How a DIY Overhaul Turned a $600 Vintage Camper into a Cozy Hangout

A vintage camper went from scrap material to the life of the party in the hands of an interior designer who loves a good rescue mission.

After experiencing an outpouring of love for a vintage camper they borrowed from friends to use as their booth at an outdoor antiques show, Dann Boyles and his partner, Chip Minor, wanted to restore one themselves.

Dann was giddy to find a 1968 Silver Eagle camper on Craigslist for just $600. The ad, however, failed to mention that the camper had been left out in the woods and its roof was caving in. Dann, a designer and owner of the salvage shop Rebel Reclaimed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, saw past all of that. "Saving vintage things speaks to my need to help the runt of the litter," Dann says.

guys lounging in front of green camper
Werner Straube

After towing the camper to his parents' farm, Dann discovered ripped siding, faulty lights, and rotten floorboards. Dann and his mechanic father, Jody Boyles, pulled the camper apart, replacing dozens of boards, rebuilding the dented front end, and reinforcing the roof. They took out all the windows and then cleaned, reinstalled, and resealed them.

designer Dann Boyles

Saving vintage things speaks to my need to help the runt of the litter.

—designer Dann Boyles
camper with chairs and firepit
Werner Straube

Working from a 1968 auto paint book, Dann selected the perfect shades of glacier green, white, and red and then painted the camper with his father.

sleeping area inside camper
Werner Straube

After realizing that he and Chip spent most of their camp time sitting around a fire outside, Dann focused the interior on a comfortable layout for sleeping. (Extra challenge: Chip is nearly 7 feet tall.) Dann designed a queen-size platform bed that runs along the back with storage underneath. Pillows from Dann and Chip's collection add a cozy touch to the mattress-in-a-box they bought so they could unroll it inside the camper.

Built-in benches camouflage the wheel wells and open from the top to stow blankets, towels, and extra clothes. Dann hunted for a vintage piece for their food prep space and found a $125 pine cabinet that was once used in a butler's pantry.

camper interior seating area
Werner Straube

Versatile seating was a must. Dann Boyles scored this $10 chair at an antiques store. The tall stool is a perfect perch or side table, indoors or out.

Dann and his father installed boxcar paneling with tongue-and-groove joints that flex when the camper is moving. For the flooring, Dann selected lightweight floating luxury vinyl that clicks together and doesn't have to be glued down. It's easy to clean, virtually indestructible, and waterproof.

open shelving with plates and decorative accents
Werner Straube

New shelving of pipe brackets and weathered boards holds stacks of dishes, matches, and vintage flashlights. When the trailer moves, everything is packed in a nearby cabinet.

outdoor bar cart and chairs
Werner Straube

Dann and Chip favor portable furniture that can pull double duty in the trailer. The green-striped chairs and French park table fold flat and can be stowed underneath the bed. Sturdy vintage crates hold drinks or firewood.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles