It is a well documented fact that decorating is a passion of mine. For most of my life, creating a nice home through decorating was my creative outlet, and I spent hours making window treatments, pillows, wall art and other items for our various houses, trying to get the look for less. Even when I could afford to pay retail, there was something so rewarding about creating home decor items myself and having a curated look that wasn’t a cookie cutter version of a catalog.
When we lived in Hawaii, I was able to take my passion and turn it into a career when I opened a home decor store. Suddenly I was able to share my ideas in various store displays, and by helping customers with their decorating needs. This venture also led to a collaboration with a local realtor with staging Hawaii homes. Watching the process of taking a home from so-so to a hot real estate ticket never got old, and proved that there was transformative power in the act of staging, design, and decor.
Over the years, I have been asked to stage homes for family, friends, clients, and realtors. I have decorated everything from rooms to entire houses. In Northern Idaho, I have decorated two bungalows and six new-build condos for a real estate development company. Nurseries, kitchens, living rooms; you name it, I’ve probably decorated it. But a few weeks ago, I got a request that really sparked my interest. Our dear friends daughter asked if I would be willing to decorate their brand spanking new travel trailer for she, her husband, and three kids. Oh, you know I would!
Before I began accumulating accessories, the owner provided me with “before” pictures to reference while shopping. This was very important to know the amount of wall and counter space I was dealing with. She also said that she liked a rustic farmhouse, moose and deer, and a comfortable aesthetic. She was open to almost any color scheme, which was nice. My head spinning with ideas, I began shopping in earnest.
Shortly after her request, we were at our bungalow in northern Idaho, which is a mecca for mountain and rustic decor. I was able to find some nice pillows, wall art, and other accessories at my favorite store in Coeur d’Alene called JUNK. Believe me, it isn’t junk, but a well curated collection of new merchandise alongside antiques and consignment. Next stop, Home Goods for a couple of other accessories, a few online purchases, and I was done.
Next came a couple of DIY projects. I had purchased a tobacco basket at JUNK, then used a wreath from Hobby Lobby, then an online purchased metal Explore sign that I layered on top. A little twine and a glue gun and it was done. Marrying objects from three different sources gives an item a truly custom look and something that will be unique to their space. The last DIY project was taking a Dollar Tree wooden plaque I had in my stash, and a moose scene stencil from Hobby Lobby. Using brown paint, my granddaughter Cassidy and I stenciled it onto the wooden plaque, which turned out very cute and gave them just the right amount of the moose look.
One thing you never have enough of in an RV is storage. So I found several canvas containers in various sizes that are not only attractive, but functional as well. For the kitchen, I put together a basket with dish soap, sponges and a scrub brush. I also compiled a basket of smores ingredients, marshmallow skewers, jelly beans, and Moose Munch as a gift to the family. A funny plaque went up above the cooktop, saying “You don’t have to be crazy to camp with us. We’ll train you.” A few cute dish towels, a cutting board, a candle, an artificial plant, and the kitchen was done.
On the dining booth table, a round wicker tray holds a candle, small plant and a plaque with “Camping Rules.” Under the tray are placemats to use for inside or outside dining. Next, I hung the wall art items, using Command Strips so as not to damage the RV walls. On the focal wall between the dining table and the sofa, I hung my favorite find; Yosemite Naturalist John Muir’s famous quote “The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go,” which, in my opinion, is a perfect fit for camping. On the sofa, a gray and white throw, some pillows, and a basket for magazines completed this area.
The bathroom was done with a wall sign, decorative mirror, and some bath accessories. Underneath the counter on an open shelf is another canvas storage basket, ready for toiletries, towels, or toilet paper. For this project, I focused on the main living area of the travel trailer and not the rear bunkhouse that is the kids domain, or the master sleeping area where the owner had already purchased a gray and white buffalo check comforter.
Time for a few quick “after” pictures and it was time for the reveal. I was actually a little nervous, hoping they would like it. Turns out they loved it, and couldn’t wait to show it off on their five day camping trip on Mount Hood that began the next day. Often, people think that decorating isn’t necessary or important, but I disagree. Turning a space into something comfortable and also beautiful can be transformative for those that live there. By adding just the right touches, you can take an unfinished area and create something that has personality, function, and soul for a very small investment. Who knows? It could even make you a very happy camper!