details.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:39 AM   #3
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Oh yes, sorry. It's all still a little new for us.
Time frame is really whenever we can get in it, it's not necessarily a major factor.
My husband is a sub contractor and can build/reno pretty much anything, it's what he does, we just haven't worked with any sort if RV before.
As far as budget, we're looking at $2500-3000 for renovations to start out. We haven't found an airstream yet but we're keeping our eyes peeled and are hoping for fixer uppers but good bones and structure. We have access to supplies, wood, and all kinds of stuff so can probably get more done with a smaller budget.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:46 AM   #4
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I know several people have refurbished their rigs and put bunks in. Skatiero and Pizzachop are two that come to mind and you might want to search for their threads or comments. I believe Skatiero has posted pictures so you can get an idea of what others have done.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:49 AM   #5
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Where would the Airstream be located? One spot where it's warm? Traveling? Those are also considerations.

Also, $2500-3000 budget for renovations but what would you be starting with? That's not a huge amount of money so you'll need a trailer that is pretty much in working order, not a true "fixer upper."

That said, we have a 25' Airstream with a family of three. Thus far our longest trip has been just over two weeks and the Airstream was more than fine - we had plenty of space and plenty of extra space. As a point of reference, we ate two meals outside of the Airstream on that trip, so we use the trailer facilities a lot. And we weren't always hooked up to water/power.

We have talked about possibly full timing in 2017 but for now it's just a discussion. If we did, we would look to purchase a larger trailer so we can:

1. Add a larger kitchen.
2. Create two "bedrooms," one of which would convert to an office space in the daytime (for me to work and for our daughter to home school).
3. Add a washer/dryer. This isn't so much to wash clothes but really for drying. On the east coast we have found that towels and things just don't dry. Even a small dryer would help make full timing more enjoyable. There are combination units that probably could be retrofitted into a trailer (SOB's have them).

If you are looking for inspiration and ideas, I like Travel Trailer Renovations by Hofmann Architecture. They have great modern feels to their renovations. But yes, they have higher budgets.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:36 AM   #6
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We are in the Texas Hill Country, so pretty warm most of the time and it will be in one spot for a while, we don't plan on traveling in it any time soon. The goal is to pay off debts as fast as possible so it will be on the front part of my in-laws property, so no rent. We are looking into what our options are for electricity and water. No, the budget isn't very high and we are hoping our initial but will be in the same price range of our reno budget. It's low but I know it's been done. We aren't looking to completely rebuild just renovate the function to our specific needs. The budget may have to grow some but our hope is to make it functional at first and then we can always go from there.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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And no, we aren't looking to restore a true fixer upper, this is not a hobby for us at the moment, just a life style change.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #8
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Well, the fact that you will be camped on your in-law's property in Texas changes the dynamics significantly. And for you in a good way. I think you can get by with less in that case.
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:05 PM   #9
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Since you want a large Airstream, you're in luck! You'll find that it's the little ones that command the high prices. Florida seems to be a good place to look, as many of the trailers belonged to folks that have departed this mortal realm. Sometimes a super deal can be found. Many of the '70's era trailers have vast amounts of closet space; some of this could be demo'd and bunks installed.

Personally, I would look for a (somewhat rare) side bath. There is a row of closets before you get to the bedroom- perfect for bunk beds. This would still give you a vague bit of privacy. Here's an example: '75 Airstream

Do you have your TV (tow vehicle) lined up? When I was shopping for my Airstream, one was swooped up before I could show up, and a second buyer showed up as I was waving cash in the PO's face of my (now) Airstream! So be ready to pounce if you find a good deal.

Good luck!
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:58 PM   #10
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Thank you! Yes, a side bathroom is kind of what I'm hoping for. We do have a two vehicle so hopefully we can pounce when we find the right one. Is it common to find floor rot in older models like this? We've seen quite a few people have that issue and are worried about running into that. We want to be smart about buying and not just buy something that's a good deal and run into major issues like that that could have been caught.
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