Bringing new life to Vintage Trailers

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I hope you all had a chance to read my article on trending vintage camp trailers in the July 2016 issue of Simply Family Magazine! I know I enjoyed writing about my experiences, and taking the photos of my cute little trailer! I also enjoy all the waves and enthusiasm from admirers as I travel around our great state showing her off.

Several readers have asked for help on getting started toward their goal of owning a vintage trailer.  The only way I know to answer that is to simply tell some of the story of my own journey.

In the past five years, I’ve bought 5 Aristocrat brand trailers, 1967-1969 models. (I confess I’m addicted to this particular style, thus my collection) The first one was a complete stumble, bumble purchase. I did not even own a towing vehicle, and other than a desire, I knew nothing! My natural ability to see potential helped immensely. One of my favorite brags nowadays, is that while some people rescue puppies, I rescue old trailers!

This first one was in such bad condition that I felt at ease in making mistakes because I didn’t see how I could make it worse than what it was! I simply started redoing it with my idea in mind regardless of whether or not I was being ‘technically correct’.  I did not have a garage or shop, so had to work in my driveway, giving my car the furthest space away from the house and my electrical outlet! I did not own very many tools so I had to improvise a lot.

photo by Carole Davenport
photo by Carole Davenport

The décor idea was easy—I owned an old Hudson Bay Trading Co. wool blanket that I wanted to incorporate. Soon a ‘cabin in the woods’ motif evolved. I was on a tight budget so I just grabbed all the neutral colored paint cans from the storage shed, and started painting a shabby-chic whitewashed finish on all wood surfaces. Doing a cabin theme gave me the freedom to be very loose with all finishes. It didn’t matter if lines were straight, if drawers fit tight, or if there were bullet holes through the side!

I enlisted the help of a few guy friends to help with the plumbing, electrical, and propane appliances. Some worked and some didn’t. I just forged ahead with my project, keeping in mind the most important factor of my wanting a camp trailer … a locked door when I went to bed at night! A non-working propane refrigerator was converted to an old-fashioned icebox, for example.

I had a lot of fun working through all the issues of my first (and subsequent) trailers. Taking an easygoing attitude of all the work they need is a key for me to enjoy my work. I had to adapt my want list to fit what I was presented with. I made the trailer uniquely my own and it’s still my very favorite!

Here are some before and after photos to inspire you!

Vintage Trailers - before 2 - photo by Carole Davenport

Vintage Trailers - after - photo by Carole Davenport