Friday, June 27, 2014


I'm clearly not a purist when it comes to the design of my 68' Scotty, because I'm not terribly concerned with bringing it back to that era with the interior decor.  That said, I am a Gemini and an interior designer (what does that mean, exactly? I'm constantly changing my mind and have little patience!).  While many install the beautiful boomerang countertops, I decided two things: they are far too expensive for me at this point in the game (I think the cost flirts with $400) and they would battle with the back splash I've already installed and LOVE (and, yes, I know they are only sticky tiles and can be easily removed).  So, as the camping season quickly approached as we raced away from a freezing cold winter here in the northeast, I decided to attack my countertop project.  My goal was simple…to install a countertop that wouldn't giggle apart on the road and that would look half way decent.  Setting lower standards, in my opinion, means I'll be pleasantly surprised when I get a positive result.  So I zipped off to the Home Depot and picked up a piece of wood I knew I could stain and that was thick enough to take the molding I ordered from (total for trim and shipping was around $25 I believe).  I came home and trimmed the piece to fit, giving me about an inch overhang on two sides (remember I have the flip up counter on the gaucho side).  Because I wanted a pickled look to match the lighter tones in my tiled backsplash, I picked a grey-ish stain and clear poly.  MISTAKE #1: I sanded the wood prior to staining in the opposite direction of the grain.  This means, for my very critical eye, I can see fine scratches on the countertop. OH WELL.  After cutting the hole for my sink (more on that ebay find later and my cool pump water system) I sanded the edges with my power sander, rounding the corners.  Quite honestly, I would have left them just like you see them in the top two photos.  Take a peak at photo three and you'll see why…I have NO CLUE how people round a corner without the trim dimpling.  I tried to cut it in the corners…huge mistake.  So, I had just enough to flip the trim around, placing the nasty edge nearest the gaucho.  When I re-installed the trim I used a rubber mallet to pound it as smooth as possible.  It still doesn't look perfect, but then again, neither am I!  I step back from this project and feel a tiny sense of pride.  I love it.  And, had I splurged for the boomerang and hated it, I'd also be sad at the amount of money spent…this counter was less than $50, so like many clients of mine, next season I can change it again if I get the urge!


Interior Design 101: Sometimes what looks beautiful in your minds eye is a completely different story when you're actually staring at it!  Because I loved the temporary wallpaper I put in my HiLander, Louis, I thought I would do the same in Doc.  I quickly learned the beauty of tempaper…you can take it right out without leaving a trace behind!  Instead I headed over to the Christmas Tree Shop (I think this is only a northeastern store, so sorry for those of you west of the Mississippi!) where I picked up these curtain valances for $1.25/for two!  Because the majority of the windows in Doc are smaller (with an exception of the front and rear above the gaucho) the valances fit perfectly.  With a little barter of dinner for sewing, I talked my mother-in-law into letting out the top seam to make them a bit longer.  And, yes, I'm a designer who doesn't sew!  At any rate, for less than $10 I have curtains that look fabulous and keep my late night campground striptease private!


Now that I have the perspective of living with what I've done to my new (old) Scotty, Doc, for the last year, offering advice is a little easier because I can actually tell you how my decisions have worked for me.  In the vintage trailer world I think there are two kinds of people: those who insist on maintaining the integrity of the original details of the camper, and those that just have fun with designing something to suit their needs and tastes.  While I've maintained the original colors on the outside (more on that later), I always like to have fun inside.  I'm a designer, do you blame me?  The top photo was taken in April of 2013 when I first picked up Doc…he'd been primed and painted white on the inside (a nice, clean slate, I thought) and all facilities had been removed including the counters (they did keep dinette table and swing up counter extension, though).  As a quick counter fix (and to get ready for my first camping outing) I simply cut a pice of plywood to fit, painted in AQUA and decided to deal with focusing on that project later (you'll soon see the final result of the countertop, too).  I wanted the interior of Doc to be fun, bright and somewhat true to the time (although it seems to skew more to the 70's than 60's).  A little research found these cool sticky tiles on  When they arrived in the mail I was as excited as one would be to get a bill from the IRS…not terribly thrilled!  Once they went on, though, I changed my tune.  I can honestly say these have been a fantastic addition to my back splash and EVERYONE feels the need to touch them because they can't believe it's just a big sticker!  They're easy to cut, simple to install and have endured the harsh northeast humidity and freezing temperatures without falling off!  Better yet, they weigh NOTHING!  And, oh yeah, I added aqua paint to the cabinets too…again, more on that later!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


These are pictures from one of my first outings in Doc last summer and one of my favorite campgrounds in the US…Fischcreek, in the Adirondacks of New York.  Each site is water front on the beautiful lake, and if you're into water sports the tiny rivers lead out to one of the most beautiful lakes (in my opinion) I've ever seen..Saranac Lake.  So, what was I reading all summer long? MY BOOK!  If you haven't grabbed a copy yet, send me an email at and I'll tell you how to get an autographed copy sent directly from me! AND I'm donating part of the proceeds to the American Cancer, make a donation by purchasing your summer reading!!


CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE TRAILER AFICIONADO: This blog entry is about fourteen months late.  What can I say, it's been a crazy year!  Yet another confession: while I am in awe of the people I have met (and read about) who have done complete restorations on their vintage trailers, I'm just not the guy to do it.  Maybe I don't have the attention span, the skills or the patience…I'm not sure, but I do know that the overwhelming project that sat in front of me with Louis was far too much to bare alone (keep in mind, my other half…who I've renovated several houses with…does not camp, does not like trailers and certainly doesn't like LITTLE trailers).  So, I'm on my own.  While Louis sat looking like a sad, cold bowl of soup in our backyard, I desperately wanted to get camping again.  My budget was tight and my expectations were high (as mentioned above, I wanted one that I could DECORATE, not BUILD).  Low and behold one of my Scotty buddies, Don, shot me an email to say he'd found a little diamond resting in the rough countryside of New York…just a few miles away from my house.  So, last April I brought him home (the trailer, that is..not Don).  Meet DOC, named after my father who passed away when I was three…if you purchase my book, I'm donating part of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society in his name.  Yes, these photos were taken a year ago, so progress shots are forthcoming.  While the previous owners removed the inner workings (stove, sink, refrigerator, toilet, etc.) he did an excellent job on making sure the electric worked, put new tires on it, there are NO LEAKS WHATSOVER (knock on trailer wood) and it's clean, clean, clean!  I've loved camping in a trailer that WORKS and I've had even more fun decorating him.  Stay tuned for more shots of this fabulous 1968 Scotty Gaucho 15'!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I'll admit it, I often can't help myself when it comes to accessorizing anything! As an Interior Designer I guess I've got somewhat of an excuse, but even when it came to fluffing up my Scotty, I just couldn't resist when I saw anything and everything aqua in stores like The Christmas Tree Store, Home Goods and Ikea (which all seemed to be overflowing then and now with fun things).  In fact, while driving in sleet and snow over three hours into the deep crevices of Pennsylvania to pick up Louis, while knew it would be a lot of work to get him camping again, I couldn't get my mind off of all the cool vintage items I could purchase!  Some would call this knick-knack equity, I call it plain ole fun stuff!  You've probably seen older posts where I found great re-usable wallpaper (which is still in excellent shape, even after a few leaks!), great rugs, inexpensive curtains, etc. and the hunting hasn't stopped!  While shopping for a design client the other day at Ikea in Paramus, New Jersey I stumbled upon the aqua metal vases in the top photo.  Priced from $2.99 in three different sizes, I thought these would be great for organizing kitchen tools, outdoor grilling items, bathroom necessities (the handle makes it easy to take everything with you to the camp bath) or just great decor for your picnic table!  The aqua folding chairs I found in the next aisle led to and A.D.D. filled craft project.  While I think these are great, paying $29.99 for a folding chair just doesn't seem right at this point (I mean, Louis needs tires and walls and....well, a LOT, so that money could be better spent.  Channeling my inner deal-finder, I stopped into an antique store on the way home where I found two similar chairs for $5 for the pair, zipped over to Ace Hardware for the right spray paint and in two shakes had to fabulous chairs.  Sure I've put the cart before the horse here, but finding great little treasures like these just inspire me to push on with my restoration project!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Okay, I guess it's time for me to finally come clean.  Last year I had a total, nasty, horrific shame spiral after my first rally and subsequent road and towing mishaps with Louis.  Well, maybe I shouldn't be that melodramatic, but my frame of mind after watching Louis drop off the back of a tow truck was much like his frame..bent, battered and bruised.  Before I march on with this story, allow me to take a step back in time for just a moment...about ten years...where I was living in West Hollywood, California working as an Interior Designer and host of a design show on Lifetime Television.  I had finally landed the big gig of working on-camera in LA and reality was setting in..I was on camera! Oh dear!  It was time to hit the gym and get rid of a chin (or two).  Because everyone, EVERYONE in LA is either an actor or aspiring to be one (and ticked off that they aren't), they're all camped out at local gyms working their bodies into tight frenzies. I hate working out like poison, but was determined to jump right in and go for it, but also hate the sleazy, arrogant vibes of gyms, so went with the one that promised "No Judgements."  Well, that wasn't necessarily true.  From the moment I walked in, tripped up the stairs (tossing my water bottle into a spinning class filled with modeled bodies) I was greeted with nasty looks, cold shoulders and dismissive jerks..and those were just the employees!  I quickly decided to accept the me that was never going to have bulging biceps, adorn the cover of a fitness magazine or teach a spinning class.  I chose to spend less time trying to make my body into something it would never be, and more time enjoying life.  When I attended my first rally in Salisbury, Massachusetts in October of 2011 I felt judged once again.  Not by the other campers, but by those same nasty voices inside my head that destroyed my confidence in the gym so many years ago.  What will he, who has the perfectly restored Gaucho down the street think of my two-bit restoration?  What will the queen of the NSSO or the king of the SSCE think of my tacky store bought cabinets?  Would it be rude if I locked my door and hid during the tour of trailers, or better yet, leave in the middle of the night to avoid it all together?  Quite simply, I felt out of place and out of my league at no ones fault but my own.  The blowout on the way home only added to my overwhelming feeling of failure (any real camper enthusiasts would at least have a friggin spare and know how to change it!).  In a very strange way, however, watching Louis bounce off the back of the flatbed tow truck was very similar to the feeling I had when tossing a water bottle into a room filled with models...I just had to laugh at how ridiculous life can be sometimes.  As I pushed Louis back into his spot at home I realized the frame damage would most likely mean never taking him out on the road again (I certainly don't trust myself to a frame up restoration at this point).  Instead of crying over his jagged edges, though, I've decided to embrace them.  While he might not live on the open road again, he will always have a place in my home.  After all, we are kind of perfect for each other..every scratch, bruise and imperfection tells a story of where we've been and how we've gotten to where we are today and who knows where we'll go from here!  To channel my creative juices in the cold winter months following Louis' fall, I decided to write a book about these great little trailers and the people who own them.  In anticipation of the April release, I've decided to resurrect this blog and Louis once again..even if he stays still, he'll always be a Scotty!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Be SURE to Insure!

