1969 Breeze Travel Trailer Gets a Make Over!
It was the summer of 2011 when we bravely embarked on a desert camping trip with one of my best friends and her family. During that trip we slept in tents (she had a camp trailer). The first morning and every morning during that trip I woke up with intense back pain. It was during that trip that I decided my friend had the right idea: a camp trailer. We kept a look out for something cheap that we could fix up a and make our own. After a year of searching we purchased a 1969 Breeze travel trailer for $300.00(see pictures).
3/24/2012 The Beginning of Grand Visions
To say this trailer was in a state of disrepair was putting mildly. The only thing that worked was the signal lights in the back. The refrigerator was done, the water pump was a “for looks only” item, the plumbing leaked badly, the vent cover was missing (the previous owner fixed this by putting a pan over it), and at one point we found a hole in the roof. Everything else was a mess. The carpet was nasty, the walls were pealing paneling, the bathroom looked like a horror film, in places the actual walls were coming apart, the mattress to the bed was a disgusting futon, and there were mouse droppings in one of the cabinets (my husband tried to hide that from me). Did I mention my husband, Buddy picked this trailer without me? Being a man, Buddy did not care that the trailer looked like live chickens had nested in it (because it was better than the ground right?).
The first time I saw the trailer, I was reconsidered tent camping. Some might think $300.00 was cheap, believe me it was pricey for what we got. Buddy was pretty proud that he talked the guy down from $500.00. My husband beamed with pride over his negotiation skills as he told me the tale of the trailer, eyes bright (if he had a tail it would have wagged). If you have not guessed; I do not have a poker face. My horror must have been evident because the next words out of Buddy’s mouth were “ You will make it awesome, you always do”. While I appreciate my husband’s confidence in my abilities, I was not excited, at first.
Somewhere inside of me there is a possibility switch that gives me insight into what things could become… and a little while after that first meeting with the trailer, the possibility switch turned on. Lots of ideas roamed through my head. I thought of bizarre themes like “Elvis travel trailer” (complete with zebra print) or “disco travel trailer” (with retro 70’s psychedelic fabric and a disco globe). In the end the design evolved from my love of all things Parisian. After all if I was going to be on a camping vacation, why not have a fancy trailer to sleep in?
Before we did anything else we had to gut the inside of the trailer. Every cabinet door was removed, all the carpet torn out, the nasty mattresses were thrown away. Strangely the first thing that was completed was the shower that we will probably end up using for storage. Buddy replaced the hard board in the shower with new more modern looking tile board. This was the first day of actual work and after that he rested for two weeks (because we had plenty of time until vacation). The next thing he did was sand the walls to prep them for me to come in and paint (this took a solid week due to the pealing paneling).
Something I should explain is that I have a very crazy work schedule. I had to start painting cabinets the week we got the trailer. So the cabinets were still being painted right up until the last week. Buddy had all the electrical and plumbing to worry about, so my projects were the smaller tedious or artistic projects. I did everything I could do every minute I had due to my crazy time constraints. Most of the projects took more than one day to complete. It was not odd for us to be in the trailer until 9pm working on something. For me the nights were later if I was up painting cabinets in the house.
Art of Cabinets
In a trailer you have to think about weight with every project. Hanging pictures in a trailer is impractical because of the weight, movement, and space issues. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have pictures. I found that the cabinets were an amazing canvas. I pained each cabinet different. Some of the cabinet groups have a theme. If a person cannot paint, I would suggest decoupage with thick coats of decoupage to protect it. Everything from the Eiffel Tower to our Chihuahua Hercules ended up on a cabinet door (see pictures).Near the end of the cabinet painting I was artistically exhausted and still managed to crack out a cabinet that resembled the Titanic (this cabinet is for the bathroom). I felt it was fitting since this project seemed doomed from the start.
Black, Red, and White All Over!
When I envisioned the trailer one of my main concerns was that it would look like an old trailer on the inside. My greatest critic is my 13 year old son who kept telling me nothing I did would make this trailer livable. The seats in the trailer were covered with the original 1969 freaky flowers. You may remember these flowers from couches from the same time period. The material was shredded in places, although the foam was in surprisingly good shape for its age. Straight sewing with a sewing machine is pretty easy. I sewed the curtains out of a red paisley material and the seat covers out of … red velvet? Yes, it is red velvet. The covers come off easy and are pretty stain resistant. The shower curtain and two comforters are both in a Parisian black and white pattern.
