Inside The Comet Camper: I love my tiny house

Inside The Comet Camper: I love my tiny house

Okay, okay, so I know I'm still trying to catch up the blog with the progress in a chronological and step-by-step fashion - but I can't help it. I love my little house (even though it's unfinished) and I want to share what it looks like with you all at this point! So let's look into the future-present at the most recent photos of the COMET. Give me your feedback in the comments! We'll get back to the progress updates later - unfortunately this did not all happen overnight :)

Installing the Fresh Water Tank Fill Spout in a Vintage Trailer Camper

Installing the Fresh Water Tank Fill Spout in a Vintage Trailer Camper

The fresh water tank (the only tank in the COMET - no grey or black water tanks) lives underneath the rear couch/bed. Originally it was under the dinette bench on the port side, but that meant that there was about 15 feet of tubing wrapping around the entire trailer to get from the tank to the faucet on the other side. We moved it to underneath the rear bench to be closer to the faucet. The fresh water tank is 15 gallons and I refill it about every 3-4 days. You don't really use a lot of water when you have to pump it by hand. And the hot water is just one of those black bag camp showers that I hang up outside. Here's how we installed the new fresh water tank.

Now, we actually installed the kitchen before attaching the water tank and hooking everything up, so that's where I'll stop for now. Basically, the tank got put into it's spot under the bench, it fit very snugly. We hooked up the fill line to the appropriate fitting that we had installed in the side of the tank, and the air vent line to the appropriate fitting. We put the fitting (barbed) into the bottom for the faucet line as well, but didn't hook it up until the kitchen was finished. So we'll look at the kitchen then get back to finishing up the water tank. Photos to come!

Vintage Trailer Restoration: Sheet Metal Patches and Exterior Bodywork

Vintage Trailer Restoration: Sheet Metal Patches and Exterior Bodywork

It's about 10 degrees here in MA today, and while I look back at these pictures from the summer I am wistful to say the least. So here's some pictures of some sheet metal work we did on the trailer to patch some gaping holes and button the skins back up after replacing some of the wood inside the walls. Sometimes, when you replace the old rotten wood under the skins, they don't fit back on just perfectly (they would if I wasn't going to repaint the thing, but I am so I wasn't too vigilant about it this time around). There was a gap on the corners of the trailer where the aluminum met and started to separate from the weight of the rear. These gaps had been there since I got the trailer, so I knew I'd have to patch it anyway. First, we put a strip of sheet metal (aluminum flashing for this application - because it's flexible/malleable) around the corner and underneath the member for extra protection. We just nailed it in to the new wood. This would be the flashing that would keep any water out. When you put the skins back down, caulk around the edges and screw it in with sheet metal screws (the ones with the little rubber gaskets work well for this, but we just caulked each spot where the screw would go before screwing it in).

Adding Extra Strength Framing and New Paneling to Your Vintage Trailer

When Matt and I went to re-frame the rear wall of the COMET, we knew we had to do some re-design as well. First of all, at some point there is going to be a "bumper garden" (hehe, get it? on top of the bumper...) mounted onto the back of the trailer under the window. Ok, so it's like a way-glorified window box, but on a moving trailer, and made with polycarbonate so it's also like a tiny greenhouse too. Since there will at some point soon be soil and metal and plants hanging off of the back wall, we knew we had to beef up the framing. I wanted enough studs that we could lag into to support the bumper garden. The second part of the design had to address the really weird original framing, which had the rear bench (couch and also my bed) come down halfway in front of the rear hatch, which is the only place to really store anything large. Basically, the rear bench bisected the hatch, and I thought that was dumb, because I want full hatch access! So we raised the bench up 6 inches, so it now clears the rear hatch door and give us a little more storage. Here's how we did it! A little reference, so you can see how the original framing interfered with the rear access door.

Framing and Insulating The Floor in a Vintage Trailer

Framing and Insulating The Floor in a Vintage Trailer

Here I am again, trying to get us up to speed with where the COMET's at now. This is from the Summer, so bear with me while the next few posts catch us up to the COMET's current loveliness.

We left off where we had replaced some of the rotten framing in the walls and on the floor, and here you can see how we re-framed and insulated the floor. As I mentioned before, the entire rear half of the trailer had been demolished by carpenter ants, so we just started from scratch back there.

Vintage Trailer Upholstery Fabric: Organic and Cute! Thank You Sew Fine Fabrics!

