Wednesday, February 4, 2015

VintageTravel Trailer Redo

I can't believe it's been 1 1/2 years since we bought the 1982 Sunline Travel Trailer. 
Time is flying by!!!
We bought her in August of 2013.
It took a little longer than I thought to finish her, but she was ready to roll by October of 2013... We took her on a little camping trip in the UP with my sister and brother in law. She pulled like a dream and kept us nice and dry during a night time rain storm.. But getting her to that point wasn't quite as easy as I'd thought!

The outside was in relatively good condition.. There were some dents, a cracked window and the roof needed some immediate attention, but other than that, it really was in good condition.
Like many men, the previous owner used duck tape to make repairs.. lol.. If you can tell by the picture, he had taped an opening closed with overlapping duck tape. Notice the duck taped was actually suppose to be a vent with a grate over it. 
We couldn't see the roof before buying it.. On hindsight, we should have taken our own ladder so we could inspect it... The owner didn't have one available.. After looking at it we realized it had never been cleaned, or painted.. This picture is after I'd taken a leaf blower to it, vacuumed it and scrubbed it... 
It was really bad! 
Someday I'd like to remove the air conditioner and install a bubble window in it's place.

It didn't take us long to realize the previous owner hadn't been quite honest with us on a number of topics.. If he had been honest, we probably still would have bought it, but since he failed to disclose quite a few things, we were left feeling a little ripped off.

The inside was pretty typical for that era and had never had any updates.. This side is the normal booth and table combo when not being used as a bed.. 
I had asked about water leaks and was told it had been stored with a tarp on it and had never had any leaks.. I looked in all the cupboards, and touched the ceiling, to which I noticed the ceiling paper was bubbling in a few spots.. 
I was assured there had never been any water leaks and the bubbling was just from age.
The cupboards had things stored in them, and being polite, I didn't start pulling things that didn't belong to me out (until after we had purchased it)... It appears the things were placed in all the right places to hide all the water damage! 
UGH.. sellers, please just be honest so buyers know what to expect!!
Once we got into it and started tearing it apart, we realized there had been lots and lots of leaking. One wall was rotten because the door was gapping enough when closed so water had been running in and right down that wall and the area he had "ducked tape" had allowed water in, too. The areas with the most damage had been camouflaged with cushions and things stuffed in front of it. 
We definitely shouldn't have been so polite, and we should have just moved things out of our way so we could really see what the condition was.. lesson learned! 
If we buy another, we'll know better what to look for. 
Lots of rotten wood had to be replaced before we could even get started.. 

On the bright side, all the windows were in good shape (other than one that was cracked). We knew the electricity didn't work going in. The circuit box had burnt out years before and hadn't been replaced.. The previous owner said he couldn't find a replacement. We had planned to try and find one and have it fixed, but after discovering there was so much water damage, we decided we really didn't want to trust the existing wiring, nor did we want to replace all the wiring, so we decided to add electricity in a different way, which I'll explain later.

This is the opposite side of the trailer, your typical couch that pulls out to a bed...
The cushions for both beds were pretty nasty, old and smelly, so they were tossed.

There is a teeny tiny bathroom with a tiny sink and toilet. It appears to be in very good condition and will work without electricity, but we opted to use the campgrounds facilities so we didn't have to deal with the waste or worry about having to winterize the whole system.... Plus, was the previous owner honest about the water tanks not having any leaks?? We aren't sure..

The door goes to the itty bitty bathroom (so cute) and the fridge is located on this wall, too. 
The kitchen is just your typical travel trailer kitchen with a little gas stove, sink and cupboards above and below. In this picture, I had already removed the doors to paint.

After a day of tossing crap out the previous owners left inside, figuring out what all we needed to fix due to water damage and washing everything down really good, I was able to get started turning this little ole trailer into something really cute!

First, though, after cleaning the roof really well, I added two coats of rubberized paint made for trailers and sprayed all the seams with a silicone sealing spray. Then we added foam seal around the doorway, which sealed the door and stopped the problem of water getting in.

I removed the table and after pulling up the seats of the benches, realized there was a lot more water damage on the walls under them.. We eventually realized there was a screw missing from the front of the trailer, and that little hole had allowed water to flow inside, rotting the wood.. Once I removed the wallpaper on the wall by the door, I discovered that the wood was all rotted (from the door gap).. Luckily, the floor had somehow been spared and there was no water damage to it. 

We ripped out the old rotted wood (which is really very thin wood to begin with), and replaced it with new... After repairing all of that, we added tongue and groove wood, both because we love the look, but also to add even more strength to these areas.. 

Once we had repaired all the water damage and coated the roof, I could get started on the really fun part... painting and decorating.. 

I thought a trailer done in a vintage baby blue, or a light shabby green, or all ivory with pink accents would be soooooo cute! When I asked my husband which color he'd prefer, he kind of got that deer in the headlight look... He asked if we could maybe do dark blue.. or a dark green.... 

I got a deer in the headlight look. 

