Friday, May 14, 2010

B52's Kate Pierson's Lazy Meadows Motel

Do you live anywhere near the Catskill Mountains? Then you live near to this! This is Lazy Meadows Motel, with cabins and Airstreams for rent. Check out these renovations (as well as her beautifully done website) by the B-52's member Kate Pierson.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Apartment Therapy - Teeny Tiny Living in an Airstream

From time to time, my favorite design site "Apartment Therapy" features a travel trailer house. The natural light is stunning. It is modernized without cheapening the effect, with chartreuse paint and a natural cork floor. Follow the link to the apartment therapy post for more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Charles Phoenix Retro Tours

Charles Pheonix and his travel trailer retro slide show.....

"Classic and kitsch pop-culture humorist and author Charles Phoenix is known for his retro slide show performances, school bus field trip tours, roller skating variety shows, kitchen experiments, coffee table books and Slide of the Week emails. He offers a hip and highly original take on American life and style. Fans from coast to coast enjoy his infectious enthusiasm and keen eye for noting oddball detail. He is a recurring correspondent for NPR and The Martha Stewart Show."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Refinishing Jalousie Crank Windows

About a month ago, I took out all of the aluminum clad jalousie crank windows from my trailer. With an electric drill I removed 8 screws apiece and they pulled easily away from the putty sealant. So here I am, a month later, with a total of five windows ranging from 14 X 16 inches, to a large 16 X 28 inch kitchen window, trying to clean up the pitted, oxidized, and dirty surfaces. As the fall turns rainy, I am anxious to get them put back in all shiny and new. In an entire month, here is the pitiful progress i have made so far. I have spent about $100 on new cut glass. I have priced out rescreening for about $12 a piece for aluminum (not vinyl) screen, and I have tried every cleaning product imaginable from Goof-Off to pure lemon juice to 200 grit sandpaper to remove the black dirt and pits from the surface of the windows. And as it turns out there is no silver bullet. In order to bring the shine back to these windows, I've had to sand them down to find the hidden clean aluminum underneath. Every track and surface is currently being sanded down by hand, a project I wish I could outsource, but I'd never be able to afford the cost in hours of labor. Still I am committed and a perfectionist enough to do the work myself. They are starting to look really amazing and the hard work is paying off. The flat surfaces are going to look scratched and I'm going to try to use a polishing cloth to bring back an original new look. If they still don't look the way I want, I am thinking of painting the flat parts of each window with a stainless steel appliance paint from home depot. If any one has done this before and has some advice on how to avoid this 21st century fix, I'd be really thankful.
If you are looking for a resource for replacement parts on Jalousie windows, go to

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why don’t Dad’s teach their daughter’s about plumbing?

St. Louis has THE best municipal water system. It tastes fantastic from the faucet. But I’ve been to many a town in which the tap water tastes like river water. So I have decided that my trailer’s water system is going include some bells and whistles to provide me with St. Louis tasting water on the road. So now you know how it will taste, let me try to describe what my water system will look like. I’m sure I won’t use the correct terminology because, Dad’s don’t teach their daughter’s about plumbing. But you’ll get the gist. Here's what I think I understand.

When designing a versatile water system, one that you can use boondocking or living high at some RV park, it is important to note that all drips and drops of water must be accounted for at the end of the day. This is what trailer parks call a fully self-contained trailer and many a park requires this.

Under my kitchen sink...

Getting Water in…..
Fresh water is provided from an external pressurized source with use of a regulator to provide correct water pressure inside the trailer, or from a fresh water storage tank that you fill up and the use of a water pump. I do not have a toilet so my fresh water goes down the sink to a grey water storage tank that I must drain when full. When a toilet is involved there is an additional black water tank which also needs to be emptied and cleaned. A task that never gets old, I’m sure.
Note: 40-60 psi water pressure is ideal (with a maximum of 100 psi). Carry a pressure regulator with you because the pressure level of city water can be as high as 150 psi which is a dangerous pressure level for your water system components .

Connecting your city water inlet to an external water source
Your water system should have a city water inlet spigot that is easily accessible from the outside of the trailer. You’ll enjoy your water more if you use a hose specifically designed for drinking water and make it a long one (I recommend one 50 footer plus an extra 20 footer backup). You never know how far away the water hookup will be. Use the fresh water hose, exclusively for this purpose without exception, and keep it immaculately clean by storage in a sealable plastic tub. Some places will provide the option to hook up to their sewage system, in which case you can simply hook up a grey water hose to a sewer connection, set your grey water tank valve to open and let your used water drain into the RV park’s sewer system. You’ll need a third hose for this purpose. Don’t get them mixed up, Yuck.

So in short, to get started, simply hook your drinking water hose to the source and to the city water inlet and open your lines to remove any air. If you have a hot water heater tank, make sure it is full before you turn on the heat. Let the lines prime and pressurize. Now you are ready to go.

Water Filters

Like I said, I require a water filter in my system. You can use the filter in a couple of locations. Here are two suggestions.
1.) You can divert cold water to a separate faucet with an under the counter filter attached.
2.) You can connect a filter to the city inlet hose and change your filter all the time.
3.) You can buy both and have the option to use both in the case of really icky water, just be sure that the one at the sink also remove microorganisms such as bacteria.

Using the fresh water tank

If you are not going to hook up, you’ll want to fill the fresh water tank at some point in your trip. Be aware that water weighs ~ 8 lbs per gallon. So a full 40 gallon tank can add about 320 lbs to the dry weight of your trailer. Propane is about 5lbs per gallon. Be sure you don’t go over the recommended weight load for your trailer or rig or throw off the balance of your load. Fresh water from the tank gets pumped into the lines by a 12 Volt water pump located just outside the tank. The pressurized lines then feed the hot and cold water systems which empties into the sink. The sink water goes to the grey water tank. A tankless hot water heater works very efficiently in a travel trailer.

Water level monitors

If you can’t hook up to a sewer line, you’ll need to dump your grey water when it gets full. A monitor system is nice to provide you with information about the levels of water in each tank. A simple model is that conductive probes inside the tank light up when wet to tell you whether the water level is low, medium, or high. Eventually mineral deposits make these probes malfunction and they’ll need to be cleaned. More expensive alternative gauges are available and might be worth it if you use a black water tank in which the probes will quickly deteriorate.

Here is a picture my bed area where I'm going to put in a water system much like the one pictured below it, which I found online.

And be sure to look at this website for a much more detailed explanation of RV Plumbing. Mark's Fulltime RV Adventure

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Canvas walls and a roof to protect her from the elements while I painfully peel away over 50 years of dirt, grime, wear and tear, my trailer is pretty far from finished. So let me take a minute to discuss one of my inspirations.... gosh that yellow is purty. I'm picturing my trailer in dark teal and yellow and whites with colorful Day of the Dead curtains. Last night I learned from a graduate student who did his master's dissertation on the communities that revolve around the life of the RVer, that I would be considered a "boutique" trailer owner. So be it... does this picture make you as happy as it makes me?
I apologize for not knowing where this picture came from ... if it is yours, please tell me so I can give props...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Re-Nest Airstreams

I'm reluctant to post a blog on Airstreams. There are just so many other people more qualified to blog about Airstreams, but here is a nice re-post from a website called Re-Nest.

Apartment Therapy Re-Nest Airstreams

Monday, June 15, 2009


Rain, rain, go away. While I wait frustrated for the spring and now summer rains to end so I can start my renovations, I have been slowly preparing myself to become a seamstress, a carpenter, an upholsterer, and of course a designer. Designer is my favorite of all occupations, but I could spend all my days picking out fabrics and vinyls, flooring, and patterns. In the end, someone is also going to have to learn to sew and it's probably going to be me. Probably.... I mean, it's unlikely that there REALLY is a sewing fairy who makes curtains in the night or that someone (like my neighbor who keeps cutting my front yard because he's awesome!) is going to come along and do it for me. So if I want these adorable Pinch Pleat Curtains in a yet to be determined color and pattern that will match my dark blue Turquoise vinyl dinette bench seats with white piping, I'm going to need some help. Hey YouTube, hit me with your wand, cause I have not a clue. But wait, these instructions look promising. I can almost see myself doing that.

