Welcome to Mobile Home Living!

Hello! I’m Crystal Adkins, the creator of Mobile & Manufactured Home Living, aka Mobile Home Living! First of all, thank you so much for stopping by! I hope MMHL is a welcoming and informative resource for you. I hope it becomes a place where we can all be proud of our homes, share all the great things about them, and support each other.

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 I try my best to offer articles that are relevant and helpful to all manufactured homeowners. I take the advocacy of manufactured homes seriously because our homes, and the people that choose to live in them, deserve to be respected!  

About Me 

My most important accomplishment in life is my 10 year old daughter named Livingston Grace. She wants to be a scientist when she grows up. Last year, when she ‘graduated’ from elementary school, her teacher awarded her the Inquiring Minds Award, which is only given to 1 student each year. During her introduction, the teacher said that Livingston was already a natural scientist because she always asked questions and went on to say that she believed Livi would end up curing Cancer someday. Needless to say, I was one proud momma! I made many, many weird noises and funny faces trying to keep from exploding with pride and balling like a baby, all at the same time, while she walked up to receive her medal! 

My husband of 17 years is Joe. He’s a licensed master plumber with 18+ years experience. He loves music and plays a mean bass. He’s a wonderful father and an all around good guy. The photo below was taken last year at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh. He loves to play music!  

Joe on bass

Joe and I grew up within 2 miles of each other – up the same ‘holler.’ We were even sweethearts for a short time in Jr. High! We met, again, a couple years after high school and have been together ever since. 

I was raised in southern West Virginia by a single father, and he has worked in the same underground coal mines for 37 years. He quit his job as a mechanic and went into the mines the week after he found out he was going to be a father. Yep, I’m a coal miners daughter named Crystal Gail – all ya’ll country music fans should get that reference! Hint: Think about Loretta Lynn!

We always lived in mobile or manufactured homes, and we were not poor at all. My father loves to trade around, and would buy old cars, RV’s, boats, 4-wheelers, go-carts – basically anything with a motor or wheels, and repair and improve them. Then he would trade or sell them for something else – it was a fun hobby and I was right by his side through it all. By the time I was 14, I could help him replace a clutch or timing belt with no problem. I still love getting under a hood – even if it’s just changing oil. Some of my best childhood memories involved tools and a motor. He took me to several Nascar races and we even raced our own cars at the local drag strip. It was a good childhood, especially the day I finally beat him when we raced against each other! 

I went to Marshall University (We Are Marshall!), and have had some really cool jobs. I worked in a NASCAR body shop in Salisbury, NC, and ran 4-color printing presses at a large printing company. 

caterpillar 777 truck

I also drove Caterpillar 777 and Volvo articulating trucks on strip mine reclamations in southern WV. Not only am I proud for helping to make the mountains usable again, but I was the first female in the company’s 35 year history to be allowed to work ‘on the mountain.’

I started out just cleaning the company trailers as a side job and I heard them complaining about not having enough drivers. I mentioned that I could drive a truck but they laughed it off. I knew the drivers were paid a lot more than the cleaning lady so I would say something about it every chance. When 2 drivers called in sick on the same day I was given a test on the different parts of an engine. Once I proved that I really did know about mechanics and maintenance, they let me test drive the truck. Towing campers, 4-wheelers and drag cars with trailers paid off – as did all the things my father taught me – I was finally hired on as a full-time driver. 

We would go to abandoned strip mines and make the mountains safe again for the people living in the valleys below, and the wildlife. I hope I helped make it easier for other woman to be considered for more truck driving positions in the company. A couple of the projects I worked on are now used as wildlife preserves and parks, and I helped with that :) There’s no more flooding for the homes below the strip mines either. 

Joe worked for contractors that mainly bid on federal government projects like building or improving prisons, hospitals, and courthouses. Each job lasted about 2 years so we moved a lot and I loved it! We have lived in some beautiful places like Venice, FL, and Wilmington, NC. 

We mostly lived in mobile homes during those years. Being close to the job site was important, and oftentimes the quickest, and cheapest rentals we could find were mobile homes that needed some TLC. Sometimes, we made arrangement with the landlords to let us update the homes in lieu of rent. I think that may be why I like color so much now – no more builders grade beige for me!

Why I Started Mobile and Manufactured Home Living

I started MMHL after we bought our late 1978 model single wide in southern WV. There’s 3 Boston Terriers named Mugsy, Izzy and Darwin, and a sweet mutt name Telly letting us live here with them. There’s a cat named Charlie around here somewhere, too. It’s 12 foot wide and 58 foot long with a total of 696 square feet.

