What do you think about a central vacuum system? 'Cause if there is one thing I've learned from surfing the internet it is that there are things you never even thought of that you might want! 

Nutone's entry level central vacuum is great for small homes 2200 square feet. Well designed and powerful the Nutone CV400 fits the job, whether its your home, garage, RV, or boat.. This vacuum has a small footprint so it takes up less space. Drawing only 8.5 amps of power the CV400 is energy efficient. 

It's 11inches in circumference, 30 inches high. I wonder if it could be hidden in the old heater box? or by the wheels in the corner of the kitchen cabinets? 

Good idea to keep dust/ pet hair down OR waste of space/ time/ money? Have I gone ca-razy?? 

From the Killing Me Softly files: Death By Flooring Options. 

Yes. I am being "serious". 

I know that the Spartan will have to endure baking in the Texas sun. One of my priorities is not to have chemicals off gassing and making it smell bad, and BE bad for healthy breathing. 

The other logistical considerations: weight, wear, keeping clean and looking clean (2 different things!). 

And... of course: STYLE. 

This is my attempt to choose by ordering samples on-line from Marmoleum. Left sample= Too damn dark. Right sample= better, but not sure I like the "stone" effect... not very vintage, and kinda bland.  

Oh, and one other thing.

Bear in mind that I have 200 square feet to cover, + the recommended 10% overage=  220 sf.  So, this is just not going to be a minor line item on by budget. Ahem. 

I like linoleum. Old school, green, long wearing. Fashion colors, ya'll! Except- for once in my life, I don't want flashy. I want it to look good, but, be neutral enough that I can change things up without, say, a blood red floor. Which would be killer! But... might get on my nerves over time. 

And, at $5 plus/ sf we are talking about a $1,000 minimum. Which means I need to LOVE it. Sigh. Keep looking. 

This is my trip to the decorator floor showroom. They have a crayon box worth of choices, but I have to remember not to fly over to the brightest thing like a magpie. Left/Green- meh, Center/Yellow- too boring, Right/ Red- fussy) 

I also am guessing at how the it will complement my beechwood interior. All samples are photographed up against wood to check how they "work" with it. I am concerned about the trailer being dark- the chocolate brown floor in there now does a helluva job hiding dirt, but, it hardly brightens up the place. 
Here I am at the "Green" showroom, which has lovely things, wonderful vibes- and everything costs the moon and has to be special ordered. 

Left/ Yellow- NO. NO. NO!  Middle/Gray- Actually my favorite of the bunch, but worried it will be too dark. Right/ Blue- Pretty. Very pretty. But... not neutral.

There were also trips to dive-y little flooring closeout places, and big box stores, but they could not really communicate the whole VOC/ toxic status to me.  And, to be honest, at this point I was just exhausted and overwhelmed and sick of thinking about flooring. 

God, it's not even fun to write about the flooring headache. Why? Why are you still reading this?? 

What do you think? Are you an interior decorator person magically reading my blog and dying to advise me? ADVISE ME. Should I bite the bullet and go with the Gray? It's kinda masculine and crisp looking to me. The mottling is prettier in person. Or the Blue? Sky blue, more fun, relaxed, vacation-y. 

Ackkkkkkk!!!!! I. Don't. KNOW. Or really care anymore. Apathy for the win!!

It will come as no shock that I am much better at buying accessories than I am at buying, you know, actual raw materials that have to be transformed into something recognizable. And the more those accessories look like, well, frankly, jewelry, the better I am at it. 
While I was suppose to be making Very Important Decisions about Fantastic Fans, I got sidelined by this beautiful, classic little fan. 12Volts, hard wires in. It's So Sweet, I know! It's small- just 7 inches- and I think I will tuck it in the corner of the kitchen, someplace where it won't be in the way but can cool down the cook or get rid of food smells. Or just give you that supermodel-in-the-wind fan effect. 

Whoa! Sexy Hair at the Trailer Park!! (Apologies to any Beyonce fans; she's just the first over-fanned hair photo I found!) 
Ok, ok, OK. I know, back to Fantastic Fans, which are apparently, The Thing. I have mixed feelings about these guys. See, I'm not always great at being "practical". I read the reviews that these suckers WORK, the push the hot air out of your trailer- very important in Texas. They cool. They have translucent blades so you still get light. They, very accommodatingly, might I add, make silver covered lids so they look vintage. Except they don't. Look Vintage, that is. I (whispers) think it's kinda ugly.  

So, I have purchased 3 of these, and I am trying to be HAPPY and EXCITED. Which is kinda hard, tbh. But some people, it seems, have the real HOTS for these babies. (See what I did there? I'll see myself out...) 
This is evidenced by the below proof, which I swear is NOT a photoshop mock up. It is, in fact, a published book, which you can pay money for. 

It's, uhhh, well, I'll let it speak for itself: 

“This is a love story. Not just any love story; it is my love story. It may seem like an ordinary tale to most people. There is nothing earth-shattering about it, yet it shattered my earth.”

