VIDEO: Old School, New Faucet

Posted In: Airstream, Blog, RV Products, Video

Overall, we’ve been happy with our Airstream Classic. Although the company makes hipper models with contemporary interiors, we also like the “old school” experience of Airstream camping.

Sure, the decor is a bit long in the tooth, but it channels generations of Airstream campers who have preceded us. It’s more of a country cabin than an urban apartment, and that’s okay. It’s plush and cozy. The cabinetry and countertops have a reassuring solidity. It all seems built to last.

With that said, there were a few items in our camper that we wanted to change. “Retro” is good. “Dated?” Not so good.


The first priority was the bathroom. The wallpaper, a standard neutral pattern that Airstream’s been using for years, was fine. It’s plain as a mayonnaise sandwich, but it’s fine.

The shiny faucet and towel rack ? Not our fave. There was nothing “wrong” with these items per se, but we preferred to see a metal with a more subtle tone.

In truth, the original factory faucet was a pretty terrible choice for our Airstream. The faucet handles were fat knobs that crowded against the wall. Turning on or off the faucet required grasping the knob with one’s entire (and often wet) hand. Over time, this meant the wallpaper backsplash was damaged from waterlogged wear and tear. It needed to be changed.


The good news was that our Airstream uses standard faucet hardware just like you find in Home Depot. Nothing special needs to be done to swap it out, although there were obvious size constraints. In reality, although stores offer lots of “off the rack” faucet selections, only a handful are appropriate in this space.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: All you do-it-yourselfers need to consider the pressing issue of the sink overflow valve. You know how most residential sinks have a little hole at the top that serves as protection against overflow? The drains are designed accordingly to receive any overflowing water. Our Airstream sink has no overflow valve, so we needed to modify the drain to avoid leaks. This entailed wrapping it with a rubber gasket and a healthy amount of rubber tape. You could also purchase a different drain part; the trick is finding one small enough to fit your RV. In our case, it was easier to modify the drain that came with our faucet.

What about backsplash? Wallpaper would work, but it would also deteriorate over time. To install tile and grout would be tempting fate. While it’s theoretically possible, it’s not hard to imagine tiles popping off the wall. We’ve traveled over 40,000 miles with our Airstream, and many of those miles have been bumpy ones. At times the entire rig resembles a horizontal martini shaker. No matter how much you try to avoid the bad roads, at times you simply have no choice. So we ended up choosing a wallpaper alternative for the backsplash. In essence it’s a fancy piece of plastic, but hopefully it will age better than a fancy piece of paper.

Once we got started with the faucet and backsplash, we couldn’t resist finishing the job with matching door handles and knobs. We liked the new look in the bathroom so much, we decided to extend it to the kitchen and living areas. We thus bought new door pulls and knobs for all of our Airstream cabinets. The overall cost of the bathroom remodel was $250; the door pulls and knobs for the kitchen and living area cost an additional $100.

A few money saving tips: although we purchased all of these items at Home Depot, we applied 20% off coupons from Bed, Bath, & Beyond on the towel racks. (Home Depot will honor competitor’s coupons if they carry the same items.) These coupons saved us about $20. Also, thanks to a helpful comment from a friend here on, we learned that shortly after we bought it, our model of faucet went on sale at Home Depot’s website. We called Home Depot and they agreed to refund us $50 on the purchase of our faucet!

At a total of $350 ($300 after the $50 kickback), these updates delivered a lot of bang for the buck. The bronze accents of the new hardware are nice updates that are more in keeping with the current style selections in the Airstream Classic line. There’s no accounting for taste, but we prefer the bronze to the shiny gold that came standard.

SPECIAL THANKS to Kristy’s father Harry, who once again demonstrated why he deserves his own home improvement show!

Also thanks to our “Airstream Guardian” Falcor for his guest appearance in this video. Falcor is owned by Kristy’s parents.

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