The Lake House (Our Vintage Camper Makeover)

September 29, 2014

laurie jones home

Today is the day I finally show off our vintage camper we bought almost 2 years ago.  I have been camping glamping with my mother-in-law, my sister and my daughter since my daughter was 3 and having my own camper was always on my want/to do list.  I’ll let you in on a secret, camping to me isn’t about roughing it, it’s about watching movies, reading magazines, laying on the beach, taking evening walks (to peek at everyone’s campers) and even finding a new restaurant in town for dinner.

Before we had Cooper we threw around the idea of buying a lake house but realized with our kids going to college soon the extra expense just wasn’t going to make our idea possible.  We needed something though because my husband works 60-80 hours per week and travels and also I’m the type of person who rarely sits around the house because in my mind something can always be cleaned, organized or repurposed!

When we spotted our camper for around $1,000.00 we knew it was time to take the plunge!

I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves in today’s post and write up another one with the details for those of you wanting more information.

Here is the before in all it’s glory.  As you can tell she’s sturdy and in great condition.

laurie jones home

The after…

laurie jones home

My vision for the camper was about summer memories.  I loved summer as a kid and I loved the 4th of July the best.  I wanted the camper to be fun and bright for our kids.  I didn’t want it to be kitschy, I had no desire to keep it vintage or restoring it back to it’s original days.  I didn’t need it to be funky or edgy or anything but comfortable and welcoming.

laurie jones home

The inside was a sea of brown and the fabric was smelly and scratchy and I’m not a hipster so personally I just thought it was ugly and leaving it as is wasn’t an option.

laurie jones home

The closet was tore out and made into an entertainment center to hold our dvd player and television.  Our night always ends watching movies and eating popcorn.

laurie jones home

The couch in the back was super uncomfortable and narrow so we tore it out and added a twin bed.  We got a high end mattress that was half off.  It was still more than a cheap mattress but it’s the area we sit on the most. (Reminder I don’t rough it, comfort is key!)  I will admit the curtains were cute, but again it wasn’t the direction I was going and the light fixtures only sometimes worked and needed replaced along with all the wiring.

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

The old light fixtures were traded out for outdoor light fixtures that I spray painted red.  I also installed a dimmer on the lights.  The truth…I installed dimmers on all the lights in the camper with a few different on/off switches that way lights could be adjusted pretty much from wherever you were sitting.

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

The air conditioner was replaced with a bigger and newer one. ( I don’t sweat when I camp!)  We also pulled out the stove and replaced it with some top burners.  Trust me there will be no baking when we camp.

laurie jones home

The refrigerator was replaced too.  We bought a model that had a scratch on the side for a  major discount.  Also its not made for a camper it’s just a regular small dorm frig, which also saved us lots of money.  Also notice the microwave.  Baking no…microwaving yes.

laurie jones home

Our big splurge??  The backsplash.  She’s pretty right?

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

vintage camper

We’ve taken her out a few times this summer and I’m hoping we get out one more time before the season is over.  The camper has been a big hit with the rest of the campers.  It’s a great conversation starter.

laurie jones home

I used TONS of white paint on the camper and really this is probably the most colorful project besides my daughter’s bedroom, I’ve done.  I tend to like neutrals and my taste is probably a little darker but I love how our camper turned out.  I hope it brings lots of fun memories for our kids.

laurie jones home

laurie jones home

vintage camper

I’ll be back this week with a post with all the resources and ins and outs on our camper project.  If you have any specific questions please let me know and I’ll try and include it in the post!

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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    1. What an amazing transformation! Love the colors and the cozy look and feel to it.

    1. This is adorable. ususally I like the original, but your transformation was a definite improvement. Very HAPPY!

    1. Thank you Teresa! I know lots of people who love the original but in this case and with the money I wanted to invest this seemed like the perfect choice for us! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. It’s been awhile since I browsed your site. (Sorry!) the boys keep us hoppin’ with their sports. I know you can relate! Anyways, I just wanted to tell you how awesome this is! Laurie, you are so talented! I truly enjoy browsing all your work. I’m so happy for you and your family! They are beautiful! Take care, my friend!

    1. It’s wonderful! I guess I’ll stark stalking craigslist for a suitable prospect (not sure my husband is as excited as I am)
      . I can’t wait to read more about this!!!

    1. I love this makeover! I’m sure it was a lot of work, but the results prove that it was worth it. (My maiden name was Laurie Jones!)

    1. What an inspiration for your family & others! Beautiful!

    1. Would love to know where you got the starfish/shells outdoor rug.

      Great Job BTW. A Lot of work went into this. Well done!