White Washing it!
I thought of all the things I do not like about trailers in general. The number one thing is the dark space and the second is the paneling (Unless you have a log cabin or log cabin theme the paneling has to go). When I walk into a trailer my thoughts go to cave like places void of color. Painting over the nasty paneling walls was a given. I considered a lot of colors for the walls. After I decided that I was going to paint things on the cabinet doors, I knew I had to go with white walls.
I threw my back out twice just paining the walls (between me and you I almost got stuck in the entry way while painting the mural, when my leg went to sleep). Painting required getting into crouched positions to paint tiny spaces. Several times I considered the sanity of this project in terms of ; ”How many Tylenol can one person take and survive?” The kitchen wall was painted black to contrast the white. I knew the black would hold up better to kitchen abuse than the white.
The Sky is Falling!
Once the walls were painted the ceiling looked wrong. Part of me wanted to paint the ceiling a bold color. We had a whole gallon of white paint, and I used it to paint the roof. After two coats I hated it. One thing you should know is that I get wild ideas (if you have not figures this out from my other hubs). Buddy has a particular look he gets when I get a wild idea. The nice thing is that even though he is not prone to my type of visionary he tends let me do what I want. Several times during this project he said “If that is what you want to do, it always turns out awesome”. He means this statement even if he had a marked hesitation when making it. This was the statement I got when I told him I wanted the roof to be painted like the sky. He gave me that look and let me do what I wanted. So I painted the roof to look like the sky with clouds. You know what…he loved it when I was done. (see pictures). The roof reflects light. Just by painting the roof that cave feeling was gone forever.
The sink in the bathroom has the coolest curve to it. I felt it needed something though. Something that would make it look more industrial. What we found was aluminum tape. Aluminum tape is easy to use and it covered a whole lot of damage in the trailer. I ended up using it for kick boards to save the bottom of the walls. In the bathroom I used the aluminum tape over the bottom of the walls to make it easy to clean and to save the walls from any water damage. After discovering Aluminum tape I am sure it will turn up in future projects.
The Entry Wall
Originally I was going to paint a tree on the entry wall. It was going to be a joke. Buddy has an affinity for black and white pictures of lone trees. Where ever we go, and every time we see a lone tree, we tease him about getting a picture. So I thought it would be hilarious if I painted a tree in black and white. The more I thought about it, the more I felt it would not look right. I had to figure out what needed to go there. It took me weeks of looking through pictures to decide on that wall. I finally decided it needed to be an ode to travel; an old hot air balloon and a steam train. Out of all the art I completed for the trailer, I love the balloon the best.
Under that carpet was the most pathetically damaged linoleum ever. It was white marble looking only at some point the door was left open too long and the sun altered the color of the flooring. As transformative as the walls were, nothing gave this trailer a complete look like the floors. We ripped out the carpet, pulled up all the staples, and then Buddy put in new parquet linoleum tiles throughout the trailer. I was very impressed with his work on this project, it was a professional job and looks amazing!!!
Let there be light!
Trailer lighting is tricky. It involves various voltage, adapters, plugs and so on (Buddy did explain this to me but it sounded very manly and complex).In a trailer you have to consider where you are going to use the trailer, before you install lights. There are your normal lights you use when you plug the trailer in and then there is the emergency lights that work on batteries. Our main use for the trailer is camping away from electricity. Buddy wired puck lights under the cabinets, installed new plugs, and installed a new light in the bathroom. I installed puck lights that run on batteries so we would be able to turn on a light when we are not plugged into anything (these also work for emergencies).
When I mentioned the Titanic I was not far off. Buddy replaced the water pump and bought a new battery for it. The first time he flicked the switch water went all over the bathroom floor. He cut the wall away to find a split pipe. He patched that pipe, however to his dismay there were two other splits. Eventually he had to pull up the shower pan to fix the last leak. It was obvious that water had been left in the lines and the pipes had burst. Since we have had to tear up the bathroom, we are going to replace the floor before we put everything back together (I use we in the spiritual sense because Buddy will probably do this alone).
Right now as you are reading this the trailer is still sitting in the yard. We are not done. The bathroom is the last remaining “Issue”. Ok so it’s not the last but it’s pretty close.
Will the plumbing hold? To Be Continued ….