Saying Goodbye to Our House

One of the hardest parts about setting off on our upcoming adventure is saying goodbye to our house. Here are some of my favorite memories from the past 4 and a half years living here.

Beautiful in the winter time – I won’t miss clearing the long driveway!

Welcoming Quintin and Eliza into the world and into our home. Both children were born during our time living here. Kimberlee designed an awesome nursery – including a changing table that her dad modified from a dresser for her when she was a baby (and which we again updated for our kids).

So many wonderful memories with these two sweeties.

The finished nursery. Kimberlee found the globes years ago on Craigslist for FREE!

The Frost/Redmond Christmas Light Show. I remember seeing an automated light show when I was a kid, and always dreamed of doing the same on my house. We had a blast sharing this with friends, family, and (very tolerant) neighbors.

Renovations Galore! We put so many hours of hard work (and plenty of money) into fixing up our house. I learned more than I ever needed to know about sump pumps, and we learned so many new skills as we made the house our own.

The family room before (top) and after (bottom)

The kitchen before(top) and after (bottom).

The most significant memories, however, have simply been the times we’ve spent together with each other. As we head off, the backdrop of our time together will change. We will hold this house dearly in our hearts, and we also look forward to making new memories on the road. Most of all, we remember that it’s time together that’s most important. In the words of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: “home is wherever I’m with you.”

Our new trailer license plate.

The Cost of Fixing Up Our Vintage Travel Trailer

When we bought our trailer off of Craigslist (a 1969 Shasta Loflyte), we thought we were getting a deal! Only 600 bucks! Awesome! It was in decent shape, and we figured with a little bit of work we could fix it up to a pretty nice trailer for a few thousand dollars and a month or two of work. How wrong we were! The cost in both dollars and hours turned out to be way more than we ever expected!

This (left) to this (right) equals $$$

This (left) to this (right) equals $$$

Including the purchase price, we ended up putting a little over $10,000 and 500 hours of labor into our trailer over 3 summers (and that doesn’t include the new tools we also had to purchase or the number of hours spent driving to Home Depot and Menards!)

We’re really happy how it turned out, but went in a bit blind regarding the actual costs. Granted, if we had actually known what we were doing and had spent more time shopping for deals, we probably could’ve saved $1-2k. Thankfully, we now know how to fix almost anything on the trailer if things break while on the road!

We’ve included links to many of the parts we used. None of these are affiliate links – we’re just sharing what we found helpful! Links are from Amazon (amz), Vintage Trailer Supply (vts), Menards (m), Home Depot (hd) and etrailer (et). Let us know if you want details on anything that doesn’t have a link.

That said, here’s total breakdown of our expenses, hours of labor we put in, and what we did to update the trailer:

Aluminum Skin, Paint, and Framing

  • Removed exterior skin and replaced rotten wood around skirt and rear/front windows – $138
  • Removed all j-rail and cleaned & polished – $38
  • Cleaned exterior, painted using HVLP sprayer and tractor paint (see our post about painting here) – $365
  • Removed old butyl tape and replaced it with new butyl (used both amz and vts) around the windows, j-rail, and door- $164
  • Replaced over 1,000! exterior screws with stainless steel screws (vts), used stainless steel staples (amz) where skin was stapled on – $136
  • Replaced entire roof skin with single piece of .040 aluminum – $229
  • Replaced damaged skin on front of trailer – $40

Total aluminum skin, paint, and framing cost – $1,110

Estimated labor – 125 hours


Total window cost – $426

Estimated labor – 60 hours

Exterior (Misc)

Total exterior (misc) cost – $468

Estimated labor – 15 hours

Underside and Tongue

Total underside and tongue cost – $1,326

Estimated labor – 27 hours

Brakes and Wheels

Total brakes and wheels cost – $581

Estimated labor – 16 hours

12v Electrical

Total 12v electrical cost – $1,346

Estimated labor – 39 hours

110v Electrical

  • Installed new breaker box (m) and breakers – $34
  • Upgraded to 30a service from 20a (new wiring, new plug) – $92
  • Installed new interior outlets – $92
  • Installed exterior outlet and new exterior covers (amz) – $50

