by Libby Cook
photos by Amy Colburn
“Stumpy is ready for any adventure, in any weather.” Amy Colburn says.
Amy and her partner Jeff Hall, both of South Bristol, are ready to take on summer weather and adventures in their transformed 1989 Chevy Itasca Spirit RV they’ve lovingly nicknamed “Stumpy” for its stubby profile. What began as a dream collaboration between Amy’s art background, which includes over 15 years of mural work, and Jeff’s background in engineering became a reality quarantine project this past winter. Friends gave Jeff and Amy their old family camper, knowing that they would be capable of renovating, and then enjoying it
Amy and Jeff began renovations in October 2020 by gutting the entire RV interior. The vehicle still ran well, so most of the work was design-oriented with a few minor repairs. They redesigned the vehicle’s layout by reconstructing the overhead bunk space and replaced the bathroom with garage space for camping supplies. Amy also designed and completed a custom mural for the RV’s exterior. Many of the changes used repurposed materials, including parts from another old camper that was heading to the trash. Only the fridge and freezer remain in their original state. Everything else was completely redesigned, including the window treatments and pillows that Amy made herself. Jeff completed all the wood and steel fabrication and mechanical repairs.
Throughout the renovation, Jeff and Amy’s biggest challenge was their May 2021 deadline. Working through the winter meant renovating the RV in an enclosed workshop as the list of repairs and other changes only seemed to get longer. They both kept an open mind as they designed “on the fly” and made decisions as they went along. Many late work nights assisted them in meeting their deadline. Now they look forward to camping trips in the Adirondacks and everywhere else Stumpy inspires them to go.
1. To prep for exterior paint, old decals and graphics were scraped off with the help of acetone and blade scrapers.
2. Curtains, carpet, cushions, and even the driver and passenger seats were replaced.
3. Back room of the original camper was the bathroom, shower and storage. It was gutted and transformed into the garage. It houses such things as a KTM dirt bike, a paddleboard, fishing poles, camp chairs, and tools.
4. The couch/bed conversion was inspired by designs found on Instagram, but fully customized. Ample storage underneath, accessible through a repurposed cabinet door on the front.
5. Bumper fabricated by bending 1-1/4 DOM and 1-1/4 black iron and accommodates a Class 5 hitch. Added LED fog lights. Also, all exterior lighting replaced with LED.
6. Black, grey and water tanks were removed. Kitchen counter was rebuilt with a much smaller footprint, because outdoor cooking is preferred. A small bathroom was built where formerly stood a full stove, cooktop, and microwave. Bathroom now houses a cassette-style toilet for ease of use and no “winterizing” required, plus a mirrored medicine cabinet harvested from another old camper.
7. Entire overhead bunk was replaced, due to water damage.
8. Exterior enamel paint with primer was used, followed by several coats of clear acrylic sealer.
9. Entire ceiling of the main space was painted dark blue, mostly to hide imperfections. Color scheme, though modernized, pays homage to the “old” camper decor: blues, greys, and tans.
10. Carpet throughout was replaced with vinyl laminate flooring for easy cleanup.