Sunday, March 23, 2014

Upcycled camper into a playhouse

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who fell deeply in love. To commemorate their love, they married and spent the rest of their days building a small (quite small) empire. There was a house that started as a basement and ended in two levels, an enormous garden, an apricot tree that overshadowed a chicken coop, five children, and - of course- a camper. 

So why then, the picture of the chicken? Clearly I was photographing the chicken, as any rational chicken-owner would do, but in the mid-background (in front of the truck) you'll see the camper. My grandparents, the lovely individuals from the story, used it for quite awhile and then abandoned it when they purchased another camper. Eventually, they passed on and didn't take the camper with them. No one in the family wanted it and it wouldn't sell, so I envisioned a playhouse.

This is were the "before" pictures would have been useful, but I'm terrible at remembering to take those. We poured a small cement pad and hauled the camper to our house. There was no use for the bed and no guarantees that the paint wasn't laced with lead. So we (my husband and I) gutted the interior and covered the walls with tub board and bead board. We put in a laminate floor and built and painted cabinets. This is what we ended up with.

 I also made curtains and recovered the little card table I bought at a thrift store. Originally I covered it in a vinyl tablecloth, but when children tore through that, I recovered it with new vinyl as well as a thick layer of transparent vinyl. I'm hoping it is slightly more enduring.

My husband was adamant that we leave the exterior as it was, but I thought it rather drab so one day while he was at work. . .

 Even if you hate the paint job, you have to admit it brightens up the winter landscape.
And look at it in full bloom. (That poor little girl has flowers for a face. Makes it hard for her to see, but she blends into her environment quite well.)

 And when you add the wash tub and teapot planters, it's downright whimsical.

The washtubs I accessorized with the butterfly and dragonfly. They were purchased as wind-chimes from a dollar store. I took off the chime part and riveted what was left to the tubs. The teapot planter had its origins as a topless table frame from a second-hand store. I built a top out of backer board and tiled and grouted it with colored tile. The teapot came as is, but the cups I purchased separately and used a masonry bit to drill holes in the bottom. It should be noted, if one attempts to replicate this process, be sure to douse the bit and hole with water, frequently. It also helps to have a drill press. E5000 glue works well to secure the teacup to the saucer, but the saucer stuck in the mortar without incident.

 And what about those cold winter months when time is better spent indoors? Meet the fridge-sink-oven-microwave combination. If only it were real, it would be the ultimate for deluxe apartment living. This isn't a tutorial as much as it is an idea.
 The top is a section of Formica counter top, the portion cut out for the placement of a sink. I cut out a square section large enough for a painted 8x8 baking dish and used silicone to glue it in. The faucet came from a remodel job. I bought the burner because who gets rid of a single burner? My dad gave me the handles and hinges. What a good guy!

The fridge is slightly more complex. Throughout my childhood I played with a little metal fridge. I'm not sure of its age nor origin, but it had an avocado green exterior, which dates it somewhat.

After years of use, it fell apart. It's been repaired a couple of times, but continues to fall into disrepair.

During one of its down times I photocopied it onto 11x17 sheets of paper, which I later mod-podged onto the interior of the door. If I had more time, artistry, and a steadier hand, I might have painted it on, but this was an easier route for better results.