When our daughter turned 3, we were living outside of Wilmington, NC, in a cute little town called Southport. The recession had just started effecting the area. We had heard that a federal prison was going to be built in Welch, WV, which was about 15 miles from our hometown. We had always wanted our daughter to be near our family while she grew up and figured we had little to lose, so we packed up and moved home with no idea if either one of us could find a job. Thankfully, he did end up getting hired as a lead plumber at the prison build…shew! After that job was finished, he started having to drive almost 2 hours to get to a regular plumbing job doing repairs and new home rough-ins. That’s when we decided to go ahead and move a couple hours north, we’re still in southern WV, though. 

Our plan was/is to remodel our single wide mobile home into a more modern home. Once we settled in, I started searching online for ideas and examples of mobile home remodels, but I was unable to find much at all. Of course, there were a few blogs and forums, but nothing compared to what stick built homes had.

I saw a void and figured I would try to fill it. I did not know anything about starting a website, but I found an article and followed all the directions to start a Blogger blog and gave it a shot. MMHL evolved from there and is now one of the most popular manufactured home decor websites online! I’m very proud of this site and I think it’s important that manufactured homes be seen in a positive light and their advantages be known, so that keeps me motivated.   

Our Single Wide Mobile Home

Here’s our home! We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m very happy with it so far! I just wish it was a quicker process, but not going into debt is a bit more important to me than having my home look perfect. It’s livable and comfortable, that’s all that matters! 

 Here’s the kitchen and dining room when we first bought it. The door on the right is a pantry that you can walk into. The main front door is directly to the right of the black railing. 

kitchen before makeover

kitchen counter before makeover

Here’s the living room on the day we bought the home:

living room before makeover

A few months after we bought it we added the deck, walkway, steps from the driveway, and flower beds. 

mobile home before painting the siding

We spray-painted our siding! Yep, I’m serious! You can read all about it on the article titled “How to Spray Paint Your Mobile Home Siding.” It was very cheap and will do till we save enough to install new siding. The home had a new roof installed a year or two before we bought it so we won’t have to worry about that for a while. 

mobile home after painting siding

Here’s the living room now. The hallway zig-zags were fun to do! I just taped them off using frog tape (cheap tape lets the paint bleed and you won’t get straight, crisp lines). I joke that my favorite style is ‘Pinterest’ cause there’s just so many great ideas there!

1978 single wide living room after makeover

Notice my single wide on the top bookcase shelf? A very dear friend of mine had that made for me, it has a light in it and is awesome at night! I have a nice little collection of mobile home memorabilia, the old ads are my favorite! 

living room after makeover

The kitchen needs a lot more work though new paint and floors were a huge improvement. We also built the storage bench/window seat on the far left wall (the green box) to store my art and craft supplies. You can read about it here on the article called “Creating Storage in a Mobile Home – Our New Window Seat.” The dish washer sitting out there like a sore thumb will eventually be placed beside the sink. We just need to save up a tad more before we start ripping everything out. 

 

kitchen update

This was the kitchen counter top a while back, the dishes are clean, I just set the drainer in the sink (lol). The year listed on the photo is wrong, but I think the month and day are right. We bought this home in August, 2010 and I painted the kitchen a few months later. You can read about the kitchen makeover in the article titled ‘Mobile Home Kitchen Update.’

kitchen after makeover

 

 

Mobile and Manufactured Home Living’s Mission

The mission of MHL is simple: to provide mobile and manufactured home remodeling and decorating ideas, home improvement help and other relevant information for all mobile and manufactured homes. I also want to advocate the advantages of the homes and encourage acceptance. Affordable housing is needed more than ever and these homes are not the tin cans that some people think of – their real homes, built with similar framing and roofing that stick-built homes have. They just happen to be placed on a steel chassis with wheels. 

I won’t allow negativity of any kind on this site. Our homes have had enough, as have the people living in them, and I can’t stand the term trailer trash! 

Other Great Mobile and Manufactured Home Websites and Blogs

While you’re here, I wanted to share a few really great blogs that are written by some awesome ladies and gentlemen living in and remodeling their own manufactured homes. Every one of them are great examples of mobile home living at its finest. They have been so kind to me and have allowed me to feature their homes here on MHL. I hope they know how much I appreciate them!

My Heart’s Song

My Hearts Song is a wonderful blog written by Geneva. She and her husband have completely remodeled their single wide and provide great descriptions of every step along the way. It’s a gorgeous home! You can read our feature on Geneva’s beautiful home below:

 A Magnificent Mobile Home Makeover

Magnificent Single Wide Remodel, Part 2 : Geneva’s Interview

 

My Mobile Home Makeover

A couple in New York have spent years completely remodeling their double wide. It’s beautiful and they share exactly what they did, how they did it and what they used. I love their home and can’t wait to get to feature it here on MMHL!