With alarming honesty, Milks details the lasting love affair that everyone said wouldn't last—the risks they both took and the payoff they finally realized when husband Steve's configuration for a better ventilation fan for recreational vehicles was, indeed, a winner.

Well. O-k then. 

So, what do YOU think? Will I, like so many other hapless recreational vehicle owners, be swept up the thorny rose and strong, manly arms of the Fan-tastic Fan?? And will it be Earth-Shattering???? Will it?!  
Check out this amazing Spartan trailer with a house built around it on a river in Texas. I have to say; generally, I am not prone to jealousy. Usually, I'm happy with what I have and not frustrated by what others have, even when I deeply admire it. 

So, I feel a little sheepish admitting that the green-eyed monster bit me when I saw this. OUCH! Want. Want. Wantwantwantwant. WANT. (Falls over, comatose) 

I had a real pity party- sulking that someone else is "living my dream!" (like I own it, ha!). And they QUITE obviously have the means to live it pretty luxe. I'm not fooled by "simple elegance"- I know high-end when I see it, damn it. Ugh. Those kind of petty feelings are SO miserable; it makes you so unhappy. Yuk. How do people endure it for long? 

But... I mean, can you blame me? Look again, DRINK it in, in all it's stunning photography: 
That is very, very breathtaking. No lie. The mirror image just slays me. 

Upon review, I realized that my feelings are closer to sadness and yearning. I have been trying to execute this concept for 5 years now. What I really want is MY beautiful trailer, sheltered with an elegant structure, in the Hill Country in Texas. 

And I will get there. It might not be on land quite as spectacular as this. It might not be as shiny. But. Inspiration is FREE, and there are lots of things going on here that are just so very well done. I started appreciating how cool these people are to choose this, when they clearly could have a much less unique place. 

I also realized that I don't want to obscure my trailer this much. I want it to be more visible, more focal. Which is to say: This is a Very, Very, Very Beautiful Baby. But it ain't my Baby. 

I hope someday I get to see this place in person and tell them how wonderful it is. 

And invite them to my place so I can share what my dream looks like when it's done. 

(Also, note to self: Take totally kickass photos!) 

...from these vintage red glass beehive tail lights I bought on Etsy! I had one original glass one identical to these, and one plastic, more square-ish one on the other side that had been replaced later. Now I will have a set and a spare. Any vintage trailer person will tell you that having a spare part is true luxury. 

These have been sitting on my bookshelf like little sculptures. They make me smile while I walk by. Their day is coming! 

The seller has a small, well-curated shop of vintage trailer lovelies. Worth a peek. I love to think of all the mysterious people in the background of my trailer project... cool people out there doing cool things, and we intersect, briefly. Thanks for rescuing these for me, Etsy guy! 

One very comforting thing about John the Contractor is that he is Very Tidy. I know: that IS a strangely prim sentence. But, truly, given that the trailer recently looked like the remnants of a plane wreck deep in the jungle, I have learned to appreciate the beauty of order. 

It's still spooky- like looking at negative space- but not as horrifying. More mystifying. Where's my beautiful honey colored birch wood? Where's my cute stuff? Um, where is the floor?? What is the meaning of life? Will I ever find true happiness?? Whoa, dude, gotta sit down again. My head hurrrrts.

John IS Tidy. The black hole in my trailer universe is just an illusion. My trailer still exists- albeit in 10,000 neatly stacked pieces.

No, really, really. Sit down, don't operate heavy machinery. 
Hey- Oh. I TOLD you it was gonna get worse before it got better.

Post- accident, I regrouped, licked my wounds, and got through the holidays. In the Spring I turned my trailer over to John, my contractor. I am not on an aggressive time line, so we agreed that he can work on it as he wishes, aiming to be done in the Fall time frame. Or as we say in Texas- Outdoor Living Time! 

John wrapped up a job he was already working on. And then, BOOM. He texts me the above picture. 

He's a smart guy and all, but, WHOA!! You gotta warn people!!! I was driving when the picture flashed on my screen. I almost ran off the damn road. 

I, in fact, literally, did pull over. I felt like I needed a paper bag to hyperventilate into. 

The weird thing is how ALIKE these things all look when they are gutted. I mean, unrecognizable and... depressing. Like a wrecked, burned-out airplane fuselage. 

My vision for the renovation is what I call a total, but practical renovation. I want it to look so similar to when I started, that a casual glance would not make you think I'd done anything. On closer look, I want the details to be crisp and clean, no rot or wonkiness. I LOVE campy trailers- bring on the Elvis, flamingos, screaming hot pink- I'll squeal in delight, and take you up on your drink with an umbrella. But for my own trailer, I want retro modern chic. Elegant with a nod to mid-century. Orly Kiely modern against a backdrop of beautiful beechwood, aluminum, organic and safe materials. 

