5 Things I Learned About Myself While Renovating Our Trailer

I talked a big game when it came to customizing a travel trailer during our research about the best option for our family. We actually started with the idea of buying an ice fishing house - specifically an Ice Castle - because we thought we would live in it during the winter. Then we realized a couple of things….1. Why would we ever stay somewhere in the dead of winter when we are mobile and can choose where we live? and 2. Ice Houses are heavy AF. Not a great plan for mobile living.

But I actually proposed buying an ice house shell and building out the entire thing from scratch. After experiencing just two short weeks of trailer renovations I give that version of myself a nice pat on the head and an “Oh, honey….” Because me and remodels don’t mix well. As exhibit A-E, here are the top FIVE things I learned about myself during the reno process.

(pictured) Millie demonstrating her ‘teach by doing’ on how to enjoy the remodel project.

(pictured) Millie demonstrating her ‘teach by doing’ on how to enjoy the remodel project.


I have no patience.

Ideas are fun. Executing ideas that take more than 5 minutes - can’t do it. I have the attention span of a toddler, and the patience level to match. Every day that we were working on the Geo, I expected to be about 50% further along than we were - which Travis I am sure found to be a simply delightful trait.



This lack of patience leads to pure sloppiness.

Every time I started a project, I went into it with this uber-determined mindset. I had such aspirations to accomplish everything perfectly, and to work so diligently to bring this about. Then 10 minutes pass and I start slapping things together. Oh no, I got paint on the light switch? Splattering paint on my face as I quickly roll paint on the upper cabinets? It all devolved into a free-for-all.



I have perfectionism issues.

And even though I wanted everything done immediately while simultaneously getting questionably sloppy, I maintained a meticulous level of scrutiny. I was obsessing over everything from trim lines to tile alignment. Again, so so so much fun for Travis.

(pictured) Brittany poses with the GeoPro 19FD reminiscing about her senior portrait days.


I actually love living in a tiny space

Under 100 sq ft for three people is definitely small. Renovating that space with everyone in there is a perfect way to get a taste for how it feels to live in it. And I loved every second of us being in there. While I had my doubts about our last 500 sq ft house prior to moving in, I was surprised to find I thought we could have gone smaller. But going 1/5 the size is a leap, and thank goodness our first taste of this was a good one.


Travis dubbed me “The multitasker master”

I started getting a number of fun nicknames from Travis about halfway through the process. This was one of the few I feel comfortable typing out….but it actually is true. Because renovating a tiny space, two days after a blizzard, with a three year old - that’s a tough one. Thanks to an e-reader, Octonauts figures, and the Sing soundtrack on repeat - we made it. But I did pick up a pretzel with my foot at one point while balancing a paintbrush on a paint cup in one hand and pressing play on “Set it All Free” with the other - hence my super nickname.


As I write this post we are one day away

(pictured) Getting ready for the road.

(pictured) Getting ready for the road.

from completing our remodel projects. And all sarcasm aside - it really was a smooth process. We were able to check everything but the painting off our list within 3 weeks - and really only about 5 days with large chunks of time devoted to it. My experience with this process led me to have immense admiration for people who gut Airstreams or build out Sprinter vans - because I really don’t know that I could handle it. I loved having something that already had components we loved - like the flooring and the layout - because after making these aesthetic adjustments I don’t think I would enjoy much more. If a full renovation is your thing, more power to you, but I like this alternative option of finding something that already checks a lot of boxes.

Geo Pro 19FD Renovations

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We bought our Geo Pro 19FD trailer new from a dealership - so why renovate? Well - we wanted it to feel like home, and home to us was not taupe wallpaper and fabric covered window boxes. While we certainly could have traveled in it as-is, we wanted it to be a place that felt like ours.

*Here we are at our storage garage - which gave us a safe place to store the trailer safe and comfortably work on it through the winter.


Before Photos…


Here are the projects we completed and why:

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Painted the kitchen cabinets

1 - Primed everything with Extreme Bond Primer from Sherwin Williams

2 - Painted with Amazon Jungle color from Behr

3 - When the paint wasn’t adhering to the caulking, we covered it with a paintable silicone - which worked like a charm.


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Painted Over the Bathroom Wallpaper

Step One: Paint rough lines for where the gray lines will go

Step Two: Use a thin art tape and apply over the rough gray lines in a pattern

Step Three: Paint over everything with white - it took four coats to hide the wallpaper

Step Four: Remove art tape and reveal the line work pattern


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Window Boxes, Paneling, Wall Paint

WINDOW BOXES: Replaced fabric-wrapped cardboard with boxes built with 1/4” birch plywood. The top piece is made up of three pieces of Linseed Oiled Square Dowels, which will serve as a bookshelf.

WOOD PANELING: We had Home Depot rip down two 8’ x 4’ sheets of 3/8” underlayment into 5” strips. We then cut those pieces to 40” each and painted them white. We are custom cutting each piece to fit the space, and they will be staggered on the wall.

PAINTED WALLS: We are leaving the wallpaper behind the bed (reason one: it actually looks good there. reason two: we were sick of painting, ha). We painted all exposed walls in the main part of the Geo gray, and used the same gray for the line work on the bathroom walls.


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Tiling in Kitchen and Bath

Travis has worked as a tiler, and our first thought was to have him install tile on the cupboard and behind-the-stove space in the kitchen. This mindset really shows just how inexperienced we are when it comes to trailer life, but we thankfully came to our senses and accepted that adding 30+ pounds for a decorative feature was pretty pointless. We settled on a peel-and-stick hexagonal option from homedepot.com. This was the cheapest place we found it - and while this was less time consuming to install than actual tile, it is still kind of a pain in the ass. Especially around the window…any curved angle sucked. But if you are willing to put the time/patience in, this option is definitely worth it.



Other items we have not finished yet…..1. Installing wallpaper on the fridge 2. Putting hanging baskets in Travis and I’s closet spaces 3. Using fabric to make a cupboard divider 4. Installing a painting in the rectangle space above the couch

We feel so grateful to be able to not only have this new home - but to have the opportunity to make it ours. We will put up the final photos when we finish!



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The Start

June 1st. We will leave and head west - with a mountain valley in western Montana being our first two week stop. National Forests and BLM Land hold rules that allow you to park your vehicle in a spot for 14 days at a time for free, and we will take full advantage of this timeframe as we move from place to place.

This blog will be a place to follow along with our progress - starting asap as we make a handful of changes to the interior of our trailer. You will find photos, writing, videos, etc. in this space…ranging from how-tos to drone footage to absolutely random photos. Hopefully we can demystify some of the often-asked questions surrounding both off grid and on the road living - and track what we’re doing for ourselves too.