Progress photos of a 1955 Spartan trailer renovation — turning it into a mental health therapy office.
This is the journey of a forgotten vintage camper getting a significant upgrade and transforming into a unique mental health therapy office in Austin, Texas. Follow along with Hannah Milford, owner of Happy Camper Counseling for camper trailer renovation and progress updates.
Finding & Buying My Vintage Camper
After spending many years using a vintage Airstream trailer as my office at Happy Camper Counseling, I was ready to expand with a second camper office. After a lot of research, I set my sights on a Spartan Trailer.
The Spartan trailer is unique for many reasons but what drew me in the most is that it had a double-ender model. Not many vintage trailers have two doors, making the Spartan special, unique and safer to use as a counseling office. Therapists can work with challenging and sometimes dangerous populations, and having a second door in a trailer therapy office provides an escape path in case of an emergency.
I looked on Craiglist for several years before finding the right Spartan trailer. It had been sitting in Canyon Lake, Texas, for the last five years. It is a 1955 Spartan Royal Mansion, a double-ender and spacious 40 feet long. I had to have it for my trailer renovation project!
Transporting the Vintage Camper
Moving the Spartan was difficult. The hitch was rusted and needed to be replaced. We bolted on a replacement hitch that we found at the Tracker Supply Store. The trailer also needed new wheels and tires. Luckily the ballbearings were in excellent condition for being over sixty years old. It was difficult finding someone willing to take on the risk and tow such an old trailer. We ended up using Queen Towing from Canyon Lake to get it home. Not only were they up to the challenge, but they were also friendly, reliable, and helpful.
The drive from Canyon Lake to Austin, Texas was stressful (I stress anytime I move one of my vintage campers) but overall went smoothly. The Spartan trailer was made to be towed and handled the ups and downs of the Texas Hill Country backroads beautifully. The only hiccup was when the AC unit shell flew off the top and shattered in the road. Following the towed trailer, we had to swerve out of the way. We pulled over and picked up the pieces because you don’t mess with Texas. Everyone laughed, relieved it wasn’t worse, and we trucked on. We made it safely to our destination, and I unclinched.
Demolishing the Spartan Interior
Now it was time to start the trailer renovation and gut the insides. Although it looked good in the ad, the more recent improvements were superficial, and it needed a lot of work. Most of the original flooring and parts of the walls were rotted and needed replacing. As I started pulling up the rotted floors, I remembering thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Gutting the Spartan was a gross and dirty job. In the middle of the process, it was hard to keep the finished vision in mind.
As I started pulling up the rotted floors, I remembering thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”
Calling in the RV Professionals
After gutting the Spartan, I realized that I was way out of my league and decided to hire some professionals. It is now at Motivated RV in Dripping Springs, Texas, getting an extreme makeover. It’s getting new electric wiring, plumbing, floors, walls, and a second AC unit installed. They also are replacing some missing windows and putting in an electric jack. Did I mention it will have a disco ball? I’m so excited to see Moviated’s finished work.
Once I get the Spartan back, I will start the interior design process to continue the trailer renovation. This is the fun and creative part! Stay tuned for updates!