I spend a lot of time thinking about space. Like: Will we have to store the beer in the bathroom? (See pic at left.) Ben’s wardrobe could and will be just 7 or less pairs of everything, but I need 14, or 21 maybe. I also love to cook and making thoughtful, simple, and delicious meals will be a big part of what will make this adventure enjoyable and economical. Cooking requires stuff: food, and in most cases some sort of equipment beyond a mess kit. Food + cooking equipment + our combined 28 pairs of everything need space to reside in when not in use. So Ben, when not doing laundry, and mostly in response to my wishes, spends a lot of time trying to create / save / maximize space as he designs and builds.
If you look at the original pictures of the ‘68 Safari, there were fairly large cabinets on either end. Those cabinets we torn out and replaced with – a four inch deep, open aluminum shelves.
Pretty! But not exactly practical for storing that 2lb bag of basmati rice, or the 12-pack of Tecate, the extra blanket or soup pot. And of course, when travelling, open shelves aren’t great places for storage, though when we are camping, I suppose we’ll be able to use them for sooooooomething—I’ll let you know. Maybe socks.
One recent Sunday, after a night of going to sleep and waking up thinking about space, I convinced Ben that a trip to one of the many by all accounts fabulous flea markets in the area might be a good break and a way to “purchase” rather than have to build or design hack some additional space. Though in his real life, Ben would go to swap meets, auctions, flea markets, garage sales, etc all day every day, in these couple of months, it’s been tough to tear him away from the job site.
But, we both agreed, the space between the fridge and the bed/dinette (as of yet, only marked out on blue tape on the floor) would be perfect for a cool vintage cabinet of some sort. It’s a very visible space, front and center when you step into the Airstream, and a piece of furniture could double as a side table and cabinet. We took measurements and off we went.
The Pasadena City College Flea Market – held the first Sunday of the month and from what we heard is a “just as good but less overwhelming” version of the Rose Bowl flea. After a couple of hours of up and down touring-lots to see, browse and purchase, with good prices-we came away with a couple of good finds. We spotted the white Westinghouse roaster cabinet pretty early in our rounds. We loved the original clock, the shape, the cavernous storage inside (it’s all relative people) the height, the depth BUT but decided it was too wide, maybe too much of a project in that we’d have to maybe cut a couple of inches off somehow stabilize it again by attaching it to the fridge cabinet. Not exactly the time save we were hoping for. So we wandered, bought a bunch of small tins for a dollar each that can be used for storage throughout, and bargained for a super curvy gleamy bread box that in my real life I would never have used (just seems potentially like a place where bread goes to die) but will look and fit beautifully on our nice deep counter tops. Perhaps a place for bread, or more likely shelf stable pantry stuff. After thinking and searching and coming up empty for another cabinet, we decided the 50 buck price was right to give the Westinghouse a try. Maybe it would fit ok. Sure enough, when we placed it in the spot under the window and through a slab of wood on top (of course) it seems to really belong. So we lost two inches of width on the dinette. I will sleep on the bags of basmati rice if I have to!
In other space lost and found news, we realized we had more than a few inches of clearance between the top of the fridge and the countertop, and Ben set out to create some kind of cabinet there, really a little narrow cubby.
What could fit in such a small space? Foil and plastic wrap and baggies we decided, so a test-fit roll of aluminum foil became Ben’s constant companion as he measured and cut and fit. He worked tirelessly to get at least two inches of height out of that cubby. And he did it! We now have the coolest little sliding door cabinet. The door face is original trim from the Airstream. The handle is a through-bolt familiar to anyone who has ever come face to face with their subfloor. But it turns out, the foil fit, but plastic wrap doesn’t. So we imagine we will enjoy equally using that space for silverware – you can watch the full video demo on Instagram.
If not silverware, maybe for our socks, or our rock collection, or our pet snake. Just kidding on the last two!