Phase 2 at Ultimate Airstreams

We made our trek from Bozeman to Clackamas, Oregon at the end of September for one main purpose — to drop the Airstream off at Ultimate Airstreams. To read about where we stopped along the way, check out this post.

Whenever you tow, the weather is very important to take into consideration. Once we had decided that we were going to do some modifications at Ultimate, we needed to choose a date to start the project. We knew we wouldn’t be spending the winter in Bozeman, but in the San Diego area instead, and we knew that winter weather can start early in the northern Mountain West region, so we took both of those things into consideration. We ultimately decided that we should be safe leaving Bozeman at the end of September, taking the longer, flatter route to avoid mountain passes just in case Mother Nature decided to get winter started early at the higher elevations. We allowed ourselves 8 days to travel and enjoy the sights along the route to Clackamas. We dropped the Airstream off on October 4, a rainy Monday morning, and immediately hopped back in the truck and drove the absolutely gorgeous, shorter (750 miles vs 900 miles) route home. It took exactly 11 hours to get back to Bozeman and exactly one week later, we received our first snow fall. The timing really couldn’t have been better, as not only were we able to avoid snow, but also below freezing temperatures that would’ve required us to winterize the Airstream. Four weeks later, we packed up the truck, drove west once again where we were blessed with fantastic driving weather, spent a night in Spokane, and then continued on to Clackamas where we spent one more night before picking up the freshened up and fixed up Airstream.

By the way, this is our second project with Ultimate Airstreams, or ‘Phase 2’ as they dubbed it. To see what we had done during Phase 1, click here.

So, what did we have done this time? The major project during this phase was to replace the round, bumped out kitchen sink and cabinet with a straight one. Ian at Ultimate suggested this to us the first go round, as it would give us more space to move around, especially with the addition of the desk, but we said no. It didn’t take us long living with it to realize he was right, but we put the idea of another modification session off for a while. Like almost two years. If we were going to go in for a phase 2, we wanted to make sure we had a list of every possible item/issue that needed to be addressed.

We decided that if we were going to change the bumped out kitchen to a straight kitchen, we could change out the round sink for a square one. We also decided to replace the stock Atwood oven/stove combo with the newer Furrion model that now comes in the new Airstreams. Seeing as the Corian countertop was going to need to be replaced, we opted for the ‘rice paper’ color as opposed to the original (which has a yellowish tint), as it is a lighter, brighter color.

We also had two things addressed from phase 1. First, the bottom kind of fell out of one the drawers underneath the couch (our fault, not theirs), so they fixed that and reinforced it. Second, the arms of the couch had sharp edges, so we had them upholster those.

After that, it was just a list of maintenance items: Fix the hinge on the water heater door, replace the blind in one of the vista view windows, and fix the trim along one of the walls.

I did an absolute horrible job at taking before pictures, but was able to scrounge some up to show how some of the items looked pre-phase 2.

Before

After
Before
After

As you can see in the above photos, we now have so much more room between the desk and sink area. The original round design was actually not very good. That bumped out sink took up so much real estate and the round cabinet doors were literally falling off as we drove into Ultimate Airstreams parking lot on the day of drop off. We are so much happier with the straight cabinet design!

The rice paper color of countertop has little flecks in it to make it a little more interesting (and to hide crumbs better).

The previous oven had a metal door, so in order to look inside, it had to be opened. It also didn’t have an oven light, which the new Furrion model does. Besides looking much sexier than the previous, the new oven/stove also has a very functional safety feature. Whenever one of the knobs is turned on, whether it’s for a burner or the oven, the ring around it lights up red. This is a fantastic safety feature as it lets you know that there is propane actively flowing. With our past stove, one of the burners wasn’t shut off completely once and the propane detector ended up going off, so we’re very glad to have this feature.

