Before & After: Converting 188 Square Feet on Wheels into a Home

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If there’s some passion or wish you’ve been secretly harboring inside those inner archives of wild dreams, then meet Mandy Fierens and Kevin Holesh, a couple who may just convince you to say those wishes out loud. More importantly, they may inspire you to take some giant leaps of faith and go for those wild dreams!

During her horribly insecure teen years, Mandy fell in love with fashion, but her 5’10” curvy frame didn’t fit the typical mold. Naysayers told her the barriers to enter the fashion industry were too high (adults are the worst!), but she didn’t let that stifle her. Today, she uses The Curvy Blogger as a positive corner of the web, where she hopes to help girls all over the world find confidence in their own skin. If the photography on her blog is impressive, it’s because Mandy is also a wedding and elopement photographer. She credits her other half, Kevin, with giving her the boost in confidence she needed to ditch a steady day job in order to pursue those creative passions.

Kevin is an iOS developer (check out his app, “Moment,” to help you curb your phone addictions), who can pretty much figure out anything he puts his mind to. The one idea on both of Mandy and Kevin’s minds? Travel! After marrying and settling in Pittsburgh, PA, the two borrowed an aunt’s pop-up camper and spent two months traveling the South. They were totally hooked, and the return to apartment life left them feeling cooped up.

Where others may have tried to just swallow that nagging feeling, these two brave souls had a real talk about their desire to travel. They put words into action, lived frugally to save money, consolidated their lives in a major way, and when the right “fifth wheel” presented itself, they committed to living in 188 square feet, which they dubbed the “Keystone.” Whether you have the same travel bug and work freedom, or your life is completely tethered to one place, you can dive into their adventures and live vicariously through their blog, 188sft. Enjoy! —Quelcy

Photography by Mandy Fierens | Family portrait by Krystle Castillo

  1. Holland says:

    Love everything about this! Kevin’s and Mandy’s reno is a complete delight … Everything needed in place, freedom to roam, beloved pets at their sides. And the price tag is a lesson to over-spenders!

    1. Mandy says:

      Thank you so much Holland! We love our little home. :)

  2. Josh says:

    You have such a beautiful little space there now! Very resourceful ideas. LOVE those copper mugs hanging there too :)

    1. Mandy says:

      Thank you so much Josh! I am so glad you like the mugs! Guiltily they hold some jewelry and not moscow mules most of the time. ;)

  3. isabel says:

    amazing, brilliant job. enjoy your travels.

  4. Laura says:

    If I by the trailer, can I have you two fix it up?? Yours is absolutely brillant!

    1. Laura says:

      *buy (at least I caught it!)

      1. Mandy says:

        Yes, we are so game! :)

  5. Heidi the Hick says:

    I have questions!
    What are they towing it with? Pickup truck?
    How do they secure all of their things when mobile?
    Where is the litter box?

    It looks so clean and cozy and comfortable. My daughter has vague plans for buying a camper some day and taking her photography on the road, so this camper is intriguing to me!

    1. Mandy says:

      Hi Heidi!

      We tow with out dodge ram truck. We put anything that slides around while driving in baskets (not very many items need to be put away). And bungy cord a few things like our computer screen, and pantry! Litter box we made a special spot for. Check out our youtube channel to see where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akfndaMImII

      xo Mandy

  6. Susan says:

    Amazing transformation!! I WANT ONE, TOO!!! Love it!!

  7. Emily says:

    We are spirit animals! From Grand Rapids as well. Lived in a (non-renovated, 80s style!), am a wedding and portrait photographer too…weird. This trailer is AMAZING and totally motivational! Maybe one day we’ll have the guts to take on a reno–in the meantime, I’ll enjoy drooling over yours. Awesome job!!

    1. Mandy says:

      Omg that is crazy! Total twins! You can totally do it. Make your home your own! :)

  8. hallie says:

    Love this! Also just watched a bunch of your you tube videos!

    1. Mandy says:

      Thanks for watching Hallie!

  9. Jessica says:

    This looks amazing. Was it hard to paint the faux wood? Did you have to use special primer?

    1. Mandy says:

      We had no problems! A surprising amount of it was real wood actually!

  10. Catherine says:

    Thank you for featuring this lovely reno! I have been waiting for a very long time for a RV to be featured. Beautiful, lovely, modern, inspirational ! Dogs are cute too.

    1. Mandy says:

      Thank you so much! :) I am glad you like our home.

  11. joyce says:

    Love this. I live in Montana where it is very common for people to have 5th wheels for the weekend trips in the mountains and lakes and I was always puzzled by how people never
    personalized their spaces. These same people would never live in
    a apartment/house without putting in personal touches. Plus some of them actually spend a lot more time in their 5th wheels than their houses.
    Like Jessica, how did you paint the wood and walls and what type of paint?
    Would love to see more of this type of reno and would pass them on to my 5th wheel friends.

    1. Mandy says:

      Hi Joyce, We didn’t have any issues painting. Most of our walls are real wood or wallpaper covered! But we used Kilz max primer, at least two coats, then painted!

  12. Safiyah says:

    Hi Mandy, great job, it looks amazing and so fresh! I saw at a hone show recently a company that fits a new tub frame over an existing one, like a glove. Its supposed to be significantly cheaper than a regular tub. It was something I was considering for my rv renovation and maybe it can work for you as well!

    1. Mandy says:

      Great idea! We will have to look into that! :)

  13. Kristina says:

    I LOVE this!!!!

  14. Beck says:

    I think this is the first camper/tiny home reno on a design website that I’ve seen that didn’t rip and replace the whole interior. I really like how they used the layout that already existed, which is a typical camper layout, and just used some great paint and other aesthetic tools to make it look like a brand new place. It’s so much more cost- and resource-efficient!

    1. Mandy says:

      Yea, we kinda took the easy way out. ;) But yes, we were trying to make it cost efficient. To be honest, our rig isn’t meant to last like airstreams are, so we tried to limit the amount of money we spent. Thanks for the love. :)

  15. Mandy and her camper are both total beauties! I’ve just spent over an hour looking at her blogs and videos and dreaming about hitting the road!

    1. Mandy says:

      Thank you so much for the love Lauren! :) You can do it too!

  16. Elena says:

    Ah, the traveller live is always good to hear, and I believe most people want to do the same things as you guys have done. By the way, the new place looks so charms!

    1. Mandy says:

      Thanks so much! :)

  17. Dre says:

    Amazing! Incredible transformation-my hubby and I want to do the same thing-thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Mandy says:

      Do it!!! We will see you down the road!

  18. Vickie says:

    Oh my – this gives me hope! My husband purchased a 5th wheel last spring and I never saw it until he brought it home…. although it is super comfortable I HATE the interior and have been racking my brain over what to do to it. I love this! It’s very similar in layout to ours – so I am going to show this to my husband and start planning our winter renovation. Did you do blog posts as you went along? We might need tips galore – like the flooring… is that vinyl planking or sheet vinyl or did you go with real wood? And how do you handle the slide out? So many questions! Love it.

    1. Mandy says:

      Great questions. Feel free to e-mail us! We haven’t finished our blog post series about the reno, but this may be the fire under my butt to finish it! In the meantime feel free to reach out! theholeshs@gmail.com

  19. c’est vraiment très sympa !!

    1. Mandy says:

      Je vous remercie!

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