Even though we didn’t have any illusions about being able to buy an Airstream, we still looked at the Airstream website on a regular basis for ideas about floor plans. We’d been in a number of Airstreams and really liked the use of space and layouts of the models. Over time, what we discovered was the 19′ Airstreams were better designed and laid out than the 25′ SOBs, that we decided to start looking in the classifieds to see what we could find.
There’s one Airstream dealer in Illinois, and its about an hour away from us (nothing at all compared to the 2+ hours we’ve driven to shows). On display were Flying Clouds, Safaris, Bambis and Internationals. Being in each model and spending time sitting at the tables, lying on the beds and standing in the showers sealed the deal that this brand was the one for us. The bathrooms are so well designed and the spaces so carefully thought out that the smaller Airstreams actually felt roomier than the larger SOBs. A new Airstream was cost prohibitive to say the least – the new 19′ often ran up to $40K and the larger 22′ that we were looking at could go up to $60K, which meant that a used Airstream was our only option.
The Waters family is a research-oriented family. There typically are not many destinations that are not well thought out and planned before travel, whether its the new Ikea in the suburbs or a remote island off the coast of Mexico, the research is complete. We work hard for our money and even harder for our time off, and are not interested in wasting either. Days and weeks were spent pouring over search results on Airforums learning about the pros and cons of each model that fit our size requirements. Around the same time as we were learning about installing solar panels on an Airstream, we found a 22′ International CCD for sale in Indiana. It was in our price range and looked in good condition.
The CCD wasnt really a model that we were familiar with. It was a 2003 with two owners and a quick search told us that the International was at the forefront of the Airstream rebranding effort — an effort aimed at younger more design savvy folks like ourselves. The CCD stands for Christopher C. Deam who was chosen as the principal designer by Inside Design on the rebranding project, but the project didnt start with Airstream, but rather with the interior laminate company, Wilsonart. For a design trade show, Wilsonart used a 16′ Airstream to showcase the new laminates they were making and Christopher C. Deam was hired as the designer. The new design was a huge hit, and Thor, the Airstream parent company, was interested. The problem was, it wasnt in production and there were no plans to do so. Due to a variety of market surveys and feedback, the design was given approval and Inside Design was brought into the fold of Airstream. A year later it was decided the 22′ International would be the next model for the redesign because of its designated bedroom area and its narrow body (easier to tow with SUVs). When the first Internationals came out of the Ohio plant, 55% were sold. Bingo.
Our interior is white. And powder blue. And gray. And orange. Its bright and sunny with clean lines and a hardwood-looking floor. Its designed and decorated like a condo I’d like to live in. The colors allow me to make it my own with accessories and rugs instead of having to work around the colors and heavy wood cabinets of other models. The cabinets dont have pulls, they have built in nooks to slide them open. No catching my shirt or bag as I walk through the galley. The sink is stainless, the oven and stove top black.
I couldnt be happier, although there will be some design changes coming up.
*For more information, please read the AIGA article here.