One would think that replacing that large, round cabinet would mean losing storage space, but I think the storage is actually better now than before. Again, I didn’t take a before picture, but previously there was a small garbage can under the sink that took up a bunch of space. We didn’t use it for garbage seeing as we had a pull-out garbage can installed in the desk in phase 1. That being removed, plus the fact that this sink isn’t as deep as the previous and the builder was able to move the plumbing back further, really freed up a lot of space. They were able to design the little storage notch that you see in the bottom pic, which keeps bottle from moving around while we’re under tow.

Before

After

As you can see, after phase 1, the arms of the couch had sharp edges. I hit my back on that corner more times than I count, and when we decided to do phase 2, getting some padding on there was definitely a must for me. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and so is my back.

Another successful project with Ultimate Airstreams is complete and they did a great job addressing the issues and maintenance items that needed to be taken care of!

 

Campgrounds/RV Parks near Ultimate Airstreams:

Pheasant Ridge RV Park – Wilsonville, OR

Ainsworth State Park – Corbett, OR

Portland-Woodburn RV Park – Woodburn, OR

Emerson Vineyards (Harvest Hosts) – Monmouth, OR

Silver Falls State Park – Sublimity, OR

Airstream Modifications with Ultimate Airstreams (and a Stay in Portland, OR)

We had Ultimate Airstreams do some much-needed modifications to our 2017 27′ International Signature Airstream. We lived in it for a year and a half and decided to make some changes in order to make it more full-time friendly. We contacted Ultimate Airstreams back in April to discuss the changes we’d like make and to schedule an appointment. We worked with Ian to design a new layout that would work better for us and we dropped the Airstream off on September 3rd for a five-week renovation.

The factory-installed Airstream ‘couches’ are notoriously uncomfortable. Airstreams are not designed for full-time living, and the seating is a good indicator of that. The most important aspect in our new layout was having a comfortable couch. Like, a real couch. And that’s what Ultimate Airstreams did. Our couch actually started as a couch from IKEA that was manipulated and altered to fit into the Airstream. The cushions were reupholstered with a durable vinyl material that looks very much like leather in the Vintage Pretzel color. To replace the storage that was lost under each bench seat, two large drawers were installed under the couch. While the couch no longer converts to a bed, it is large enough for one person to sleep on, if needed. There are cup holders in the arms of the couch and two pop-up outlets behind it — one inverter and one regular. We absolutely love our couch and are finally able to watch TV in comfort!

The long bench seat was never really utilized in our Airstream — hardly anybody ever sat on it and nobody every slept on it. We replaced it with a desk, which has really changed our daily life. After about 21 months of setting up and breaking down the 27″ iMac every day, or leaving it sitting on the dinette table where it always seemed to be in the way, we finally have a functioning ‘office’. We are full timers that still work full time. There’s no end in sight for living the full-time lifestyle, so we needed to make our space work better for us. Thanks to the modifications, we have a dedicated work space by day and a comfortable lounging space by night that allows us both to see the TV without having to put the computer away every evening. We chose a butcher block top for the desk, which looks great alongside the cabinets and couch. When designing the desk, a must for me was to have a pull-out garbage can. The Airstream came with one tiny, under-sink garbage — again, not really meant for full-time living. We had a full-size garbage that would sit in front of the pantry, but we had to move it any time we wanted to open the pantry. Super annoying. We now have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind garbage as well as a drawer for storage above it.

(And because I always get at least one message asking about how we store the iMac while traveling whenever I post about it, read this blog post about the case we use and where we store while under tow.)

We purchased the desk chair from the Laura Davidson website. It’s a knockoff of the ridiculously priced Herman Miller Eames Soft Pad chair. It comes with rolling casters on it, but the website also sells these stationary glides. In order to keep the chair secure while towing, Kenny at Ultimate Airstreams installed hooks to which we attach a bungee cord that is wrapped around the base of the chair.

They found a new home for the fire extinguisher that always seemed to be in the way (Max’s collar got caught on it a couple of times.) They also fixed a few things that had been on our to-do list — replaced missing rivets, replaced the broken bathroom doorknob, made our door easier to open and close (it previously took a lot of muscle), and fixed our awning LED lights that have never worked.

