At long last, we took possession of Cloud 9, more than six months after we brought the rig to A&P Vintage Trailer Works in Paradise, Texas. Followers may recall that we took the Airstream to Ann Flanagan and Paul Mayeux for a washer/dryer installation and dinette modification. By the time we picked it up, we had beautiful new Marmoleum flooring throughout the coach, a completely remodeled bedroom, a new “trunk” at the back of the rig, and a custom ice-maker drawer–in addition to the washer/dryer and dinette.
We also had a few features added that most visitors won’t see, including a weBoost 4G cell signal booster, a four-stage converter/inverter, two ultra-silent refrigerator cooling fans, reversible switches for our overhead Fantastic Fans, and Bluetooth-enabled tire-pressure monitors to provide real-time tracking on our smartphones. And one tiny switch that will make a world of difference–one that will enable us to turn off our propane detector.
In the category of “totally unnecessary luxuries,” we also had a porthole window installed in our bathroom door. Unnecessary, because no one needs a bathroom window; luxury, because we just like the way it looks. It definitely takes our “base model” Flying Cloud to a higher level.
Along with many others who own a 25-foot Airstream, we’ve long thought that it was an ideal size for two adults (and four chihuahuas). But we wanted a bedroom configured like one in the 27-foot, with the “headboard” against the back window and nightstands on each side of the bed. To achieve the layout, we had to sacrifice our wardrobe and relocate the water heater to the front of the rig, but the result is exactly as we had envisioned.
Our new bedroom is ideal. We can now walk around the bed on three sides with ease. The custom mattress is not only firm and comfortable, but it’s also covered in a durable Sunbrella canvas fabric that gives it the appearance of being made even when it’s not.
Message to Airstream: Consider making this bedroom configuration an option on future 25-foot models. After all, who needs a wardrobe for hanging clothes when most “camping” wear can be folded and shelved?
The recongifuration also necessitated moving an overhead spotlight, providing dedicated reading lamps for each side of the bed.
The custom nightstands are both practical and elegant. We chose a dark brown Formica surface for the tops, to complement our decor and also to ensure durability.
Each unit has an electrical outlet and a USB charging port so we can keep our electronic devices close at hand. The door opens to a spacious cabinet with a shelf for stowing clothing and a compartment for laundry items and shoes.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Ann, who encouraged us to “come to Paradise and experience the nightstands in person” before deciding whether to have them remade at a shorter height. Her suggestion not only saved us time and money of reconstruction, but also the potential inconvenience of shorter nightstands with access ports on the top. As it turned out, the tall nightstands and their side access ports were ideal.
An unanticipated benefit of having to relocate the water heater was having to add a narrow shelf along one wall of the bedroom to cover the close-out pipes. These pipes were previously covered by the wardrobe cabinet, but its removal necessitated a solution that left us with a shelf that’s ideal for a small vase of fresh flowers and pocket items such as keys and coins.
The ledge is also just wide enough to accommodate a mug of coffee or a glass of Bloody Mary, and the wall surface above it provides a canvas large enough for displaying a selection of miniature representations of WPA-style posters from various national parks we’ve visited.
The overall effect of the new bedroom configuration is of a luxury space, which is unexpected in a base model like the Flying Cloud.
The premium Marmoleum flooring adds an extra touch of luxury to the clean, modern styling, and the panoramic window allows natural light to stream throughout the space.
We’re also pleased that the new bathroom door porthole brings additional natural light into the hallway, complementing the light that streams through the Fantastic Fan skylight above.
The newly configured lounge area gives us several options to support our various activities.
Paul and Ann constructed a bench with a deep storage drawer, a cabinet for wine bottles, and a large storage bin for cushions, as well as electrical outlets and USB ports at both ends.
Then, Dan and Stephanie Matney crafted perfect cushions covered in black ultraleather (exceptional work on the rounded corners!) to create a spacious seating area that’s ideal for entertaining.
When we move the adjustable split tables into place, we have the ability to create a “home office” while also creating an ottoman for both or either of us.
Because we wanted maximum flexibility, the tables “float” across the space, allowing for several configurations. (Special thanks to Ann for her great suggestion!)
One final “unnecessary luxury”: a built-in ice maker. Paul placed the ice-maker in its own cabinet beneath the bench, with a pull-out shelf to accommodate emptying and cleaning.
Its location near the sink allows for convenient refilling, and its enclosed space renders it virtually silent.
The thoughtful design of the cabinet and the premium materials make it seem like it came that way from the factory.
We’re grateful to Paul and Ann and their entire crew, as well Dan and Stephanie, for rebooting Cloud 9 and providing us a silver sanctuary we’ll enjoy for many years to come. The luxurious features and finishes, and the smart living areas, offer every comfort we could want in our home away from home.