Home Sweet Trailer Home

by Kent Griswold on September 23rd, 2011. 42 Comments
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By Raymond John Anibas

’56 Spartan Executive Mansion

Trailer houses have made sense to me ever since living with my parents and two of my sisters in a ten-wide on Kodiak, in late ’64. Being the only boy, I had a 7′x5′ “room of my own” so the lack of privacy didn’t ruin the adventure…it was just “cosy” living.

Spartans had a special appeal, since I saw my first one in ’62 ( I salvaged that same trailer in ’98 when the owners of the tiny water front site decided they needed a bigger mobil, making it my first Spartan). I loved the Aircraft look and clean lines; the all aluminum structure and serious steel chassis made these houses very rehabitable.(don’t worry about the spelling, that’s a new word)

This is the view aft from the mates repose, like all tiny houses it’s filled to the brim with living. Since my Colleen and I are life long collectors it’s also covered, as every surface was considered for potential as display for the many pieces of art we love to look at.

This view of the kitchen shows the meat of the remodel (aside from removing all of the bulkheads forwards); laminate floor from the bathroom door forward, tile aft, with electric heat under kitchen, bath, and bedroom. The original 24″ stove top and it’s associated cabinets were removed and a modern 30″range placed and I built a “side-board” that encloses our garbage/recycle with a narrow cabinet with drawers for utensils and the blender and other kitchen “stuff” that we don’t want cluttering up the kitchen counter. The wall oven is slated to go so that we can have a high-efficiency dishwasher in that location. The counter-tops are Granite and I managed to get the formica up in one piece, eliminating most of the metal strips that usually support these panels.


We started out with his and hers recliners, but have since put in a couch so that we can sit together. We also changed the curtains as the blue was too “busy” (we went with a “dusty rose” solid). I installed the 3 door glass fronted cabinet (just visible, upper left) and put lights in it, to display our sculptural pieces and dolls.

Here is a detail of the bedroom, the wall mounted head-board will get more shelves, nearly to the floor, on either side of the bed; the original window trim was stained and rotten, so the yellow-cedar wood work was a must. The beautiful silk quilt was what my Colleen made for me while she waited for her new house (the work was done in the ’51 Royal Mansion she uses as a sewing studio) along with curtains and rugs.

This close-up is to show-off the gorgeous finish of the black-granite vanity in the bath room, the barely visible curve on the left was so we could get a couple of inches extra mass, without a sharp corner in the door-way. In all, we installed 5 pieces of granite, gifts from Colleen’s oldest son, Arron, a skilled professional stone cutter.

Thank you Raymond for sharing your home with us. If you have a tiny or small home that you would like to share with the readers of the Tiny House Blog, please send photos and a story to tinyhouseblog(at)gmail.com.

42 Responses to “Home Sweet Trailer Home”

  1. Kim says:

    Beautiful! The interior just glows with life.

  2. mike says:

    nice – that thing is huge!

    • colleen says:

      it’s not that huge. 385 sq.ft. get filled up quickly with two humans and two pit bulls. i’m glad we have other trailers to go to for all the rest of our living.

  3. steve says:

    Love those trailers too. You were lucky to find a nice one. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Jan says:

    This is beautiful!

  5. Angie says:

    I cannot get over how classy, warm and extremely nice this is. What a wonderful re-do job and nice place to live.

  6. alice says:

    Marvellous! Lots of fiddly work involved I bet.

  7. Kathy Robbins says:

    We have a 1955 HobbyLine trailer. It is small I think maybe 12 foot and I love it. Wasn’t built like an Airstream and although we used it to camp in for several years he decided it needed to retire it as he wasn’t certain it was safe to tow anymore. I’m planning to park it on our acreage for my hobbies. We built a cabin 384 sq feet with sleeping loft. Not a lot of room for my hobbies (my husband doesn’t like the mess and I don’t want to put it up every day). We are off grid. I love what you’ve done.

  8. Ed says:

    What a wonderful home. It brings back lots of great memories of my growing up living in a Spartan trailer. Thank you for sharing with us how you can take an old structure, in this case a trailer, and make it into a wonderful living space.

  9. Darren Genge says:

    I love the trailer!

  10. Josh says:

    Wow, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but that interior is great! This looks like a trailer that anybody would be proud to call home.

  11. Simon says:

    Wow, I grew up in 2 trailer parks, and my first home was a trailer. I was called trailer trash most of my life. Not because I was trashy, but because I lived in a trailer, that’s all.. Now it seems to be somewhat trendy. I find this amazing about society.

    I never had an issue with living in a trailer, or a trailer park. Mobile homes these days are built better than a stick built home, and way more efficient. I liked my 16×60 1996 Dutch. It was a great home.

    • Kathleen says:

      Simon, sorry to hear you had to put up with being called “trailer trash”, that’s a nasty term. Yes, there does seem to be a change of heart regarding trailer park living nowadays. Have you read about all of the “upscale parks” that are popping up all over?

      I am also leaning towards going the trailer park route and I think I would be great if you would share with everyone the positive aspects about trailer park living. We certainly have heard about all the negative apsects, it would great to hear about the other side of it.

  12. Carolyn MVaussies says:

    Beautiful work! Where these built to be on the road at one point, or always in a park? Now does it help your tax bill that “it looks old on the outside……. & is gorgeous inside! :-)

    • colleen says:

      no, these were not meant to travel on the road. a very few were built with waste disposal tanks. as far as the tax issue goes, where we live just by not building a house or installing a mobile home our taxes would shoot up. we live out of a series of these vintage trailers, thereby fooling the tax man for now. our final vision is our “trashy trailer bed and breakfast”.

