Friday, July 2, 2021

A Classic 1976 Rambler Peanut Renovation--Beauty Restored

1976 Rambler Peanut
I have an online friend who recently sold her RTTC Grizzly tiny trailer and bought a used classic trailer, which she intends to fix up. She picked up her 1975 Trillium "for next to nothing" and wants the refurbishing to be "a wonderful distraction for me from everything that I am dealing with" in her life right now, including health issues with a family member. The idea of buying a fixer-upper and making that trailer shine again, with that golden aura of classic trailer dignity, I find fascinating--something I might do sometime in my life.

And, no, this article isn't going to be about my friend's Trillium renovation; she's not far enough along of the fixing-upping yet. Therefore, I'd like to introduce you to another small, classic trailer renovation, completed by Michelle Lynn, who renovated a 1976 Rambler Peanut travel trailer. Prior to renovating the peanut, Michelle bought a Victorian farmhouse which she also renovated (and continues to renovate). She shares her lifelong passion of making old things new again on her website My Country Farmhouse. Enough background, though--let's ramble on over to Peanut's renovation.

"As I sit here in Peanut writing this I cannot believe how well this renovation turned out. All 9 feet by 6 feet of her has been updated and I couldn’t be happier. When I first saw the ad online, I was over the moon that it was only posted within the hour and that only a few short hours later I would get to see her and purchase her."

Interior colors, finish work, and curtains when originally purchased

"The exterior was in decent shape. There is the usual wear (dents and scratches) and a couple little holes but nothing that stood out as “too much to handle”. The electrical had been updated, and there was a fairly new plywood floor down. The interior was dark grey and the fabric was sad and outdated. But this little girl had so much potential."

Providing new framing for enclosing the bathroom space, laying down new vinyl flooring, and providing white paint and trim for the cabinetry really spruced up the interior. What was once a functional space became a living space that not only kept out the bugs but also was uplifting. 

Michelle's before and after (and during) summary article on her blog provides all the great details of her work and accomplishment. Scrolling down all the blog posts, there are also other articles detailing the refurbishing work. I'm not going to duplicate Michelle's blog article here, but I do want to provide enough satisfying and titillating images and details that you'll perhaps go to her blog and enjoy some more eye candy and details about this fixer-upper project. If not, then there are some great photos that follow!

Another kitchen view, including the new refrigerator, 
The costs for purchase and renovation were modest, considering the current price of little travel trailers. Michelle wrote: "For a grand total (purchase $3500) this Tiny Peanut has cost me $6179 and I am okay with that. This is by far my most favourite renovation of all times. This compact cutie is my dream space and a bucket list item and I did it (with a bit of help from my dad who loves to build)."

Staying pretty much within budget, Michelle did spent a bit more than expected for her Home Depot refrigerator. She also have to invest in about $400 worth of tools, but those can be used for future projects, too. Managing to get all her required fabric free from work saved Michelle a lot of money, between $500 and $800, she estimates. 

So now, a few more photographs, or as Michelle relates, The Moment We Have All Been Waiting For.

Over the years, the trailer had previously been remodeled, mostly by taking out original features that the trailer had possessed when new. "I knew right away," Michelle wrote, "that the bathroom and the fridge / shelving unit needed to go back in. The original 1976 Rambler Peanut had them, and it didn’t feel right not putting them back. There is ample floor space in this tiny unit and that addition didn’t detract from that. It might actually feel bigger in there."

She details her costs for the renovation, which provides some interesting insights into the process. Michelle was lucky to lower her costs by getting for free her fabrics, which were remnants from her workplace that had been unused for years.

  • Accessories and Decor: $303.57
  • Lumber, Tools, Paint: $639.50
  • Fabric and upholstery: $1291
  • Fridge: $212
  • Hitch lock, Trailer cover, Tire covers: $232
  • Toilet: $154
  • Total: $2678.07
One experience that Michelle had during the renovation was that very few surfaces were square or even, which meant she had to learn to work with the reality rather than the clean precision of pure mathmatics. She also received help from her father, especially for the framing and work with the electrical and propane systems. Although she doesn't mention it, it appears that the portable camping toilet installed is a Thetford brand. 

Michelle plans to post to her blog when she goes camping with the Rambler. A great deal of her renovation was during the off-camping months, and there were also comments on the blog posts about work stopping because of bad weather. "The next Peanut Blogs will hopefully come from the road as soon as we get to travel," Michelle writes. "Until that time I will use her as my office space when working from home and guest space for anyone who wants to try her out." 

I hope Michelle gets to go camping soon so that we can see some photos of the Rambler out in nature. It's a beautiful trailer, and spending some time reading through Michelle's blog posts as she and her father renovated the trailer was a great, inspiring way to pass some time. I'm sure, though, that it would be a lot more fun spending some time camping in "Peanut"!

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  1. We just acquired one of these Peanut trailers to restore. Would love to see more photos of this reno

    1. It is a lovely trailer. Unfortunately, I have no more photos because the posted photos are all I collected in my research. The link to the original website within my article is no longer active. Good luck!