Introducing "The Spriglet," Our Road-Ready RV Trailer
Presenting the before and after details of our newly redecorated beloved home-on-wheels
It’s finally time to introduce you to the four walls (that’s right, only four) that comprise our new home. The roving RV that will take us from here to there, and everywhere in between, towing everything we need and want for this adventure right behind us. Meet the Spriglet!
Why do we call it, “The Spriglet?” Early in our relationship, My Love combined our nicknames — Bri(anna) plus Ig(nacio) — into “Brig,” one of those celebrity name mashups like “Brangelina.” It stuck and we’ve loved being Brig. We get excited whenever we find it used randomly out in the world, like "The Brig," a bar in Venice, California. When we were pregnant my dad started calling our in-utero spawn the “Briglet.”
Following me so far? I know it’s a little inside baseball, but hang with me.
When we purchased the trailer, a K-V Spree, we almost immediately started calling it, “The Spriglet” ('Spree' + 'Brig' or 'Briglet'). After all, it is our new baby, or at least a key part of the family for the foreseeable future. And so, weird as it is, the trailer's moniker was born.
The Spriglet was the first trailer we looked at in a small local RV center just ten minutes from my parents’ home, during a late June weekend visit to New Hampshire for my mom’s birthday.
It was strange to me, this room that wobbled when you walked around in it, and slid and rolled and scooted into so many configurations to make itself homey. It's kind of Tokyo, but oh-so-American. My head spun with the unfamiliarity of it all.
But it had a king-sized bed for us, a full bed for the World’s Cutest Human, plus a twin bunk above that, a kitchen, a bathroom with a little tub, a dining area, a comfy couch and a good amount of storage, all in what seemed to be very good condition. However, we thought we had to keep looking. Surely you don’t find exactly the right trailer on your first look around.
So we went to a “Camping World” and looked at one hundred more trailers across a lot. Nothing compared in its price range. Not one of the trailers had a king bed (we’ve since learned that almost none of them do), most of them were worn and tattered and smelly, few had a bunk at all, let alone a full-sized bunk topped by a twin, and unless we bumped up our spend considerably on a sales lot like this, our only option would be a tiny trailer with a lot of compromises.
The one thing that every single trailer had in common was ridiculous decor. Absolutely ri-damn-diculous. I’m not sure what it says about the typical RV road hustler, but it’s not my bag, baby. The Spriglet had one of the less offensive interior designs — a sort of Aztec pattern — but I couldn’t live with it as is (see the promotional Facebook photos of the Spriglet, below). Not for any semblance of any extended period of time.
I could not feel at home in a gaudy mobile hotel room. Vain? Shallow? Call it what you will, but I believe in the importance of setting the stage of one's environment, creating a space that invites calm, inspiration and comfort, both physical and mental. So I knew that if we went through with this purchase, a makeover would be in order.
And we went through with it. We took a leap of faith and bought the first little trailer we'd ever walked into; our collective gut said it was The One. With the information at hand, it seemed like the perfect rig (or should I say “Sprig?”) presented itself early in the game. It was as though this trailer knew we were way too exhausted to go on an epic search for The One, saying, "It's okay guys, I'm right here. Let's just do this thing."
After purchasing Sprig (I call her "Sprig," for short), we returned to New Jersey to move. The month of July flew by in a flurry of packing, saying goodbye, polishing up two articles for the third edition of EIGHTY Magazine (out next week, Jersey City!), trying to squeeze in blog posts whenever possible, going to Cape Cod with my parents and then more packing, emptying our home into a massive truck, driving all of our belongings to a storage facility in New Hampshire — well, My Love drove the truck, while I scooped up my sister and her husband at Newark airport and followed the next morning — unpacking everything into storage, and then balancing the need for a total collapse with the desire to spend all of my waking hours with my family. It was an insane and beyond-exhausting month and we couldn't pick up the trailer until about a week after we arrived in New Hampshire. Then the fun began.
She was in immaculate condition for a 2011. Not only did she seem barely used, she wasn’t even dirty. I wiped every surface of the tiniest bit of dust just to know it had been done by my own hands, a possessive reset button of sorts, while scheming for her redesign.
