Grab a drink, this is going to be a long post (you’ve been warned).
After what seemed like a lot of delays, the trailer is “finished”. We’re going to use the term finished loosely because there’s still a lot left to do.
We knew once we had really taken a close look at the trailer that we were a little out of our comfort zone with the renovation. There was a significant amount of water damage, almost every wall was going to need replacement. The roof sagged so much that the sides were caving in. In addition, the only reliable appliances seemed to be the fridge and water pump. We decided we were better off getting some professional help.
We went back and forth with lofty plans of completely remodelling the interior like all the other renovated trailers out there. We spent hours dreaming of an all white, modern interior with dark wood floors and skillfully hung plants and artwork….then reality set in. We’re just not those people. Our apartment is a mish-mash of furniture and most of our money gets spent on bikes, not home decor. Why should the trailer be any different? We agreed to keep the trailer looking as original, or what we now call “grandpa basement style”, as possible (spoiler alert: mission accomplished).
With our end goal in mind, we loosely had a plan of what we wanted done:
- Fix the water damage
- Fix the sagging roof
- Rewire the electrical, add LEDs and some reading lights
- Prewire for a solar panel
- Replace the appliances, except the fridge
- Add a Fantastic fan
If you’ve been reading the blog all along, you’ll knoww the list quickly grew. And grew. And grew some more.
We ended up all the original plan and a lot more:
- Full solar installation
- Replacement entry and hatch doors
- New ball and rear stabilising jacks
- New outdoor shower
- On demand hot water heater
- TV and entertainment system
- New bumper
- New Counter
- New Mattress
- New Curtains
- New twist lock power outlet
We learned that there were no roof supports whatsoever in the front of the trailer, so a whole new truss system had to be built. This resulted in the ceiling being lower in the front than in the back.
We also found out that the source of most of the water was from the awning. The best solution was to take it off completely. We’ll eventually get a new awning, but one with a better attachment system.
We don’t use the dinette and liked the idea of having a couch as well as a bed, so we decided to turn the front into a permanent bed. We’re not big people, but wanted a slightly roomier bed than what’s already there. We built a platform and custom cut a mattress to fit. The fridge still opens (you can’t open it fully wide).
We learned a lot during this process. Some of it was frustrating because we didn’t have much control, some of it was our inexperience at doing a renovation.
Timelines don’t apply until the work gets started
We dropped off the trailer with the expectation that we’d have it back in 2-3 weeks based on what the guy told us. That wasn’t the case. Some of it was out fault for our never ending list of additions, but some of it also fell on the contractor doing the work. He didn’t really have an idea of how long it was going to take until the trailer was fully gutted. In the end we really pushed to get the work done so we could go on vacation. This probably resulted in some of the finishing work looking a little rushed.
Budgets – otherwise known as “take the number and nearly double it”
This one’s our fault. We just got really excited and kept adding stuff on to the list of renovations. Because it was over a long span, we didn’t really keep a good track of what we had spent and what we were adding on. In the end it all worked out though. We got the trailer we wanted at a price that was still way less than a new (or near new) Bigfoot.
Drawings help…a lot
Even though we went through everything, our contractor took some liberties with where things got installed. Next time, we’re going to provide drawings and keep a closer eye on the progress of the work.
Even though there were some lessons learned, the trailer looks (and works) great. Now that the majority of the work is done, we can move on to making it more off road friendly. But first, road trips!!!!