The winter in which we finish the trailer

A little more than two years ago, we decided that a vintage camping trailer would be the perfect gateway to cheap, stateside getaways. It was a notion borne out of one part falling in love with our fire pit (more here), one part missing the relaxation that comes with unplugging in nature and one part restlessness (our rented condo was done from a design standpoint and we were a little bored on our occasional free weekend.) We searched high and low, bought two trailers that we quickly sold and finally settled on a 13-foot 1967 Trailblazer.

What we thought was a medium project quickly ballooned into a total tear down that dragged into the winter of 2012. And then the firehouse happened and, frankly, our lives turned upside down in the best possible way, leaving the trailer behind priorities like getting our studio up and running, creating a happier living room, fencing our yard and finishing our garage. And so, two entire years later the trailer has only been touched to move it from the front of the firehouse to the back and then from the back of the firehouse to the studio.

Yep, you read that right. The trailer is currently taking up residence IN the studio. It’s time. It’s time to get it done so we can use it or sell it. But most importantly, so it’s not hanging over our heads as some great, unfinished project. We’re finishers and this is bothersome.

So this is it – our big winter project. As such, we thought (in case we weren’t friends two years ago) you needed to get up to speed on our trailer project while we make a new “to do” list (the original was lost in a small fridge water line flood last year) and start the march toward the finish line.

Meet the trailer! We were looking for something small (under 15 feet) and inexpensive. This became “the one” thanks to the numerous windows. Obviously it still needed work.

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The front was riddled with hail damage and the ombre effect was caused by wear, not a desire to be on trend.

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We were buoyed by the inside, which didn’t have any sort of musty smell and looked to be in great condition. Obviously everything needed paint (white, naturally.)009trailerbuyanddemo

The dinette is at the rear of the trailer and folds down into a bed. To the left is a large storage cabinet, to the right a small kitchenette.010trailerbuyanddemo

The bigger bunk is in the front. It’s a couch that pulls out into a bed (seen here flat with the original cushions piled up.) There was also a small sleeping bunk above it. We plan to halve the depth and turn that into luggage storage. In this view the door is to the right and the kitchenette is to the left. 011trailerbuyanddemo

Here’s a better look at the kitchenette. 012trailerbuyanddemo

Once it was in a temporary home (a former train tunnel at the Lemp Brewery that we rented) we started strategically demoing, with an eye to keeping anything that we could still use. The goal was to clear out the space so we could paint the entire interior. We knew there was some water damage in the back, but we weren’t scared.


This is the back (dinette) and you can see water damage in the bottom corners and around the windows (now that the frames are removed.)014trailerbuyanddemo

After pulling the interior panels, we realized the damage was more widespread than we anticipated. 015trailerbuyanddemo 016trailerbuyanddemo

The more we peeled, the more we wondered how this thing stayed together for the ride to St Louis. The outside skin basically popped off when we removed the trim. 017trailerbuyanddemo 018trailerbuyanddemo 019trailerbuyanddemo

All of the dark wood is rotten… yes, everything around the edge.020trailerbuyanddemo

The front wasn’t much better. There was a little rot near the bottom.021trailerbuyanddemo 022trailerbuyanddemo

And a lot of rot at the top left. 023trailerbuyanddemo 024trailerbuyanddemo 025trailerbuyanddemo 026trailerbuyanddemo 027trailerbuyanddemo

When it was all removed, we were left with this. Homey, right?  029trailerbuyanddemo

At this point the project had ballooned WAY beyond the original scope, but it had nowhere to go but up.

16 thoughts on “The winter in which we finish the trailer

  1. Oh. My.
    At the point the project had “ballooned” did anyone cry? I think I would have cried. Just a little bit. And then picked myself off the ground before making it pretty. But there would definitely have been tears. (And probably beers.)

    • Good question. It was SOOO long ago. I don’t think there were any tears, but in the grand scheme of things, trailer repair is cheap. There were definitely alcoholic beverages though…

  2. Wow. That is quite the project. But I’ve seen what you’ve done with the firehouse and I have no worries that you’ll conquer this task handily. 🙂

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