If it feels like I’m yelling at you…I am 🙂 I’m so excited that you were so excited about our new vintage travel trailer and I can’t contain my feelings or my volume. I think I may have just yelled at the lady in drive thru. Then again…that could have just been because I need my breakfast burrito like NOW. Mild picante sauce please.
So our vintage travel trailer is one of the scariest adventures that we have undertaken…for whatever reason we are hesitant to ever start a project without knowing the full scope of what is in store. And this is no ordinary oh-we-change-out-a-light or gut-a-kitchen. This involves moving components of a vehicle, plumbing, electrical, heating, a/c, waterproofing, bathroom, kitchen, storage, AND THEN the normal giving-a-space-a-makeover thing. It’s very involved.
Our plan is to keep true to the let’s go camping vibe. We want to make it easy to clean and easy to look good even if it’s less than very clean. We also realize that this is probably not gonna be for us forever. I said that before. It’s a starter project and hopefully one day we get to make over an Airstream that will fit our whole family. That’s the dream anyway. But that’s not to say we don’t want to make this puppy dreamy. We do. We should have named it McDreamy. So here is the plan…
It’s very outdoorsy and calm and full of texture. It reminds me of Fixer Upper style if they ever took on a cabin in the woods. And that is what we are going for….a happy and dreamy spot that people who love the outdoors will feel comfortable. Let’s talk about the design part before we go back to some of the very basics.
First, we want our color scheme to be grays/whites/muted navy and rustic wood. It will have little details of stainless steel and tiny pops of gold. The key here is to mix a whole lot of textures in a small space without overwhelming it. In such a small area, things can feel cluttered fast…so knowing that we have to be less intense about our use of fabric pattern – we will be using them sparingly.
The other key component is to not add too much weight…the trailer does have to move. We do have to add some weight back in….like with a generator and an air conditioning unit, adding a rock guard and incorporating a small amount of tile. But we hope that removing some initial weight….like the old appliances, building better kitchen cabinets, and tweaking some storage will offset it. It’s a trade off. And the key is to not get it too heavy!
That being said – our flooring will be a great way to keep weight down. We want to go with a durable vinyl that will run throughout the entire space. We hope to add a few light fixtures – one in the bathroom and a couple of sconces in the dinette area. And then use lightweight items like wallpaper to trick you into thinking it’s real planked walls 🙂 I was really inspired by Ana White’s tiny houses and have gone back to the drawing board on how I can get use out of every square inch. It’s gonna be challenge because well…I am no Ana. DUH!
But before any of the design stuff can start, we have to protect this baby before we start repairing any exterior. I am 99% sure I’ve convinced Jeremy to buy a carport….
And we took it to a local RV place to check the propane….it all needs to go. So basically the plan is to take EVERYTHING out. The cabinets, the kitchen, the seating, the floor, it all gets gutted and then we go through for water damage. Any dry rot needs to be assessed repaired, the leaks need to be sealed, the roof will get recoated and then we start with the walls of the exterior. The aluminum pieces that need replaced on the shell will go, the caulk needs to be completely scraped and any rivets need sealed. It’s a common thing to say that all travel trailers leak…the key is to get yours to a point where it isn’t causing damage.
That is when we start on the heating/cooling elements. An air conditioner MUST be installed…we live in GEORGIA. Yes. Yelling again because the thought of the heat makes me sweat. And then we get to the heart of the transformation…electrical, insulation and plumbing. This is where things start looking bad. The pictures will be awful. Our sanity will be gone. It could cost a buttload of money. In my mind, I’m planning for the worst…but it could be not as bad as a membrane strip. We won’t know until we get in there.
After all of the basics are done, we start putting it back together. We will be doing the walls first and then probably the builds for the kitchen. The cabinets will need completely new ones because we won’t be keeping the existing stove and fridge. The cabinets above the dinette will be salvaged hopefully and those can be painted. The bathroom will need to be overhauled…the tub recoated and tiled, the sink built out and more storage incorporated. Then comes the rest. The rest seems daunting all by itself.
We figured that we don’t want to do solar power on this baby because of the cost…so we think that going off grid will rely on a generator. We talked to some people at the Tiny House festival in GA and some of them use these Ryobi generators which of course makes us happy. We can always use it in our house too if the power goes out 🙂
And then there comes the budget. Ideally – I would love to stay under $5000. I mean…but that’s the dream. But realistically it’s probably closer to $10K. Here is the breakdown….
- TRAILER STUFF – tires, exterior, wood rot repair, rock guard, propane stuff, jack – $2500
- PLUMBING – possibly new tanks, all new plumbing, sink, faucets, composting toilet, etc. – $2000
- ELECTRICAL – all new electrical, generator, new lighting, new a/c – $1500
- INTERIOR – cabinets, counters, reupholstery, flooring – $2000
- OTHER – all of the unknown. scary category. – $1000
All in….somewhere around $12,000. That’s a big number…and it might be tight…it definitely means getting help from some brands (yes, we will definitely be reaching out to get a hand with materials that we would love to use!) and it hopefully will be a lasting little travel trailer that will be fully renovated. WHEW.
As far as timeline…this will take us all summer. I just know it. I wish I could say 6 to 8 weeks….but seriously, we have four little kids. Brushing my teeth takes 30 minutes. So hopefully we will be DONE by September 1. That’s my goal. I’m putting it here for all of the internet to see. THAT part should be doable. I mean…that’s five months away. And just in time for some fall camping. After that…well, I can’t wrap my brain around after that. Okay guys…send us some energy mojo! We need all the red bull for this one 🙂