before and afterDIY

A 1966 Camp Trailer Gets A Colorful Facelift

by Maxwell Tielman

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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


“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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  • 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 :)

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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 :)

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Wow! This is a very useful page and I really enjoyed reading article and all users’ comments. Thank you for sharing valuable information.

  • help! Could someone please tell me how to get the cabinets out/off the walls. We have removed all screws that we can see on the inside and yet the cabinets will not come off. Our camper is a 1964 Deville. Thanks for any and all help.

  • I love it! It’s bold and strong but simple and sensible. No frilly bed near the stove or tons of pillows.
    Don’t get me wrong but time and place. This. Has a creative woman’s touch while a man wouldn’t be embarrassed to be in there. Sensible. The people and our lives are the accessories, what more do you need. Looks like the rum was well spent too!

  • Absolutely fabulous job!! Your hard work has paid off with a lovely travel home that is so stylish. Happy travels in it!

  • Only one bottle of rum? My vintage trailer Reno has required two boxes of wine…and that was just to get it home, drain the tanks, and winterize. Now that the snow is gone, the real fun begins!