Spartans are magnificent mobile homes. Their American-made quality is undeniable as is their timeless beauty. Once you get your hands on one of these classic homes, you never want to let it go.
Related: Take a peek at this Shabby-Chic Spartan.
So what do you do when you are rich beyond desire and want your 40 foot, 1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion beside the Nueces River in Uvalde, Texas, a well-known flood prone area?
A Vision Come to Life
First, you hire architect Andrew Hinmann. Next, you sit back and wait for all the awesome to come together. And it came together in an unusual, unconventional fashion and I love unusual and unconventional!
While gazing from a distance you can’t tell that the heart of this structure sits a gorgeous Spartan mobile home. Walking toward it, however, you realize that this is far more than a fancy home sitting beside a river.
In fact, one could simply call it a garage that houses a remodeled mobile home. There’s nothing but a bathroom, a 25 foot screened deck and a sleeping tower ‘attached’ to this Spartan. Together, though, they make a remarkable habitat. Not too contemporary, not too classic. Just a fine mixture of both.
Sitting 30 feet above the river and 5 feet above the flood plain on concrete piers anchored 25 feet into the ground, this Spartan is safe from any flooding disasters or wind, or probably even a tornado. It’s wrapped and bundled with 45 feet steel beams and ipe wood. Additional features include a redwood hot tub that the owner re-salvaged and rainwater catchment systems.
The Spartan is not attached to the structure. They used a gasket connection system as not to scar the mobile homes exterior. It’s safely butted up against the screened deck and has a metal roof over it. This helps to keep the home cool and allows the mobile home to shine, literally.
1954 Spartan Given New Life
The 1954 Spartan interior was completely remodeled. The original pine was replaced with bamboo, the lights replaced with LED and the bathroom was completely removed to allow more space for the bedroom. The refrigerator was removed and Sub-Zero freezer drawers were installed. Formica counter tops and retro furnishings complete the renovation.
The tower provides an additional sleeping area as well as a nice viewing station. There are only 2 windows (other than whats in the Spartan) in this entire structure. The porthole window in the bathroom can be covered with the sliding mirror for additional privacy. Everything else is simply screened. The owner has an allergy to bug bites so every precaution was made to keep the biting bugs away, they even screened under the deck boards. That’s smart!
The architect comments that the structure surrounding the trailer is a “Swiss Army knife. The whole project is an accessory to the trailer.” I can agree with that statement. It certainly solved the problem the owner had, there will be no flooding issues in the near future. It encapsulates the home without covering up its beauty and it allows the Spartan to shine in the Texas sun.
On Houzz, where I originally found this home, some readers commented that it was a waste of money and that it takes the mobility out of the mobile home but I think that’s a bit harsh and essentially untrue. The owners apparently appreciated the Spartan and wanted to enjoy its remarkable beauty and vintage qualities but they also wanted to be comfortable.
Just because a mobile home has wheels doesn’t mean it has to be moved around to be appreciated. In fact, a 40 foot long mobile home is not necessarily made to be moved from place to place or campground to campground. The Spartan corporation made smaller homes for that purpose. ‘Mobile homes’ that are longer than 28 feet were made to go to one place and be set up and lived in which is exactly what the owners did. Remember, 98% of all mobile homes are never moved once placed. Campers are made to be pulled, not mobile homes.
People that have lots of money are used to a certain standard of living but this isn’t excessive in my opinion. It’s a nice bathroom and screened in porch and sleeping area attached to a mobile home. Here in the Appalachians, we’ve been doing similar constructions for decades. Perhaps not as nice but certainly similar. I like it and I appreciate it. The structure simply protects a beautiful mobile home and in my opinion, all Spartans should be protected and appreciated. What’s your opinion?
As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!