Total 110v electrical cost – $268

Estimated labor – 13 hours


Total propane cost – $433

Estimated labor – 12 hours


Total plumbing cost – $1,066

Estimated labor – 25 hours

Interior (Walls)

Total interior (walls) cost – $606

Estimated labor – 53 hours

Interior (Kitchen)

  • Rebuilt dinette table with new laminate (hd) and aluminum trim – $163
  • Replaced laminate (hd) on kitchen counter – $81
  • Added Smart Tiles to backsplash – $90
  • New aluminum trim between counter and backsplash – $35
  • Cleaned oven – $5

Total interior (kitchen) cost – $374

Estimated labor – 30 hours

Interior (Cabinets, Curtains, Cushions)

  • Rebuilt two new cabinet doors to replace missing doors under the kitchen counter – $62
  • Rebuilt cabinet where fridge used to be (water damage from the roof above) – $80
  • Expanded closet/fridge space to create small bathroom. Built new door – $107
  • Installed new handles. Cleaned and painted old hinges. New hinges on seats – $134
  • Bought new high density foam and sewed new cushion covers for dinette and couch – $672
  • Sewed new curtains for windows, new curtain rods – $285

Total interior (cabinets, curtains, cushions) cost – $1,340

Estimated labor – 88 hours

Interior (Floor)

  • Removed old vinyl flooring. Replaced with new vinyl wood interlocking planks – $194
  • Removed and cleaned old aluminum edging, added new aluminum edging and quarter round – $57

Total interior (floor) cost – $251

Estimated labor – 29 hours



Purchase Price – $600

Total cost put into trailer – $10,195

Total estimated labor – 532 hours

Before/After Interior

The Paint Job Part 2: Painting Our Vintage Travel Trailer on a Budget

After we decided on the paint job design (see part 1), it came time to start painting! We had read of people who had spent $1000+ on automotive-quality paint jobs, we wanted to find an option that would be less expensive, durable, and still look good.

Nick all geared up and ready to paint!

Up to this point, we had already:

  • Cleaned and repaired the aluminum skin (siding) – including replacing a piece on the front of the trailer that was in bad shape. Also replaced a lot of the underlying framing.
  • Removed all of the windows, doors, and other parts of the trailer we didn’t want to paint.
  • Cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more! The prep work took more time than the actual painting did. TSP, water, and sponges. Over and over.

After looking at various paint options (most of which cost a lot of money), we decided to use Valspar Tractor and Implement paint. It was relatively inexpensive, gets a lot of good reviews for its durability, and we could order it on Amazon – yes!

To begin, we put down two coats of primer and let it dry over several days.

Primer coats complete

Primer coats complete

The next step was to paint the entire trailer white. We chose to add an enamel hardener to make the paint job even more durable as well as adding mineral spirits to thin the paint for use in our paint sprayer. We probably only needed two coats, but decided to go with three coats of white.

White coats complete

White coats complete

Next, we needed to tape off the scallop shapes. I created a cardboard arc that I used as a stencil to draw each of the arcs on the side with a pencil. We then used very thin painter’s tape to mask the shape. Since the tape was only 1/8″ wide, it was able to curve more than typical painter’s tape. We filled in the space between the lines with wider tape. To avoid the blue color bleeding under the tape, we brushed on a thin layer of white on top of paint edges.

All taped up and ready for the blue!

All taped up and ready for the blue!

Now it was time for the blue paint! Because we wanted our own custom color, we mixed one gallon of the white paint and one gallon of the “Ford Blue.” We tried several ratios, and the 1:1 was not only a lighter blue color we liked, but it would also make it easier to remix if we needed more paint in the future. We did three coats of the blue as well.

Blue coats going on

Blue paint going on!

Paint job complete! (We later also decided to paint the trailer tongue and bumper with black tractor paint as well)

It was tons of work, but well worth it! If doing it again, I would probably use a different paint sprayer – ours left a bit of the dreaded orange peel texture on the trailer – but it’s only noticeable if you get up close.

In total, we spent $365 on all of the cleaning and paint supplies (not including the tongue and bumper). We’re hopeful that it will hold up in the years to come!

Paint job complete!

Paint job complete!

Here’s some more photos of the trailer once we put everything back together: