We have completed our walk through video of our BIG Avion trailer mid bath expansion project!
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If you have not checked out the many videos we have made over our Avion ownership, or trusted other bloggers videos we have in our YouTube library now is a great time to explore. Happy travels in 2021!
This is a quick post based on the punch list of things we are going to prep our new to us 1987 Avion, 32S but this post applies to probably all Avions!
Under your stove you have a terrific drop down cabinet with a lot of good storage space. In our 1973 we used this for storing oversized trays, or some cast iron cookware and a plastic dish tub for stuff.
HOWEVER—this is also where LP lines typically come through on ALL AVIONS in the back corner (normally) of this cupboard which can pose a safety issue. You NEVER want these lines to be pinched, or worse, punctured by stuff that you may have stored in that storage bin.
When you roll down the road, it has been recorded that your interior stuff sustains essentially an earthquake (cannot remember the degree magnitude right now, but is significant) so it behooves you to batten down the hatches, and to be sure that anything you have in this convenient under stove storage area cannot shift and pinch, poke or puncture those precious LP lines!
Today, on our 1987 Kevin created a wooden “safety cage” that created a safe space for those LP lines. This project took a few minutes to do, a board, a power drill with screw driver bit and a few screws. Safety is the word of the day.
Please check out this storage cabinet, and protect those LP lines! (yes, that is the original 33 year old linoleum!)
Be well, hope to meet you on the road or at a Silver Avion Fellowship Rally soon!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman
1987 Avion, 32S (our forever Avion) & a 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande (currently for sale)
On our project list for our new to us ’87 Avion was to remove the original 1987 humongous microwave. In truth–the edges of interior box were rusty and surely this behemoth sucks a huge amount of juice when “fired up” and running. Plus…do we really want to trust the safety of a 33-year-old Microwave?
As an aside, in case you don’t know…Kevin and I have over 30+ years of 18th century living history reenacting at historic sites, museums, national and state historic parks from Nova Scotia to Colonial Williamsburg. Yes…we are THOSE people who make and wear clothing and live the life of our forefathers and mothers in 1757-1781. As a result of the immersion into this hobby, Kevin and I have long ago learned how to cook, clean and survive without a microwave for days on end.
Yes, at home I do use a microwave, but camping life and its pace and fresh air seems to shrug microwaving for us.
When we bought our ’73 Avion right off the bat we began looking to see what cabinet we could retrofit to install a small microwave thinking we needed one in an Rv. Doesn’t every RV have one after all? (our Class A did). But our common sense took hold and I asked discerningly- “what do we really use it for??”. Perhaps heating a left over cup of coffee (can be done in a sauce pan), or reheating a left over (we rarely have leftovers and if so, tin foil can do the trick on the grill, in a covered pot on the stove or in our Avion oven). So did we REALLY need a microwave and to hack into the pristine, original cabinetry that Avion’s were/are known for? We decided to wait a year of using our 73 before we hacked. A year turned into three and there was no doubt, no microwave was needed for us. We are resourceful camping souls from the 1700’s after all- having logged literally 1000’s of hours in reproduction canvas tents, hauling water and cooking over an open fire even in 95 degree summers (with 3-4 layers of wool and linen clothing to boot)! Running water and a toilet are high style for us!
So fast forward to our newly purchased ’87 Avion. The 32S has a front kitchen. It’s one of the big reasons we love this floor plan. Here is a photo of the behemoth microwave that came with her off the assembly line in Michigan 33 years ago this past February. Yeah, the # buttons were like the size of a postage stamp!
Here below are some photos after the microwave was removed, and the cabinet interior cleaned up, a floor created over the framing and wiring for the stove exhaust hood safely wrapped, encased and secured. Kevin did a super job on this and WOW!! Look at all this space I have now! More than enough for some modern convenience contraptions I really do use like…my air fryer, small InstaPot, my crockpot and metal stock pot (for the occasional Lobsta’ dinners now and then or the rally chili cook-off contest!) Plus maybe even some oversized boxes perhaps of dry cereals, oatmeal, etc.
I had the brainstorm one night that instead of trying to salvage some original Avion cabinet doors to put in here, how about a corkboard? In 225 Sq Ft of living space you always want to err on the side of versatility and each thing, full timers will tell you, should have at least 2 purposes! So onto Amazon I went and found this beauty–a wood framed, magnetic chalkboard! I have the link for it in our page that features our Favorite things/resources. (no, we do not have an Amazon store, we do not get any residuals from anything you order, its just us helping you to find things we love, use and have tried before)
I love the way the black chalkboard matches the look of the black front refrigerator and oven. Really looks like it belongs!
