A 1966 Camp Trailer Gets A Colorful Facelift

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We here at Design*Sponge tend to have the travel bug year round and hardly pass up an opportunity to stretch our legs and explore. The summer season, however, is perfectly suited to travel of all kinds—especially road trips and camping. These slightly more “outdoorsy” forms of exploration aren’t necessarily for everybody, though, and it certainly helps if you can take a bit of home with you on the open road. This seems to be exactly what blogger and graphic designer Jen Eckert had in mind when she and her family purchased a rundown 1966 camper for $400. “We realized we were now a family of 3, and camping in a tent was not going to cut it,” Jen writes. “Between nap-times, Pajama time, and those rainy days that tend to come around on camping weekends, we needed a comfortable place to sleep, live, and be a family. It’s so much easier to keep happy and organized, on a little ‘house on wheels.'” Jen and her husband took their “house on wheels” concept to its ultimate level, DIY-ing a space that is cozy, eclectic and wonderfully colorful—the perfect retreat from the great outdoors when one is needed! Check out all of the photos, plus Jen’s design notes after the jump! —Max

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“We found a 1966 Glendale single-axle camping trailer for $400. We were ready for a good hands-on project, however, this had a little more work than we originally anticipated. The body needed dents banged out and was in desperate need of a new paint job. As we worked on the interior and started removing the old paneling we discovered the actual wood frame was rotting. This lead to ripping most of the aluminum shell right off of the trailer floor to replace the rotted wood in the framing.”
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“After we had it put back together we could really get started. The first big step was the custom paint job. We saved money by borrowing a sprayer and stumbling through the labour ourselves. The chevron pattern worked out, and we were on a roll. We gave the interior a complete overhaul. Removed absolutely everything and put it all back. Paneling, paint, flooring, seating, and storage were all replaced. The original kitchen cabinetry was kept, and we switched out an old stove for a mini-fridge. A couple complete weekends of sewing brought everything together with custom seating/bedding cushions, and all new curtains. A pretty blue steel storage cabinet was our prized score, from a local antiques store, to use as our pantry. More recently we’ve also found a 60s era blue metal cooler in mint condition, to add to our travels!”
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  1. Sarah Jane says:

    So cute! I love the mix of patterns and the unexpected zig-zag turquoise pop on the side

  2. Rebecca M says:

    My husband likes camping, and thankfully, he enjoys taking the kids with him. However, I am more of a “I like to sleep in a bed” kind of person. If we had something like this, I’m sure I would go camping more often :)

  3. Amber says:

    This is so fun! I want it just because!

  4. tanya says:

    I LOVE this! Thinking of doing something like this as a mobile Photography studio. Thanks so much for sharing

  5. Brandi says:

    What a difference. I am not a person who likes to camp, but I could definitely handle the woods in something like this. Amazing job. Cute and comfy!!

  6. Gayle says:

    Perfect and really cute !

  7. Tess of luvmysparetime says:

    I’d love to do a makeover like this and I adore the old campers …need more time or need less things I want to do!

  8. Love that D*S could share our little camper makeover! So grateful, and thanks for all the kind comments. See more at: http://www.freshcrush.com/vintage-camping-trailer

  9. Patsy says:

    Really, only ONE bottle of rum? Super cute, great job :)

  10. cluey suey says:

    Van…tastic :)

  11. Debbie says:

    Great job. I am in no way a camper person, but love what you have done with this…so light and airy. Perfect for a small family. Have fun!

  12. Great make-over, you will have so much fun using your custom designed camper.

  13. Jennie says:

    Very nice! You did a lovely job. The curtains and upholstery are great. Where did you find that floral curtain fabric?

    Also, what do you use for a stove, now that you put a fridge in its place? And are there two beds, one at either end? There is a picture of a bench seat that might convert to a second bed, but it’s not clear if it is from before or after.

  14. HG says:

    I love this. Do you know how much it weighs?

  15. Sounds familiar; we just fixed-up a 1971 Opel Blitz & caravan for a European summer tour!

    Wonderfully done Jen & Co!

    1. breanna says:

      Do you still have this camper for sale

  16. Liza says:

    Love it! Thinking of doing a similar project for our family of four in near future :)

  17. Frances says:

    Wow, can i borrow it to take to The Gorge? Perfection!

  18. Hi Jennie… the fabric is Joel Dewberry, I purchased mine at quilthome.com … As for the cooking, we use a camp stove outside on the picnic table. And, yes there is another bed on the opposite side, there are more pictures on my own blog at http://freshcrush.com/2014/07/vintage-camping-trailer/ THANK YOU!

  19. Christina says:

    Design*Sponge features the best before & afters! Love this one!

    – Christina

  20. Lisa says:

    Do you know the weight of your trailer in pounds? I’ve been looking for one but can only tow up to 1500 pounds. You guys did a great job and I’m thrilled you put the total cost down cause it truly helps those who want to do their on. Thanks!

  21. Cathie says:

    What kind of paint and sprayer brands did you use for the exterior paint job?
    And what was the cost of the exterior painting?

    Also love the flooring. What is that and where did you get it?

    You guys did a great job!

  22. Cindy says:

    Awesome job! Inspiring!!! Do you know where I can buy vintage interior light fixtures for rvs? I’m doing a vintage camper but the lights are really bad…

  23. susan says:

    Truly an amazing job.Love your color schemes.

  24. Jose Najera says:

    Your Awesome!

  25. Jazzy says:

    Gosh how exciting! I got a little camper last year from a friend and it is in need of desperate love. First and foremost a roof! a little framing, interior and potentially a floor… How I wish I had someone in my life that would be up for such an adventure. Luckily I’m pretty handy, so in hopes to have it finished in the next couple summers :) Love the work :)

  26. krystal says:

    It looks beautiful! :) I wish I knew how to do stuff like that, then I would help fix my moms lil camper. Her goofy ex husband bought her a cute one then decided it was too small and that he was going to make it bigger. He then proceeded to take everything out, and I mean everything, then he realized he knew basically nothing about repairs and remodeling and left it looking worse than ever for her to deal with.

  27. Lisa says:

    This is something I want my husband and I do to also. Congrats! Job well done.

  28. Sarah says:

    Wow, amazing job!! My mom and I spent $1200 on an 80’s trailer last summer (we live in Alberta, too!) and we completely re-did the inside in a 50’s style white and blue. My mom sewed new cushion covers and curtains and I painted it and changed out the hardware. We didn’t make any structural fixes, mostly because we didn’t know how and didn’t want to spend the cash to rip the whole thing apart. We spent $500 fixing it up and we figure it will get us through at least a couple more seasons. This year we might paint the outside if we find the motivation. It’s still pretty ugly in the driveway. Maybe I’ll post photos on my blog, soon!

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