21 thoughts on “1954 Spartan Meets Modern Day Living”
I have two – a 55 and a 58. Spartans are magnificent! They are perfect for where I live because mice and pack rats can’t get in. The 55 needs nothing and is in almost perfect condition. I use it as a guest house. The 58 needs some work, but is in good condition. I’m fixing it up to be lived in. Does anyone know where I can get parts? I need a new front door for the 58. Thanks. I had no idea Spartans were appreciated by so many.
I’m so jealous! I’d love to own a Spartan! You may be able to find what you need through Vintage Trailer Supply (here’s the link: http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/).
Here’s a few more sites that may be helpful to you:
Best of luck! PS I’d love to see your Spartans!
Fantastic idea. Beautifully executed. The Spartan is elegant inside and out.
I use to own a 1954 Spartan Royal Mansion, which was right about 48 feet in length. Loved it until I realized it was too small to raise a family in. But I also have to agree, at the length it was, you did not want to be haling it from place to place. As the thing was what is known as a park model. And it was beautiful, all original with blond birch wood in it from 1954. Unfortunately it had been moved so much over the years, that it had a few problems especially with the evaporate cooler on top of the roof which eat holes in the roof from all the moving they did with it up there. Which is unfortunate, as some people do not really know how to care for old trailers like these, or simply will not take care of old trailers like these.
But I do still agree, you do not move those big boys around like you do a 28 foot travel trailer. As these things are one two heavy, and two not designed for that kind of use so it would simply be impractical to use them that way. You would not move a 50 foot manufactured home around like that, and this is essentially the same thing just on a narrower scale. as they are only 8 foot wide, instead of being 14 foot wide or 16 foot wide.
PS to original comment — my idea would be similar to this on your site “Sitting 30 feet above the river and 5 feet above the flood plain on concrete piers anchored 25 feet into the ground, this Spartan is safe from any flooding disasters or wind, or probably even a tornado. It’s wrapped and bundled with 45 feet steel beams and ipe wood. Additional features include a redwood hot tub that the owner re-salvaged and rain water catchment systems. ” Just a bit more glitz — any ideas would be great, what does it take to do this, money, how long, how big is construction team…. email@example.com
Mary, it took a lot of money to do this. Of course, there’s no mention if they purchased the Spartan in that pristine condition or if they had to restore it themselves. Spartan restorations are a huge business and it’s not cheap at all.
The framing of Spartans are metal, not wood like most other mobile homes, so they aren’t susceptible to rot. However, there is wood within and wrapping the interior and that is susceptible. The outer shell of the home is riveted, not nailed or screwed so it does stand up well to mother nature. Leaks mostly occur around windows, doors and fans. It’s not hard to find a Spartan that is in good condition but most will require work to get it up to par.
The containment that they built here was probably a bit more than I can conceptualize. If I had to guess, I’d say in the 250-500,000 area, including the Spartan and whatever land modifications were needed as well as the water, sewage and electricity systems that were needed (it being on a huge plot of land I suspect the owners ran into issues trying to set up their own systems, the rain catchment was probably the easiest to create). There was an architectural firm involved so you know the total build cost a pretty penny..lol
Thanks for commenting! Hope you the best!
Researching Spartan restorations — a large one — high end. I am working on a novel that will include a Spartan restoration set up under an elaborate water catchment shade roof and set up on a wooden or cement deck area to deter the snakes etc. Not as massive as yours but something that would be elaborate for land in Terlingua Tx. Can’t give story away, sorry 😉 Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any stories, examples of what you would include high end and why, and the restoration work in general. Thanks.
Hi Mary! I definitely want to read that novel when you are finished so please contact me. I’m a huge Spartan fan!
When I think of a high-end restoration of a Spartan, it’s all about getting the Spartan back to showroom appearance.
If you go to some of the Spartan restoration sites, and I’m sure you have, the big money is spent in restoring walls, flooring, siding, widows, etc and then finding or having the original fixtures special made to look exactly like it did at the dealership the day it was bought. If original isn’t available, a similar look is acceptable. The ‘original’ pieces is where the money is spent.
Spartan lovers, like myself, don’t like to see a Spartan that has been modified too much. Our stomachs have been known to turn as soon as we see a Spartan exterior that has been painted or if the gorgeous interior wood has been painted or altered in any way (oh, just the thought of it made my stomach turn..lol), we want everything as original as possible.
The appeal of Spartans is the connection to the past, when life was simpler and mobile homes were luxury items and not stereotyped as they are today. The appeal also lies in the fact that they were American made at a very special time in our history. The factory used what materials were available due to war (aluminum) and ended up transforming the entire travel trailer and mobile home industry. 60 years later and these home are still housing people and standing the test of time. There’s just so many things about Spartans that are admirable!
This retro-fit is about the best I’ve seen. They kept the home original and allowed it to be the center of attention, as they should be. Then they added the modern tech around it without altering or scarring the Spartan. It sounds like your idea/concept is very similar. Please, just don’t hurt the Spartan!
PS: If a ‘dead’ Spartan is revived we will appreciate it and be thankful that someone took the time and spent the money to bring it back to life even if it isn’t original. We will not judge those people in any way. 😉
Hope that helps!
Mine, too Steven! They are classic in every sense!
I want this. Wow! Spartans are my fav.
Stunning. The exterior is a lovely setting for a beautiful gem. Absolutely swoon-worthy!
Amazing! I too, am a Spartan lover. this is genius!
Very very lovely. I am in love with Spartans and wish I could afford one if I even found one. Great job! Love the structure around the trailer, it looks amazing and nice little swimming hole also to complete the home.
Great design. What are they doing for sewage and power?
Houzz link is bad htt phttp://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/13443165/list/Houzz-Tour–A-Most-Unusual-Trailer-in-Texas://
Should be http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/13443165/list/Houz…
Thanks so much for letting me know. I fixed it. I never saw anything about the power or sewage. With it sitting on a such a large property I doubt they ran any lines for power. Perhaps a generator or solar system? I'd say sewage is a simple tank set up though. I googled the architect and went to the other links listed but there was nothing mentioned about either one. However, I did find some photos of the build which is pretty neat. Here's the link: and the architects link: http://andrewhinman.com/portfolio/02-locomotive-r…. Thanks again!
Great article, like your outlook on it!
I own a collection of 7 Spartan Manors and Mansions, and will use 2-3 of them for a similar housing system in Florida. Mine will have the wheels and axles on them, but only for maintenance and protection from hurricanes. This was a great architectural insight on how to use these, not what I’m exactly doing, but in Florida we have different needs. We’ll put some in Portugal near the sea as well, where building permits aren’t easy on seafront land. Congratulations on a fantastic piece of work!
WOW! I love Spartans and anyone who has 7 is a hero in my book..lol. I'm going to read your blog in the morning, word for word. Thanks for the link! I would love to get to interview you and learn more about your collection and your plans. FL does present some serious building issues for any construction, I'm sure it will be a wonderful structure that highlights the beauty of the Spartans…I Look forward to hearing from you again!
Ellie, I’m a few minutes away from buying a Spartan Mansion to live in also, here in Florida but I’m worried that I won’t be allowed to…. I need to call zoning and ask in the morning I suppose. Do you think I can just buy a lot with an old mobile home on it and get rid of the old mobile and replace it with the 41 foot Spartan? Have you had any problems with Florida doing this? I don’t know where to begin. My email is email@example.com please get in touch with me, I’m freaking out a bit. I’m looking for a place to live in the Ocala area… I have three dogs so I don’t want to live in a retirement type community.
I think it is FABULOUS! Nothing lavish or pretentous – it's sleek and zen like with an appreciation of mid century modern asthetic! LOVE IT!
Love it, but that must have been an expensive venture!
Holy Cow! That is fantastic! I think it should get some kind of award for amazing ideas. Thanks SO much for finding this one!!! 🙂