before and afterDIY

Before & After: A 1950s Camper Gets A Stylish Overhaul

by Maxwell Tielman



I love camping. In theory. Like many of us, I wax poetic about living the simple life and experiencing the great outdoors, with nothing more than a tent or a trusty, tarnished camper. That is, until I actually get out into the “great outdoors.” It is then that I usually realize that I’m more of an “indoorsy-type” than I’d like to admit. Campfires and s’mores are nice and all, but mosquitos, mud and ticks? No thanks! Perhaps I would like camping more, though, if I had a trailer like Taylor Kitto’s. The woman behind Wild Poppy Goods (and the proud owner of one of the coolest last names ever), Ms. Kitto recently purchased an old, beaten-up Midway 1959 “canned ham” camper. Although the vehicle had certainly seen better years, Taylor was determined to return it to its former glory. With a fresh coat of paint and a few choice fixtures, she was able to do that and more! The final result is a cozy, wonderfully charming home-away-from-home. Check out all of the photos plus Taylor’s design notes after the jump! —Max


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“For years, I’ve dreamed of fixing up an old vintage trailer,” Taylor says. “The idea of giving something a new life has always appealed to me (I guess that’s why I sell vintage clothing!) At first, I admit it was a bit overwhelming, as I knew absolutely nothing about vintage trailers. However, I’ve found that there is so much helpful information online about restoring vintage trailers, which made the process a lot easier. For the most part, this canned ham trailer was purchased in moderately decent condition. The major issues were that the wood was in bad shape, windows didn’t close, one wall had water damage, and just overall dinginess. Nothing too serious, but let’s just say it was in dire need of a makeover! My favorite color is white (as you can can probably tell, ha!) but I also wanted it to feel warm, so I added some wood and kilim to make it feel cozy. The exterior is currently still painted a terribly bright blue, so my next project is to repaint the outside with light blue and gold trim.

“I wanted a vintage trailer for two reasons; the first one being for camping and the second for hosting my vintage clothing pop-up sales. The bed is a blow-up mattress, the wood below easily folds up and the piping above the bed serves as a clothing rack. Our “Wild Poppy Camper” serves both purposes wonderfully!”





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  • Curtains are made from Turkish towels (found on Etsy),
  • Subway tile and galvanized piping from Home Depot
  • Table is handmade with scrapwood and hairpin legs (found on HairPinLegs for less)
  • All other items are vintage or thrifted

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For more of Taylor’s adventures, be sure to follow her instagram, @awildpoppy!


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  • Absolutely adorable! The make-over is amazing…I love the white with the mix of natural wood. Pop up sales in the beauty seem like it be a whole lot of fun…

  • Couldn’t agree more with your camping comment, Max! I like the idea of camping, but I need running water and electricity! I might make an exception for this beauty. Such a cool makeover!

  • Wonderful! I love how you used a hairpin table leg. It keeps that space open and not blocked off. I’ve always dreamed of having a trailer to refinish and use a guest room on my imaginary little property. *sigh*

  • wow. i’ve seen a lot of vintage trailers re-done and i’ve dreamed the same dream. This one is truly the best I’ve come across. So simple + cozy + well edited. The arrow & branch… the white… the kilim. LOVE IT ALL!! thank you for sharing + inspiring

  • First time on Design Sponge and what do I find but a before and after from my city. I love the transformation of the camper. Good job, so inspiring, now if I can just find a camper of my own.

  • Wayne – I believe the color is called “Four Winds’ by Clark Kensington from Ace Hardware.

  • Wow!!! I absolutely love this, where did you find this trailer? I have been looking for something like this for ages!

  • What a beautiful idea – I am heading to Europe to buy a camper van and travel for 5 months – although it won’t be a gorgeous 1950’s version – it will still be fun to use a few of these ideas :)
    The Macadame. xx

  • Inspiring! My true love owns a marina with over 30 mid century house trailers that desperately need love. After seeing yours I am going to paint all the dark wood. So much brighter!

  • looks great — very clean and light! only one thing — hope she didn’t get rid of the vintage steel hardware (light fixture over table and cupboard handles, etc). much cooler than the trendy rope handles, in my mind.

  • Ltwilton – I know how serious water damage can be for vintage trailers and definite had it checked out. It was just one section of the back wall which I replaced and put new insulation and metal sheeting in.

    Stonework – I loved the steel hardware however it was rusted over and was very sharp; so I had to replace them.

    Daniel – I found this one on Craigslist.

  • What a dose of inspiration and gorgeousness! Your are inspiring. Well done. I wish I could show you my uber large cabinets from the 1920’s, that are gorgeous, but need an overhaul and I’m sooo stuck!!

  • this is Karen in Texas…just love your trailer…I just bought a 1964 Mobil Scout and I am in the process of working on it…will be painting mine white also…thanks for posting this!!

  • Whatever you decide to do to the inside of a camper do not put in wallpaper.. the sun and the heat just bakes the paper off the walls. I did a lovely overhaul of our dark and cramped class C motorhome, and guess what … in the spring I am removing all that paper I put in and starting from scratch again! This time I am painting and stenciling after I remove all the glue from the walls. We are also ripping up all the carpet and putting in pergo. Its going to be a really big job but we love our camper so much that for us it will be a labor of love. I am also thinking of taking out the hard valances that are up over the day/night blinds and putting in my own hard backed valance with bright colors to pick up the room a bit! So now we are getting ready to pick colors as soon as the holidays are over and as soon as a good weather weekend hits…..we get busy!

  • i’m with katie on march 5th . . . i’d love to know about the counter tops. we’re thinking since sheets for ours, but curious about how best fit it around the sink. yours looks stunning. any tips?

  • I absolutely love it! I want to do e same…what model did you buy and how much did you pay for the trailer before you fixed it up?

  • we have a ’65 bus that was converted to a motor home. We would like to paint the interior. The cabinets and trim and some walls are Formica or similar to Formica. What kind of paint could we use to cover it up? I would appreciate your help.