Monday, July 24, 2017

ANOTHER Vintage Camper!

We did a thing! 

If you've been following along for a while or if it somehow slipped your mind, in 2012 we purchased a vintage camper for $500 and turned it into a traveling photo studio and darkroom. Flash forward a few years and it's still rollin' but with digital guts. Read all about that here

But if you want more beat up, before pictures and the story of how we found this cutie, keep reading!

We have been wanting to downsize for a while now. Since we stopped developing photos in the camper, having an extra 5 feet or so for a darkroom was unnecessary. Also, since we started Lamphouse, there have been a number of venues open in up in Wichita that could easily accommodate a camper smaller than Lampy. Throw that together with the fact that we've gotten a warm response for the "Lampy" camper as a digital photo booth and we were ready to start looking in earnest for a smaller camper to fix up.

Problem is, in the past 5 years things like "glamping" and "putting a photo booth in a vintage camper" have become ~things~ thereby driving the price up on old campers and even making hard to find ones that aren't fixed up already.

View from the hitch. This window is definitely not original. Hoping to replace it with one that is or similar. 

So a few weeks ago I decided to start really looking. That means checking craigslist about two dozen times a day, along with any other classified you can find and even, if you have NO shame, asking your neighbor who has one in their backyard if they'd ever consider getting rid of it...

We stopped in Russell and got duct tape for this window. It lasted about...1/2 a mile I'd guess. 

I found a really cute one on a classifieds site in a town called Russell, about 160 miles away but it said that it had been sold. Womp womp. I thought my chances would be better on a smaller site than Craigslist so I checked again that night and WHAT WHAT there it was - for sale again!

The seller told us that the man he bought it from was using it to go fishing at the lake. 

It was already 11 o'clock at night so I couldn't call the business number that was listed. I set my alarm for the next morning and immediately dialed the number - the camper was still there and still $600. One problem? The tires were mush.

A Loveland, Colorado sticker

We went ahead and drove straight up in the Jeep and had a look at it. Conan mentioned there was a camper parts store in town that we could maybe get tires at and the man selling it said that would be a bust so he called the local tire shop and lo and behold, he had 2 perfect, used tires! The seller even jacked up the camper and took the wheels off for us! Kansas nice, y'all!

From the other end - cute marker lights! 

So we got two tires, put them on and headed home on side roads and two lane highways. A trip that took 2 hours going took 4.5 coming back. Now that's what you call "white knuckle driving"!

Here she is parked in Stafford, Kansas on the way home:

The inside is pretty standard fare for an old camper. An area for a table 

A cute little kitchenette

(with an icebox!)

A sleeping area

And some souvenirs! 

I'm keeping that mug.

Conan dug around on the internet and found what he was pretty sure was the make of the camper - an ALJOA (or ALJO if it was after '57). He went out and had a look and sure enough, you can barely make out ALJO on the top and back panels of the camper.

He even found this neat old photo of the exact same camper as ours:

We're SO excited to get to work on her! If you had asked me about 4 years ago if I wanted to restore another camper I...well, I probably would have said yes because I'm crazy and a compulsive business starter but whatever. 

I haven't quite decided if I want to post about renovating the camper over here and on our business blog or just over there yet but I at least wanted to introduce you guys since you "get" us ; ) 

I'm hoping to get in there and start demo this week or next if the weather stays nice-ish.

Next up?

More camper stuff maybe and a look at an AMAZING piece of furniture we got for the kitchen a while back!

If you're interested, our local paper, The Wichita Eagle did a little write up about the original Lampy camper and the new one here

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Porch Painting Before + After

So, after living here for 9 years and working on the exterior of the house little by little for the past 3, we FINALLY got some paint ON THE HOUSE!!

So, the last time I wrote about painting was when we were finishing up the soffitt around the porch.

To jog your memory

Here's what the house looked like before the soffitt and trim were painted way back in 2012:

And here's the "after" from last fall:

And finally, the finished-ish product!

It didn't look half bad and I was feeling pretty confident in our color choices for the whole house.