I know that most peoples Scotty blogs are about the triumph of taking a wounded, often abandoned diamond in the rough and making it shine to perfection. My story has been a bit more of a twisted tale of the trials and tribulations of hitting bumps in the road and (hopefully) recovering from them. Since my last entry after returning from Salisbury Beach, Mass, we have been out of power and incredibly busy, so this is just a little update on what's gone on since Louis made his trip home on the back of a tow truck. The second the tow truck pulled into our driveway, I could tell something was wrong. Upon closer examination, the back skins were ripped off when the driver pulled Louis up onto the back of the flatbed. Disappointing, but not totally tragic, I watched as he lowered Louis onto our driveway. Instead of slowly rolling him off the flatbed, the gentleman (and I use that word lightly) pushed Louis off, scraping him on the ground below then started to raise the flatbed while the tongue was still on the back of the truck. The next few seconds happened in freeze frame as I watched in horror as the driver allowed Louis to slam onto the ground from approximately four and a half feet airborne (his rear wheels were off the ground, he was so high). When the tongue hit the ground with that force, you guessed it, the frame bent. WHAT NEXT, I thought??? Furious with my questioning him and complaints about how he handled my trailer, the driver took off. Thankfully, I have great insurance and, of course, Louis is covered. The long and the short of all of this, thank goodness I do have insurance, because my coverage will cover everything I have to do to make Louis roadworthy again. I've learned many lessons in the process of putting this little gem on the road, but as very important one is to protect your investment, no matter what it is!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Having a BLAST!

Well, it's the Tuesday after Louis' debut at a Scotty event in Salisbury, MA and, boy, did we have a blast. LITERALLY! But, I'll get to that in a second. It's important to understand that I am an incredibly organized individual (at least I fancy myself that way). Whether building a house for incredibly picky clients or working with a tight schedule on a TV show, I learned from day one in my career to take detailed notes, never let my list get out of reach and to anticipate disaster long before it hits. When it came to restoring this little camper then taking it on the road again, I approached the tasks with similar detail and organization. Even days before my trip north I added to my list (already a dedicated program on my computer), which includes things like "THE DAY BEFORE/BEFORE PULLING AWAY FROM HOME (safety chain check, door locked on trailer, hitch locked, lights hooked up, etc.) but last week, for some reason, I left off two major items that would prove invaluable at the end of my camping excursion. The drive from New York through Connecticut and Massachusetts to Salisbury State Reservation in the northern most corner of Mass was beautiful. The weekend was what I had expected and then some. Not only were Scotty's of all shapes and sizes out in full force, but teardrops, Shasta's and other vintage beauties were out to show off for the weekend. Needless to say, a wonderful time was had by all. It was wonderful to finally see these trailers in person, as I'd only had my HiLander to compare any of them to. When I studied Art History in college the best education for me was when I traveled to Europe and engrossed myself in everything art and history. Teachers are fantastic, clearly, but I love hands on, deep-absorption learning. Same goes for rebuilding a Scotty. Because I plan on taking Louis down to the bones and redoing him completely again, I now have extra insight into what others have done. Listening, watching and just looking proved to be an incredible education. So, the weekend was a great success on many levels. Sunday morning I loaded up, said goodbye to my new friends and began the 240 mile journey home. After a few cars passed giving me the thumbs up and shouting what a great trailer I had, I was feeling pretty good. Then someone drove by, rolled down their window and yelled that the drivers side tire was low. No sooner did they pass, the tire blew and shred into a thousand pieces. Luckily I was close enough to an exit I could limp off and rolled into a CLOSED gas station. Yes. Little did I know that most of Connecticut closes on Sunday. After calling my insurance company, the logical thing to do (they said) was leave it and have a towing company pick it up the following day. What I've learned, however, is to triple check my list. I didn't have a spare. I forgot my toolbox at home. I had no way to fix anything. Luckily I printed up the old brochure from the Scotty site and heard from several people at camp how to change a Scotty tire, so think I could've managed, but nonetheless I was ill-prepared and will hopefully never leave home that way again!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Prince and the Pea

My niece loves nothing more than for her Uncle Paul to read a bedtime story to her before she heads off to dreamland. Before she could read my job was a lot easier, but now she'll catch me and say things like, "Uncle Paul, that isn't how the story goes..are you sure you know how to read??" Inspector Gidget has figured out my little secret of speed reading by telling a shortened version of the story. So, a few nights ago via Skype (wow, technology, huh?) I sat at my computer in New York and Devin at hers in LA and I read her The Princess and the Pea (she was on her her age I had a Tonka truck and was happy as a pig in mud..). Devin had many questions as I stumbled through the pages (she hasn't grasped time changes yet, so her 9:00 PM bedtime was a bit late for me). She didn't understand why the Princess was acting like, well, such a Princess about the comfort of her bed. In the end, I explained to Devin, the princesses behavior proved to the Price that she was indeed a Princess, as she felt a tiny pea under a stack of mattresses. Unlike the stories I've told in the past, I dragged this one out with Devin and explained that her Uncle, too, was a very picky sleeper. In fact, choosing a comfortable mattress is one of the most important tasks I face when designing a house, for me or clients. When I first bought Louis, for example, I placed an extra long twin mattress in the back to use as a daybed/comfortable bed. Because I knew it would always only be me camping, I knew a twin would do the trick. A few months later, after a torrential rain hit our area (see blog entry: and sometimes I hate when it rains), the mattress was soaked beyond repair. Thanks to a suggestion from a Scotty member, I headed to the Hobby Lobby where I found foam pads at 75% off. Because I tend to be picky with bed comfort, I bought three to make it extra comfy then headed next door to Target where I bought this great foam mattress pad for $9! Stick a boulder under my bed now and I won't feel a thing!
WHAT THIS PROJECT COST ME: The foam pieces at Hobby Lobby were $15/each and the mattress topper was $9, far less than a standard mattress.
WHAT I LEARNED: While I thought the twin mattress was a great idea initially, it was WAY too big to have as a full time daybed. No matter how many pillows I placed on it, the depth was too awkward for adults to sit comfortable. Now, while a bit thinner, it is perfect for sleeping, sitting, reading, etc. and frees up a lot of space in the trailer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Battle Scars