    1. Hello!! Camper came out beautiful!!! Was wondering where you got the outside rug from? Love it.

    1. This is endearing! What a great transformation! Love it….you guys did a great job! Happy Camping!

    1. I really like what you did with the camper. It is a 1000% improvement!!! It makes me want to start a project like that. But I am not a finisher, unfortunately. Good thing I know this though. It keeps me in check.
      Does your husband camp with you and your children? Too bad he’s such a work-a-holic. Good for the budget though.
      I’ve seen posts about your site. This is the first time for me. I will have to visit again…who knows…you may make a finisher out of me yet.
      Thanks for the tour, and great job on the reno. By the way, I camp like you do. No baking, bugs, or sweating. By all means…no ground any longer. Too old for that. LOL

    1. I love the job you did on the camper. We had an old boat that I did something like this to. I had a hard time painting over the smooth cabinets. Your’s looks great. I would like to know what process you used and the materials too if you don’t mind. Thanks for the inspiration. Also I was wondering if you trailor it or does it staty in one place?

    1. It came out beautifully! Does your camper have a Restroom and a back bedroom? I’ve never been camping before but after reading your blog I want to go.

    1. Lauexpensive.bre you’re getting slammed with interest created by this project because it’s wonderful, and affordable, which translates to attainable….my question is, the outside paint job, how was that done? We just had a vehicle professionally painted, and it was so expensive. How were you able to keep costs down there and also on the wiring?

    1. It’s adorable! Great job!

      I couldn’t live with just a microwave, though. I would need a hot plate and toaster oven.

    1. Thanks Vonnie! We actually have a stove top, it’s under the basket, all you have to do is lift up the stainless steel top and there are 2 burners, we just took out the stove because I didn’t plan on baking and I wanted more storage, like for my toaster! Gotta have my bagels! (: Thanks for stopping by!!

    1. Oh, girl! You camp like I like to camp! Thanks for the inspiration! It’s SO adorable!

    1. wondering what the cost to remodel this $1000. camper was in total? It came out really wonderful! Love the Americana Red, White and Blue Color Scheme! Really Wonderful Job! Did you hire out to have the terrific blue awning done?

    1. Really, really terrific job! Love the American Red, white and blue color scheme! Really curious how much it cost you in total to renovate that $1000 camper, however!!! Did you have to hire out for any of the projects? The blue awning is the icing on the cake : ) Really excellent job. Love it!

    1. How many people does it sleep? Also is there any bathroom area that you didn’t include? Looks GREAT! Very inspiring.

    1. Great job!!! Every thing looks so bright and cheery. Hope you have lots of great camping trips!
      Would love to know where you bought the blue with white shells area rug. Looks Fab!

    1. I have been wanting to do something similar with my own camper. What type of paint did you use for the outside/inside? Absolutely gorgeous!

    1. This is so amazing! I have 2 1976 Mallards that are in despair. Roofs leak etc. I haven’t time to work on them but the floor plan of one my campers is similar to yours. Seeing the before pictures of yours helps me realize that there is hope for my campers. Thank you for sharing these pictures and giving me hope!

    1. Looking forward to using some of your cute ideas for our ’69 Airstream Overlander!

    1. Just saw your camper on Country LIving. I had been on Craigslist and was getting slightly depressed over the prices of some of the used campers. When I saw that you bought this for $1K, my first thought? “DUMB ME.” I’m going back to craigslist. Your inspiration just ROCKS!! Love, love, love the colors and design! Happy camping to you and your family!

    1. Hi! I absolutely love the renovations to your camper. It is so beautiful!

      I have a vintage camper that looks very similar but of course it has not been updated. I wondered if you have a floor plan or layout drawing of your camper that you don’t mind passing along. I am planning to renovate my camper in the summer. This will be a first for me but I am up to the challenge and have been inspired! I’m only in the beginning stages of planning out the designs!

    1. I am in love with your camper! We have the exact same one. We have done a few updates such as AC, upholstery and outside paint. I have a few questions I hope you don’t mind answering. When you are pulling the camper how do you keep the fridge door from flying open? Also, with the closet gone, where/ how do you store your things? Thanks so much!

    1. I love your camper transformation Laurie! Your camper layout is very similar to our 72 Frolic (AKA – The Pink Paradise). The only difference is our couch (was) where your table is, and our table is where your bed is. We did the same thing with our closet too. Such a fun project and so glad I found your blog and restoration!
      PS: Check out the PP if you get a minute. My blog is filled with before and after pics.

