Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Bed of Our Own

The original bed plan in the Ambassador was two twin beds in the middle and a somewhat small double pull out goucho (couch) in the front.  We had several issues with this set-up, the main one being that we have too many people in our family for four beds.  (I'll be showing you soon what we did to the goucho to make it comfortable for the two of us to be in the same bed at the same time.)  I think most people who order these Airstreams with the twins in the middle don't actually sleep together.  After 15 years of marriage, I find that I enjoy sleeping with my husband, and after spending a few years in our Clipper, where we couldn't stand sharing a tiny bed in hot weather, our goal for this "new" Airstream was that everyone would have a bed of our own. 

We tend to be purists with the Airstreams.  We talk about all the changes we might make, but find that we are very loyal to the way it was originally - to a fault!  So with that being said, if I sound like I am trying to justify these changes, I am trying to just convince myself that it's not sin to change it!All that being said, we went first with what we knew, and that was our 1953 Clipper bunk bed.  Mr. Right copied the base of the bunk in the Clipper in structure and built two of them.  We planned to use the space above the twins, where the cupboards were beyond repair from water damage (yes that was a justification).  We wanted them to fold up, since it would take up extra room at the ceiling level to have the beds in the down position.
Here was our next plan, a way to make the beds stable when kids are in them without putting too many holes in the camper.  After much discussion about the ability of the ceiling structure being able to hold up the bunk (I know, many of the bunks that were originally in the Airstreams were hung from Elephant Hooks from the ceiling.).  Another trip to the hardware produced and great find of Angle Aluminum.  This we bolted to the walls and closets that are on each side of the beds. 

The passenger's side did not have a big enough wall to hold the bed in place when someone was in the bed like the driver's side did, so when a child would climb into the bed, it would tip out of place.  We didn't want to attach the other side to the aluminum wall or put in hinges so we could flip the bed up.  (Mr. Right cringes at putting holes in the aluminum, something about all the holes he's had to fill with rivets already.) 

To fix this unstability, we used aluminum pipe on each side to act as legs between the upper and lower bed.  A plumbing filange was used to hold them in place.  When the beds are up, we just put the pipe in the upper bunk to store them.

Now to the storage of the bunk while moving down the road and during the day.  We figured that a hook and eye would hold it in place, but found after our first trip that the motion and weight of the bunk was too great for this simple fix.  Instead of this, we drilled a hole in the wall under the bed and inserted a thicker bolt with a cotter pin to hold it in place.  (Yes, another trip to the hardware store.)  This pin is taken out and put in a drawer (where little mechanics can't find it) when the bunk is in use.Here's another picture of the bed in the up position.  The bunk hangs about 2 inches into the window, but we felt that it was worth the extra sleeping space!

Please let us know what you think of our beds!

I am linking up to:


  1. That's actually really cool. Do you guys live there full time??? Love your header picture.

  2. Looks awesome. I saw an airstream today-and got so excited about it (I even snapped a picture with my phone to show my hubby)! I'm a dork. :)

  3. I want to see a photo of you and Dave laying on the Gaucho. Dave is what 6' 4"? You can keep your clothes on, but looking forward to seeing how you manage that ...

  4. This is so cool. What an inventive idea.

  5. WE are in the same boat with the gaucho. Last trip no one slept well. I would love to add a bunk. How has it held up?

  6. WE are in the same boat with the gaucho. Last trip no one slept well. I would love to add a bunk. How has it held up?