We finally settled on red and white, and do another trailer in a Coca Cola theme.. We had a lot of Coca Cola themed items left over from the first trailer I'd done, so it did make sense. And we both really liked that look.. 

So Coca Cola it is....

First I removed all the cupboard doors and refrigerator door.
We set up work tables in the driveway so I could spray paint all the cupboard doors coca cola red after cleaning and sanding them... I used Rustoleum spray, which really coated them well and look beautiful.

A few years ago I had wallpapered our kitchen in a really neat paintable wallpaper that looks like bead board.. I had enough left over to wallpaper parts of the walls that didn't get tongue and grooved, and then we painted everything white.. John does not enjoy painting, but he thankfully did help me. It involved a lot of bending, crawling and stooping, and by time we were done, we were too very achy people.. 

I'm not sure what that keyhole looking cut is in the cupboard next to John's head.. There was a picture taped over it. Once we removed it we discovered the hole.. lol..

This is the look of relief when your wife tells you she can finish what's left...

Once all the paint was dry, I put all the painted cabinet doors and drawers back in place.. 

I made very simple gingham curtains, found red gingham knobs on sale at Hobby Lobby and hung a coca cola thermometer over the mystery hole.. 

The floor was in okay shape, but kind of ugly, so when I painted, I didn't bother taping off the floor. I knew I had these tiles left over from another project and figured this would be a good way to get them used up. 

They went down super fast and have stuck well with no lifting. It's now been  1 1/2 years and 2 bitter cold winters, but they have remained firmly stuck. 

The interior was pretty much done, now we had to figure out what to do about the beds and if we wanted to put the booth table back up... We decided we didn't really care about that. We have a camp stove to use outside and figured we will always opt to eat on a picnic table rather than inside the trailer.. It's just the two of us, plus our furry kids, so we decided it makes more sense to just leave each end set up as beds... 

Neither bed area is a standard mattress size, and neither area is as big as a full size bed.. The cushions that came with it were very old and not in great condition, so they needed to be replaced... After doing a lot of searching, trying to find mattress's that would work, I found Coleman SUV blow up mattress's on Amazon that are not as wide as standard sized mattress's and also a lot shorter, and they ended up fitting perfectly. 

I didn't replace the doors on the cabinets above the bed because I'm planning on making cat beds to put on each side for our cats, so they have their own "suite".

The quilts were standard bed sized, which ended up being way too long, so I was able to cut enough off to make Champie (our doxie) his own bed :o)

We had a lot of coke items left from the original trailer, so I used them all in here, plus we found a few new items to add.. 

We named this picture "1950's Karen and Johnny"...The fridge doesn't work, but it's a great place to store things. There's a pull out little ledge under the fridge for an extra work space.

I found this little 2 watt heater on Amazon, that puts out an amazing amount of heat for being so little.  It doesn't get hot to the touch, but really was enough to keep it nice and warm inside. I found the red desk lamp and family dollar and little fan at wally world. 
I love all things red! 

We mounted a heavy duty power strip under the stove and John rigged it up so we can plug it into the power source at campgrounds.. We really don't need a lot of electricity. The whole idea of camping for us is about relaxing... If we have a light to read by, heat if needed and a comfortable place to sleep, we're good to go.

We did add a little toaster oven, just in case we wanted to bake cookies. lol..

While I finished working inside, John cut out a piece of plywood to fit tightly in the "duck tape" vent space and sealed it really well... We had tried to locate a vented screen to replace the missing one, but were not able to find one the right size.. His plywood trick worked just fine, and since we aren't going to use the fridge, we don't need it vented anyways. 

I read a blog on Mobile Home Living about using rustoleum spray paint to paint the outside of a trailer or travel trailer.. I had used that idea on our first travel trailer, and it had turned out really good and still looked great a year later, so that's what I decided to do with this one.. 

I scrubbed the outside really well with a big RV brush and soapy water, then rinsed it with the hose over and over again, until all evidence of any grime or dirt was gone.. I taped off the design I wanted, all the windows, lights and anything else I didn't want painted.. I took a silicone spray and used it around the edges of the window sills and all seams. When it was dry, I started the spray painting.. I did all the white sections in one afternoon, let it cure for a day, then taped off the design again with wider tape to protect the white, and spent a day spray painting the red section.  A few days later, I sanded and cleaned the tongue and fender and spray painted them flat black, after covering the front and back of the trailer with cardboard to protect it from over spray. 

I added some Coca Cola stenciling and painted the awning!! I didn't know if this would work or not, but I found some cans of Rustoleum  Fabric and Vinyl Spray paint at a local discount store for $1.99 a can..It's a burgundy color and a bit more "purplish" than the Coca Cola red, but it still looks a whole lot better than the brown and orange striped color it was.. 

I really did not think this paint would work, but I gave it a shot anyways.. I spray painted both sides of the awning and left it pulled out for quite a few days to cure.. After rolling it back up, I was sure it would be cracked and chip off when we used it, but was pleasantly surprised that it didn't.. We haven't had it out in over a year now, so it will be interesting to see how it's held up through 2 winters next time we pull it out. 