When the weather was consistently nice we decided to go ahead and get started on painting the actual porch. Before we get started, I realize that this is probably not how you go about painting a house. There are rules! You work tirelessly scraping and filling and sanding and priming every square inch of the house before you start painting. HOWEVER, I have seen those poor souls. I have walked my dog by their scaffolding week after week, month after month, giving them a little wave of acknowledgement until the weather gets too hot or too cold and they retreat for months at a time.

So instead, I decided to clean, prime, scrape and paint just the part of the house that was in reasonably good shape - the porch - to fortify myself for the crap journey that lies ahead.

And you know what? It totally worked! Am I looking forward to putting scaffolding on our roof in the fall? NO, friend. But I've seen the progress and it's wonderful and I want to finish the job. So, without further ado:


To start with, we took everything off of the porch. Every plant hook, stray nail, wreath screw, unused porch swing 2x4. Everything. Including the porch furniture

Here's my dear mother and father working way harder than anyone 45 years old ever should : P

Looks better already!

Then up went the scaffolding so we could power wash the ceiling of the porch. P.S. My mom is the only person on the earth who can look this pretty while hoisting scaffolding above their head. I said it.

Then my dad got to work playing in the water er I mean, POWER WASHING THE PORCH lol while we scraped paint off of the balisters and trim. I didn't get a lot of pictures of this because
1) scraping
2) water and cameras don't mix

But here's the before of the porch floor:

And after:

Dang. Thank you power washer!

I should mention that over the course of this paint odyssey, we've looked for/tried every paint scraping tool known to man. This guy is still my absolute favorite but my mom tried this heat gun from Harbor Freight and honestly? It worked pretty well. I was shocked. It cut through latex paint like a hot knife through butter and even took off a lot of the enamel paint, too!


Another thing my mom discovered - this lovely lady hiding right up underneath the porch rail with her bbs : /

I shouldn't be surprised since Conan and I have found two of these before around the outside of the house but I just always assumed they weren't a thing in Kansas. Brown recluses? Sure. Everywhere. But black widows? I thought we left them in the smoky mountains of northeast Tennessee when we moved here 22 years ago but I guess they followed us. Sorry, everybody!


By the time I got a picture, we had already put a coat of paint on the windows so that's why they're cream colored but you get the idea. Nice and sparkly white!


You can see at this point that we had already painted the siding and trim. So much for taking a bunch of photos : /

BUT, Conan did highly endorse this trim brush:

When you're painting what has to be MILES of trim everyday, it really is worth the $6 to get an actual trim brush with one of these stumpy, soft handles. Your wrist will thank you for it!

Here are some of those miles of trim:

Funny story: We actually painted the balusters and railing a different color than what you see in this photo (there was no red trim and the white parts were the color of the siding) then, we stepped back to look at it and immediately knew it didn't look right. We hopped in the car and drove around looking for porches with rails like ours to see where we went wrong and the answer was - not enough contrast. Conan re-primed and re-painted the rails in a day so that I could get my bunting up by Memorial Day : )

When it came time to paint the treads on the stairs we were equally stumped. I noticed that a lot of the photos I liked on Pinterest of similar houses had the risers painted the color of the balusters and the treads, the color of the trim so that's what we decided to do!

We used Valspar Porch, Floor & Patio paint because it had a little grit to it and you could have it custom tinted.

Here's Conan plugging away with his handy dandy trim brush.

Another of Conan working on the steps because I a) love my little bunting that took years to find and b) Wichita flag!

We also gave the fence a couple coats of primer and the same cream color paint as our risers and balusters. Here's the before:

And the after:

And that brings us to today (well, a few days ago, actually)!

We still need to prime and paint the steps on the south side of the house and re-install our railing that's just sitting there oh, and PAINT THE REST OF THE HOUSE but I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. What's even better? The neighbors seem to like it : )

Thanks to Mrs. DIY for reminding me to include the actual paint colors and brands on this post about PAINTING THE HOUSE ; )

Siding/Columns: Olympic One, Satin Latex in Tortuga

Dark green trim: Valspar Signature, Latex Satin in Olive Smudge

Red trim: Pittsburgh Paramount, Latex Satin in Dutch Boy's Red Farmhouse

Up next?

We did something crazy AGAIN ; ) Can't wait to share this little nugget!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Backyard Privacy Fence FINALLY!

Hey guys!

