Airstream Bathroom Remodel | Before & After

We decided to do a complete remodel of our Airstream’s bathroom. I first was determined to just spruce up what was already there with marine paint. But after we did the kitchen remodel and found all of the nastiness from an old sink leak we decided gutting the bathroom was imperative. We took out everything. Surprisingly, it was a very quick demo. Start to finish I’d say it took 4 hours.

This is what was underneath. The subfloor ended up being sturdy in most places, especially where traffic passes through. There was a bit more breakdown of the subfloor around the toilet but it still was strong enough. Since we were on a timeline we decided to leave the subfloor as is. (I’m sure this is traumatizing to some of you reading this. ha!) After this photo as taken, we removed the old propane furnace vent and the cabinet on the right side.

I probably spent a solid afternoon knocking old rivets back into the wall and re-riveting the plastic end cap all the way around.

My dad and uncle are both amazing builders and helped with the build-out of the bathroom. We are so grateful for their help! They both said working in the bathroom was like building out the inside of a fishbowl. It was a challenge for sure. That’s my dad trying to make sense of everything.

I desperately wanted the tub to sit directly on the subfloor since we are both tall. But after demoing the bathroom, we found the p-trap was housed inside the original platform and directly underneath the subfloor was the gray water tank. There was no way to lower the tub because of this without doing serious surgery and relocating the gray water tank. So we rebuilt another platform. There weren’t too many options in the tub department but the best one I could come up with was this one. It does the job!

Lippert 209658 Better Bath RV Bath Tub 24″ x 36″ Right Hand Tub/Drain White // Amazon // Buy

The bathroom was framed with strips and different shapes of 3/4″ plywood and then covered with 1/4″ plywood facing to keep the weight factor down.

From here a few more pieces of framing was added and then the countertop was affixed and the front was faced with pallet wood.

The bathtub face was covered in a sheet of decorative back splash paneling from Home Depot. One sheet covered the whole tub. I have one coat of white paint on the pallet wood face. I added another coat after this photo. The back walls in the bathroom were covered in white Aquatile from Home Depot. It took two sheets of tile for around $24 a piece.

24 in. x 18 in. Traditional 1 PVC Decorative Backsplash Panel in Brushed Aluminum // Home Depot // Buy
1/8 in. x 48 in. X 96 in. Toned White Tileboard // Home Depot // Buy

The sides of the tub area were covered in 1/4″ Starboard. It’s a marine grade “plywood” that is completely waterproof and behaves just like plywood. It was glued onto the 1/4″ plywood with Liquid Nails and then stapled on the corners with a staple gun. The front of the cabinet was finished with a $6 pile of pallet wood. Although a lot of people reuse old pallets, I’ve read horror stories about them being treated with chemicals and/or having toxic chemicals spilled on them while in use. So I opted for new pallet wood. The counter top is from Ikea. We used the old countertop to trace out the new one.

Starboard // Cesany Plastics // eBay
Counter // Ekbacken // Ikea

We built up the backside of the toilet with more pallet wood and left a small cubby for toilet paper and other small items. We also recessed the toilet paper holder in this cubby area too. After much deliberation, we chose a regular toilet. I watched a video on caring for a composting toilet and it was just too…err…personal for me. I couldn’t imaging dislodging part of the toilet and parading it through the trailer and out the front door to empty it. And it was just too much hands on stuff for me. Maybe I’m making more of it than it really is. I can’t totally write off a composting toilet in the future but I wasn’t too crazy about what I saw. So far the regular toilet on a black tank has been a breeze. No mess, no smells, no touching weird stuff…nothing!

MINTCRAFT 776H-07-SOU Paper Holder Recess, Brushed Nickel // Amazon // Buy
Thetford 31667 Aqua-Magic V Toilet, High / Hand Flush / White // Amazon // Buy

I’m slightly plant crazy. I have a TWELVE plants in the Airstream. This cool looking cactus is called a dog tail. It’s fuzzy and not at all sharp – no need to worry about getting stabbed while going to the bathroom. Ha! I hand cut a stencil for the wall and painted little irregular trees all over the lower half of the wall.

The towels are from Target and they’re great so far. They are fast-drying and aren’t fading in the wash. Also, they aren’t getting pulls either. I have the matching bathmat as well that fits perfectly in the space.

