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Spotlight: Prairie Dawn Airstream (pt 2)

Year: 1977 Model: Airstream Safari Length: 23’

Interior Layout: 3/4 Dinette bed (original layout) with double bed futon (remodeled layout)

Before she was known as Prairie Dawn she was Tasta. As I mentioned in part 1, she was loving restored by a family in Saskatoon with roots in Norway.

Airstreams are registered in a world wide data base and are often re-registered when they change owners. It was time for her to have new adventures with a new name but with roots tied to where she had been loved. The Canadian Prairies. Which is why we named her Prairie Dawn.

The interior had been completely redone by Paul Tastad and his father. For all intents and purposes, Brad and I could have moved our own items in and hit the road upon her arrival to the East Coast.

(Ok, not entirely true. Prairie Dawn’s (PD) interior was under one thick layer of dust and grim from her cross Canada tour. That alone took 2 days to scour.) But she was my project. The one I had been waiting for and it was time to get to work.

The very first night we spent in Prairie Dawn was in our driveway! I was dying to get a feel for her after she had been properly cleaned.

After a less than cozy night complaining of a bad back and hips etc, Brad and I decided that the dinette bed was to forever be a dinette. We would convert the single side bed into a double futon. It would be a sofa in the daytime and our bed at night.

The single bed acted as storage (a hot commodity in a tiny home) so we didn’t want to loose that. Instead I designed a frame that would fastest to the lid of the storage box and pull apart creating the frame work for the futon. Topped with a really good sturdy futon mattress, it doubled as a cozy seat to lounge on during the day!

I primed and repainted most of PD’s interior to ensure that we would have no issue with wear over time. I broke out the Stix Primer again (I told you I loved that stuff) and my go-to white paint Benjamin Moore OC-117 Simply White and went over all the white surfaces again, sanding where I needed.

Weight is also the most important thing to remember in a camper. And the bathroom door was adding to the unnecessary overall weight. Not to mention it came off its rail during transit and wedged itself in a way that damaged the door frame and stuck.

We needed something lighter and easier to manage during transit. I designed a double door out of lightweight board and added hand-stained wood inlay for interest. It might be my favourite feature!

The cabinetry was in amazing shape but the pantry door was a different colour than the rest of the kitchen. I imagine it was meant to be so because it was actually a closet. I wanted it to look like it was part of the kitchen I colour matched it (by eye! Proud colour expert moment!) and now it looks like it's included in the kitchen design. With the knobs all spray painted satin gold, it was the perfect touch up to an already perfectly designed kitchen.

Then it was time for the decor! Oh the Pillows!!! Admittedly I went a little nuts in the pillow department. But they are the easiest way to add colour and flavour in a very small space.

A few of my favourite wall items came from shops like Adora Boutique and Madison McKenzie and were attached with 3M velcro wall hanging tabs for easy removal during travel. (More on my 3M obsession later!)

When designing or decorating the interior of a moving vehicle decor has to be removable for fast take down when travelling. When Prairie Dawn is rockin’ and rollin’ on the open road there is no chance that items not secured will survive it to your next stop! 3M tabs are a campers BFF!

Not everything was completed in the 2019 season. This year she will be properly outfitted with window treatments (sorry camper families who have ever parked behind us!) and a new exterior awning. The awning will add colour to the outdoor living space as well as be a nice homage to her vintage days; back when she was shiny and new and her original owners “tin can” dream.

Thank-you to this guy for all his beautiful photos of our summer "home"and well, just for being his great self. Brad Dillon Photography

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