Before I move forward, like many things in life, it is important to take a few steps back, address the wounds of battle, learn from the mistakes and move ahead stronger than ever. No, we weren't victims of gun battle or a surprise attack in the middle of the night, it was a powerful storm with a sweet name that pushed through our neighborhood with the fury of a thousand angry, over-caffeinated warriors. While we live an hour north of Manhattan about a hundred yards east of the Hudson River (directly across from West Point, the sight of a mighty battle), Irene seemed to find strength as she powered her way north. Trees came down, streets flooded and power was out for a week, but thankfully no lives were lost in our area. Louis, however, wasn't as lucky. Days after Irene left town, I discovered a tree had fallen on his streetside, forcing the front skins to burst in the middle like Louis spitting out a blast of angry curse words. Strangely enough, I believe the solid structure of the refrigerator helped keep the wall from totally collapsing, with the pressure breaking the front streetside window and the frame around the emergency window in the back, on the streetside. While I was able to get his essential parts back in order (the side skin was actually easy to manipulate back into place), the water damage was so extensive it looks like I'm going to have to do a total rebuild. So, after my last camp of the season this weekend (or maybe I'll squeak a few more in before the snow falls) I will be looking for a nice dry spot to rest Louis while I take him apart and reassemble him bit by bit. Instead of feeling an overwhelming sense of defeat, I've decided to look at my first mini-restoration of Louis as a good dry run (pun intended), and the next will be even better. Initially I thought of buying another Scotty (which I don't doubt will happen in the near future) and using Louis as a stationary office on our property, but the more I thought of it that felt like a cop out. I love the HiLander. I love its lines, I love the division of space, I love the Scotty Potty and I love the way I felt the first time I towed him home. To abandon him now and keep him from hitting the wide open road to adventure feels like keeping a racehorse in a playpin, so I will take my time over the winter months to make sure he's perfect once again...just like the day he rolled out of the Serro Scotty factory. Bumps in the road are inevitable, it's the way we maneuver through and around them that matters most!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Heeeee's Baaaacckkkkk!!!!!

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Well, sometimes I feel like the universe is screaming in my a nasty coach with bad breath spitting whilst shouting, kind of yelling. Then I realize if I truly believed that I'd most likely never get out of bed! In fact, I'd be under blankets right now, sucking my thumb watching reruns of Designing Women and trying to figure out how they made the motorhome fly in "Escape from Witch Mountain." I digress. In short, it's been a long month (plus) since my last entry; Irene not only blew through our neighborhood, she huffed, puffed and blew it DOWN, including a lovely tree on our property which, in turn, slammed into Louis' drivers side. Upon seeing that, I felt like I'd shown up to run a marathon, looked down and realized I wasn't wearing any shoes. What's the point? After tireless hours and effort to make Louis road and camp-worthy, I felt totally defeated. So, I took a little break. During that time we also moved (only a few miles away, but a move is a move nonetheless), the rain seems like it hasn't stopped since Noah arrived in his ark, and when I finally worked up the nerve to head back into Louis to attack the project of putting him back together again, something else had attacked him. Perched in a lovely part of our new property (photographed above last week), mice had moved into Louis and taken over every part of his 84 square feet (minus the Scotty Potty, however!). Now, I don't mean to be gross, but it looked like these little rodents had just spent a month on the Mexican Riviera eating nothing but pinto beans while sipping margaritas. They made messes everywhere, including on top of my curtains, inside the stove, ONTOP of dryer sheets I'd left on the mattress. To say it was a mess would be like saying Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are model was a DISASTER. So, I did what any west coast city-raised boy would do. I slammed the door, went inside and made myself a martini. Last week, excited for the forthcoming Turkey campout in Salisbury, Massachusetts where Louis will meet his first Scotty buddies, I kicked into high gear to get him ready. First things first: the mingos had to come out to play, too! Like anything, I had to look beyond the overwhelming piles of mess and take it one square foot at a time. I've washed the curtains, bleached every surface and, most importantly I was able to zero in on the points of entry: over the wheel wells. While I didn't have any food in Louis, I did leave paper product which, unbeknown to me, is a huge no-no as mice love to build nests with anything and everything paper. Lesson learned. Stay tuned this week while I show you close-up shots of Louis' damage from Irene and prepare for our big trip on Friday. My Grandpa Louis never gave up, so neither will I!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to basics

I love gadgets and after Irene ripped through our neighborhood and Louis' left side, I'm happy to have things like my iPad, IPhone and iPod. That said, it makes me insane that I can't figure out how to upload photos from the last few days on my iPad. Power, you guessed it, is still out in our neck of the woods five days after Irenes not so classy exit. The storm, however, also reminded me how important it is to prepare for natural disasters (the southern Californian in me is well aware of the importance to stock pile for natural catastophries). As campers, I think we are a few steps ahead of the rest. My battery operated candles have not died yet, the Coleman lanterns I purchased at target light up our dark nights and the stove in the Scotty has already prepared several warm meals on the last few cool evenings. Back to modern conveniences for just a second...the photos I wanted to share were of the progress I've made with the post Irene makeover of louis. Dare I say, I think he will be back up and running by next week! I used this setback as an opportunity to make Louis better than ever. In my initial restoration of him I only removed the front and rear skins, ignoring the sides because they were in pretty sound shape. Now I've been given the opportuniy, thanks to mother nature, to add new insulation and an extra protective layer of tyvek (used in home projects to protect exterior plywood). Luckily I had extra tyvek and insulation from Louis part one, so no money was spent on this project. Once the power is back on I will add photos to this post to share, but until then it's back to Louis I go!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

COME ON, Irene!!!

Well, it's officially the calm AFTER the storm of Irene. I realized, after walking our property and seeing the fallen trees, our driveway turned into a gushing river and, finally, a huge tree fallen on Louis, that I have nothing to complain about. Things happen. Mother Nature has a way of putting a road block in front of you every now and then, but at least we are here to talk about it today. So, while I was a bit depressed about the new wide-open space on the side of Louis, I'm excited to put him back together and get camping already! To inspire me even more (and maybe a slight ADD distraction) I went on today and ordered coffee mugs of Louis' progress from when I brought him first home until last week, when I was sipping cocktails in him, proud of the work I've done to bring him back. While he dries out in the bright sunshine today, I will head to the hardware store, grab a few essentials and get back to work on putting him back together. Upon closer examination, while Joe said "it's a total loss" I took the less dramatic road and realized, after doing this once before, if I SLOW down and look at each piece of this puzzle, it really isn't that tough to fix. Well, I'd better leave Starbucks, head to the hardware store and get back to work. I will post pics of Louis once our power is back up and running!
(By the way, the coffee mug idea is actually really cool and only costs $5 at Upload any photo and you'll have your mug (s) in less than two weeks!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of Mice and Scared Man

I'm sure you might be asking what on earth the photo above has to do with mice and men, but I will get there. Since my last entry I've been crazy busy with work so I could prepare to take a week to travel to Michigan for my Grandpa Louis' memorial service. If you've been reading my blog you know I named my Scotty after my Grandfather, who showed me how to appreciate the great outdoors in his huge backyard in the Great Lakes State. Last time I was in Michigan we buried my Grandmother, so returning for an equally sad occasion wasn't terribly uplifting. As the smart ass of the family, however, it is my job (or at least I think it is) to keep the mood light, family happy and entertainment going. I had intended on taking my Scotty, Louis, to Michigan and camping on my grandparents property near Cadillac, Michigan in the middle of the state. With gas prices soaring and limited time, I decided to fly so I'd have more time with my family. Before I left I asked Joe to please check on Louis (trailer) every day, peek inside to make sure nothing leaked and just say "hello" when walking by (is that too much to ask, I thought?). Well, apparently it was. I was pleased to find NO LEAKS upon my return after several major down pours, however I walked in this morning with my cup of Joe and paper, opened a drawer to grab a spoon and yet out a yelp heard around the Hudson River Valley...someone had been enjoying Louis while I was a way! Actually, from the look of it, many someone's were enjoying him. Mouse droppings EVERYWHERE. Now, I was always under the assumption that mice followed food, so of course I never, ever leave food anywhere near the trailer. First on my list today is to find a way to get rid of these nasty critters (why didn't the snake I saw weeks ago eat them???). I've heard dryer sheets work (I did that, so apparently they don't), so I need to find another alternative that won't leave the little critters dead in my trailer. Stay tuned. In the meantime, while in Michigan tooting around on my Uncles boat in Lake Charlevoix, I spotted a sail cloth similar to this one and thought it was a really cool way to shade beach-goers, AND would make for the perfect protection for Louis back in New York. I popped on the internet and discovered that everyone under the sun, including Ikea, sell them (many for well under $100) so I jumped in my car and headed to Ikea. The sail cloth I found for $79 is 25' square, so covers him perfectly. If nasty rains do beat down on us, at least he'll have a little more protection! Now off to Home Depot for suggestions on how to get rid of these nasty critters...if you have any, please email me!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flex like the Pros

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Well, I mentioned back in June we had a few powerful rainstorms come through our area and right through Louis they went! Just when I thought I had him buttoned up, he leaked like crazy! Instead of throwing in the towel, I grabbed several, dried him up and tried again. This time I listened to the experts of the NSSO and the SSCE sites who had talked about using Proflex and Butyl tape to stop leaks. I had used everything BUT these products and, guess what, none of them worked! A previous owner attempted to seal the leaks with roof tar which, I'm sure you can imagine, is like putting a mixture of peanut butter and honey on your roof. It's a gooey mess and attracts everything from road debris to bugs yet does nothing for leaks. I tried every possible bottle of caulking available at Home Depot and Lowe's, resisting the 75 mile drive to the nearest Camper Supply store. Finally, after the June leaks, I decided to make the trek up to Campers Barn where I found the tape and ProFlex. So, I went back to the drawing board, replaced wet wood with dry, ripped out my fabric wall, primed and painted the area inside, reconfigured the bed and put several strips of the Butyl tape on the seams outside of the trailer and added Proflex anywhere I thought might leak. Last night, with a summer storm descending upon us, I decided to sleep in Louis for the night to make sure he was leak free...better to figure that out at home than on a long camping journey! To my surprise, I woke up rested and DRY! Next time, I need to listen to the pros FIRST. But sometimes lessons are found in little mistakes and bumps along the road!
WHAT I DID: one tube of ProFlex cost me $8 and the tape, I believe, was around $36 which made me gasp BUT, it worked! I climbed on my ladder and covered each seam with the butyl tape (comes in white and black) and along the tongue to tail seams on the roof I added ProFlex (with a caulking gun) to any open areas.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Behind Window #3

