Trailer Remodel Part 1

The Silver Streak Jun 18, 2013 No Comments

Vintage trailer

Well here it is and there it was. I had a good shady parking spot, a few bucks, some time off, and no idea.

First order of business? A bed.

Even though one has a plan, that doesn’t mean implementing is easy. I had to take a long look around. The bed would take me a few days and I still had to sleep in there with the dogs. The floor had to be dealt with. An owner from the past had torn out the original linoleum throughout the trailer and thank goodness, I read in the manual that it was made from “the finest asbestos”.  I had to cover up the last of that funky smell with paint just to sleep. 

I worked on the trailer almost everyday for more than a month. I accomplished very little. After living in a home that suited me so well, I was entirely lost in the trailer.

I made a bed first and worked on the small sort of “dresser” across from it. Mainly I was walking from front to back, determining good light, wondering how I may want to lay out the scheme.  Looking back, the main problem was that I didn’t have any experience with it, I had never spent time in a trailer before, I didn’t really like the hallway idea; long narrow floor plan with cupboards and closets on the side and not a whole lot of light. I didn’t know what I wanted and I didn’t know how to let the space open up to me. But my plan was to try to work with what was there without making too many structural changes.

What I like most about the silver streak is that the lower portion of the trailer is 90 degrees. This makes the ability to build and change with more ease than, for example, an Airstream, where the floor and the ceiling both have an arc.

But changes didn’t come easy.  I would build and sit and look at it for days while I worked on something else. I couldn’t put my finger on the essence of making this a home.  Was it that I was expecting my cozy camper back? Was it that none of my belongings had a place yet?  It seemed like a big responsibility suddenly to have this vintage trailer.

After making a place to sleep I definitely felt more relaxed, I was off the floor and could then make decisions about overall movement in the space. The bed included an open space underneath and a few cubbies for books and whatever. I bought a modest thin but firm mattress and slats for beneath it. Here’s what it looks like now, but…..

Interior trailer

….in terms of remodel you just won’t believe how far I really took it. Most of what was original came out piece by piece

Frankly, the plywood interior just had to come out. So many things were wrong with it; it was brittle from age, gawdawful ugly with a white wash on,  it had some water damage,  and it was stinky. No…… no amount of stain was going to help it! I think this is when I began to really look closely at everything.

I decided to start in the front.

I used my usual hand tools to cut and install everything: a pull saw, tape measure, drill, and square. I used a utility blade to cut the plywood for the interior. I used a spray bottle of water to wet the plywood while I inched it into place. A good spray to front and back and then let it soak for a few minutes and ease it into the curve gently. Giving the plywood time to settle into it’s new shape.

This process was pretty tame and ordinary considering what I am about to say of the 10 or so remodels that have taken place since I began the journey of making this trailer a home.

I made my first refit during the 2 months I was parked in Katie’s yard then headed to the Oregon coast to test it out.