  13. Columba says:

    Wow. No way I could be more impressed with what you have accomplished.

    Just beautiful living inside and since I don’t like cities I like your ‘yard’ as well.

    Columba

  14. Omigosh! I absolutely love it inside and out!

  15. Reonne says:

    Wow! Now that’s a nice trailer home. We lived in a 56 footer for a year on 4 acres in No. California right next to BLM land. Bears would walk through every night. Beautiful. Unfortunately, our trailer wasn’t this aethetically pleasing, and I didn’t like the 4′ of snow every year. We bought our trailer for $2500 and had it towed up there.

    Go trailer people!

  16. william carlisle says:

    I love this, My father worked as a designer for Spartan in Tulsa Ok. at the time this home was made .Thanks for sharing this

    • Ray A says:

      any chance you have old drawings of interior layouts or wiring diagrams ??? such would be very popular with the folks on all of the Spartan sites.-Ray- P T WA

  17. Brendan says:

    One of the best I’ve seen, congratulations.

  18. Patty Squirell says:

    Awesome is all I can say. Love this inside and out!

  19. Randy says:

    Raymond and Colleen … what a beautiful home! She may be a mature lady, but the little trailer is looking mighty fine in her old age. :) The upgrades you guys have made are classy and the rich wood tones and vibrant colors in your decorating show really well to create a warm and inviting home! I hope to have something similar one day soon and appreciate your inspiration! Peace!

    • colleen says:

      thank you randy. one of the things ray forgot to put in the article is that we have less than $5,000 invested in this project. granted our land is a small junkyard of rays making so we could use up much of what was here and my son donated all the granite work but these old homes can be made beautiful with a whole lot of man hours more than $.

  20. Arlos says:

    Coleen and Ray, love seeing this so often in your FB posts. BTW, great job!

  21. Leone says:

    Wow, the interior looks fantastic. You’ve done an amazing job. BTW I lived in Kodiak for several years myself, though it was in gov’t housing as my dad was in the CG.

  22. Kim says:

    Had to come back… went to a local concert tonight. They had an original song entitled “Don’t Call Me Trash Till You’ve Slept In My Trailer.” Made me think of this post!

    Ah, a link:
    http://www.bigsmithband.com/trashlyrics.html

    I also love your phrase above: “Like all tiny houses, it’s filled to the brim with living.” That’s so full of truth!

  23. Cheryl says:

    I think its great. I’m not much for city life either. There is nothing wrong with trailer living. Some that knock it should try it first.

  24. Susan says:

    I am just blown away by this cozy, woodsy space. Wow!

  25. GarageCat says:

    Very nice. Don’t see many of these around your lucky to have one.

  26. tim says:

    when you remove your oven,replace it with an electric smoothtop cooker and leave space below for slideout dishwasher and pots/pans. try the boatbuilding sites for the dishwasher.use the nuwave countertop infrared oven for occassional use and a hibachi outside on the deck.try slowly changing over to led liting as it is very expensive to buy.i like that wood interior.

  27. [...] Grab Bag of Links … September 26, 2011By adminArchitecture. Higgins Lake House Home Sweet Trailer Home Minimum House in Germany Small House in Olive Grove Lake House in [...]

  28. Susan says:

    I am in the process of procuring a 57 Executive Mansion… I love what you have done with yours, especially the laminate flooring, I would never have thought of that! Mine has some painted walls, which I would like to restore to the birch, and only one roof vent is visible after the modifications… what birch you CAN see is so pretty! I am going to love downsizing and living in my trailer and I wouldn’t be surprised if I have as much art on the walls as you guys do! What kind of fasteners did you install?

    • Ray Anibas says:

      we used a few screws in discreet places. mostly we’ve used the stick on holders. also we used wire coming down from behind the window frames. since there isn’t much wall space for large or heavy pieces the stick up hooks work well. we have a gypsy wagon where we store back up art and change our walls out on a regular basis.

  29. Ilana says:

    I thought I was living in luxury in my ’55 “Safeway” trailer ( 8×32′ ) until I saw this! Very inspiring, thank you!

  30. Lee says:

    Wow…thanks for this!!! We just purchased a 1952 Stewart Trailer…it is a 37 footer..We are bringing it home next week and are going to start renovations..We are restaurant owners and had initially planned to use this tank as a food cart/trailer but quickly decided that we would call it home…THANKS for inspiring us!!!

  31. Lee says:

    Could you please share how you installed your woodburning stove…Thanks so much

  32. Barbara says:

    How did you get the 30″ range through the 24″ door? I have a Royal Mansion near my 12′x18′ tiny house and I’d like to make it my utility room. I can handle reinforcing the frame, adding the power and water, but I can’t figure out how to get 27″ wide appliances inside! Even the largest front window is an inch too small.

  33. [...] to put their money on the remodeling. Here’s Raymond’s description from the feature on Tiny House Blog:  “This view of the kitchen (above) shows the meat of the remodel (aside from removing all [...]

  34. Eric M. Vogt says:

    I just bought a piece of property with an executive mansion on it. It is a stately craft but will take a lot if work to refurbish. How can you tell what year it was built? I looked at your pics and mine has a similar layout. Of course yours is very plush. I am a lover of history and this seems a great find from an age past. Have no idea what they used to get it around but it must’ve been a monster truck of some kind.

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