So let us know?? what cha’ think? We simply love it! We used the same hardware as we had replaced in the kitchen (seen on right photo above) and so here is the big reveal below side by side….you decide!! BTW…this board is chalkboard and magnetized so i am thinking a fun place to put grandsons current photos and some little magnets from special places we go to around the USA!!
Another project checked off the list! This one took about a total of about 3-4 hours total including refit of interior cupboard, staining of frame, going to store to get hinges and the intallation this evening
You may have seen our sneak peak where we unveiled that we just purchased a new to us 1987 Avion 32S. We have dove right in getting to our punch list. The weather here in upstate NY still is not great (3rd wk in April and still in the 40s-50s). Thankfully for us (but not on the pocketbook) we have secured an additional RV garage bay 3 doors down from our 1973 (which is coming on for sale soon!)
The biggest “change” we have done so far in the last 12 days is the total switch out of the original cabinet hardware throughout the trailer which was a combination of off white porcelain and brass tone pulls and updating it with a new look that to us seems to go with the quintessential look of our all aluminum trailer. Before doing this switch out, I wiped down every cabinet inside and out applied Howard’s Restor-A-Finish to every piece of woodwork, doors, cabinet and closet fronts, then followed up with Howard’s Feed N’ Wax which not only makes the wood “pop” but also protects it with a non sticky wax finish. (I have placed a video from the Howard company in some additional details below)
See what you think!
You will notice that we found we HAD to re-purpose the original oval ended backplates because there was no way we could circumvent the fade and marks that they made. So Kevin had the awesome idea of spray painting them the hammered pewter finish we have used before. Below is after Kevin had by hand soaking in paint stripper, then stripper neutralizer, then green scrubbied them and finished with a steel toothbrush, then sprayed on primer. Here is our parking lot “clothes line”!
So we used the Rustoleum Hammered Aluminum (light version) to give it “the Pewter Palace look” and then installed the new brushed stainless modern handles for a clean updated look (Thanks to daughter Sarah for her #1 vote on the handles!). The handles were found at Lowes in stock, in store just under $7 each- great quality!
Below you can see why we could not go with just the handles, but needed the backing plate. By the way, this is also before I applied the Feed N’ Wax.
After, but plate ghost remains!
The finished job in the kitchen! We are so very thrilled with the way it looks and functions! We like the traditional “hammered pewter” with the modern sleek brushed aluminum handles- a melding of old world…and new!
IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING MORE….
Other things we have finished on our punch list between April 14 (delivery day) to 26th, 2020.
All draperies, pillow covers removed and dry cleaned. Although they were not really dirty and former owner thankfully was a non-smoker- we just figured easier to start with a fresh baseline. The curtains had been custom made just 2 years ago. There is a lot of curtaining and I am not sure I will keep it all. In fact, I know i will be moving the beige kitchen curtains to the rear bedroom because of the pattern and color schemes of our current bedding and German decor. Plus some of the curtain valances really needed pressing too to just look perfect! 40LBS of curtains, bedding, pillow covers came with our trailer…yikes that is a lot of weight!
All cabinetry doors and wood walls have been treated and fed with Howard’s Restor-A-Finish (cherry in kitchen, Maple-Pine elsewhere). Wow…what a difference- the woodwork quality in Avion’s is second to none! Then everything was treated with a coating of Howard’s Feed N’ Wax. Check out their video!
Mattresses refreshed: the mattresses have been Febreez’d, and set out in the sunshine during 4 sunny days (not every day was warm…but they were sunny! The zippered mattress covers machine washed and came out great! The mattresses had been custom made. Due to the rear twin bed configuration, the twin beds are curved at the foot on one side to align with the curve of the rear of the Avion (Airstreams do the same thing). The mattresses are an excellent coil quality, soft pillow top and only 2 yrs old from MattressInsider.com (tags still on) -so we are keeping them.
Mirrors all cleaned. Some of the mirrors are glass, others (living room and bathroom) are highly polished stainless steel which is great because they are much lighter and will not break…ever!
Breathable Beds are important: Kevin drilled some additional vent holes in the tops of the bed’s wooden platform/storage covers. We also took the fiber vent pads from our old Avion (also from MattressInsider.com) and trimmed them to fit the “new curve”!
Dining table rehab: we took off the hardware for drop down to bed dinette table. Used same hammered aluminum spray paint to cover over rusty areas, and reinstalled table. Looks great now!
Wiped down and cleaned all interior walls and ceiling: For this cleaning I have found the best results are from either using a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge with (green) Fabuloso cleaner, diluted per their instructions or for stubborn areas I use GoJo textured hand cleaning wipes. These things are truly amazing and we use them on a lot of projects-besides being great hand cleaner wipes when working with grease, paint, etc. etc.
Window projects to date: Kevin has lubricated all the window cranks, removed interior window screens and ewe have begun repainting frames with black satin Rustoleum spray paint. Washed all the interiors of windows.
The wonderful hallway double cedar closet wardrobe has been refreshed with Colton’s Cedar Spray (all natural and not a strong scent) to bring back its great qualities to repel moths and keep clothing fresh. Neat thing we found was that Avion was so quality in their thinking that there are tabs that pull down a wooden cover with rubber gasket that goes over each clothing bar when traveling, thereby preventing the proverbial clothing hangers landing on the floor and clothes in a jumbled mess!
Original 1987 pull down shades get a bath: I have decided to retain the original pull down fabric shades that are in the kitchen/dinette area, over the sofa and in the bedroom. I HAVE removed the chic “mauve and pink” woven decorative trim though! Ha ha! I will need to replace some trim with something more to my decor in the kitchen and living room though because when these were originally made the trim was sewn and glued in place and the glue is so embedded and aged golden that it must be covered over. The bedroom ones were far easier, those I was able to just cut off the original fabric scalloped tier to leave simply just a very decent off-white linen woven-look shade which will look just fine. All of them got the “hot tub” treatment in our apartment bath tub with a hefty amount of Oxi-wash and Tide. Check out that dirty water! In defense of former owner, he had heavy black out curtains made and I suspect never really used these in the past 8 years he owned the trailer.
See dirt and mold spots
getting the HOT TUB treatment
Well, that should do it for our aching backs, but so worth it for the first 12 days of ownership. We are really pleased with how things are going. Now that it stays light longer we have been able to get over the RV “carriage barn” after I finish working each day (remotely of course due to Covid-19 Pandemic) and the past two weekends.
Our goal is to have the interior completely knocked out and finished by end of next weekend so we can move all of our gear out of the 1973 and get her up for sale! Then we will start on our 32S exterior punch list so stay tuned!
There are many reports about moisture issues from underneath RV mattresses. This is a real issue and one not only that can cause rotting wood structure of your bed platform but also cause unhealthy mold to form there as well as literally on the outside and inside of your mattress itself. Not good!
This issue becomes more prevalent with those who full time in their rigs or especially for those who are in high humidity areas or who winter in their rigs where internal heat temps versus external surfaces (e.g. in ours the wheel wells under our bunks which essentially are “the outside”. This converging of a heated surface (body heat, furnace heat) and a cold surface will cause sweating and condensation.
After researching and doing a lot of checking of reviews and posts from full time RVers we found the following product. We ordered it last spring and did our install before beginning our 2019 camping season.
It is sold by the foot and is I believe 4 ft wide. So for our Avion bunks @ 34″ we did have to cut to fit both width and length. The stuff is very sturdy but also simple enough for me to cut with sturdy kitchen shears.
GATHER ITEMS NEEDED:
Sturdy Kitchen Shears
Metal tape measure or yard stick
An extra pair of hands
Double faced Heavy Duty minimum 2 inch wide Velcro strips or large squares (more about this later!)
Duct or Gorilla Tape (if you have a double or queen bed and will need to piece together)
Measure width and length of your bed/bunk. If you have an Avion floor plan like ours and two bunks, simply double the length of one bunk for what total length you will need to place for your order.
Place order, will be shipped directly to you. Is not super heavy. Watch for when company may have sales on free shipping!
We took our measurements of bunk base, first cut new mat the correct length, then marked and measured the correct width and cut. Note- we have a slight molding lip on our bunk base that is intended to create a bit of a lip to prevent mattress sliding off. So we cut our mesh mat to also fall just inside that small lip.
For the actual install, we followed the manufacture’s recommendations and we placed the “mesh pocket” side down on our plywood bunk base, then placed the mattress on top of the breathable fabric side of the mesh.
** after using for a few trips this way we did find that the mesh side was very likely to cause our whole mattress to slide a lot and often found our mattresses half into the hallway after being on the road. A fix we plan to do this year is to take a few large strips of the 2 inch wide sticky back Velcro strips and place them a few places on the mesh side to stick down onto the wood bunk base. The small molding on the bunk base that DID keep the mattress itself in place was not enough to hold the mesh layer in place. The mesh layer is a woven plastic and a bit slippery. We anticipate that the Velcro strips will do the trick and highly suggest this modification.
After securing down with the Velcro strips, replace mattresses down on top of fabric side of new mesh mat.
If you have found other materials or fixes to prevent moisture from ruining your wood bed base or mattress let us know!
Oct 22, 2016. Our coach originally came with an off white sheet vinyl with gold veining.(guess they wanted to match the jazzy mirrors with gold veining which we actually adore!) However the vinyl is a bit tired and having a cozy carpet to step on in the early morning wake up is really welcomed. So we decided to do a carpet facelift. The previous owner can cut and fitted an off-white Berber rug remnant in place. It was in decent shape and clean. What you see are just shadows. But the transition from kitchen to rug was never completed with any threshold etc. And you also had to be careful not to catch or chip the raw vinyl edge.