I knew this moment- the Tear Down, the Phoenix in a Pile of Ashes, name your metaphor- would be hard. And, in fact I underestimated how hard. My knees went jelly and my stomach was decidedly queasy. Sucka PUNCH. Remember: unlike people who are handy and capable and know they can put shit back together- I am a helpless, newborn kitten, mewing pitifully. My only tool/ weapon is MONEY- and NOT an over abundance of it- to Make This Right. Jesus. I better not run out before we have a workable stopping point. 

In time, (meaning a few DAYS, not hours, mind you), I righted myself. It had to happen. This is why I wrung hands, why it really is not possible to do one little thing at a time. I needed to get into the walls, get to the rotting insulation, get to the old wiring. Crack it open. Sometimes the only way in is through the fire. Money is just money... I'll make more, Find A Way. 

But, I'm still pretty wobbly some days, when I look at these pictures or try to make expensive decisions. It's going to be hard until I see the wood back in, the form taking shape and the genie back in the bottle. 

And, um, see that the money is gonna stretch. Might need to canvas friends and do a band fundraiser/ garage sale/ kickstarter/ begging-with-signs under the bridge before its all over. Trailer dreams ain't cheap, ya'll. For not the first time, I bow before people who do this purely for recreation, without the history invested like I have. 

This is *nowhere* near the low of the wreck, but this is stressful, tbh. So many hopes, so much desire to have the project work out, and so little actual control over the work. 

We'll hold hands together, ok? And, yeah, pass the paper bag, and Tums, k? 

Ouch. ouch. OUCH. It's hard to look at, I know. Well, if you're lily livered, you've been warned. It don't get pretty for a long, long time. 

Late last November I decided to get serious about my trailer restoration project. I accepted that I am just not equipped- in tools, experience, skills, space... the list goes on&on&on&on... to do this myself. I periodically brave the trailer message boards, trying earnestly to glean wisdom and insight. I put in search terms, say: "Eco-friendly varnish" and "window seals" and I toil over the hundreds of hits that get vomited back at me. I read. I re-read. I say very rude words. And get sad. And mad. Why? Why am I sad and mad, Sam I am? Because it does not make any $&!?$&! sense to me- zip, nada. Then there are the amazing bloggers who have painstakingly documented their glorious work. My heart tightens up in admiration, I coo at the transformation in pictures, I cheer on, I read greedily. And yet. I still don't understand any of it! 

Somehow, accepting this was a minor victory. I decided to hire someone and be happy with the quality work, not struggle, beg, borrow & steal time to do a crappy job myself. With this in mind I set about hiring someone.  I felt  that the most critical part was the woodwork, and was advised that I needed to find a "Finish Carpenter" who can properly take everything out, and then put it back in, replacing and repairing as needed. I figured I'd get a separate electrician, plumber- and whatever else. As long as the wood turns out right, I'll be ok. 

I made lots of phone calls, narrowed it down to three individuals, and then met up with them at the trailer to talk. One no-showed, one was non-committal, and the third? The third was a match! He was knowledgeable, respectful, and, importantly- he dug my trailer. He got it. its important with a quirky project like this to work with someone who is actually interested in it, ya know? I found my trailer man. 

We parted, and I took the trailer 20 miles down the road to get a trailer place (horse & farm trailers) to get the frame looked at and ask questions about inspection. 

And, I wrecked it on the way. Yup. Rain. Hydroplane. Fishhook. And... Off the road. 

I WARNED YOU! This.is.NOT.for.the.faint.of.heart. 

No one hurt- and miraculously- no other vehicle involved. I don't know how in the hell that happened, but apparently when people see an out of control freakin TRAIN hydro planing sideways on a major freeway, they scatter like so many leaves. 

We landed in a ditch between freeway and feeder road, another miracle, quite frankly. Unusually, the strip of land had trees on it, probably as safety measures to prevent out-of-control vehicles from attacking innocent incoming vehicles. We crashed into the trees and stopped. 

No injuries, but we took years off of darling Tiffany's life as she watched helplessly from behind and just knew we would be dead in the van. Girl- she climbed though those trees like a bat on fire to get to us. It was awful. I'm getting teary just thinking about her face, she was so damn scared and worried. 

The rest was a blur of tow trucks, cops, and finally an 18 wheeler tow truck. They were all kind, the cop was amazing- no ticket!- and we were finally pulled free. There was a helluva lot of rubbernecking, and some camera man videoing, which was truly terrible. I don't think we ever made the news, cuz, c'mon, someone woulda called me. 

I held it together. Once on the road, amazingly, my battle tank of a van hauled us back home. I held it together some more. I repeated how glad I was no one was hurt. I tried to be genuinely grateful; coulda been SO much worse, etc. And it wasn't until I got in the shower hours later that I broke down & bawled. I broke my Daddy's trailer. It was injured, and it was my fault. It cost a horrible amount of money, money that should have gone to constructive, not destructive, efforts. 

Not.for.the.faint.hearted. You've been warned twice!