Building our Airstream kitchen has been quite challenging this go round. Opting for higher end finishes and fixtures led us to focus our efforts on saving weight elsewhere. In our first Airstream, we crafted custom cabinetry with sliding doors, which ran along tracks we created by routing out channels for both the top and bottom of the cabinet. We used 3/4" ply as both dividers and supports on the cabinetry, which spanned the majority of the length of the street side, with a smaller yet identical cabinet on the curb side. While we loved the look of the cabinetry we designed, in practicality and daily use, we didn't prefer it. We often get questions on how to build the cabinetry from the '57 and I'm quick to dissuade, or offer alternative sliding options.
The 3/4" ply was quite heavy, so this go round, we opted for a combination of 2x2" and 1x2" framing to craft our cabinetry, allowing us to save weight. The countertop, along with a waterfall edge, conceals the framing, as well as the drawers and cabinet doors themselves. We also opted for a modified toe kick, which was a lesson learned from our first Airstream project - too many toes stubbed, as well as an often uncomfortable lean to cook or do any sort of food prep. I say modified toe kick, as the average toe kick depth is 2.5"-3.5" D x 3" H, and we opted for 1.5" D x 3" H, which some cabinet makers may roll their eyes at, but we tested for comfort and felt it was entirely sufficient and allowed for a sturdier cabinet base, which is always appreciated when rolling down the road.
We went with finger pulls on all drawers and door fronts for a clean, modern look. I fell in love with these simple pulls on our first Airstream, where we used a hole saw to create perfect circle pulls in our sliding doors, which was a nod to the mid-century design of the fifties and suited the era the trailer was from. The idea was to create a clean, simple facade for a tiny space. As much as I love all the gorgeous cabinet hardware out there to choose from, I knew I'd be overwhelmed by a flurry of metal pulls. Before we'd purchased our second Airstream, I'd landed on rectangular finger pulls and deep drawers and had begun sketching out the potential kitchen. View some of my inspiration images for our current Airstream project right here and below.
The street side of our galley kitchen has been the most complicated so far, and hopefully we'll be wrapping it up within the next few weeks. We waited for our convection oven to arrive before we planned the build fully, it was much easier to conceptualize once we knew the oven's dimensions and installation instructions and had the oven in the space. The build for the oven required the use of 3/4" (for the oven's base) and 1/2" ply (sides and top), and we also built a sturdy main base for the oven cabinet unit, which was built as a standalone piece initially, with a half-size drawer for pots and pans underneath the oven itself. This project took a few hours, which was a pleasant surprise.
Surrounding the oven is our plain framing, which we crafted for the curb side kitchen cabinetry. It is a combination of 1x2" and 2x2" boards that while light, is incredibly sturdy. I can attest to this, I leaned on a piece one afternoon and dozed off for a good thirty minutes...and it held up beautifully. Ha! These pieces will divide the oven and fridge, as well as create the full height of 35.25" to meet the 3/4" walnut countertop. Finish pieces will be added around the top of the fridge, oven, and around the sides of the oven to conceal the framing and polish the look.
A floor-to-ceiling pantry, large enough to house a small trash can, recycling, average broom, and typical pantry items, like small appliances (our slow cooker and food processor), food items, and cleaning supply, will fall in line adjacent to the refrigerator. Pantry items will rest on drawers, so everything can be easily accessed and all storage is utilized. We are installing a DC light on the inside of the pantry so our items are well-lit.
Our kitchen was planned for efficiency, a modern aesthetic, comfortable food prep, and multiple persons at one time (and probably pets, if we're being honest). The traditional galley kitchen works quite well with ample floor space and a triangular workspace, drawing an invisible line from your sink to your fridge, to your oven, and back again. Having a full-size pantry allows us to not compromise on storage, having a normal-size broom (we went with a half-size tiny broom in our last Airstream and it was pure misery to sweep with, I felt like a hunchback), and to neatly tuck everything away for both tidiness and travel. While it's taking a good chunk of time to get just right, I believe it will be worth every slow, steady step to have the Airstream kitchen of our dreams.
Leave questions about your tiny kitchen below - or email me for a design consultation! See the services tab for more information about how we can help with your Airstream.