My primary concern was the Aztec pattern that covered the window treatments, the cushions and lined the trailer in a strip of wallpaper. It all had to go.
But we didn’t have a huge budget for re-design. Our savings was needed for the adventure itself. While I couldn’t afford to paint, reupholster or do anything major, I had to remove the Aztec. So, with my mom’s help (the handiest woman ever), we got crafty.
The objective was to neutralize the space and then fill it with positive energy, spending as much time as necessary, but as little money as possible (it still adds up so quickly!). What wasn’t Aztec in the trailer was mostly tan or light brown, and I decided that I could live and work with that. If we ever want to sell this trailer one day, I can’t go too deep on a renovation. So we crafted some cover-ups that wouldn't do any damage.
I also knew that the colorful and meaningful decorations and accents from our NYC/Jersey City home(s) that I had put aside to decorate the trailer would pop against a tan/light brown backdrop. My ideal if this weren’t a trailer? No. If I had endless funds for this renovation, it would be drastically different, but this is my happy middle ground. As long as the Aztec was adios.
To begin, my mom gently pulled the wallpaper strip off the entire interior and removed the insanely sticky glue that held it there.
That, alone, gave me a huge feeling of relief. The walls were no longer sliced in half and it made the interior look much larger and of course, cleaner because it was less busy. This was the only actual change made to the interior that cannot be reversed, because it could not be covered up and I couldn't live with it. In fact, a future buyer should pay more to thank me for removing it.
Next, my mom took to the window treatments. Clever as she is, she used tan fabric and a box of pushpins, and like a magician she made the Aztec go away there, too (you'll notice it in the "after" pics). My relief grew.
The worst offenders of the Aztec print were the futon couch and the cushions of the dining area (they really did not miss an opportunity to add the Aztec detail to anything possible in here).
Knowing the futon was a twin bed when laid out flat, I nixed its Aztec with a dark grey/brown well-fitted twin sheet. I accented the couch with two bright red IKEA pillows that had adorned a couch in our Jersey City Mantic ("Man Attic," instead of Man Cave), along with two Restoration Hardware fake fox fur white blankets that had covered our leather chaise lounges. While a little makeshift and reminiscent of a college dorm room solution, I love it. It’s comfortable enough to live in without worry or fuss, and together, the look neutralized the Aztec offender.
The futon couch is surprisingly comfortable and has enough room behind it when raised to hide a large laundry bag (as I will share in later posts, you must take advantage of every square inch of space!). We added a small corner shelf from Target behind the couch for faux flowers and a plant, and called it a living room! UPDATE: I later removed the curtains hanging from the windows, as well, to remove even more offending fabric, and open up the windows to bring in more light and energy.
For the dining area cushions, I again turned to sheet set solutions. The bottom cushions are light brown, so I left those alone, but I wrapped each top cushion in a light tan king-sized pillowcase. One of the cushions fits securely into place, which helps the pillowcase stay put and look nice. The other, which leans against the “master bed,” is free-falling and doesn’t stay on as well, despite being pinned. I may wrap that cushion in fabric (very simply)... we’ll see.
Again, I used two brightly striped pillows — this time a pair that we bought on a really special trip to the tiny Spanish seaside town of Cadaques, which bring meaningful positive energy into the space — as colorful accents for the dining area. The dining table is a fun way to personalize and change the decor of the space as it suits me, but for the most part, I leave just a tan knitted runner across it with a few candles (LED, of course to remove fire hazards with a two year old underfoot), fake plants, a crystal and a small incense burner for when the going gets stinky.
The “master bedroom” (okay, fine, it’s just a bed with a couple cabinets) was the easiest "room" to update, once my mom took care of the small window treatments.
When we moved into our TriBeCa apartment in 2012, My Love challenged me to create The Most Comfortable Bed in the World. I took the challenge really seriously. He had an already very comfortable pillow-top king mattress, which I topped with memory foam and then a feather bed, all cocooned in a light sheet and down comforter. It was incredible and that setup just transferred more or less directly into the trailer. I’d wage a high bet that it’s easily the most comfortable bed in any campground we will pass through on this adventure. It’s insane and an extremely satisfying reward after a tiring day.
