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This Couple Turned A 10-Year-Old Forest River RV Into A Tiny House

Parked on a farm with goats and chickens, Heather and Dana are living the simple life in a 2010 23-foot Surveyor travel trailer by Forest River. What makes their life in a camper a bit different is that this well-traveled couple has turned their camper into more of a studio apartment.

Heather and Dana run the site, HD Adventuring, about their RV-turned-tiny-house.


After a month exploring the country, Heather and Dana wanted to have a simple home in their favorite state, California. Both outdoor lovers (Heather is a nurse, skier, and hiker, and Dana is a self-proclaimed bike nerd), the couple parked their new home on a piece of land they found through Airbnb named ‘The Homestead.’

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The Surveyor trailer before their restoration. They rebuilt the bed and turned it 90 degrees.


The Surveyor trailer was chosen because of its simple style, new features, and amenities. They took the wood veneers and funky dinette to heart and restored the trailer to reflect their love of nature and travel. Their website, HD Adventuring, helps to teach others how to take a ‘Plain Jane RV’ and turn it into a tiny house.

The couple removed the dinette and built a bench that becomes a guest bed.


Heather and Dana removed the original dinette and created a simple dining space with a single couch. They also turned the bed 90 degrees to add more space, so they had to rebuild the entire bed from scratch with thicker, sturdier wood.

They also removed some storage cabinets to streamline the entire area. They kept the original shower, but after steaming up the trailer several times, they decided to build an outdoor shower using the showerhead nozzle installed on the outside of the trailer. Fence rods and shower curtains keep things private, and the shower received an upgrade to an Oxygenics showerhead.

The kitchen is simple but functional with a peg board storage area.


The couple built additional storage including a pegboard for kitchen accessories, a huge area under the bed, and custom wood shelving. Their dining bench folds up for storage access and will transform into a guest bed. Heather and Dana say that hinges are their best friend.


Heather and Dana also installed a small flat screen TV above the bed.


The couple used paint on both the vinyl covered particle board walls and the stock cabinets. They suggest sanding the walls of an RV with rough sandpaper, cleaning them well, and then coating them with two layers of primer and two layers of paint. Heather and Dana also built a handy desk where they work and mounted a small flat screen TV to the wall above the bed.

The personal decor displays their love of the outdoors and travel.


The Surveyor now looks more like a cozy studio apartment than a trailer.


Other tips they have for turning an RV into a tiny house include the following:

Narrow down which style of RV you want. Acquaint yourself with how RVs work and the different types.

Decide which size you want. More space means more storage, but also more weight to haul around and more work to do in converting it.

Get to know your RV. Before you think about ripping out those ugly cabinets, they recommend spending some time in your RV. Move a few of your belongings into the RV and try to live out of it. Cooking, sleeping, and going to the bathroom are a bit different in an RV, so figure out what you like and don’t like about your RV. This will guide your renovation.

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