Friday, July 8, 2011

Rehabbing Our Home-On-Wheels

So, as I wrote about a month ago, my husband and I purchased a 1966 Shasta Compact trailer. This is why I have been totally MIA from my blog! I have been researching/obsessing over compact vintage campers for a while now, so when I saw the ad for this camper on Craigslist we decided to go check it out. The price was right for us, and this compact has stuff to work with- the original 3 burner stove, ice box, gas lantern, windows, and doors were all present, and no hole had been cut previously for an a/c unit. Also, the hitch, springs, wheels and tires are in good shape. There were (yaaaay! Past tense!) some major issues to contend with as well....the floor was rotted in three places, there was significant damage to half of the ceiling, which had been covered over, there was plenty of rotten framing wood, and the thing had been used as a hunting camper- picture unhemmed camoflauge curtains and a plastic cup holder screwed in where the table used to be. Nice. The guy we bought it from also threw in a propane tank, two boxes of laminate flooring, and a mini fridge. We hitched it up and drove away.

After that, we hatched a totally unrealistic two week and three day plan for renovation. I say renovation now and not restoration, as we will not actually be restoring this camper to original. It was just too far gone. In the first days we gutted it of cabinets, beds, etc., pulled out all of the wall paneling, and cut out half of the floor.

You don't have to be able to see his mouth to know he is scowling :(
We have been working day and night for about three weeks. No, really. 



See? We have now reframed the entire thing (it's so solid now, it will be a little tank when we are through!), we have replaced the sections of rotten flooring, we have sealed the entire exterior afresh, including all of the windows, we have insulated about 2/3 with new R-Max foam (woooh Lorraine! My MIL writes the building codes :)  Along the way we bought a very helpful tool that we learned about on some of the vintge camper forums- it's called a Kreg Jig and it is worth the money if you do any wood framing. 

So, finally we are in the rebuilding phase! We are contemplating what to put back in and how to make a practical set up for our family. I know I still want the vintage ice box and 3 burner stove/oven, so we have gotten new gas hoses.
The original Avocado Appliances in the original counter- pre gut

We'll likely just use a water cooler for our drinking water, so I don't think we will be replacing any built in water storage. We will probably just put in the hook ups for city water and the drain, so I can use the sink for light dishwashing, etc. My dream is to have a tin tile backsplash as well as new formica for the counter and table. I'm thinking we'll put in some sort of stand alone a/c unit too, but we may just end up using fans for now (like we have been at home! Love that $50 electric bill).  We will be putting the beds and table back similarly to the way they were- the original design is booth seating by day and two single beds at night. We're going to set it up so we have one large bed at night, but I do like the option of having a table, so we'll be sticking with the convertible. And, there was originally a fold down bunk above which we will be putting back in for when the baby gets a little bigger. I  LOVED our bunk beds when I was a kid, and I think she'll like having top bunk too!

We are confident it will all work out in the end, and I will keep posting photos and such as we get nearer the finish line. I hope to be painting the outside in another day or two ( please cast your vote in our poll in the right side bar!), and hubby is running all of the wiring for lights as we speak (It's 12 A.M. We are hard core!) If nothing else, we will have a nice box to put an air mattress in about a week from now, and then we will go camping come hell or high water! Who knows, we may even turn up in your driveway! :)


  1. Wow well done y'all! That last pic looks totally serene...

  2. That is awesome!!! That's a hardcore project. Bravo to you and your hubby. :-)


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