I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to finally share the camper with you. Sometimes it just takes a while to actually get everything together to get it on proverbial paper.
Believe it or not, I got this camper over 3 years ago as an attempt at a work from home office. If you have followed me on GRILLGIRL.COM, you may have seen that despite renovating our cute old bungalow in Hollywood, we eventually grew out of our house as my husband was working out of the laundry room and I was working out of the guest room.
Having two people working from home plus a kid running around makes a house quite crowded quickly. I think a lot of people discovered this during Coronavirus when everyone had to start working from home. We had to figure out how to co-work without killing each other a long time ago so I guess we were a bit lucky.
When I originally got the camper, it was my attempt at having a work from home office at the house. It even had its own spot on the side of the house where we could park it, formerly the boat parking pad where our old sailboat previously lived.
With the love of tin can campers these days, it was actually hard to find one to buy, even going back 3 years ago. But sometimes unicorns do appear, and this camper made an appearance on Craig’s list in Tampa (were were in Miami/Ft Lauderdale at the time).
The guy who had this camper had bought this baby in the Pacific Northwest in Washington, and he and his wife took a cross country trip to all the state parks on their drive back to Florida on their way to move back home.
This cute tin can camper was a small production run from a company called Klassic, it is a 1968 “Klassic Camper”, only about 13 feet in length, can sleep up to 5 people (this would be a stretch) but we have fit 2 adults, a kid and 3 dogs in at one time.
The camper had gotten a very rough paint job from the first seller in Washington, and the guy I bought the camper from had done some renovation on the inside.
Now, if you know me, you know I love TEAL. And this camper is an homage to my favorite color. I also changed the floor to be a greyish driftwood color, and put a white coat of paint on everything, along with teal on the ceiling.
The biggest part of the renovation we did was to turn the closet into a space to hold an AC unit. The guy we bought the camper from had put in a small AC unit that sat underneath the couch area but it was a wonky arrangement. We built out the closet so the AC had a permanent place to live.
Other things we did that made a huge difference included getting the cushions recovered. This was by far the biggest expense on the camper as I took it to boca bargoons to get recovered and between the investment in fabric for all the cushions and the labor, it was over $1200. If you are good at sewing, you can probably figure out how to do this yourself and save quite a chunk of change.
One easy change we made was to paint the ice box from an old school puke green to match the teal in the camper. We also painted the stove to change it from puke green to white- we used heat proof paint we found at Home Depot.
We did this renovation and then when I went to go work in the camper as my office during the heat of a South Florida summer, I quickly realized that the AC couldn’t keep up. These old campers really have no insulation in them and if you have ever spent a summer in South Florida, you know it is HOT. I mean really **cking hot. Like 100% humidity, 90+ degrees hot.
When we looked at the power bill from running the AC in the camper, we saw that it was almost $100 dollars a day. So, sadly, the camper never turned into my full-time office. However, when it wasn’t the heat of summer, the AC was fine and it turned into our “guest suite” when people came over. Many people chose to sleep in the camper when they came to visit as they had their own private little spot off the side of the house.
The real saving grace of the camper was during Hurricane Irma, which hit in South Florida on September 10th. While we really dodged a bullet on this hurricane which was originally supposed to be a direct category 5 hit on South Florida, it was still a really bad one and we didn’t have power for over a week. Can you imagine not having power in the heat of summer (September in South Florida is still REALLY hot) in Miami?
So, the only way we had any AC was to hook up the camper to our generator and sleep in AC at night. If we didn’t have that little camper, I don’t know what we would have done. It really was a bright light in a very dark, stressful time of our life.
While our house didn’t sustain any major damage to the structure, the flooding, which almost came into the house (short of about an inch!), had caused an enormous amount of work around our yard. We spent weeks cleaning up of all the trees that fell down and cleaning out the pool, which was full of flood water and debris…
Now, fast forward 3 years and we have moved to Fort Myers as we embark on building a house on 30 acres in the wood in Punta Gorda, near the new solar community of Babcock Ranch. You can follow this crazy Florida Pioneering journey at therobotranch.
We have parked the camper on our property and we have sleepovers there as we spend the days outside working on the property, then have a cookout and retire in the camper and its cozy bed, nestled in with 3 dogs.
One of these days I plan on painting the outside of the camper. I’m thinking off white with a teal stripe (same color as inside) and maybe even a touch of gold. What colors do you think I should paint it? Do you have a vintage camper story? I’d love to hear it!