Camper Throwdown: Vintage Vs. Vanity

A Camper Throwdown of Epic Proportions

Vintage vs. Vanity. Mid-century modern vs. Glam. @FlippinWendy vs. @SonoranDesertLiving. It's on.

You may have seen us spouting off about our camper renovations over on Instagram and we've shared a bit in our stories. But, if you missed that here is a place where you can soak up all of the old before photos. 

Guys, I've been looking for a camper for YEARS. Seriously. I bought one a few years ago and thought oh it just needs some paint and it will be cool. Like an idiot instead of just patching and painting the water damaged areas I started pulling the interior skin off. Guess what. STUPID AF IDEA. The skin panels are installed behind the "furniture" in the camper so once you start taking one out, the furniture comes out and there really is no stopping point. So, I ended up gutting the whole thing and result was a box on wheels. I felt pretty defeated and decided to give up on that camper and sold it for a third of what I paid for it. I didn't have the energy for it anymore. Then we moved to Phoenix. So, camper purchasing was put on hold for a bit.

I started looking again on and off with nothing really striking my fancy. Too expensive, too beat up, not the right time to tackle a project like this, small beds, no toilet....reason after reason kept popping up to not commit. I wanted something that had a bed big enough to be comfortable and fit my husband and 4 year old daughter. I also wanted a kitchen and toilet. Getting up in the middle of the night to go outside to the toilet sounded pretty lame, especially with a kid. Anyway, sooner or later this camper showed up and it was like AHHHHHH! The skies parted and it revealed itself to me.

Funny thing was that Rachel of Sonoran Desert Living was looking for a camper as well. She also found the perfect one for her and on the same day even! The Camper Throwdown was on! Dual camper renovations commenced!

So, let me introduce you to my camper (which has no name as of yet)! I've got a 1971 Reddale Camper. It is 19' long and in decent condition. It definitely needs some cosmetic updating but all in all not bad. And I'm definitely not pulling out any skin panels this time! Big win. Here's the exterior. Not cute. But, it has potential.

The exterior has some peeling and worn paint but that'll all come off when I strip it down to the metal. I'll need to address the door knob and the front awning. It's all wonky and broken in one corner. 

Front of 1971 Red dale Camper

Ok enough of that, let's get to the good stuff. The inside! Here she is! So much wood.

To get your bearings, see the entry door to the left behind the dinette. Behind me is the front where that awning lives. This camper is quite spacious without being obnoxiously long to pull behind our truck. The ceiling is around 7' high so it's very comfortable for me to walk around in. The door with the mirror on it is a closet. A closet! How can that even fit? The door directly center in the photo is the bathroom, but we'll get that in a minute. To the right you can see the kitchen with a working gas fridge, the furnace below it and everything that kitchens have. IT ALL WORKS. I saw it with my own eyes.

Guys this shit is almost pristine. Seriously. It's too bad it's so ugly that I have to change it. 

The stove top and oven front panel, as well as the range hood, are already off to the powder coater's where they await total transformation. The rest of the kitchen will get a coat of white paint. Counters and backsplash are still being decided on. 

Let's look at the other side of the camper.

The benches are nice and long and have an expandable table in between them. They also convert into a LARGER than king bed! What what!? That was a major deciding factor for buying this camper. It seems all smaller vintage campers have beds no larger than full size, if even that. Also notice all of the storage. There are cabinets right above that table, as well as cabinets under each bench. There are even more under the dinette benches and some above it. So many. It has so much storage that it can be completely open above the benches where I get the opportunity to install some awesome lighting. It's like a small miracle has happened.

Camper kitchen and bench in vintage 1971 Red Dale

Let's head over to that bathroom now. See it here at the back of the camper.

Let's talk about this bathroom bc OMG. It's olive green. You guys it literally took me 100 attempts to get this shot. So appreciate!

I posted about this bathroom in my stories and to my surprise, when I declared I was keeping it, there was an outpouring of agreement. AGREEMENT ON OLIVE GREEN BATHROOM. What has this world come to? And way to let me down guys. I was really hoping to be a rebel here! But seriously though, I'm glad this won't be a big to-do if olive green is in fact now in. Maybe WE (those of you who agreed with me and I) are trend setters. That's probably what it is. 

I'm not sure that I'm IN LOVE with this olive green bathroom but I don't hate it enough to rip it out. Remember, bad memories of the last camper stripping it down and not building it back up so I'm trying to salvage what I can here. Since I decided to commit to this bathroom, I'm using it as THE source of inspiration for the design. I"m going green in this here camper. There will be several greens. 

Anyway, these campers are an entire house in one small footprint so it has been tricky making sure I remember all the things. Every time I walk into the camper I see something else to add to my list. Things like the furnace grate that need to be painted or oh yeah I broke one of the stove knobs so I have to find those. It's a long list that includes renovating but also outfitting it to make us happy. We need sheets and bedding that are easy to put away. We need cushions that are comfortable to sleep on bc if they aren't WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT? This whole camper idea is so we can travel and not stay in hotels. It has to be something we want to use or else it just becomes a showpiece. I'm not about showpieces. 

So back to the Throwdown bit. Rachel and I are pretty much opposites. She likes all the new fluffy glam style stuff while I like vintage and mid century modern. She's square legs. I'm round legs. Furniture. Not real legs. In the end we'll have a side by side reveal and it will be epic AF.  I'll also try to update you as we go! I love your suggestions over on IG, btw! Have any other ideas? Feel free to comment below. Keep watching my stories for updates or subscribe to get posts emailed directly to you!

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