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When most RVers decide to give their RV a makeover, they buy new things. Couches, curtains, decor, furniture—it all arrives neatly in boxes from Amazon. But these RVers took a different approach, creating a beautiful Vintage Airstream home filled with lovingly selected antique RV decor.
Meet Amelia, a 1972 Airstream Argosy.
Amelia—named after Amelia Earhart, of course—was purchased and renovated by Dan and Terri Closs.
“She was in pretty good shape for an old lady but she had some issues that needed to be addressed, least among which were the rodents living in the walls! But that didn’t daunt us because we had other plans for her,” said Terri.
Terri and Dan completely gutted the Vintage Airstream trailer. “Everything, and I mean everything, was changed inside and out.”
Once their Airstream was nothing but a shell, it was time to start rebuilding.
Going Back in Time with the RV Design Style
With a blank slate and completely empty RV, Terri and Dan had to decide what their interior design style would be. Dan preferred Victorian or Gypsy. Terri wanted something that felt like stepping back in time into the 1940s.
The couple compromised, creating what they lovingly call “Grandma’s Attic” style. This unique design features many vintage RV decor pieces and antiquing finds!
They used antique furniture and collectibles to give the RV an older aesthetic.
Searching Out Antique RV Decor & Furniture
“I’d love to tell you that we had a design plan all figured out from the get-go but we didn’t,” Terri said. The project took shape as the couple hunted down pieces from antique stores, flea markets, eBay, Facebook, and Craigslist. They kept their measurements on hand as they searched for the perfect fit.
Giving new life to old furniture was the dream in this RV. The two nightstands are a 1930s makeup table cut in half!
The bedside lamps were completely rewired and rebuilt. Dan took two hurricane lamp bases and added a harp and wire framing to fit the small, curved space around the nightstands. Terri sewed the fabric and added beads to give the appearance of being antiques.
The couple then wisely decided to permanently adhere the lamps to the nightstands so they never worry about these special DIY faux-antique RV decor items falling over!
A Second Chance at Life
Almost everything in this RV was found secondhand and brought back to life—from the bed to the dining table, chairs, chandelier—even the doors!
Even the large wooden column—seen below—was salvaged from a burned-out home in Detroit and purchased at a flea market.
“Dan had to put the column on his lathe and turn all the black char off of it to find the original wood. He originally wanted to have two columns but one flew apart in the lathe. Can we all say “Design Change?” “And onwards we went,” Terri added.
Dan even put his skills to the test by designing and creating the gingerbread pattern you see across the ceiling. He steamed oak to fit the curve of the ceiling and used spindles and beads to create the fretwork.
The Antique RV Kitchen
Not even an original cabinet was kept in this trailer. The new kitchen cabinet was an old and tired buffet from Terri’s cousin.
It was “black with age and might grungy too,” but Terri and Dan stripped and refinished it to its former glory.
The only element inside this trailer that’s original is the kitchen sink.
“The sink opening was sawed into the top and the old drop-in sink was then screwed up into place to make it an under mount. The piece of wood that was removed from the countertop now sits on top of the sink to give the countertop a seamless look when not in use.”
All New(ish) Bathroom
Even more impressive than the furniture re-used throughout this RV might be in the bathroom. The bathroom sink was made from an old porcelain food bowl!
The bathroom and closet doors were restyled drapery found at an antique store.
There’s nothing paint can’t fix!
Looking at the outside of this RV, it’s hard to imagine it’s over 50 years old! Swipe to see before and after.
In addition to the beautiful exterior paint job, the old red, white, and blue awning was replaced with a green and red one that perfectly matches the exterior paint job.
Read Next: 19 RV Exterior Makeover Ideas & Tips
Any tips for using antique furniture in an RV?
I had to ask Terri to share her expertise on retrofitting old furniture to live in an RV.
She said: “Old furniture was glued together with hide glue. This glue will not hold up to the strain of travel. We highly recommend you take these joints apart and use either Tite Bond or epoxy to keep them secure.”
- Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, 16-Ounces #1414, 3 Pack
What do you think of this Vintage Airstream Remodel?
I have never seen an RV like this before—and I look at renovated RVs for a living! I’m so impressed with how Terri and Dan completely rebuilt this RV and created their own style. Their use of antique furniture and well-curated vintage camper decor was so well done!
What do you think of this makeover? Share your thoughts in the comments!