This Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home remodel is a perfect example of using a vintage mobile home as a base for small living. The condition of this 60 year old home proves that American pride and workmanship was at its finest in the mid-1950’s, when mobile homes were experiencing their Golden Age.
Pacemaker Trailer Company
Pacemaker Corporation, once known as Pacemaker Trailer Company, is a well-known mobile home brand. Their headquarters was in the trailer capital of the world, Elkhart, Indiana.
If you enjoy vintage mobile homes, you’ve likely heard of or seen advertisements for Pacemaker. While their most well-known model may have been their Tri-Level mobile home, they also manufactured several single story models.
Earlier Pacemaker Models
A full-page advertisement for the 34′ Pacemaker Tri-Level 6 Sleeper.
Specifications for Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home
The Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home’s were manufactured in the 1950’s with high-quality materials for the era.
Below is a specification list from an advertisement for a 1956 Tri-Level of the same size (text has been typed for better viewing):
Model: 34′ Two Bedroom Tri-Level (Possible 3 Bedrooms)
Length Overall: 35′
Body Length: 31′
Interior Height: 7′ to 6’2″
Exterior Height: 9′ 5″ to 12′ 1″
Chassis: Box Channel Frame, Electrically Welded
Axels: 2″ Heavy Duty
Wheels: 4 Commercial Truck Type
Tires: 10-ply Commercial
Brakes: Four-Wheel Warner Electric plus Car Control Kit
Hitch: Atwood for Large Ball
Doors: 2 Die Stamped Aluminum
Screen Doors: Aluminum Shade Screening
Construction: 4″ Floors containing heat ducts and plumbing, double-insulated side walls, roof, and floor dodo screwed and glued
Roof: Pitched metal roof, rafters of 2″ x 6″ lumber with 3″ pitch, liquefied aluminum roof coating to deflect heat
Insulation: Vapor seal barrier, glass, wool, and reflective paper insulator, triple layers of insulation in roof, double insulation in walls and floor
Plumbing: Trapped and vented to single outlet, sweated fittings
Undercoating: Floor completely sealed with automotive undercoating compound to inhibit moisture and insects
Windows: Extruded aluminum windows with house-type interior trim. Windows made to receive storm sash. Jalousie windows available in this model at no extra charge.
Floor Covering: Inlaid linoleum tile. Carpeting in bedrooms optional.
Heater: Fuel oil with forced air to reach bedrooms and bath
Refrigerator: 8 cubic feet, Deluxe
Cooking Stove: 4 burner deluxe apartment sized
Sink: Double bowled sink set in formica sink top
Bedding: Box spring and inner spring mattress
Wiring: Romex cable, breaker box, 110 volt Bargman connector plus no-freeze outside plug, numerous outlets
Interior: Limed oak lacquered for smooth satin finish
Exterior Covering: Aluminum three-toned automotive paint, Pittsburgh seamed, fastened with screws
Bathroom: Complete with house-type flush toilet, lavatory, shower, and tub, medicine cabinet
Weight: 9100 pounds
Hitch Weight: 900 pounds
1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel
This Pacemaker Tri-Level mobile home is 8′ x 34′ with a second story of about 8′ x 8′ for a total of about 336 square foot of living space.
GoogleJuice writes “My good friend Ellie bought and restored this old trailer and lives in the Northern California mountains. This is a link to an album of 96 pictures of her work. She did it all by hand, with no help.”
Ellie did a great job of remodeling her vintage mobile home!
Before the 1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel
These images show the home’s condition when Ellie purchased it. The home was in fair condition to be more than half a century old!
Exterior Before Remodel
On the back bottom of the home, at end of the home with the tri-level bedroom, there was some damage that needed to be repaired. This area is susceptible to damage on campers and tow trailers due to tires throwing water. At 9000 pounds, this mobile home could be towed by a fairly standard, but powerful, vehicle of the 1950’s.
Ellie replaced the damaged wood frame and added new aluminum siding.
The Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home during the exterior paint project. The home would have been coated in a metal primer before the paint was applied.
Interior Before Remodel
The living room and kitchen of the Tri-Level mobile home had been remodeled previously. The limed oak paneling had been painted or replaced.
The bedrooms have a very unique design. In the image below you can see a detailed, expanded view of a similar Pacemaker Tri-Level as represented by the builder in an advertisement.
The 2 story section of the home holds the bedrooms, one on the top and one on the bottom. There are steps leading up to the top bedroom. The two small beds are separated by a built-in dresser.
Below, you can see the steps that lead up to the master bedroom and the lower bedroom.
While the master bedroom is small for its size, the Tri-Level had more than enough built-in storage. Closets and dresser were scattered throughout the home, especially in the bedrooms.
Finally, a look at the bathroom before the remodel. The Pacemaker Tri-level had all the amenities of a regular home:
After the Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel
Ellie did a fine job on this 1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home remodel. Here you can see the the furnished and decorated living room after the home was repaired and painted. It is a cozy place indeed!
The kitchen is stylish and modern, especially to be in a mobile home that is 61 years old! Vintage mobile homes are a great example of American ingenuity and workmanship.
Ellie, the owner describes her home a bit more on her website, Studio 18:
“This is my 1954 Two Story Travel Trailer…….I feel this trailer was meant to be mine. I love it so much. I am happy to share my story and pics with anyone that is interested. Living tiny is the best!!”
After Ellie added her photos of the Pacemaker Tri-Level mobile home remodel to her website, the previous owner’s granddaughter found it and commented:
This trailer belonged to my grandparents. My grandfather once restored it in the 70’s. Then it sat on my parents property and we lived in it as a young married couple 34 years ago. Then, my mom donated it to Wolf Mountain Camp where we lived and served until 2008( but lived in a different abode).
My son and his wife and first child lived in it there for a year and various other WM staff………Very nice work. Grandpa would be so happy! —– Pam Hassler of Reno, NV
One of the best things about vintage mobile homes are the memories they conjure up for many of us. Seeing a mobile home model where many great memories were made is pure nostalgia!
Living Simple: Letting Go of the Rat Race
Here’s what Ellie had to say about her mobile home remodel and small living experience:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE living small!! My life is so much more simple. Easy to clean, easy to maintain, easy to afford. Letting go of the rat race and trying to keep up with the Jones has been an eye-opening pleasure!!
I no longer struggle to make needs meet. I live on very little and spend very little. I walk right past all the expensive THINGS others think they need and keep my money in my pocket.
My bathroom is a little small but I love my 1954 two story trailer. I fixed it up and continue to fix it up. I did build a small 10×10 cabin for an office but it is now a guest room. No toilet yet though. But I want to remedy that soon I hope.
I HIGHLY recommend downsizing your life so you can enjoy what really matters. Because life should not be just about surviving, it should be about living!!”
Buying a vintage mobile home and remodeling it is a perfect way to live a more affordable and simple life. It’s usually not difficult to find an older mobile home that has good bones but needs a little updating and TLC. The idea has been tested time and again and the results are always amazing, just like this one.
All images © 2003-2015 Eleanor Caputo – Studio 18 Galleries
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