Make your own fully lined Pinch Pleat Curtains from an expert in her field. Sally's website is at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Renovating Stage 1

Middle of the summer and it is surprisingly cool in St. Louis. I have a theory that St. Louis is going to have a population boom next year if people catch wind of the amazing weather we've been having. Maybe it's been like that everywhere? So while the weather has been nice, the economy has been falling apart. I guess you can't have everything. In light of the current economic fears, I have been busy researching my options and sticking to the most budget conscious repairs. My posts have been few and far between, but my trailer has been coming along slowly and steadily though mainly cosmetic. Below are some before pictures with a whole slew of after pictures coming soon.

Take for instance, a kitchenette with a rusted out stove top... I have removed the range and put everything into labelled gallon zip lock bags and boxes. The stove top is a three burner range. The pieces had rusted and I soaked them in a rust remover over night and they only cleaned up ok. I'm going to keep them the steel metallic for now and see how they look. I'm hoping they'll add a little character to the newly painted stove, but if not there are some high heat tolerant spray paints available for weber grills that I'll use. I'm still deciding on an auto repair shop to sandblast and paint the stove and fridge a pretty 50's teal. A while back, I inherited a motorcycle from an exboyfriend and fixed it up to sell it. I took the body into a shop and in an hour it went from being a rust and blue to a really cool shiny black bike with lots of chrome for less than a $100. So I'm expecting all the chrome in this trailer to pop once I get this stove painted and the formica counters replaced. I'm concerned about replicating the same turqouise they used in the 50's. i want to get the color just right! Same goes for the front door to the fridge, which is basically an old stinky cooler. It's going to be neat to see these old appliances restored.

I've bought marine grade vinyl from a fabric shop for 6.99 a yard in a very dark teal and also some white for a V in the back of the seats. I'm using the old vinyl as a template to cut the pattern. I'll hire a neighborhood reupholstery shop to sew then together for me. For my small dinette, I've calculated about four yards of Teal and 1 yard of white. I'm going to use the old wooden frames and springs, with new foam.

First I tore apart the old vinyl and removed all the oldfoam and cotton batting from the springs. Then I replaced the old foam with new foam from a futon mattress I sacrificed. I covered the padding of the dinette seat with a cheap black fabric. This will act as the frame over which I'll put the finished vinyl fabric when it comes back from the upholsterer.

The first dinette frame went together pretty easy, with new foam and some plain black material and a staple gun. I'll take pictures when I redo its twin for a step by step how to.

I don't have a garage tall enough for the trailer, but I have a large driveway, so I invested in a cheap canvas carport so I could store my trailer under it in the intermittent rains this summer. Now I've been able to take out the aluminum windows which were so easy to take out, but alot harder to scrub clean. Anonized aluminum is the worst. I tried to buffed out the pock marks with very little success. So I'm going to take to an auto detailing and repair shop to shine and clean out the tracks. I'm going to have them professionally done and that's that. I'm also ordering replacement glass from local glass company on Gravois, because the old glass though thick and a pretty green, is scratched up pretty badly.

As for the formica counters, I'm not going to spend much. There are some expensive options out there, for near perfect looking replicas, but they sell for $400 for a 4X8 sheet. I'm looking to spend less than a hundred. But look at these very original looking boomerang laminates from Very tempting.

