At thirty-feet long, an Airstream Sovereign chassis can provide enough space for a family of four to co-habitate for lengthy periods. However, the classic seventies Airstream style offered cramped and confining accommodations, as well as a poo-brown interior. Uninviting to say the least.
When this client signed up for a custom build, the family restrictions went out the door and an open floor plan was put into the works. The ’77 Airstream Sovereign arrived on our lot already gutted and a blank sheet, but the client had a specific layout and accoutrements in mind. In particular; a rear RV queen-sized bed, split bathroom (Shower on one side, vanity/toilet on the other), and a washer/dry combo to name a few requests.
One of the major requirements was an Aqua Hot hydronic heater, which the client uses extensively in their own product, emergency and first response Nomadic Safety trailers. These units provide continuous on-demand hot water and quite, clean, and draft-free interior heat from AC shore power or Liquid Propane fuel. The unit feeds heat exchangers positioned around the cabin and provides two-zone climate control. There are many ways to go about heating your RV (like the wood burning stove addressed below), you can find a bunch of methods to provide warmth for your camper over at your-rv-lifestyle.com, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
To give the Aquahot element an upper hand, we insulated the Sovereign body and floor with closed-cell spray foam for the highest R-value possible in an Airstream. This combination means the camper will be comfortable all year round, on grid or off. Speaking of off-grid, the top of this Sovereign Airstream now has 400 watts of solar power that feeds six 6-Volt Absorbed Glass Mat batteries to offer nearly 700 amp hours of 12-volt electrical.
An OutBack systems controls the solar charge, inverts the DC power to AC and, charges the battery bank when hooked up to the grid. This efficient system gives the user complete control to make, manage, and store energy. On the other end of the electrical spectrum, a custom 1000 watt HiFi sound system is tied into the 43in LCD TV that’s hidden in a cabinet at the front lounge. The stereo features Bluetooth connectivity for audio, and the only visible interior speakers (of 11) are mid-range woofers back-mounted in the front end cap.
This clean install complements the modern cabinetry, constructed out of black walnut. All wood working is performed in-house by our wood studio, led by Bryan Rowe. From the overhead fixture to the custom drop-down lights, walnut adds luxury and durability to the Airstream’s interior and a nice contrast to the raw aluminum interior skin. Underfoot, seamless Marmoleum flooring is naturally beautiful, durable, sustainable and healthy.
Another standout feature of this premium build is Art Glass from Salt Lake Artist Steve Teuscher. The glass is present at the front TV cabinet and at the end of the galley, where it hides the stereo system components. Both of these locations are backlit with color-changing LEDS. The shower and bathroom door are both constructed from the same glass which represents aspen trees.
Finishing up the interior space is an Orland tent stove. This tiny wood-burning stove easily heats the camper up with natural warmth and light, and is the perfect addition for an extended off-grid winter hideout.
At the exterior of the Airstream, other than updating all systems like axles and holding tanks, and patching any unused vents/doors, the finish was left alone for ease of maintenance… it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? We did add a new awning, and to bring sound outside, woofers are hidden in the original battery door, while tweeters are mounted in the entrance door light and a re-purposed Airstream tail light shroud at the rear.