Ahhhhh camping! Camping is a wonderful summer pastime many people enjoy, myself included but sometimes it really can be quite a chore. Tent camping especially had become taxing, so much so that it was starting to happen less and less in our household. Packing the tent, sleeping bags, mattresses, air pump, bug spray, sunscreen, pots pans, bbq grill on and on it was too much to remember it all each time and would take many days of preparation. I would ALWAYS inevitably forget something ultra important like pillows or underwear which would make for a “not so great” outdoor experience. Sleeping on the ground is not really a pleasure after age ten anyway. Oh, if only this all could be avoided! With two growing boys who love outdoor adventure and a very busy husband I set out to find a “mom friendly' and fabulous way to embrace the great outdoors once again so I could
continue to make life long memories with my boys!
A new camper sounded nice but after a trip to the dealer I was shocked to find even the tiniest little thing with just a bed sold for over $15,000. Not happening, after all, we have college to help pay for in a few short years that money will be much needed. One day, I stumbled on the holy grail of camping...a retro trailer, you know the “canned ham” as camper enthusiasts lovingly call it. Now this little beauty was no doubt a diamond in the rough, rough, rough but undoubtably, I was the only one who could see
its potential. At this point and my hubby thought I was crazy and on the verge of loosing my mind all together but I was prepared to prove him wrong and do the impossible.
The wheels on the camper were in good shape, though the white walls were turned inside, I was not quite sure why. The body had little to no damage though it was a hideous shade of army green and the paint was chipping off and sun faded. The inside was mostly camouflage because it was used as a hunting trailer many years ago and everything inside was covered in so much dirt and dust it was like it had been unearthed from Pompeii and admit-ably and it smelled like it had been sealed up since 1954! The window covering had seen better days and were barley hanging on but she was about to be mine! I mustered up the courage and offered the ol' guy $350 to take it off his hands which was what he said it would cost him to take it to the dump. He was ecstatic but confused and curious on why I would even want it! Little did he know this little ugly duckling was about to be transformed and I was equally ecstatic!
With some loving persuasion and a little begging, I enlisted the help of my extremely helpful, handy man father and very talented seamstress mother and we set to work. First we stripped, gutted an cleaned the entire interior. Next, after looking closely we noticed some water damage and had to seal the exterior and give it a new paint job, I picked fitting colors to keep with its retro heritage and give it some personality. Now it was time to get back to the interior, (my favorite part of course) we added bead board throughout and gave it several coats of ultra white paint and before my eyes it was starting to come together. One day I totally hit the jackpot when I was shopping at Home Goods grand-opening and landed the cutest turquoise retro mini fridge which, after some adjustments, would fit perfectly in place! I began to look at it like a darling little home on wheels. Now for the soft furnishings; in the interest of saving money and keeping with my unrealistic small budget, I up-cycled some of the custom bedding from one of the boys rooms from when they were younger giving it a beach/surfer theme. The fabric was perfect and aligned well with the vintage look I was going for and it felt good to use it again. I wanted the beds to be plush just like at home with down mattress pads, high thread count sheets soft coverlets and pillows on top of pillows! Finally, after a few short weeks of work and around $1000 investment it was complete, ugly no longer and ready for adventure and memory making!
We have enjoyed using the camper for the last two summers and it always attracts attention wherever we go. As a side note, I did have to reduce the amount of pillows after a few trips because it was taking way to long & I was breaking a sweat trying to make all the beds. The boys felt they were totally unnecessary even though I explained we were GLAMPING not just camping! Oh, it is important to note also the white-wall tires are reversed and properly placed adding that little extra something to the overall camper appeal and my sweet husband was astonished at the transformation and so impressed with his wife for how little I spent in doing so. Of all my design projects, this is the one I am most proud of because it has given so much fun, joy and serious relaxation back to our family. The previous owner has even offered to buy it back at 10 times the price which I easily turned down, with out hesitation. We love that everything is loaded and contained inside and it is ready to go at all times. No more stressful packing and forgetting anything, no more sleeping on the ground. This is camping simplified and finally our very own fabulous way to enjoy the great outdoors together as we “hit the road” as a family!
Katherine Turner specializes in budget friendly home design, room arrangements, staging, and utilizing items you already have! We will help you transform your home by offering tips, tricks, and simple suggestions to bring your home to life!