And when the trailer is packed up to drive and all of the pillows are "stored" on the bed, it looks like this.
We added an accent light over/behind each of us, and a small cup holder on each of our sides of the bed, because coffee in bed is a special part of every morning. We'll need to find His'n'Hers mugs along the road somewhere.
Both he and I have a cabinet over our side of the bed (behind the mirrors), plus there is a middle cabinet, which my Love claimed to create our master bedroom cinema. He was so sad leaving the projector set-up of his Mantic in Jersey City, that he created a small replica in the trailer. The little projector sits in that center cabinet and projects out onto a screen that hangs from the same tracking we use to slide our bed in and out upon departure/arrival. He's pretty damn clever, My Love.
My cabinet holds books, pens, DVDs and cards, while his cabinet looks like a techie gadget wonderland. Hey, to each his or her own, right? Voila, the master bedroom!
In moving, our two year old left the only home she remembered, her school and essentially anything that was familiar and routine to her, so it was really important to me that she had a special space within the trailer (known to her as “the truck house”) to make her own. I claimed both bunks as hers (denying the use of the top bunk for storage — both in her defense and because I foresaw “storage” meaning throwing extra junk above, instead of being judicious in what we brought).
Her bottom bunk, the full bed, is made up in colorful owl sheets (with a ballet shoe back-up set) and I covered it in a mint green down blanket and rich pink knitted blanket, both gifted by my mom (the latter handmade). I lined her bed with a body pillow, some of her favorite stuffed animals and four boxes: one for books, one for art/craft supplies, one for dress-up and one for her blocks/Matchbox cars and toy animals. That way, we were equipped against screens as long as possible on any given day.
At night, the bottom bunk is hidden behind a curtain on a tension rod, shielding her from the light and noise in the rest of the trailer and giving her the dark space in which she prefers to sleep.
I made the top bunk, only a twin, into a reading nook for her, covering it in a cute grey and white sheet from Target, a turquoise body pillow, grey reading pillow and another colorful blue striped pillow from our trip to Cadaques. She is able to climb up, inviting the chosen stuffed animals of the day, and have a clutter-free world upon which to unleash her imagination (read: boss the animals around), or to snuggle up and look at her books. Here is the full view of her bunks:
So far, she loves her spaces, but we can tell that it all feels unfamiliar and will take some getting used to. It’s still in a novelty faze that she perceives will end soon, like a vacation.
The kitchen was a space that took little redecoration but lots of careful planning and choices when it came to stocking its cabinets and shelves. I will do detailed “how we did it” posts for spaces like this throughout the trailer. To spruce up the kitchen, I replaced the knobs on the cabinets and drawers with ceramic turquoise beauties, and added a few fake plants and colorful “fruit bowls” (they were actually very lightweight planters from Target that I’ve repurposed). But once we add the items that are packed away while driving (toaster, Nutribullet, kettle, etc.), it looks like a real little kitchen, a mini version in just our style with exactly the items we need.
Off the kitchen, we have a "Wellness Drawer." I'm jokingly referring to the Spriglet as "The Wellness Bus," though it's not really a joke. I believe that we create and then repeat habits in certain spaces or environments, and we'd like to create new habits in this space. More on that in this post, but the Wellness Drawer is stocked with tools to make new habits an easily accessible reality, like a yoga block, stretching balls, a deck of cards for suit-based workouts, a running buddy for iPhone tunes, biking gloves, swimming cap and goggles, straps and bands, etc.
The last space to share is the bathroom, which was quick and easy, in that there really isn’t much space to work with in there at all. There are essentially two short cabinets for all three of our things, plus some storage under the sink.
While at first that sounded impossible, it was one of the first exercises in ‘take only what you need,’ a lesson that followed for every item that was brought into the trailer once decorated. I added a few bright yellow, rubber (i.e. won't shift while driving) “holders-of-things,” one photo frame that came from My Love’s NYC office of he and our daughter, and a tan bath rug. Otherwise, we kept it simple.
For now, I'll leave you with the few photos of some of the small details that helped personalize the space and make it feel like home to us, and the Tibetan prayer flags over the door that we pass under each time we enter or leave the trailer for more good vibes (gifted to me from a close friend who visited Tibet when we were teens).