Performance Solid Bath Towels – Threshold // Coral View // Target // Buy

Here’s an overhead view of the space. We had minimal space left for a trashcan and couldn’t find anything that came close to fitting. My mom constructed this trashcan next to the toilet from canvas and lined it with a plastic frame. Its not completely rigid and squeezes into the space perfectly snug. I also picked up a vintage cheese box from an antique shop for a place to throw my headbands and hair ties.

I have our toiletries in this amazing vintage chocolate box I also picked up at an antique shop.

For lighting, I constructed this pallet wood puck light fixture. Click here for more on that. We installed Levelor roller shades here and throughout the trailer. We used a filtering one in the bathroom so we could yank it down when we are in there without making the room dark. We’re really happy with them so far. Lowe’s cuts them to size so they’re a perfect fit.

Custom Size Now by Levolor White Light Filtering Cordless Vinyl Roller Shade // Lowe’s // Buy

When we get up in the night to go to the bathroom, we turn on this little touch LED light. It’s much dimmer than the overhead and the perfect amount of light.

Our electric water heater is housed inside the base cabinet next to the toilet. We have a cut out on the side to easily access temperature control. The latch on the left side is to access the plumbing and shut off valves. We’ve been really happy with the water heater we chose. We got the Bosch 4 Gallon Electric from Home Depot. We can easily get a 10 minute hot shower which is mind blowing. We weren’t expecting more than a few minutes out of a 4 gallon system. It heats up quickly – about 30 minutes – for the next person.

Bosch 4 Gal. Electric Point-of-Use Mini-Tank Water Heater // Amazon // Buy

Our sink was a score from an scratch and dent shop for just $10! The faucet was an Amazon find. It’s a very solid piece and looks great with the sink.

KES L310B-2 Euro Modern Contemporary Bathroom Vanity Sink Lavatory Faucet, Brushed Nickel // Amazon // Buy

I installed a trap door on the front side of the cabinet. Here we can access the guts of the sink and also hide a cubby for more toiletries.

The plumbing everywhere stayed in the same location. We did everything ourselves with the exception of hiring a plumber when a copper pipe broke during the remodel. The plumbing was all updated but we left everything where it originally was for simplicity. We installed a longer shower hose to reach the far side of the bathroom wall. We also put in a new adjustable shower head holder that is fastened by 3m tape. It is super strong and hasn’t budged.

Extra Long Stainless Steel Shower Hose for Handheld Shower Head Double Lock 78 Inch Length Flexible Pipe // Amazon // Buy
Oxygenics Shower Head // Amazon // Buy
Gaoyu Bathroom Adjustable 3M Adhesive Waterproof Shower Head Adapter Wall Mounted // Amazon // Buy

The far side of the tub has a nice big ledge for toiletries.

Another look at the bathtub face. It was covered in a sheet of decorative back splash paneling from Home Depot. One sheet covered the whole tub.

24 in. x 18 in. Traditional 1 PVC Decorative Backsplash Panel in Brushed Aluminum // Home Depot // Buy

The shower curtain was a bargain from Amazon. I wanted a non-smelly, PVC-free and waterproof curtain (since it has to wrap around the inside of the tub to protect the laminate countertop). This one is awesome – slightly frosted so you can’t see right through it but see through enough to see if you’re about to get stabbed while showering. Am I the only one with this fear? Ha!

InterDesign Chevron Sketched Decorative PEVA 3G Shower Curtain Liner // Amazon // Buy

The shower curtain rod had to have a bit of  a custom alteration to it. My dad welded a bracket at and angle to attach it to the ceiling. The other bracket affixed to the wall as normal with no altering.

Zenna Home 33941WW, NeverRust Aluminum “L” Shaped Corner Shower Curtain Rod, White // Amazon // Buy

I made distressed barn style double doors for the bathroom. They were made from 1/4″ plywood and framed with various scraps of wood we had left over from the remodel. They are super light weight and easy to open and close. More photos of the doors can be seen here.

Sheena is a free-spirited adventurer who designed and renovated a 1975 Airstream in 2016 and travels the US with her husband and mohawk-sportin’ poodle. She’s a business owner, self-taught carpenter, blogger, yogi, professional photographer and a lover of the outdoors and healthy living.

