Given Kimmy’s job as a flight attendant, is it really a surprise that she is quite content and comfy in the small spaces of her pop-up camper?
The recent “glamification” project was a do-it-yourself conversion – with some paint prep assistance from hubby Jason – and netted a spiffy escape-mobile.
Maybe make that a time capsule.
That the owner’s campsite clothes are things you might find worn by Lucille Ball, Betty Crocker or even Anita Ekberg only enhances the vehicle’s vibe. Her cat’s eye glasses also help.
Christened “Daisy” (after her grandmothers and favorite flower), the Palomino Mustang MXL camper is a 1996 model (not a 1956 one). As tricked out with retro features, however, its “glamour is timeless,” she says.
“It sleeps eight (just not comfortably),” she quips. “When the roof’s up, it feels huge.” It folds down to a 13-ft. base. “She sleeps in the garage,” leaving about 3 inches of side clearance.
Inside, the “efficient” layout includes a living area (with “sectional seating”), two sleeping chambers in the pull outs, and a kitchen with small sink, under counter fridge and three burner stovetop, updated with a nifty pressed metal backsplash. One of the bench seats conceals a potty, but the owners prefer to camp in nice campgrounds with better facilities.
The Colorado native’s quest for some sort of camper dates to about 2009, fueled by her nostalgia for childhood camping trips with family and some lingering outdoorswoman hankerings. “Whenever I hear ‘Rocky Mountain High’ (John Denver’s ode to Colorado), I’m always brought back to that wonderful time of my life,” according to remarks in a Do-Over email exchange.
Kimmy found her camper on Craigslist, paying about $1,200. Not bad for a vacation home. The overhaul came later and cost another $1,200 or $1,300 – plus the vintage clothes worthy of the swank patio crowd in, say, mid-century Palm Springs.
So far, the updated camper has been to the Texas Renaissance Festival campgrounds and the Texas Vintage Camper Club spring rally, held earlier this month in Coldspring at Lake Livingston. The camper couple also rolls with a smaller group called Pop-Ups of Anarchy.
The four-month renovation from camper to “glamper” was mostly a face-lift, with retro accessories easily found at current, mostly discount, retailers. First, however, Kimmy researched camper redos, finding inspiration on the “Pop Up Princess” blog.
“I wanted our renovation to stand the test of time, and our Texas climate, so I researched as much as I could so it would last,” she recalls.
Her airline work schedule, with its 18-day stretches of off time, enabled her to work “whenever I got a chance.”
Inside, the camper needed new paint, flooring and upholstery. And cleaning, both before and after the work to sand, tape, prime and paint.
The work was both time consuming and detailed work, she says.
While Jason, a transportation management exec for a major employment hub, helped with the prep work, the interior was a bit small for two adults to co-maneuver. She handled much of the work: “I’m used to working in small, tight quarters.”
It’s unclear whether Kimmy’s childhood camper travel influenced her in-flight career choice or whether working onboard explains her yen for efficient space usage. She suspects it’s the latter.
After all the prep and painting came the flooring update. She chose press and stick laminate in a washed stain wood pattern to cover the existing grid-style linoleum. “This was also time-consuming, but the results even impressed myself,” her narrative says.
The upholstery, however, was best sent off to experts. While Kimmy has sewn, her skills — and want-it-now patience level — were not going to cut it on all the cushions. Their execution requires precision to avoid lumps and wrinkled in the fabric, and she’s more of a fusible bond web kind of gal these days. For a tidy turnout, she chose an automotive upholsterer.
“One thing I would tell anyone about this process is not to cut any corners,” Kimmy advises. Also:
* Don’t use a spray primer. She did, and it meant a lot more cleaning.
* Don’t underestimate yourself. “We are capable of so much if we just give ourselves a chance…and are forgiving of ourselves.”
Daisy the glamper is just one example of the rehabbed campers enjoyed by members of the Texas Vintage Camper Club, which holds its next rally in the fall. That means there’s plenty of time to fix up one of your own to join them.
To share your renovation survival tale, contact Cynthia.Lescalleet@gmail.com.