 

My Little River Cabin

This blog has a great story behind it. When we bought our home we didn’t know the exact year or manufacturer. It was just listed as unknown but we didn’t have any trouble with paperwork or insurance. I had started researching for ideas and was searching for a home that looked like ours to solve the mystery. I found this blog, and low and behold, it was our home! The only thing different was that the the kitchen was positioned on the opposite side, as was the bathroom. I reached out to the owner, Kathy, and she was so friendly and helpful. Here featured article and interview is below:

The Best Mobile Home Remodel EVER!

The Best Mobile Home Remodel EVER: The Interview

New Pioneer Diary

A talented poet, artist, environmentalist, and just an all around great lady named Jeni, publishes the New Pioneer Diary blog. Her home is colorful and so very awesome! She is living a simple, environmentally friendly lifestyle and is a great example to us all.

A Refreshing Single Wide Mobile Home Makeover aka The Retro Retreat

 The Retro Retreat: Jeni’s Interview

TrailerChic Girls

If you like 1950′s vintage mobile homes, this blog is a must see. It started with 2 friends that bought vintage single wides and completely remodeled them. Now, Rebecca blog by herself but you can see both homes, plus a   3rd mobile home that’s been remodeled beautifully. You can read the 3 different MMHL articles below:

1958 Mayflower Single Wide Remodel

Total Trailer Chic Remodel

Momma Hen’s Coop

Amy is the talented decorator, chef and blogger at this wonderful blog. She’s no longer in a mobile home but what she did with the one they previously lived in is amazing and you can still see it on her blog. You’ll love her wonderful recipes, too! You can read the MMHL article here:

Momma Hen’s Beautiful Single Wide

 

 Cowgirltales

Gina, the blogger at Cowgirltales has one awesome single wide! She used sheet metal in wonderfully creative ways and we all know how popular and useful sheet metal is these days! Gina also blogs about her extensive travels. If modern-industrial is your style – this one is for you!

Sheet Metal Single Wide Remodel

Just Bee’n Me

Becky is a professional illustrator with a great single wide mobile home. Here artistic talent shines through her home and decor. You will love visiting her blog cause she shares not only her home, but her beautiful artwork, too!

Inspiring Illustrator’s Single Wide Mobile Home Makeover

4 the Love of Wood

Kristy renovates furniture and mobile homes like a pro! Her single wide mobile home is elegant, shabby-chic inspired and gorgeous. You will love it!

Amazing Mobile Home

Amazing Mobile Home Part 2: Kristy’s Interview

Double Wide Decor / Thinkin of Home

CeeKay remodeled and decorated her home beautifully! Here personal story is a true inspiration too. Great home, great blog and a great lady!

Manufactured Home Decorating: A Very Merry Double Wide

Southern Belle with Northern Roots / JunkFlirt

Lovely remodeled double wide that’s beautiful inside and out. Shannon uses affordable tricks and great decor tips to make a comfortable, trendy home.

‘Southern Belle with Northern Roots’ Double Wide Makeover

Magazine Your Home

You will love this double wide decorated in a modern farmhouse, shabby chic style! Teresa is one talented DIYer, decorator and blogger!

Spectacular Double Wide Kitchen Makeover

Spectacular Double Wide Manufactured Home Part 2: Teresa’s Interview

A Spectacular Double Wide Manufactured Home Makeover

Of course, there’s lots more featured homes on MMHL! Some of them I was never able to make contact with and haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet. I’m probably forgetting a few – if I did please let me know. I want to help support everyone that proves mobile home living can be stylish and beautiful!

If you are buying or selling a manufactured home, I highly recommend mhbo.com. I’m a fan because it’s easy to use, is absolutely free, and only features mobile or manufactured homes. If you are buying a home there’s a free search feature that sends you emails of new listings that meet your criteria. If you are selling, you can list on mhbo.com once and they aggregate the listing to all the big national sites for you.  

MHBO.com – The easiest way to buy, sell or rent a manufactured home

The easiest way to buy, sell or rent a manufactured home Nice layout, easy-to-use. Lots of helpful features. View stats on a home you are selling, keep an eye on price changes on homes for sale. Get notified by email or text when new homes hit the site.

 

In closing, I hope this site has helped you or given you inspiration for your own mobile home update or remodel. If you don’t own a manufactured home, I hope it’s given you a closer look at the homes and a better understanding of them. 

I want Mobile and Manufactured Home Living to become the go-to site for all things mobile and manufactured home and would greatly appreciate your help. If you would allow me to feature your own mobile or manufactured home remodel or makeover, whether it be the whole home or just a room, that would be awesome! You can also tell your friends and family about MMHL and share our articles on your Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you. I appreciate you reading MMHL so much!

Much Appreciation,

Crystal, Joe and Livingston Grace

Livi and I

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you come back!