21 Comment

  1. Viewing your photos is like going to an art museum. There’s publishing a coffee table book in your future! Lovely work, lovely style!❤️

    1. Ahh thank you so very much! That made my day! 😊

  2. Thanks for the great detail!

  3. Thank you for posting this. I have a 69 overlander with the fiberglass end cap. We gutted our bathroom and I was baffled about what to do with it. I love the design!

    1. Thanks so much! Yes – the bathroom was our biggest struggle. It was so hard to find details of other remodels. I wanted to make sure we documented it well to help others! Good luck on yours! 🙂

  4. Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative read. I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So beautiful and inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing this bit of your home and I loved even the tiny details! Much love from Portugal 🙂

  6. Did you leave the ceiling in the bath original? We ripped ours out during the gut-sesh and its been tough finding a great solution! Luan looks great but i’m afraid the moisture of a shower could bow it. Love Mavis! Love that cutesy pooch too! Great job Lady!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! We did leave the ceiling original – we just painted it all with latex paint. We used a product called Starboard elsewhere in the bathroom – it’s a waterproof material that acts like plywood. 🙂

      1. That’s helpful!! Thank you- I’ll look into it!

  7. Parker Rudolph says: Reply

    I can not tell you how helpful this has been. I’ve been looking at this post for months and am finally feeling confident to renovate our bathroom next month (it’s the very last thing to do). I love how you guys built a flat-surfaced plywood shower area upon a fishbowl like structure and I definitely envision the same for my wife and I’s 1970 Airstream. I still am wondering though, how is your shower area waterproof? I understand the use of the 1/4″ Starboard (which is genious, btw) but how does the water not leak through the corners and cracks of the wood and along the sides of the original Airstream walls? Is there a certain type of sealant or caulking you used?
    And a second question: Did you also water-proof areas above that wooden area that encloses the bathtub? -Like where your chest and head area is?

    1. Thanks so much! Glad to help! The seams where the starboard meet are sealed with extra flex bathroom caulking. In fact, all of the seams in the bathroom are sealed with this stuff. We do have to do touch-ups every so often as no matter how well it gets sealed, with time and with miles driven, the seals can split. And nope – we didn’t waterproof the walls around the shower. The wall is original and we figured if it held up all of these years with showers, it’s good to go!

  8. Beautiful reno! I just took the plunge with a 1975 31′ Sovereign and was stumped by the cabinet with all the ‘important looking stuff’ inside on the side of the toilet. I want to put in a composting toilet and will need to pull that out and put in a narrower cabinet to hide all that. Glad to see it’s not the end of the world! Thanks! I’ll be following your journey! -Katie

  9. Hi! I’m remodeling a 1966 Trade Wind and staying with the midcentury modern look. Thank you for all the wonderful resources! Where did you get the sink for the bathroom? Thanks in advance!

    1. Oh that sounds like an amazing project! Would love to get my hands on a 60s model some day! The sink was actually a scratch and dent store find! $10!

  10. Awesome!! Have a question about the top molded area of the bathroom that was above the sink where the medicine cabinet would of been.. how hard was it to take it out,,,,? And what was behind it and how did you Reno that area as I don’t see it in your photos. Thanks

    1. We didn’t do a full gut. Our trailer was in such nice shape we didn’t see a need to do it. My sister is fully gutting hers. I know they’ve taken out that piece and I don’t think it was difficult after you remove the surrounding skin. Her instagram is @mabeltheairstream if you want to ask her for details! 🙂

  11. FarreninWander says: Reply

    I love this bathroom! Can you tell me how your roller blind stays down? I order some rv blinds and oh goodness are they ugly!! I’m working on our Airstream bathroom now. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! Actually, they just have a spring mechanism and they stay put when you pull them a certain direction. And there aren’t any problems with gaps on the side in the bathroom either. It’s super easy to pull up and down when we go in the bathroom! 🙂 They are Levelor brand from Lowes – they cut them to size in-store.

  12. Thank you for your post. We are renovating a 1972 Airstream and the bathroom has been the most baffling for us. We have torn out most of the fixtures and they look like yours when you removed yours, so we are hopeful to getting ours put back together. Thank you for telling us where you purchased your bathtub. We have hope now of having a great, functional bathroom. We appreciate all of the information that you included. Thank you!!!

    1. It was by far the hardest part for us as well! So glad you found the post helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to ask away! 🙂 Good luck!

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