So we used the remnant for our pattern. Luck would have it, Home Depot ( yes about our 8th HD trip in two weeks… uuugh) had a 26″ w oriental runner sold by the foot. That was the exact width we needed! And the color will go fine with my Spring 2017 decor refit. That is secret for now. Our length needed was 74 1/2″ and this provided enough to once again notch out the moulding door jam at the bathroom transition. The door in the bathroom was plenty high so this was deemed not a problem for a carpet install right into and even with the door threshold. In fact the BR door is very high clearance off the ground. I know the ’72 brochure I have seen said Avions came with “deep pile quality shag carpet” . I suspect just cause our owners chose vinyl the production line was not bout to change their jig for one coach. Hey we ARE talking the 70’s folks and I remember shag all over our house! But really? In a camper? Yikes! The dirt build up had to be disgusting. I believe our first owners voted for vinyl from the start. Reason we think so is because the white with gold veins is sheet vinyl and runs clearly under all bathroom cabinets, under beds, under kitchen cabinets. Suggesting that it was put down first during the coaches construction and all else was installed on top.
Anyway, I digress. Sorry. Back to our project. Here we are measuring and cutting out the notches to fit BR door moulding. Remember to lay your pattern piece same facedown direction as your new carpet!
Remember if you ARE using an existing carpet that you have both of them facing in the same direction on the table…not pile to pile (like I almost did) because notches may not be identical from side to side when you flip your new carpet right side up. Ours notched areas were not identical and so your cuts will not be correct if you screw this up. Our carpet cost us 26.00, the two oak thresholds were $11 each, plus stain which we had. 1/4 inch carpet pad was $8.50 again a remnant cast-off from a local carpet store.
The new Carpet was cut first with a box cutter. (Could not find our carpet cutter). Then little final trims retire able to be done in coach with sturdy household scissors which gave us more control for tiny slices to ensure perfect fit at doorway. I also recommend leaving any of the edge building threads long. Wrap them to the back of your new carpet and tape them down with gorilla tape. This prevents any short traveled threads from. Showing or eventually popping loose and showing on the top side.
Below is carpet pad being trimmed and pieced to fit. Note orig gold veined Vinyl flooring. Not bad for 44 yrs old!
You could butt together and tape any pieces of padding. we did not bother on such a small seam. Larger seams should be taped to hold in place well.
Below are final adjustments and oak transition thresholds screwed in place. Be careful not to screw any deeper than you have to. Be especially careful in BR to bedroom areas. There have been more than one Avioner who ended up using too long a screw and drilled into a holding tank by mistake! Total bummer!
Below the thresholds are being screwed down You want to be sure you grab enough of the carpet to keep it secured. Our entire dining and kitchen area subfloor and vinyl had been replaced in last six yrs with 3/4″ marine plywood so our carpet and kitchen vinyl is now even. It was not before. Here is bathroom transition.
Here is kitchen transition. Sure does feel nice under foot! Fits perfect under the under bed cabinets and drawers no problem. We did have to take the heat vent cover on curbside under my twin bed and screw back in place after carpet was down.
The finished project! Looks and feels grand. Lucky for us HD also had an already found piece that matched at 31″x48″ so that is in kitchen area. That small area rug did coat another $20 but worth it to ensure the match. We are really happy with this. Total project time, not including obtaining materials, 1 hr. Total project cost, under $80.
Oct. 22, 2016. We were not thrilled with the black plexiglass, sticker laden refrig panels that the previous owner had. Granted we were impressed with how much and far they had traveled ND, FL, CA, ME but it just seemed so “in your face” and not us.
Do we had one 2’x2′ repro vinyl “tin” ceiling tile in the “Cracked Copper” finish that we wanted to try in place of the black plexiglass panels. We had this one panel already because we had bought a few different ones to try in our old Class A RV as a protective backsplash in our kitchen/stove area
It had always worked well, was super easy to clean and yes easy to cut to size with household scissors! So we cut one to size to see how it would look on the top panel. And LOVED it!
After running to HD and Lowes however we found that the company does not sell their ceiling tile size at these stores any more. They only sell what is sized to actually fit as kitchen backsplash, which is too small for our 8 cubic foot Domestic refrig which is about 6 yrs old. So on to trusty Amazon.com to search. Found them easily and at the same price we paid per panel 6 yrs ago. Amazon prime free shipping and we had them in three days.
Another project check box completed and we love the look. And because these are actually vinyl they don’t dent, scratch or rust. they wash with soapy rag and are easy to switch out. If you like the silver tin look they have those too! The Cracked Copper finish compliments our wood cabinetry and the refrig really melds in much better than standing out as a black box. Happy us!
Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Coach Camper