A couple turned a 100-square-foot RV with a fireplace and patio into their dream tiny home on wheels
- Kirsten and Devin Trout went from living in an apartment to a 350-square-foot RV.
- Then, last fall, they downsized again, purchasing a toy hauler RV that's about 100-square-feet.
- Even with its small size, their RV has space for a fireplace and patio.
Born and raised in Delaware, Kirsten and Devin Trout had no plans to move.
Then, one day in 2017, the couple both felt the itch to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee.
"We never talked about moving to Nashville, so it was very random for both of us," Kirsten told Insider. "Since we never talked about it, we just felt like it was a God thing."
Kirsten, 27, said she was sitting at home thinking about Tennessee; meanwhile, her husband, 29, was on his way home with the same thought. She said they discussed moving to Nashville for the first time, and the next day they started making plans.
Nashville appealed to them for a variety of reasons. For the Trouts, it was a place with new things to explore and where Devin could pursue a career in country music.
The couple's initial moving plans didn't involve an RV
In the fall of 2017, the couple was set on moving, so they started exploring housing options. They searched for homes and apartments, but couldn't find anything that fit their budget.
Devin kept searching for a way to make it work, and one day he stumbled upon a YouTube video of a couple living and traveling in a van, Kirsten said.
A van felt too small for the couple and their three dogs, but an RV could work, they decided.
That October, they spent $18,000 on an old fifth-wheel RV, a type of large camper towed by a pickup truck.
The couple stayed in Delaware while they renovated their new home. The RV had a handful of issues, like water damage, so the couple hired a friend to help them replace the flooring, paint the interior, add trimming, and remove cabinets.
At the end of the year, they traveled down to Nashville, and by January 1, 2018, the couple was living in their renovated home parked at a campground.
Initially, they planned to live in the RV for one year, sell it, and use the money to put a down payment on a home.
"Then we fell in love with the lifestyle and the freedom of it all," Kirsten said. The RV gave them autonomy, privacy, and outdoor space, and it was still more affordable than a home with a mortgage, she said.
After spending two-and-a-half years in the RV, the couple decided they wanted to travel more. So, they abandoned their house plans, and by the fall of 2020, they decided to go smaller.
For the Trouts, a smaller vehicle meant bigger opportunities
While traveling was doable in their fifth-wheel RV, the couple decided it was just too big for their travel needs. A smaller camper meant they could have a smaller car, fit in more campsites, and save more money.
Kirsten said she was initially hesitant to downsize, but after weighing the pros and cons, she felt the ease of traveling in a smaller RV outweighed the negatives.
The couple started looking for their next home and landed on a Forest River XLR Micro Boost, an 18-foot toy hauler RV with a patio that extends to 23 feet and an interior living space of around 100-square-feet. The couple purchased the vehicle for $16,000.
Their RV has a back patio and a fireplace
The couple fell in love with their current RV for a variety of reasons.
Kirsten wanted an open layout that didn't have built-in furniture, giving her the freedom to pick out furniture and change the home's floor plan. The vehicle has a bedroom, bathroom, and living room, which also serves as the kitchen area and dining room.
The toy hauler also features one of Kirsten's favorite things: a fireplace. Her other favorite feature is the back patio. The doors open out to a small area where the family's three dogs, Daisy, Phoebe, and Bonnie, can enjoy fresh air.
With their ideal RV model, Kirsten was excited to turn the blank canvas into a home.
Simple renovations transformed the space
Kirsten estimates that they spent about $1,500 renovating their RV, turning it from gray and brown to fresh white with pops of color.
So far, the biggest expense has been hiring painters to redo the interior, according to Kirsten.
Beyond a fresh coat of paint, Kirsten has added a slat wall in their bedroom and a stained trim around their front door. The renovation still isn't complete, but Kirsten said only the small details are left, like adding a few pieces of decor and deciding on accent wall colors.
The couple currently lives on a farm but has travel plans for the future
Due to the pandemic and busy work schedules, the couple hasn't traveled much since purchasing their home but they hope to explore Tennessee and its surrounding states in the future. They plan to take weekend trips to nearby campgrounds and boondocking (off-grid camping where RVs aren't connected to water or electricity).
In the meantime, they've welcomed friends over for bonfires and created fun memories in their new home.
"It's amazing," she said of her life in Nashville. "I'm so proud of all of this."
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