Vintage trailer enthusiasts renovate and decorate their own little piece of American history.
VINTAGE TRAILERS HAVE BEEN A HOT TREND, AND “FINDING THE ELUSIVE TRAILER TO RESTORE IS HALF THE FUN,” WRITES VICTORIA OCKEN IN HER NEW BOOK, Vintage Trailer Voyeur: A Peek Inside the Unique Custom Trailer Culture. The other fun, of course, is when vintage-trailer enthusiasts decorate the interior of their trailers. “Every garage sale, junk store and auction is ripe with decorating possibilities,” writes Vicki. Vintage trailer owners “feel the tingle of anticipation run up their spine as they sort through the past, thrilled with the slightest piece of memorabilia. A postcard, original upholstery hidden under slipcovers or a forgotten toy—anything that tells a tale of the past and the ghosts that lurk there,” she writes. Why are these trailers so appealing? “It’s probably rooted in many things,” she says. “Nostalgia for the past, a simpler time. Or the desire to unplug from the technology that we can’t escape in our daily lives. The in-
terest in reconnecting with family and making new friends. These old trailers are simple, but ingenious at the same time. They inspire us to go back to a time where we could take pleasure in baking a pie, doing dishes by hand, eating under the stars, finding enjoyment in the smallest moments.” Vicki has been immersed in the quirky and obsessive world of the vintage trailer lifestyle for much of her life, and in this, her first book on the subject, she takes readers along to places like a vintage trailer rally and an all-girls’ camp. You’ll love the décor of these road-going jewels, from a chenille bedspread to a period-perfect Dixie stove, all on display in the book’s 300 photos. That’s because trailer owners finish off their meticulous restorations in one of two ways: either with carefully chosen accessories appropriate to the period of the trailers or using an equally carefully chosen—and quite possibly outrageous—motif. Vicki has seen trailers decorated with vintage wallpapers, old maps, special paint effects and even pennies glued on. “Anything that will fit through the door and doesn’t make the trailer too heavy is a possibility,” says Vicki. “Claw-foot tubs surrounded by gauzy vintage curtains. Old feather beds with crocheted linens. Antique dressers. Brass beds.” However, total weight and weight distribution do need to be taken into account for a trailer that will be moving. The beauty of trailer décor is that nothing has to be permanent. “You can trade things out as your whims change or as your shopping trips find new treasures. The fun of decorating the trailers is the journey. It never ends; it just evolves as your life and interests do.”
“Every garage sale, junk store and auction is ripe with decorating possibilities.”
The pastime of vintage trailer restoration is very popular with women. Vicki thinks it’s because many women spend their lives taking care of others, and have commitments ranging from family to jobs and homes. Trailers, she says, “offer an escape and independence. There is nothing like making your vision come to life, then hooking it up and hitting the open road. Meeting other like-minded women or traveling on their own, women find solace in these little trailers. It is a peaceful retreat, even if you are just sitting in the driveway—a little piece of heaven shrouded in aluminum.”
A TRAILER NAMED “RIVET,” enjoys his natural habitat: a scenic mountain range.
BUTTERCUP SITS UNDER STORM CLOUDS, her aluminum skin. waiting for the rain to cool