We are beyond thrilled with the finished product! Ian and Kenny were fantastic to work with and they actually finished the project almost a week ahead of schedule, so we were able to pick it up early. Ultimate Airstreams is located in Clackamas, Oregon and is owned by Airstream Adventures Northwest, the five Airstream dealerships located in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and NorCal. If you dream it up, they can make it happen! We’ve been living in our newly remodeled trailer for a week and a half now and have commented almost daily about how nice it is and how we wish we would have done it sooner. However, waiting so long let us figure out exactly what we wanted/needed.

Ultimate Airstreams

16520 SE Evelyn Street

Clackamas, OR 97015

www.ultimateairstream.com

Our Stay in Portland

While Ultimate Airstreams was working on our home, we rented a condo in Portland for five weeks. It was located in the South Waterfront neighborhood, which is a clean, quiet neighborhood along the Willamette River. There’s a really nice, dog-friendly green space along the river, a farmer’s market every Thursday night in the neighborhood park, a few shops, an Orange Theory Fitness (which we both joined for a month), and a handful of food options within a few blocks of where we stayed, which was the The John Ross building.

Definitely a different kind of lifestyle than we’re used to!
The South Waterfront Greenway was a great place to walk Max every morning and was only a block from our condo.
The weekly farmer’s market where we’d stock up on goodies.
There’s a Blue Star Donuts in the neighborhood, which was both wonderful and terrible. When in Portland, skip Voodoo Donuts and head to Blue Star instead.
There’s also a vet in the neighborhood, whom Max had to visit after getting an eye infection at Cannon Beach. We saw two different doctors on two different occasions and they were both fantastic.

We didn’t venture out as much as we would have liked for a few reasons: We were busy with work; I (Missy) took a trip to Wisconsin to visit family; and the parking situation wasn’t ideal. The building has underground parking, but it’s not really built for a large truck. We technically fit without scraping the ceiling, but the assigned parking spots are very snug. If other cars were parked around us, it took both of us to get in and out of the spot — Travis driving and me directing him through a 27-point turn so we didn’t hit anybody. Not really ideal for exploring the city. However, we did make it to the following sites:

Washington Park: Home to the Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Garden, Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, and the Portland Japanese Garden, the latter of which we spent a decent amount of time at. The Japanese Garden is laid out so beautifully and is very serene. We grabbed a bite for lunch at their Umami Cafe. I would definitely put this on the list as a must-see when visiting Portland!

The Pearl District: It’s only about a 10-minute drive from South Waterfront to this neighborhood where you’ll find Powell’s Books, Deschutes Brewery, trendy boutiques, big-name stores, restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops, and galleries. There’s also a Whole Foods with an Amazon Locker where we had a package sent. If we were to recommend an area for someone to stay who is going to visit Portland, this is it.

Cannon Beach: It’s a little over an hour and half drive to Cannon Beach from Portland. It was a much needed and enjoyed trip by all three of us.

Studio One Theaters: A luxury movie theater with a more personal vibe. Our particular theater was set up and decorated like a New York penthouse.

We know there is so much more to explore in Portland and hope to get back some day to do so. After picking up the Airstream from Ultimate Airstreams, we stayed at Pheasant Ridge RV Park, about 20 minutes south of Portland. We spent a few days there while moving back into the Airstream and getting everything organized. We’d highly recommend Pheasant Ridge as a basecamp while the visiting the Portland area. Read our review here.

Making an Airstream a Home

When we decided to purchase an Airstream, we chose to purchase new as opposed to renovating an old one. Actually, renovating wasn’t even a discussion, for many reasons: 1) We didn’t have the time to renovate; 2) We didn’t have the space to renovate; 3) We didn’t have the skills to renovate; and 4) We legitimately love the clean, modern interiors of the new Airstreams, especially the Internationals. The only drawback of purchasing new, as far as interior design goes, is that the new trailers don’t have the homey feel of the renovated ones. Over the past few months, we’ve been making sure to add personal touches to make our Airstream feel like home. We recently made some modifications to our International Signature that add comfort and warmth to the clean, modern feel.

The Dinette – BEFORE
The Dinette – AFTER

As you can see from the above photos, we changed out the curtains and table, as well as added sconces to the puck lights above the table.

We had the curtains made by Carey Boland of AirDrapes. The four panels with tiebacks for the dinette area in a 27FB cost $780. See the closeup below to see the beautiful herringbone pattern.

As we are currently in our home town, we looked to two family businesses to get the table made. My mom’s cousins own Smith Builders, and they had their cabinet guy make the table ($50). My uncle owns Wirtz Painting, and he stained and sealed the table for us ($50). It’s possible we got family discounts, so don’t quote us on the price. We absolutely love the new table! The color matches the dark finish of the cabinets perfectly.

We purchased the telescoping pedestal ($438) from Silver Trailer Supply, though I wouldn’t recommend ordering from them as we had a few issues. We really didn’t care for the flip-up table leg on the old table as it didn’t feel very stable, and the table even collapsed once while towing. The telescoping pedestal is easy to use with air-powered height adjustment and comes with all of the hardware needed to attach the table top to the pedestal and the pedestal to the floor.

Helpful Hint: When putting the table down to use the dinette as a bed, the table no longer swings out and away from the wall, but goes directly down. This means that the size of the table top needs to be smaller than the original or else it won’t be able to retract completely due to the inward slope of the wall of the trailer. The original table top was 37″ x 39″ and we made the new table top 37″ x 35″. We have about a 4″ gap between the edge of the table and the wall now, which we actually prefer to the table being right up against the wall.

Throw pillows are from Target

We ordered the sconces from EzClipse. They’re technically made to spice up recessed lighting, but they work well with the under cabinet puck lights too. To install, I just attached three small magnets on the cabinet around the light and attached the sconce to the magnets.

Another change we made a few months back was to replace the accordion dividers with curtains. The curtains are actually shower curtains from the Target. We purchased the sliding eyes and the hooks from Amazon, and removed the clamps from the hooks.

We did a few things in the bedroom to make it as comfortable as possible. First, we bought extra deep sheets and memory foam mattress toppers from AB Lifestyles. Then, we bought the comforters, Euro pillows, and throw pillows from Pottery Barn Kids. Anyone who has visited us as commented on how comfy the beds both look and feel. We added a little ‘bunk bed’ for Max by cutting a piece of 3/4″ plywood to fit under the mattresses, stained it, and then added his Petsmart ED by Ellen Degeneres bed on top. Since the photo directly below was taken, we’ve also added a Crosley Keepsake turntable, a succulent (real one replaced by a fake one), and a shadowbox frame of our golden doodle, Ace, who is no longer with us. The geometric planter is from Wildwood Lettering on Etsy and the shadow box is from Social Print Studio, where I get all of my Insta pics printed.

And then of course, PICTURES! We’ve been able to add in a few pictures here and there from our travels as well as our life in San Diego. The picture/plant holder below was purchased at The Queen Bee Market in Del Mar, California from Wildflower California and the delicous-smelling candle is by Paddywax but purchased at the cutest little shop in La Jolla, California called Hi Sweetheart (definitely check it out if you’re ever in the neighborhood). P.S. The plant is a horsetail palm.

Good Vibes frame from Target. Picture frames from Michaels.

We also displayed photos using magnets on the wall pockets from The Container Store, which we use to hold some of our vinyl albums. The faux fur blanket Max is lying on is a favorite in our house, which is why we have three — one for each of us! They can be found at Restoration Hardware.

And lastly, we collect pins along our travels and display them on cork strips that we’ve mounted in the dinette area using 3M tape. Just a little something to remind us where we’ve been! Cork strips purchased on Amazon.