As promised, now that we're getting a little break between wedding seasons I wanted to catch up on some posts that have been sitting here waiting for my attention.

First up? We built a privacy fence between ours and our neighbors' yards!

When we moved in, we had privacy fencing on all sides of our yard except one. This one:


Every year, the weeds and vines that were all wrapped up in this old, rusty chain link fence would die down and we would say to our neighbors "This year we're doing it! We're going to get out and build a privacy fence!" and every year, we would get busy and lazy and nothing would happen.

Then we got new neighbors and they didn't know about our cycle of busy/lazy/next year we're totally doing this and so we had to get our butts in gear and actually do it ; )

One HUGE motivator? Our new neighbor works for Star Lumber and was able to get the supplies delivered to our house for free. *~Luxury~*

So we started by clearing out as much of that brush as we could so that we could then we cut the chain link around the stumps that were grown into it:

Those were some gnarly little stumps.

You can see in that photo that we had already poured the forms for the fence posts. My mom and dad helped us with that as a birthday present and so we just put them up on the Saturday that they had time and then came back to tackle The Stumps™.

Here's the view of our sad little garage from our neighbor's yard. P.S. is there anything weirder than seeing your house from your neighbor's yard? No. No there isn't.

I'll tell you a couple of gals who didn't mind the shake up - our neighbors' chickens Juicy and Craig. All that dirt, all those worms and grub. It was fine dining and free range for those ladies for about a week and they loved it. One thing they didn't love? Me constantly taking photos of them : ) This is Juicy btw:

Anywho, after all of the brush was cut down and (most of) the chain link was gone Conan and my dad got started on deciding where the posts would be and digging holes for them.

They used a guide line tied between the already existing posts at each end of the yard and then hung the plumb bob down from it to find the center of each hole and make sure the posts were going to be level.

Voila! Posts! And some very ingenious forms to hold them since the holes were a little too large for the originally planned piece-of-scrap-with-hole-cut-in-the-middle technique.

We let those sit for a couple of days and then it was officially fence time!

We started at the back of the yard since it was wonderfully stump free and if you hadn't already heard, my method of working is start with the easy stuff so you feel good enough about yourself to keep going ; )

Then? It was stump time. Here is Juicy inspecting the structural integrity of this guy and also worms mmmmmm worms!

Conan would dig down until he could get an axe after it and then swing away until it was loose enough to break in half.

Here's the mangled stump + chain link pile. Gnarly, huh?

After that, I put down the camera and we got in a nice little rhythm of me picking up a plank, holding the level on top of it while Conan screwed it to the 2x4. We went from stumps to fence in a day and by the end of it we were doing that thing where an hour goes by and you haven't said anything to each other because you're both thinking about cheeseburgers and just trying

After we were all done, we went to Lowe's and bought metal edging, weed fabric and mulch to (hopefully) help keep this little patch weed free for a while.

This is the first time we've ever sprung for the metal edging and I have to say, I really like it. The stakes are sort of welded onto each piece of edging so you pop them off and then just tamp them down into the little slots in the edging.

The pieces overlap  and stay nice and straight, too

Shorty was mucho concerned for his little chicky friends trapped on the other side of the fence!

And there it is, all done!


Here's a before and after to save you the scroll:

It's been about almost 2 months with the fence and everything feels so neat and clean back there. We've also taken the camper out a couple of times since this has been done and it makes backing it in and getting in and out of it when we're loading stuff SO much easier without having to push back branches and get thwacked in the face with weeds all the time.

To give you an idea of how much a fence about 56' costs (because we were googling that ourselves before we started). This was our materials list:

·        4 bags 80 lb. Quikrete
·        16 2x4x8” pieces (cedar or pressure treated)
·        8 2 3/8” x 8’ galvanized posts
·        8 galvanized post caps
·        14 steel to wood brackets
·        156 5 ½” x 6’ fence boards (cedar or pressure treated)
·        5 lbs. 1 ½” deck screws (star bit included)

And this was an our half of the fence cost: $382

So, about $764 total

Up next? We prepped and painted some of the house you guys!!!! It looks SO nice! Can't wait to share it!

Until then, Keep Smiling and Happy 4th of July!

A picture we took after a long country drive in the Waggy this past weekend. *heart eyes emoji*

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