    1. We just got an 1986 rv and I want to redo the inside!! I don’t like the 80’s look so well lol. How did you paint over the wood vanier of the cabinets? I’m so excited about my project as like yours I want it to be a home away from home for us 🙂

    1. I adore the make over. To be at the lake whenever we wanted in such a patriotic way make me want to own it.

    1. First of all, I would like to say, that you did an AWESOME job. You are a real inspiration for me to finally tackle this project. This will be my first experience to “redo” a travel trailer. I am interested to know how you replaced the wiring.What kind of paint was used for the cabinets and what did you use for counter tops. I know I’m asking a lot of questions. However, it will be myself and another lady doing the work and I just want to have a heads up before I spend a lot of money for all of the things mentioned above.
      Thank You,

    1. I was wondering about the outside paint and awning too. Did you do them yourself? If so, what kind of paint etc.

      The trailer is amazing 🙂

    1. I love what you did with your camper !
      I was part of a caravan club with my parents when I was young. The best childhood memories.
      The camper they use for meetings and gathering was like yours ! They called it ”Mascotte” !
      We had coffee, hot cocao and cookies there! What a great time we had !
      I hope you and you love ones enjoy your camper as much as I did.

    1. I love your renovation. I have a question, we just bought a 1982 Wilderness Camper. The exterior siding seems to be a plastic material. Do you think it can be painted? You have made a believer out of me, I will be trolling you site frequently. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks.
      Great improvement..I like what you did.
      How big and how old is your Trailer?

      I’m going to look at a trailer tomorrow..My Husband is not thrilled about this at all lol.
      We have a mountain house , and a beach house, so he doesn’t get it.
      I’m getting bored, and thinking we should have a trailer and go to different places! (live in Ca.)
      I’m looking at a older 23 ft. seems nice from pictures. But now I’m thinking its too big, and not cozy like what I want..
      Hubby only wants hotels, but I also want to redo a trailer, and use it etc..
      Now wondering if he doesn’t want it, I’ll be towing this ..Yipsss..
      Btw do you take your trailer to different places, or keep it parked ?

      Take Care..

    1. Your makeover was amazing! I just purchased my before & also won’t be “baking”. How hard was it to disconnect the old stove? I was hoping to install a microwave bad well. I have fuses & would like to upgrade to a proper panel. Did you run into that at all? How was your hot water heater? Sorry for so many questions: your site has the closest before Reno pics I have come across on the internet & don’t want to make mistakes.

    1. Cute, cute, cute!!! What make, model, and year was your rig?

    1. !I would like to know what kind of camper you have renovated? I have bought a 1970 Vega that is very similar on the inside! I have looked at thousands of vintage campers, and yours is the only one similar to the one I have acquired. Thanks for any info you might have!

    1. How did you convert the lighting to hang that chandelier? I’m so jealous! I want to change out the lighting in my RV but I’ve been told I can’t just go out and buy and regular household light. Did you have to do something to the light fixture? Please please please tell me the secret.

    1. Hi. I’m curious to see what you did to the bathroom. My camper is the exact layout and we are in the process of remodeling it.

    1. love your transformation! We also purchased a small vintage camper. Ours is a 1987 GoTagALong(not in production since 1988). It also had good bones, was converted to total elec. by previous owner, he also replaced floor and plumbing so that was done. Her taste was not ours(very rustic americana with actual cedar fence used as wainscotting). Too many splinters! We had previously glamped in a 25 ft. in a full hook up campground for a number of years. Ended up being camp cook for several couples and not much leisure time…so this time around, much more simplified. Our little Lady (named after our beloved and deceased beagle), has only a toilet room but I’m good with that. We replaced convertable booth that had been removed, removed board fencing, recovered all cushions and updated backsplash with peel & stick tiles. This turned out so good that I might do this in our kitchen at home. Love how bright and cheerful yours turned out and totally agree with your camping philosophy. Wishing you many happy adventures from this Happy Camper in Ohio:)

    1. what make and model is your camper. IT IS BEAUTIFUL

    1. I have the same questions. I am really wanting to remove the stove, and put a microwave in it’s place. The idea of burners is also intrigues me. Please give details on this part of the reno…..

    1. I just want to say what an INSPIRATION this project has been! I used your trailer redo as inspiration to do our own last summer. Ours is a 1974 21′ Terry Travel Trailer laid out very similar to yours. We went with the patriotic theme too and I could not be happier. I just thought you’d like to know how your project inspired another….along with some awesome family memories redoing it together and learning a whole bunch off YouTube too! Haha. We finished it and headed to our local county fair where it was the subject of many curious onlookers and quick tours by fellow campers for our 4-H livestock show, then shortly after that we towed it to Yellowstone/Grand Teton area and we LOVE it!

      If you’d like to see pics I have them on my Facebook Farm Page.

    1. I’m redoing my ‘72 Coachman Cadet . Fun project!
      I was wondering what you used for your flooring. I bought peel-n-stick vinyl planking. I live in Ohio where the temperature can vary 100 degrees and am worried the tiles may not adhere well. Not sure what to use, but I know I don’t want carpeting.

    1. I love camping and have always tent camped. Now a little older, am looking at buying an older camper….scared, but excited. Question, I love that you used the twin bed as a sofa. What did you use for the back rest?
      Awesome job!

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