John Gray and Robin Brown customized every inch of their 1972 24-foot Airstream Safari. Basic restoration work included new tires, an axle with 5000# rating, new plumbing, new insulation, and new electrical wiring—but all of that was merely a base for an elaborate Victorian-themed interior designed specifically for their business, Magnolia Pearl, Robin Brown’s unique and beautiful collection of women’s clothing.
In addition to the basic restoration work, old hardwood floors were installed over marine plywood, and the interior aluminum walls were replaced before covering with unique textiles. The antique Oriental rugs, textiles and tapestries used as wall covering were installed on the walls by first spraying industrial glue on both the wall and textiles for a strong adhesive which supports the weight, and provides excellent acoustics.
The trailer is no longer self-contained, but the trade-off is remarkable luxury when hooked up to campground facilities. An antique French bath tub was added with elegant brass plumbing fixtures, an old bathroom vanity was retrofitted to fit the curving wall, and a new porcelain toilet was added.
The unique Victorian painting on both the Airstream and companion 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud (completely rebuilt as a tow vehicle) was done by Christina Blackledge, a Texas specialty artist. Automotive paint was used on both the interior and the exterior design, although the technique resembles delicate oil painting on canvas.
An Oriental dressing screen adds an Asian element to the interior, in addition to aged lumber used to create a large pantry where the water heater is located. This large pantry—fabricated out of unique aged lumber—is also used for additional storage.
The kitchen is a series of old counter tops covered in zinc with functioning drawers below, featuring metal embellishments and old drawer pulls. The sink is an oversized galvanized utility farm sink with modern plumbing fixtures. The Victorian two burner stove was redesigned for a new purpose, and an old working refrigerator was rewired and hand painted to complete the kitchen equipment. French Aubusson tapestries were applied to the wall area.
The bed was fabricated by combining elements of three old iron beds together, stretching the metal to fit the bedroom space in the Airstream and raised high to provide needed storage space under the bed. A queen size mattress is piled high with luxurious linens, lace, hand made pillows, quilts and blankets of vintage Victorian era. The bedroom ceiling is covered in a medallion design antique carpet, and a brass and crystal chandelier illuminates the space.
A large clothing storage area was created with vintage carpeted shelves separated by antique pillars. The ceiling was treated with a design of tin appliqués and antique lighting featuring both chandeliers and wall sconces to highlight the beautiful wall coverings. Vintage Oriental carpets and antique fabrics were installed on the other walls by spraying industrial glue on each element before putting them in place.
Despite its Victorian stylings, the trailer includes modern conveniences such as new air conditioning and heat, surround-sound stereo, a HDTV and a DVD player.