Let’s Go Glamping!

Some kids spend their summers at the pool, hanging with friends and enjoying their downtime. Fourteen-year-old Ellie Yeater of Williamstown, WV, used her summer break to renovate a 1974 Wilderness camper into her very own “glamper”!  Glamping is making camping a bit less rustic and a lot more glamorous, and Ellie’s camper transformation does not disappoint.

Her mother Lori calls her “an out-of-the-box kind kid” who had saved up around $500 from birthdays and chores to buy and refurbish the camper.

She found the camper in the Bulletin Board (a local buy-sell-trade publication) and bought it for $200, using the rest of her funds to purchase paint, flooring, fabric, and décor for her renovations. Her dad Larry helped by buying the wood and rubber roll for the roof.

Here she is (at left) pictured with the camper on the day she bought it – ready to begin a summer adventure.

It was in pretty rough shape, previously used as a campsite and hunting camper. “It needed work,” Lori recalled, “…lots of work.”

The Yeater family lives on 60 acres, where older brother Isaiah has already built a small cabin for him and his buddies to hang out. Ellie wanted something like that “but cuter” and much closer to the house because she wanted electric and Wi-Fi.

Ready to begin renovations – the camper had to be gutted, cleaned and repaired before any of the “fun” work could begin.

Here, Ellie cleans the glue from the floor to start prepping for the makeover.


Ellie learned a few carpentry skills from her grandfather Lawrence as they braced everything and plugged holes.


Ellie’s dad and grandfather moved the camper from the driveway to its campsite, where she painted the exterior in "Mystic Sea" using an Anti-Rust Armor from Valspar.


A peach and aqua blue color scheme was selected, and the interior painting began!



Making progress – here the painting inside of the camper is nearly complete.

Ellie’s Grandma Mary and mother recovered the upholstery for the seat cushions and made curtains while Ellie installed new floor tiles.

Ellie collected things she liked for her glamper all summer. She also found lots of inspiration on Pinterest for her décor. Lori got the cool mannequin at Coldwater Creek when they sold out their warehouse in Parkersburg, WV, a few years ago. “I love that the path isn’t straight,” Lori said, “just like life.”

A lot of special touches can be seen in Ellie’s decorating, like a vintage camera on the mannequin, retro electric fan, and coordinating placemats/napkins made by her grandmother. Ellie was hoping for air-conditioning but Lori said, “I had to break it to her that there wasn’t enough power for one. She is going to rough it with the fan.” She may get a window ac unit later, but since she’s almost out of cash, that might be something she gets next summer, Lori said.

As school starts up again, the glamper transformation is nearly complete with just a few minor things left to do. The colorful, relaxing space is now filled with positive affirmations and a lot of personality. Ellie is pleased that her vision is coming to fruition. Though she and her family spent many hot nights working on the glamper, Ellie said, “I couldn’t have gotten this far on this project without my family helping me bring my vision to life.”

“My biggest lesson,” Ellie shared, “has been learning that teamwork is how you really get something done.” She liked getting all of her family involved in her project. From carpentry, sewing, painting and moving the camper, it was a Yeater family effort.

Now that the glamper is almost finished, Ellie plans to have a sleepover with a couple of friends, or just have quiet time to read and play her ukulele.

When asked why her daughter would take on a challenge like this, Ellie’s mom said, “I have never told her that she couldn’t do anything. She has always been an out-of-the-box thinker. I don’t want her to ever feel she has to color inside the lines. I want her to color the entire page!” Lori explained, “That’s why she thinks she can remodel a camper into a glamper, why she thinks she can do theatre, and why she can compete in pageants. I’ve never told her she couldn’t.”

Great work, Ellie – you look like one happy glamper!

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