In my family if I ask for someones opinion I usually get 10. If I don't ask for an opinion, I get at least 20! When it comes to working on this great little Scotty, however, I love all the opinions and advice I've been getting to make Louis as perfect as he can be..or at least as good as I can make him! I've obviously been in a little battle with myself about where to place an Air Conditioning unit and have received countless great ideas. However, as I've heard over and over, no two Scotty's are alike (or something like that), as is the case when opening up a cabinet where something should be, only to find nothing but mouse droppings and dog hair. While someone might have almost the same trailer as mine, maybe I have an extra door where they don't or a water tank positioned a tad different than theirs. Yet one more thing that makes these trailers so unique in my opinion! The latest advice on where to place my cooling system, I believe, is what's going to work best. Thank you, Rose, for opening my eyes to something that was right in front of me that I never would have seen had my nose not been pushed right into it. My 79 HiLander has a rear escape hatch (that sounds cooler than it is, it's actually an emergency window exit). Now, I'd certainly seen the red window pulls and markings for an emergency exit but assumed it would fly off, blast out into the universe, never to be seen again. Well, this isn't the Space Shuttle, it's a Scotty and, thankfully, that didn't happen. Rose suggested I open this when at camp and place an ac unit in the opening. Why didn't I think of that? So, now I just need to design a shelf with support brackets strong enough to hold the unit on the outside of the trailer and some kind of insulation so I don't look like a cast member from the Beverly Hillbillies when at camp. Once again, I asked and I received some great advice from my Scotty pals. Thanks so I've got to go cool off!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Two steps forward, one project behind

Well, ADD kicked into high gear this weekend, clearly. When designing a clients home I usually like to be left alone because my process is quite frenetic. I'll place a sofa in a corner and move it to another room five minutes later. Design, in my mind, is an organic process, constantly evolving until the perfect look and feel is achieved. This process doesn't necessarily work all of the time, as was the case today when I went to cut the opening for my new ac unit in Louis. Yesterday, excited to get a jump on this project and desperate to see progress before demolition, I adjusted the bed size inside (mainly so I could add a bit more room and not hinder airflow if the ac was hidden under the bed). When I opened Louis rear (that sounds awful...but looking at it I did have to laugh), I noticed my water tank blocking the space where (in my minds eye) I thought was the perfect spot to slip in an ac unit. It's always something, huh? For a nano second I thought about moving the tank but it just doesn't look like that's possible. So, back to the drawing board I go, most likely placing the ac back in the window in the rear. As I mentioned before, I'd like to make this a mobile unit, so in the winter or when I don't need the AC I can leave it at home and not have the eye sore of a big bump out my rear window. Anyway, I'm happy with the new sofa/bed situation inside, but I've got to think a little bit more on the placement of the ac. Humm.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making my bed and sleeping in it

This weekend was positively gorgeous on the east coast. Warm, dry and crystal clear so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get working on installing an air-conditioning unit before the sweltering heat and humidity returns like an unwelcome relative. So, to start the process I had to re-address another project I attacked shortly after buying Louis. I removed the overhead bunk, not only because it was totally rotted out, but because I will never need that space as a sleeping area and I wanted to acquire more headroom for adults sitting on the rear sofa. Initially, mostly to save money, I placed a twin mattress from a daybed we had on the back bed area. It was comfortable for sleeping, but as you can see it took up more space than I realized (I had to pull the unit out to almost full-sleep mode at all times). If I'm installing an ac unit under the bed from the outside, I need to cut a hole under the bed, so assumed I'd get rid of the twin and bought foam from the Hobby Lobby (thanks for the great tip, Becky!). I'm not a big guy (5'11" and about 170 on a good day) so pushing the bed back to sofa size is just perfect for me. Where I lost the under bed storage with my sassy aqua colored bins, I created shelving for them on either side of the bed. I was SHOCKED at what just a few square feet can do..literally about eight...but it makes a world of difference. Now I've placed the dining table back where it goes and can put my folding table next to the sofa when I'm using it as my home office. Next step, cut the opening and insert the ac unit!
WHAT I DID: To prepare the bed for adult sleeping AND the twin mattress, I reinforced the bed supports back in April. So, I removed them, took the mattress out and purchased two 76" x 27" foam pieces at Hobby Lobby for 30% off (about $36). Placing them both on top of each other, I've created a comfy sofa and great sleeping area.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back to the rear

There's been a lot of talk about my rear-end lately, actually Louis behind, because I'm trying to figure out where to place the air conditioning unit without jeopardizing the overall look of my Scotty. Chances are John Serro didn't have a giant GE humming behind his head as he slept in his Scotty's, so why should I...was my initial thought. Then, humidity forced me to come to my sense. So this weekend I perched on a chair in front of Louis with a cold margarita and drew a plan to install a rear window with hinges, allowing me to slip in a unit while at camp and remove it when I didn't need it. Thanks to one of my SSCE buddies, Wendy, I have a better idea. I believe the rear trunk area on Louis was not original to the design, but I could be wrong. I have a tiny hatch in the back of the trailer to access items stored under the rear bed. So, smart Wendy came up with a brilliant idea...stick the ac unit THERE. Humm. Why the heck didn't I think of that? The opening is 14" high by 24" wide, perfect for slipping in an ac. In an effort to shave some pounds off his rear while in tow, I will NOT do a permanent install. Instead, I can still use the area for storage, etc. and when it's hot and muggy outside, I can slip the ac unit in the back and chill out. This weekend my first project will be cutting a hole under the bed area from the inside, installing a grate over it (I happen to have a stainless panel left from some interior cabinetry work I did on our house) and prepping the storage area with tracks on either side to support the ac. One more example of where it pays to have good connections. Thanks, Wendy, for helping me cool down on a hot summer night!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Exposing my back side

