restoration

Living in a Tiny Trailer: By Terry Ann Bernhardt

My motto is “follow your heart but take your brain with you”.

My journey began with a dream to travel and explore leisurely, moving at approximately the same speed as an ancient turtle in my golden years. 

I began to collect a list of interesting places to visit from friends, co-workers, books, magazines, movies, and yes, Pinterest and YouTube.

I’m up to 91 places I’d like to visit ranging from Yellowstone Park to a little spot in the Appalachian Mountains where fiddles are still handmade.

I would be accompanied by my dog Emmy Lou, 56 lbs of fur-bearing love, so traveling via recreational vehicle seemed ideal.  Again I began collecting facts, people’s anecdotes, magazines, brochures and visiting RV lots to determine what suited my turtle traveling dreams.

8 Vintage Trailers That Will Make You Swoon

8 Vintage Trailers That Will Make You Swoon

Finally! An excuse to show you some of my favorite vintage campers that we saw on our #tinyhouseroadtrip.

I typically hate "list" blog posts like this, but I needed a way to show you some of the random cool trailers and campers we saw along the way, in between, and on the road.

All of these photos are mine, I took each one. Enjoy!

SEE ALL THE VINTAGE GOODNESS AFTER THE JUMP!

Explaining Tiny Houses to High School Students

Yesterday Matt and I made our long awaited return to the amazing Anne Richards School in Austin, Texas. You might remember our visit last year, where we were brought in to teach the all-girls engineering class for 2 weeks, as they were doing the first COMET Camper-inspired curriculum, Project  Ventura. The girls had to design an eco-friendly trailer to be used by the school community.

This year, the girls of the Anne Richards School have a bigger budget and a bigger project: to turn a huge Airstream trailer into a teacher's lounge powered by solar panels. We are so excited to be in Austin again hanging out with these amazing high school girls. Their passion and innovation is incredible. I keep telling them how lucky they are to be restoring vintage trailers as a school project! I think they realize the importance of the project and the opportunity it creates.

So yesterday Matt and I gave the class our introduction to Tiny Houses. I'm used to giving this presentation to groups of older people - people living on their own already, and people with jobs and kids. But giving the presentation to high school students was totally different! They could see the COMET lifestyle (either in a trailer or tiny house) as a way out of their parent's house, or as an alternative to expensive college dorm housing. We heard many of the girls exclaiming "I have to rethink my whole life now!!", which was awesome!

Fixing The Framing in a Vintage Camper

Fixing The Framing in a Vintage Camper

So, picking up where I left off in the post "Replacing Rotten Wood in a Vintage Camper." I'm going to try and squeeze a few days worth of progress into this post. And again, I'm going back to June/July (wow, it's crazy that it's been that long! I have so much catching up to do here on the blog and so much to share! If only there were two of me - one to wield the drill all day and one to blog about it at the same time!). This stuff was all happening in June, in preparation for Tiny House Summer Camp, in the beginning on July. Okay, let's get to it!So where we left off I had replaced the rotten framing on the starboard (door) side of the trailer. Now we're moving over the the rear port side of the trailer, to replace what was rotten there. The damage hadn't reached as far as on the starboard side, which was a relief.

Interior Floor Demolition!

This is what I was doing the last few days. Later on I'll post pictures of what it looks like now, with the new framing, insulation, and flooring. Basically the entire rear floor, under the bed/couch under the window, had been destroyed by a combination of water damage and termites or carpenter ants. There was no framing left in the rear 4 feet of flooring, it was just dust at this point. We ended up pulling out an entire wall's structural members and floor studs: there was a lot of day light coming through. This is the most structurally-intense renovation/repair I have ever had to do in a trailer, but it was similar in nature to the repairs I had done to fix water damage in other trailers, so progress has been going very quickly!

I'll walk you through peeling back the layers of rot. Don't let this discourage you  if you're considering repairing your own vintage trailer. If I can do it, anyone can. Oh, and a big thank you to my friend Matt for helping me out in these hectic weeks before Tiny House Summer Camp, and all the other weeks he's helped as well.

Exterior Paint Design Concept

Good morning!

I've been working on some paint schemes for the exterior of the COMET. I think that because I'll be towing it around so much in the next few months, going to Tiny House Summer Camp With Derek Diedricksen in July, and the KOA vintage trailer rally and sustainable weekend event in Brattleboro, VT, it's really important I have the outside looking nice and giving people some info about the project.

I love the little stripe details that reference a comet in the seafoam section. I'm also going to put a seafoam colored atomic-looking comet shape behind The COMET text, to tie it all together. I still need to figure out where to put the website and other info.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

 

Demolition: Tearing out the Trash in The COMET

Two days ago I began pulling out the rotted wood and un-salvageable parts of The COMET. This post will be most useful to those of you who are thinking about (or in the process of) restoring/re-doing a vintage camper. Here are some of the "fun" things you might find when working on a camper that is over 50 years old! WALL PANEL

Here's the rear wall panel. As you can see, there is visible dry rot and water damage under the window. I took off the window frame and decided I need to replace the wood from half way down the window and below (imagine a straight horizontal line continuing off of both sides of the window where the gap in the panes are - everything below that). I began going at it with a chisel before deciding that the job needs a more precise hand held multitool, something like the Rockwell SonicCrafter, which can cut flush up again the walls. I peaked behind the wall panel, and all of the wood back there looks great, no damage. I'm still going to super reinforce the framing of this wall with more beams though, because I'll want the extra supports when I go to mount the bumper greenhouse later.