Friday, May 22, 2009

1957 Trotwood 20 foot

1960 Holiday House 19 footer

Vintage 1961 Holiday House model 19 Classic Trailer
Vehicle Description
Another survivor found in Oregon! This rare and collectable Holiday House model 19 is rough but restorable. I have two other vintage trailers I'm working on so this one is available to someone else who would like to own a classic piece of mid century design history. It was originally trimmed with mauve and red but someone painted it white. The siding is in good condition but it has leaked and will need a complete restoration including structural framing up front. I towed it 50 miles with no problems but I did use plenty of duct tape on the front corners which are separating due to dry rot. It has the original 14.5" wheels which are rusty with fresh black paint. One tire is brand new and the other is in very good condition and was stored inside the trailer for years. The wheel bearings are in good shape.
The interior is extremely original and I have not tried to conceal or replace anything. With the obvious exceptions of water damaged areas, it is still very attractive inside. There is one small piece of panelling that has been replaced behind the bathroom door and the original linoleum is under the flooring shown. All else is original as far as I can tell. I believe the upholstery is also original since it matches the original brochures and a couple other trailers I've seen. The galley surfaces are in amazingly good shape. The street side dinette booth is missing and the floor there will need to be replaced. There is also some floor/wall separation in the area ahead of the entry door. The rest of the floor seems to be good and solid. Other items missing are the toilet, one jalousie window section on the bathroom window, dinette table, and two kitchen drawers, though I do have the original drawer faces. Both legs are there for the rear gaucho bed but they are not attached. The refrigerator is not original. This unit has an electric water heater in the closet and no black tank. The hitch jack was seized so I took it apart and have the innards, crank, and original steel wheel that goes on the bottom.
I have not tested any exterior lights, electric brakes, appliances, electrical service, plumbing, or propane systems. I have done my best to accurately describe this unit and provide photos that reflect the trailers actual condition. By bidding on this trailer you acknowledge that you are taking on a major restoration project and have been afflicted with the vintage trailer disease, which can cause euphoria, elation, neighbor indigestion, and loss of weight in your wallet. At the polite request of my neighbors, it's sitting out back at work. At the not so polite request of my boss, it's for sale. I don't have to retire off this thing so bid to win! Bring a 2" ball, tow lights, safety chains, duct tape, and drive home proud!
$250 non-refundable deposit via paypal due within 24hrs of auction end. Payment in full due by paypal, cashiers check, or cash within 3 day. No exceptions or it will be re-listed. sold with bill of sale only. Storage for up to 30 days available as a courtesy with buyer assuming all liability. Your bid acknowledges these terms. Thanks!
For vintage brochure pictures and restoration photos of another surviving Holiday House, please search completed listings for "Holiday House".

1936 Hayes Shovel Nose

Behold a rusty bread loaf. Behold a shovel nose. This is the oldest trailer I've seen yet, dating all the way back to 1936. Let me put that into perspective for you. In 1936, if you weren't, say, crushed by the Great Depression and if you happen to get rich capitalizing on New Deal contracts, then you could have hitched this trailer to a brand new Hudson Custom Eight pictured below. With it's extra long chassis, the Hudson Custom Eight is one smooth ride.

Current condition....I think you can get to Narnia inside this trailer. This is definitely a one of kinder, but surprisingly there was not a single bidder at $1500. Aren't there any Hudson owners who are also travel trailer afficiando's left in the world? Ok, how about handyman/gangsters? Well, if you do indeed exist, then you need this trailer.

1936 Hayes Shovel Nose Vintage Travel Trailer **RARE**
Vehicle Description
This is an extremely rare travel trailer. I believe it is a 1936 Hayes. I have never seen another one like it. It is bread-loaf shaped with small shovel nose. The door is very unique. It is arch shaped at the top. Check out the awesome Hayes emblem on the back. This is your chance to have a one-of-a-kind travel trailer. You will be the only one at the rally with one of these. The floor is sound. It does need restoration. Please ask questions. No Reserve!

1961 Shasta Renovation

1961 Shasta travel trailer

Ever wondered what it would look like to take a can opener to one of these sardine cans on wheels? Before I open up my own travel trailer to access the integrity of the walls, I’ve been trying to learn my trailer anatomy by reading restoration blogs. Here is an example of a trailer restoration of a 1961 Shasta. Look closely at the pictures with the skin removed. Looks to me like the aluminum skin’s connected to the plywood. The plywood’s connected to the floorboard. The floorboard’s connected to the steel frame. You get the picture. However, what I’ve noticed in the case of my own trailer is that the plywood underneath has grown spongy in spots causing the aluminum screws to lose their grip and the plywood at the base no longer connects to the floorboards at the front of the trailer. Both the floorboards and walls will need to be replaced in these spots. It’s customary to come up with a name for a trailer before beginning any restoration, but all that comes to mind right now is how it resembles a very large vacuum cleaner, zipping down the road sucking in every bug and particle of dust that comes across our bath. Sneeze central has a nice ring to it. You would not want to sleep in my trailer after a drive down a gravel drive, but with some TLC these little trailers can be given a 2nd life. This Shasta is a predecessor to the winged Shastas that have come to define this make of this trailer. What I like about this trailer is that the person who restored it brought it back to its 1961 glory and stayed true to it's original design.