Who said organic fabric had to mean neutral tones of hempy linen? I was bummed out about what I was finding online for organic fabrics options for the COMET upholstery, until I stumbled upon the Etsy shop, Sew Fine Fabrics. I wanted something bright, fun, and retro - not pea-green and scratchy. I was also looking for something affordable (everything else I came across was about $40/yard - yikes!) and Sew Fine Fabrics delivered everything I wanted at an affordable price. Sew Fine Fabrics offers organic lightweight and home decor weight fabrics in bright colors, amazing prints, and retro styling. Jodi Walter Jones, the owner of this lovely shop, says, "I'm seriously obsessed with finding fabrics I love. I spend way too much time tracking them down. I love that organic now means colors and textures and modern designs rather them the plain oatmeal color of the recent past." I could not agree more. I used the Pinstripe organic home-decor weight fabric for the rear bench in the COMET (also my bed!). I also used the Starburst Orange fabric for accent pillows. I was so excited to find an organic fabric in a pattern that I loved in the exact color scheme of the COMET - teal and orange! It's a perfect match. And all the fabrics are SUPER soft and sturdy. Just recently I ordered some more teal + orange fabrics from Sew Fine that I haven't used yet, but plan on incorporating into the trailer soon. So if your looking for some eco-friendly fabrics to use in your tiny house, vintage trailer, or other project, please do check out Sew Fine Fabrics on Etsy. Jodi is super sweet, and is happy to make up custom listings. I wholeheartedly recommend Sew Fine Fabrics.

Here are some pictures of the couch and pillows, all done with fabric selected from Sew Fine Fabrics.

Replacing a Window in a Vintage Trailer: Thank You Fletcher's Trailer Sales!

As the weather get's colder and fall is in full swing, it is safe to say that work on the construction of COMET is winding down for now. It's a little too cold to paint the exterior outside, so until I find an indoor workspace I'll have much more time to post about the progress of the last few months. I'm glad for the change of pace!Lots of exciting things happened for us in the last few weeks. We brought the COMET to Deek Diedricksen's tiny house workshop in Stoughton, MA. It was an awesome weekend of talking tiny, building a super teeny house on a trailer, and lots of time around the campfire. We got to hang out in the Whittled Down Caravan with Tristan and Libby, which was great. At the workshop we were interviewed for an NPR show coming up (I'll definitely let you know when I find out the air date), which was unexpected and totally awesome. We also did a video with Deek for Tiny Yellow House (his youtube video channel), which will be out soon I hope! Even though the COMET remains a work in progress, it is really shaping up into something lovely, and people seemed excited about the future of the project. After the tiny house workshop, we did a video shoot for a Spaces.TV "Offbeat Spaces" webseries episode, which was really neat and a new experience for me. The COMET is such a technical project for me, and talking about the aesthetics and interior design choices for the Offbeat Spaces video was a welcome change!Anyway, lots of re-capping and catching up to do as always (I think the only solution to this would be a clone...anyone?)...but I promise now that the weather has made working outside less feasible, I will be spending more time with the blog!

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Now, to the rest of this post!

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.

Before + After: Replacing Rotten Framing in a Vintage Camper

Before + After: Replacing Rotten Framing in a Vintage Camper

Like I said, lot's of catching up to do! I've got to go back to 5 weeks ago and bring you all up to speed on the progress of the COMET. She was a MESS before we went to Tiny House Summer Camp, but if you saw the article on Deek's website, you saw some pictures of what she looks more like now - less of a mess. Anyway, here's the first installment of catching up the website to where the COMET stands now.

BEFORE:

Some serious demolition. After stepping around the back and almost falling through the trailer floor onto the pavement 3 feet below, we decided to replace EVERYTHING. This demolition was made 10 times easier by the use of the SoniCrafter, using the plunge-cut blade to remove rotten wood to where it was solid again.

Lots of Catching Up to Do!

Hello Readers!!

No, I have not died or given up on the project or the blog, I am just finally, for the first time in weeks and weeks, finding a free moment to do a post. Things have been CRAZY the last few weeks, trying desperately to get the COMET in shape for Tiny House Summer Camp and then the Brattleboro KOA Vintage Trailer Rally. Basically I have not had a moment to myself since I got back from Yestermorrow on June 15th. Every single day (no lie!) for the last 6 weeks has looked a lot like this: wake up at 6 AM, be outside working on the COMET by 6:30 AM, work work work, take a 10 minute lunch break at 1, then back to work until 9 PM or sometimes later if I had to. All just to get the COMET in towable, working order (not pretty) for Tiny House Summer Camp (which was amazing) and the rally a week later. Did I mention the temperature has not gone below 95 that whole time? Needless to say, by 10 pm I was exhausted and I knew I had to put the blog writing on hold if I was going to make it up to Vermont for these two events. I want to THANK YOU for bearing with me the last few weeks as I put the pedal to the metal with the COMET in terms of progress, and was away from the website. It was actually really good to have a deadline and serious motivation for getting certain things done, and pushing myself that hard for the last 6 weeks makes the rest of the project, what still needs to be done, look like a breeze!