Hudson the Camper

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Goodness. This post has been a long time coming. In case you've missed the rest of this story, you can find previous posts on Hudson the camper here and "his" Instagram page here.

The quick summary is that spring 2016, Dave humored his slightly crazy wife and bought her a 1964, 14 ft camper off of craigslist. I named him Hudson and have since updated and painted just about every square inch of the thing. We've used it before, but finally last week I finished the last couple things that needed to be done to truly call him done.

Dave did the hard stuff like tires and lights and putting up with me. I painted the interior and exterior, wallpapered, installed a new light, figured out curtains, added a matress and cushions, installed the sink, added new hardware and decorated.

My initial style inspiration was this mood board:

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Using the color scheme from a Hudson Bay Company blanket and other classic camping items, like Coleman coolers and enamel mugs, I wanted to keep things simple and unfussy, but also cozy.

To give you an idea of what I was working with, here are some before shots. It was structurally sound and the layout worked well, but everything else was rough.

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With those images in your recent memory, here's Hudson now:

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The exterior got a couple good coats of paint and a new yellow stripe. Dave wired trailer lights, put on new tires and made the hitch all safe and legal. 

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The seating area got a new light and cushions. I also hung curtain wire and hemmed my grandma's old bobble curtains to fit. The nice thing is that when we don't need them the curtains tuck away into those corners.

One of my favorite things is that the table can collapse down and make a bed. Originally it couldn't do that and it felt like a huge oversight, so I fixed that.

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The "kitchen" area also got a bunch of paint, new knobs and wallpaper too. The sink came with the camper and I'm assuming was the original one, but everything else was missing. It took me a long time to just say "good enough is good enough," saw the hole into the counter and stick that drink dispenser there as a faucet. I stuck an empty kitty litter box under the drain and called it good. There's something so freeing about not holding myself to perfection when working on a project — things get done!

After using the set up for a weekend, we couldn't love it more. Of course real plumbing would be even better, but since we're just camping it's so nice to brush our teeth indoors and have a place to wash our hands.

Obviously the rest of the under sink cabinet stores our fuel and propane.

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Having a real bed when we go camping? Yes Please! 

The mattress isn't anything special and the full size is a bit smaller than our king at home, but it's so cozy and set up so nicely, we both slept way better than in a tent. My favorite is that little shelf for my phone and glasses — since I get the wall side of the bed, of course. 

I also sewed up those pillow cases as a last minute addition and I think they're the perfect camp flannel. My Hudson Bay Company blanket gets the place of honor on the bed as well.

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I also got my green Coleman items — lamp and cooler. My parents had one when I was growing up and they scream "adventure time" to me. Both are thrift finds and it makes me love them all the more. The cooler fits perfectly into the bottom of the "pantry/closet" and the lantern moves around as it's needed.

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The top part of the pantry is a linen closet and since I have an addiction to throws it's pretty much just full of cozy blankets. Since it's been rather warm, we haven't needed them yet, but I can't wait until we do.

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A small thing that made a huge difference was taking time to find a place for everything and organize. I brought a packet of little screw in hooks and added them everywhere — inside the cabinets, on the walls, under things, anywhere that made sense. Now the mugs, kettle and towels have places they belong and it makes cleaning up so much easier. In such a small space it's a good thing because three out of place things create an instant feeling of messy.

I also took a little time on our camping weekend to watercolor a couple little paintings to fit in the coat rack/mirror we have hanging by the door. It felt like the final cherry on top to the decor and theme. One is a misty pine tree scene and the other is a welcome with Hudson's name and date on it.

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Our double sleeping bag is a $5 garage sale find. It's down filled and so warm. I especially love the tag on it and the promise that it's the sleeping bag "for the rest of your life."

Last weekend we took Hud up to Dave's parents cabin and took full advantage of the beautiful fall weather. We biked, kayaked, dirt biked, explored and generally enjoyed good coffee, food and fun people. It couldn't have been more perfect.

Finally, it's been a goal of mine to figure out how to make easy and quick videos of our adventures. So I forced Dave and myself to take videos on my phone and when we got home I combined them into a quick little video. It's so far away from perfect, but I have a feeling it's the sort of thing that will be precious to us in the future. I'm a bit embarrassed, but thought you might like the little video tour of Hudson at the beginning. You'll notice in it that we took the cats camping, but that's a whole other (crazy) story. 

Update on Hudson

Happy Friday! Hope you are well. I got hit by a nasty sore throat this week and am not back to normal yet, which put me behind on my work on Hudson.

I did get a chance to figure out the interior decorating scheme I want to go with for Hudson. His name comes from the Hudson Bay Company blanket I picked up and the lovely primary color scheme that inspired. These are some images I pulled together to visualize what we’re shooting for:

However, we also started a little Instagram account for those of you who want to follow along. I’m working on just keeping friends up to date on what we’re doing and not worrying about presenting perfect pictures (it’s a big step for me, people!). So if you’d like to see what we’re up to with this crazy endeavor, feel free to take a peek:  @hudthecamper

Have a lovely Weekend!

Hudson the Camper

Can you tell I have camping on my mind? Oh boy, so I had been stalking Craigslist for weeks looking for the right trailer for us. And last Wednesday I finally found it. Dave went to check it out and everything worked out so that he bought it, and now we’re the proud owners of this handsome dude:

He’s a little rough around the edges, but he is at least 50 years old. I named him Hudson and Dave calls him “Campy.” I feel a little silly giving him a name, but it just happened.

We’re not quite sure what the name and model of the camper are, though the back of it does have this faded decal:

I’ve used my googling powers pretty hard and still haven’t found any clues as to what type of trailer ours is. There was an RV manufacturer in Tawas, MI called the Anderson Coach Company, but it closed in 1963. Supposedly they only used the best materials and were considered top of the line and also had another branch in Utah. I’m not kidding when I say that’s about all I know. (If anyone by chance knows more, I would LOVE to hear about it).

The interior of the trailer has already been pretty extensively redone. A previous owner had wanted it for a hunting hangout, but never finished it. He redid alot of the cabinetry and floor, however are no finishing touches at all. We’re lucky that the windows all still work and seem to be waterproof, the electrical is functional and the water damage is minimal. There are soft spots in the floor, but only small areas in the corners. We debated whether it was worth it to work on fixing them, but decided since we won’t be walking on the corners, we don’t know how long we’ll use this trailer and this doesn’t have to be flawless in order for us to enjoy it that we’d just prevent further damage and leave it as it is. We did not want to start pulling things apart.

Here are some before pictures of the state of the trailer when we bought it:

We’re not aiming for a perfectly restored retro trailer when all is done, we merely want a cozy little den to take on weekend trips into the woods. A simple place to hang out and be hospitable. If you’d like to follow along, I’m posting updates on Instagram —@hudthecamper.

To finish it out here are some of the logistical things we’re working with:

Budget: $1500 total

Goals:

  • Fix/waterproof Roof
  • Grind off Rust and Repaint Trailer Frame
  • Replace Tires
  • Install Trailer Lights, other safety features
  • Paint Exterior
  • Make Table convertible into 3rd bed
  • Get/Make/Find Mattresses and Cushions
  • Customize Kitchentte
  • Paint Interior
  • Window Treatment
  • New Light
  • General Cozy-fy