After getting her done, we had to figure out what to do about the brake/blinker lights.. They worked when we had first looked at it, but at home when we tested it, they only seemed to work part of the time, and we couldn't figure out why, so John hauled the trailer down to our local mechanics and they worked on it for 2 days.. The wiring had been hooked up all backwards and screwy, so they redid all of it.... It took them a while to figure the whole thing out, and it cost a lot more than we had planned to spend, but in the end, it works, it's legal and it's one less thing we have to think about. 

We ended up taking it camping with my sister and brother in law, in the UP in the middle of October.. Now, nights in October, and sometimes the days, can be quite chilly in Northern Michigan, let alone the UP... We weren't real sure how this would work out, but as it happened, it was a rare and beautiful fall weekend with temps in the high 70's, and unusually warm nights.. We did end up with a thunder storm one night, and were very pleased to find that the hard work on the ceiling and sealing all the seams had paid off.. Not one leak!! Yahoo...

We were warm, unbelievably comfortable in our blow up mattress beds and we both slept like babies.. I read till late in the night and slept in later than usual... ahhhhh.... these are not comforts I enjoy very often... 

She pulled like a dream!! Picture taken by my sister, who followed us in their Motorhome. 

It was kind of humourous.. Everyone else in this park had huge Motor Homes, and here we were with our little 14' trailer. But what a beautiful place to camp, right on the St. Mary River located a short distance from the Soo Locks.. My sister found the park and planned the whole trip.
You can see some of the dents in the front of the trailer.. We didn't actually notice these until after I'd painted :o(

I had seen a string of Coca Cola lights on the internet that was really expensive, and not very long.. I decided to try and make my own.. I bought a string of lights with red and white bulbs, and Coke in plastic bottles with plastic caps.. Took us awhile to drink enough coke, but once we did, I washed each bottle out, asked John to drill a hole in each cap big enough for one of the little bulbs, then stuck a light in the hole and used the glue gun to seal it. They ended working really well and have stayed together.

Roasting Marshmallows.

 After all that fresh air, John and Champie fell right asleep in our comfy little tent on wheels, while I enjoyed reading a book I'd been trying to read for months, but never had time to.. 
Camping is great!

It was worth the work... 
Looking forward to taking the trailer on more adventures this summer!

Before and After Pics

And now that I'm done playing with this one, I'm on the hunt for another little trailer to redo. lol... 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Good Bye Sew Sweet Cottage

The winter of 2014 was incredibly hard this past year.
Most days had temps below zero and snow up to our knees, or higher.. 
I couldn't get the Sew Sweet Cottage warm enough to work in, despite all the extra insulation I added to the windows, vents and around the bottom. 

It was a hard winter for many reasons, and by Spring, we had decided it's time for us to think about moving back to Southern Michigan.. 

Because of an unexpected turn of events, we ended up doing some remodeling in our house, and in the process, added another room to my sewing space, giving me a much larger work area. 

So, my sweet little cottage was cleaned out and all the contents were moved into the house.. 

Once spring came (we weren't sure it was ever going to arrive!), I turned the Sew Sweet Cottage back into her true self... 
My husband has always worried about hauling a large trailer, so we had purchased another small, lightweight trailer we use for camping..  Because we plan on moving in the next year or so, we made the decision to sell the trailer so someone else could use her as she was intended to be used, and my husband won't have to worry about hauling her down state.. lol.. 

 Our little porch was removed..

 I renamed her "My Rolling Cottage".

Her propane tanks were put back in place...

The kitchen was transformed back into a kitchen (it had been my sewing and fabric cutting area before)
My sewing desk wasn't anything special, so we decided to go to yard sales and thrift shops, looking for something else to use.. My husband spotted this little table and chairs at a resale shop.. They were pretty rough looking and in need of a redo, but the table was the perfect size for the kitchen. 
I cleaned them up, sanded them, painted them ivory and added the stenciling, with a couple of coats of clear poly coat to seal the design.. 
The stencil design matches the stenciling on the outside of the trailer.. 
My husband also attached the table legs to the wall so the table won't move when the trailer is being towed...

The livingroom area was pretty much the same when I used it as my sewing studio, so there wasn't much to do there, other than taking down a lamp I really love, and wanted to keep for myself :o)

This area had housed shelves of fabrics when I used it as a sewing studio.. 
It was transformed back into a bedroom area.

 I always thought the little bathroom area was so cute!! 
The bathroom in our smaller trailer is teeny tiny.. Makes this one look huge. 

Tomi posed for one last picture with her...We've always thought Tomi felt the trailer was his. 

I took lots of pictures, put an ad on Craigs list, and she was sold within a week. 
Farewell Sew Sweet Cottage (AKA: My Rolling Cottage).. 
I've sure enjoyed her for the last 5 years, but know she's gone to a good home.
Enjoy her new owners!!