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 www.vintagetrailersupply.com (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 www.homedepot.com. 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Society..so, 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'!