Vintage Shasta Camper Travel Trailer, canned ham
Vehicle Description
Up for auction is Blue Heaven. A 1961 Shasta travel trailer that has undergone extensive renovation, bringing it back to all of its original glory. The exterior has been professionally painted with automobile paint in the original color scheme, and the body is really straight, but does retain the small dents and dings a vintage trailer is bound to have. I call 'em character!
This little beauty has a super cool and unique interior design, with a sofa across the front end that lies down into a bed. This is a really great place to hang out and read a magazine (which you can keep in the original rack near the front door!), cuz it is surrounded by windows behind and on either side. It feels really open, and when it's time to eat, tables on either side fold down to create a dinette area! There is another sofa at the left rear of the cabin, which also folds down to a bed, and has a built in nightstand. The front bed is 78" x 44" and the rear is 74"x 46".
The sofa cushions are all new materials, in black and gray vinyl, as the originals were missing. They match the new linoleum flooring, which also has tiny cobalt blue specks throughout. The original powder blue with gold sparkle tables and counter tops needed to be replaced cuz they were too damaged (DANG!), and a formica powder blue boomerang pattern was used, staying with the original scheme that sported a white backsplash. Interior storage slider doors also need fixin', and were re done in the original white scheme.
I tried to keep everything as original as possible. Original Morphy Richards "Astral" refrigerator works perfectly, is super clean inside and out and has all grates and door rails. There are some cracks, and some damage where the racks insert, which I have pictured. The Princess stove/oven combo also works perfectly and is in very good condition inside and out. All cabinetry is original with original pulls and hinges, though some of the catches were broken and needed to be replaced. All windows are also original and work fine. Windows have all been removed, polished and re installed with putty tape. Also removed and re installed with new putty tape are all drip guards, storage/access doors, new roof vent, all running, tail and brake lights, as well as the external corner trim (which contains the awning rail) from front to rear entirely. Heck, even the emblems, door handle and grab handle have been installed with putty tape at the screw holes. No leaks here, folks. All windows have new screen, with the exception of the rear closet, which is still in decent shape.
The rear closet was formerly a bathroom with a bi-fold door and spring loaded hinges at the seam, but the toilet was removed, the floor was rebuilt, and now is an empty space with plenty of room for a porta potty, or just to be used as a closet (the original T.P. roller is there, just in case. wink wink.) The humphrey propane lamp works perfectly, as do the 110v kitchen and sconce lights. The rear "cone" light is not original, but is an original 1960's Shasta light. Each sconce has an outlet to plug in whatever you need to plug in, and there is also a standard outlet located under the upper right kitchen cabinet. A breaker box is also located there, and a new external power inlet has been installed. A new municipal water inlet has also been installed, along with all new lines to the original faucet and sink.
Tires are in excellent condition with original hubcaps, wheel bearings have been packed and the break mechanisms have been removed as they are not necessary in a trailer this light, and I have had them lock up on me on a previous trailer. The propane bottle is new and full, the hold down is original. There is a flat 4 plug, and all running, tail and brake lights work. Original Bargman license plate light has a red glass lens. All storage doors and the front door have keys.
As I said at the beginning, this was an extensive renovation. The entire front end was removed below the front and curb side windows to the front door and re framed with fresh wood, and rotted wood was replaced near the door and front end. The roof vent leaked, and so old wood was removed and the roof was re framed. The rear end also had water damage and though not as bad as the front, was also re framed. All repaired areas were covered with fresh birch and coated with amber shellac to give it that "glow" these old crumpets are known for, and all original wood got a fresh coat, too!! I have posted a couple of "in progress" pictures so you can really get an idea of just how solid a trailer this really is.
If you've been looking for just the right vintage trailer to come along, this is it. No leaks, No hassle, No smells, No WORRIES!! Also no title. Just a bill of sale.