It aint always pretty, I know, but I felt the need to let it all hang out because, quite honestly, I can't do this one on my own. And, if you're in my relationship boat and have a partner with zero interest in helping on a restoration project, then you know where I'm coming from. In my research, chats, and midnight browsing of Scotty's on ebay, the SSCE and NSSO sites, I've learned that no two Scotty's were made EXACTLY alike, which makes this project a wee bit difficult. As mentioned in previous posts, I ripped the AC unit out of the back of Louis mainly for aesthetic purposes. Now, in the heat of summer (and I promised not to complain anymore about this, but Jesus, when did we move to Vietnam??) I'm beginning to see the value in having a cooling option on hot days. Now, the designer in me is taking a slightly different approach to this project. Because I still feel the AC unit in the rear is a bit of an eyesore (and heavy in tow), I thought of creating a hinged window...stay with me here...I'd like to replace the space left by the previous owner with a new (old, that is) Scotty window and hinge it on the bottom. That way, for winter or spring campouts when an AC isn't necessary, I can keep the unit at home and enjoy the nice window. When it's hot, humid, and I want to scratch my face off I can lower the window, insert the ac and enjoy a calm, cool vacation. So, here's the plan (and where I need suggestions, please). I'd like to create a seamless frame along the side of the window which, in turn, will act as supports when I put the window down for the AC. I've got the window design, hinges, etc. in my mind, but the question I'll put out there (and email me at paul@paulhechtdesigns with suggestions), is how to insulate the edges when in ac mode to keep the other summer annoyances out..BUGS! So, I think I can manage the window but need advice on the rest. And off I go.......

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cooler heads prevail

I think I've officially complained about the summer heat in the northeast enough, so in an attempt to cool myself down I plopped an air conditioning unit in Louis' window (to test the weight, where I might need extra supports when at camp, etc.) and got to work on a few interior tweaks. When I design a home, including my own, I have a plan in mind but rarely do I ever stick to that plan. A design plan may look perfect on paper, but in the room reality can look very different. Joe is often frustrated when he comes home from a long day, throws his keys where the key-catch was that morning, only to discover I have moved it to another room. What can I say, I enjoy a little variety, so tend to re-design our rooms every other month. So, why should my Scotty be any different? I like testing textures, colors, etc. and had a problem with my original Dometic refrigerator. When I brought Louis home the refrigerator, while in working condition, looked better suited for the set of the "Brady Bunch." In fact, it looked like it hadn't been touched since the 70's; rusted, moldy, and in dire need of attention, I wanted to give it a bit of a face lift. Originally I thought stainless steel paint would be the best choice, but a few months later, true to form, I changed my mind. This old Dometic, in my opinion, looks much better in a cool, Scotty blue!
HERE'S WHAT I DID: To rid this old fridge of it's musty smell I cleaned it thoroughly, inside and out, with Clorox bleach and prepped the outside with a good-old brillo pad to get rid of the chipping paint and rust spots. After priming with a few coats of Z-primer, I applied two coats of the same semi-gloss Scotty Aqua paint I bought at Lowe's (formula is in a previous blog or on the SSCE site). The extra coat of primer means it will stand the test of a few finger nail scratchings and still look fabulous!
WHAT IT COST AND HOW LONG IT TOOK: This project cost me nothing because I used paint from a previous project and had the brillo pads. Including waiting for the paint to dry (with air-conditioning running), total time for project was under an hour.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Joanie loves Tchotchke

I'm sure the die hard Scotty restorers will simply look at this and move right on to someone else's blog, but the little pieces of any project are always part of the bigger picture, in my mind. We recently moved from California to New York state, and don't get me wrong, I love our new home in the Hudson Valley. However, I can't stand the humidity! When I open our front door and walk outside, it feels like Oprah has tackled me wearing a wool suit. Hot, still, suffocating and totally disgusting. So, to escape the heat I've turned my focus to accessorizing Louis. After my maiden voyage last month I commented to one of our members that I didn't understand how larger individuals snuck into the dinette area. I'm not a big person at all (5' 11" and 165lbs) and I can barely do it without knocking everything off my table. I LOVE the original table and plan on finding vintage Scotty blue Formica someday when I can afford it, but for now I just want a comfortable space where I can hang out with Joe, sip a vodka tonic and enjoy Louis. So, I removed the table and created an area under my daybed in the back to store it in a safe place (details of HOW I did this will come in a later blog). I then popped over to Ikea and purchased this great stainless folding table I can use in or outside for $12. It's perfect for two people and makes plenty of room for easy entry and exit. Of course I couldn't stop just at Ikea. It's no secret that I love to collect everything from yellow ware and McCoy pottery to Jadeite and fiesta ware. Yes, I love tchotchke's, but I like to think my approach is fairly tasteful. So, now, my obsession is everything 70's I can find. Target had a sale on these modern-looking cocktail napkins and Scotty blue stripe for $.50/pack. I found the reversible placemats at walmart for$1.99, the vintage metal picnic basket with faux-wood grain finish (figured I would use this as a nightstand next to the bed, place books and flashlight, etc. in it) was purchased at an antique store for $10 and my favorite find to date is another Ikea find: the solar powered, adjustable lamp for $19.99! Simply pop out the solar panel, let sit in the sun for at least twelve hours then enjoy a bright night (well, at least six hours!). So, as my "Louis List" sits with no additional red check marks next to projects, I'm closer to having enough camping accessories to make it a guaranteed good time!
WHAT I DID: While sitting in an air-conditioned Starbucks (our hundred year old farmhouse does NOT have air-conditioning), I jumped on my ipad and created a design on my house planner app. I'm trying to figure out a good place to install my new air conditioner without it looking horrible. When it cools down I'll attack that project, in the meantime I picked up awesome things for my next campout at Target, walmart and Ikea. Nothing too expensive, just fun things I can use for years to come.
(and, yes, you'll notice my back cushions are missing in these photos as I'm attempting to teach myself how to sew. THIS should be interesting and will also be a later blog!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot and bothered

I overheard my father say he was an "ass man" and, quite honestly, I threw up a little bit in my mouth! But, hey, good for him, I guess. I, too, appreciate a good looking behind, so when I brought Louis home in April I thought the air conditioning unit sticking out of his behind looked like a hemorrhoid in dire need of attention. Before I unhooked Louis from my truck, I popped that AC unit out of the back window (cut open by a previous owner and rigged in pretty tight). This was, hands down, one of the most difficult projects I attacked on my restoration project. Clearly the previous owner did a darn good job in getting this puppy in the Scotty, because it took me the better part of two hours to get it out. That was April. It was cool, breezy and I couldn't imagine needing AC in this tiny, little abode. Now it's mid-July and the Hudson Valley feels like Vietnam and I keep finding myself asking, "did I make a mistake taking that out? I still DESPISE the way it looks in the back (no offense to anyone that has one similar), but there must be a way to pop one back in (I found a used AC unit on Craigs list, met the guy in a parking lot because I'm still a little Leary of the Craigslisters, and snagged this one for $25!). So, here's what I've done (after pics will come shortly), but I've figured out a way to slide it in when I'm at camp, making it secure enough that bugs and water won't get in. Maybe it's just my giving up on finding a replacement window, or the heat is getting to me so much I've thrown my design aesthetics out the window!
(photo is louis on the day after I brought him home, before tearing out the awful eyesore)

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's in a label?

When I was a kid I loved everything IZOD. Many days would find me sporting the alligator on my shorts, shirt, sun visor and even socks. To me, Izod (and maybe OP) symbolized everything that was cool in my seven year old eyes. Today I am less concerned with labels, in fact I try to run away from them as often as I can. When it came to restoring my Scotty, however, I have searched high and low for every possible Serro item I can find. When I owned Airstreams it was fairly easy to find everything from ashtrays to throw pillows, doorknobs for a Bolus to wheel covers for a Bambi. Scotty searches, however, haven't been as easy. A fellow newbie Scotty restorer, Amy, emailed me the other day a bit frustrated after finding a few spots of water damage in her Scotty. Anxious to get camping and thrilled with her new purchase, Amy ordered curtains, planned her redecorating adventures and headed out one rainy night to check on her new getaway...only to find it leaking like a water filled piece of cheese cloth. I told Amy not to fear because I'd been right where she was last week. And the week before, and last month...My excitement to see progress, get camping (coupled with a bit of Attention Deficit Design Disorder) had me painting the outside first, purchasing new flooring before ripping up the old, etc. But, that's just part of my process. Part of illuminating the light at the end of my reno tunnel was to purchase Scotty stickers for the front and back of Louis. I found these by doing a quick search on ebay, and purchased two for $19.99/each. I told myself I could NOT put them on Louis until he was finished. Something so simple helped me push ahead when I felt like pulling louis out of the picture for a while. When the Serro Scotty Labels arrived in the mail I knew I was close to the end of my project and closer to camping. Now, this photo doesn't represent the finished project by any means, but it was far enough along in my opinion to label the roof "finished" by adorning it with the Scotty pup. So, Amy, take one day at a time, one drip at a time and know that you're one step closer to the finish line!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Movin' on UP

Louis has come a long way in the last few months. When I set out on this mission to find an inexpensive trailer I never thought I would find something as interesting, yet challenging, as this little Scotty. Despite the many challenges along the restoration way (my budget being the main one) I never lost focus of my main goal: to create a cool weekend escape on wheels where I can get away from the haste of my day and retire to the cool, comfort of the great outdoors. I've had a few people email me from the Scotty group for advice on how to restore their trailers and, while they loved the photos of my work, they were most impressed by my total lack of trailer restoration knowledge! Humm, now that's a first! But, I understand what they were looking for. When I walk into my mechanic and describe what rattle is banging around the explanation is often heard as though I were in the first day of an advanced Chinese course (I've only studied Spanish and French). In other words, the easiest explanation is often the best. Amy and Wendy, who are pushing ahead with their restorations with gusto, have emailed asking various how-to questions and have met many, many bumps in the road. So, to them and for them, I take a quick peak back for a look at my process over the last few months. I don't have a garage to work in, I don't have an interested partner in restoration crime to work with, I only have my tools, a tiny budget and the help from my Scotty friends. I will tell you what I tell my design clients. Don't get overwhelmed in the messy details. When you start to paint a room you will think it's never going to end. Focus on that wall, that room and THEN the bigger project gets smaller and smaller.