Vintage Boho Camper Makeover: It's All About the Views

Stylist and decorator Courtney Favini Lichty transformed a 30-year-old camper into her own ‘70s-inspired boho dream home on wheels. See the before-and-after pics and get ideas for your own mobile getaway.

June 23, 2020

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Photo By: Flynnside Out

Home on the Road

After buying a 1990 Chinook camper on Craigslist for only $15K, stylist Courtney Favini Lichty and husband Christian, a mechanical engineer, completely transformed it for cross-country drives. The exterior includes shaded space to hang out with their rescue dog Baxter, a Labrador retriever, golden retriever and cocker spaniel mix.

Before: Dated Walls and Linoleum

One of the reasons Courtney and Christian got such a great deal on the camper was its dated interior. When they first saw it, they knew they’d have to change nearly everything from the finish of the cabinetry and the dated linoleum to the kitchen sink and wallpapered backsplash.

After: Perfectly Imperfect

Courtney selected 3x3-inch handmade Zelige tiles in a rich shade of rust found on Etsy, then installed them herself. To help camouflage the refrigerator, she and Christian covered it with some of their favorite things including album covers and vintage black and white photos. The Jackson Browne album is the first gift Courtney’s dad ever got for her as a kid.

Before: Dark and Dingy Kitchen

The kitchen was the biggest undertaking of the interior. While the original cabinetry was structurally sound and paintable, Courtney and Christian wanted to update the utility-grade sink and replace the dated tile countertops with classic butcher block.

After: The Same But Different

When built, the cabinets and woodwork of the camper were done well with true hardwood oak; however, their dark stain made the interior feel cavernous and dull. Courtney chose to paint them Navajo White by Sherwin-Williams to help bounce light around. The butcher block countertops introduce natural, organic texture while the matte black faucet introduces contrast.

Before: Dark Wood Paneling

To create a light and bright environment, both Courtney and Christian agreed the new look of the interior should be all about whites and neutrals, the total opposite aesthetic of the original camper.

After: White and Natural

From the get-go, Courtney imagined the new look of the interior in shades of white and cream mixed with warm neutrals. The couple worked as a team to sand and paint all of the dark wood a bright, off-white shade. Prior to the renovation, the floor was covered in basic contractor-grade linoleum tiles which the Lichtys swapped out for planks of white oak.

Before: Wood and Fabric

Two major design elements that needed updating from the start were the tone of the wood throughout the camper and the dingy wall upholstery which transitions from the cabin to the cap.

After: Creating Zones

The center of the camper interior is made up of two zones: one for sleeping and one for dining.

Screened In

To help with ventilation, the rear of the camper includes an integrated screen door. This spot is where Baxter happily assumes the responsibility of being the family security guard.

Concealed Closet

Two extra-tall doors conceal long hanging rods and shelves which house Courtney and Christian’s clothes, creating a private closet.

Double-Size Bed

During the day, the sleeping zone functions as a lounge. After dark, a platform below slides out, transforming the surface from a twin to a full-size mattress.

Custom-Made

Christian designed and built the lounge table himself. The top is made of oak finished with tongue oil; the hairpin leg snaps in and out of place and then the top hinges are flush with the wall. This allows the space to double as extra seating when the table is not in use.

From Lounge Table to Lounge Seating

With the hairpin leg removed, the table becomes a comfy seating spot for guests. This was designed for Baxter to lay down during long drives.

Smart Storage

The walls flanking the camper’s lounge are put to good use as open storage for the couple’s always-growing book collection. Courtney’s collection is all about Americana fiction and folk while Christian reads mostly travel books.

Beaded Seat Cushion

The 1960s and 1970s are Courtney’s favorite design eras. To keep the original vibe of the camper in check with those times, she added beaded seat cushions to the driver and passenger seats. These accessories were a common trend used in cars, vans, buses and even in houses.

Breaking Up Long Drives

After hours on the road, Courtney and Christian often choose a stopping point to stretch their legs, open the doors and break up the journey. With dozens of books stacked inside the camper, Courtney has plenty of reading material to take in during these short breaks.

Parking Spot With a View

Once parked for the night, the up-close and personal views of nature are one of the greatest thrills of traveling the country in a camper. This lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania is just a short walk from where Courtney grew up.

Ventilation

When the air conditioning is not in use, angled geometric windows slide open for ventilation. At night, screen inserts can be added to keep pests out while asleep.

Shaded Outdoor Space

A retractable awning on the passenger side of the camper comes in handy when Courtney and Christian decide on road trip destinations. Whether it’s rainy days in the Pacific Northwest or the harsh desert sun in Moab, Utah, this feature helps keep them shielded from sunlight and storms.

Boho Textures

Organic, natural textures play a large role in the design of spaces categorized as boho. Here beneath the awning, she’s paired wicker seating with throws made of woven cotton and wool. The pillows are made from upcycled Southwestern rugs and knit wall hangings.

1970s and 1980s

Rather than use utility-grade furniture outside, Courtney found light weight ‘70s and ‘80s wicker furniture from flea markets and antique stores during her road trips for setting up beneath the awning. Since space is at a premium inside, she opted to have vintage Southwestern blankets serve double duty as floor covering.

Time for Dinner

Once Courtney and Christian reach their destinations, picnic tables become alfresco dining rooms while the camper becomes the kitchen. The couple takes turns prepping drinks and meals so one can take in the views and sunsets while the other assumes kitchen duty.

Sunsets and Starry Nights

The roof of the camper is reinforced, allowing for the couple to sit upright for sunsets or lie down and lounge under starry skies.

A View From the Top

As landscapes change during the couple’s road trips, access to seating up on the roof offers million dollar views of mountain vistas, desert sunsets, lakes, rivers and oceans.

Backup Fuel

Courtney and Christian’s 1990 Chinook is equipped with two 5-gallon containers secured to the back with steel cages and keyed locks, in the event the couple should run low on fuel without a gas station nearby.

Makeshift Stoop

A step off the back door of the camper can serve as a stoop to socialize with fellow road trippers. Having this additional door to open also helps make the camper feel less tight on space.

Endless Swimming

Baxter is an excellent swimmer. To encourage him to burn off energy, Courtney and Christian park near lakes where he can play fetch both in and out of the water.

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