About Mobile Home Living®

Hi! I’m Crystal Adkins, the creator of Mobile Home Living®.

Mobile Home Living® features mobile home decor, remodels, repairs, and resources. We’ve published more than 800 articles over the last ten years, and every one of them is 100% about mobile homes, manufactured homes, or campers (and a few tiny homes).

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 everyone living in them deserve to be respected.

We keep it real here too! I promise you there are no $800 vases on this blog. We focus on affordable and attainable products, just like our homes. If you can’t buy it at Dollar General, Family Dollar, Big Lots, Walmart, Target, or Amazon (or similar stores that us regular folk shops), it’s not gonna be mentioned.

A Little About Me

I love to read the ‘about me’ sections of blogs. I like to see what the writers look like and learn a little about them. So, here’s a little about me and my life if you’re interested:

My Childhood (and All about the Man that Made Me Who I am Today)

I was raised in Southern West Virginia by a single father and his parents. Dad and I lived in a double wide on top of a mountain, and my mom-maw and pop-paw lived right down below us in the valley. I could see their house from our front yard.

Dad worked the ‘hoot-owl’ shift in the same underground coal mine for 39 years as a miner operator. A miner is a machine with a diamond-tipped rotating drum that cuts and grinds the coal out of the mountain.

Dad was well-known as being one of (if not THE best) miner operators in the coalfields. I wish I had a dollar for every time one of his co-workers told me about how he did some crazy maneuver with the miner or beat some record for loading the most coal in a shift. He broke quite a few records for loading the most coal in a shift. Unfortunately, being a miner operator meant you worked in a cloud of fine coal dust.

Yep, I’m a real coalminer’s daughter! Oh, and my name is Crystal Gail Adkins – I was named after Loretta Lynn’s sister (the one with the long hair).

I grew up country in the hollers of southern WV, and when I say country, I MEAN country. We grew our own food and hunted and canned and quilted and made do with what we had but not because we were ‘poor.’ It’s just how we lived.

We always had a new car or truck, and we always lived in newer mobile homes. From birth to 8, it was a single wide. Dad bought us a new double wide in 1986 when I was 9. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents were avid campers and always had some kind of RV. Pop-paw Adkins loved his older Winnebago and his smaller Chevy van camper that he always took to the flea markets. Mom-maw Coleman (my mom’s mom) preferred campers you towed. Dad usually kept a camper too. My absolute favorite one he had was Chinook. It had a Toyota frame and motor and a roof that raised up. It was so cool!

The Double Wide Dilemma

In 1986 dad traded the single wide for a brand new 1986 Redman double wide. Watching them pull the sections of that double wide up a 2-mile-long dirt road ‘holler’ and then up to the top of a mountain is a memory I’ll never forget. They got it stuck several times. It eventually took three days and two bulldozers to cut the road out enough for the first section to fit, but they eventually got it up there!

Cars, Cars, Cars

Dad LOVED cars, especially Corvettes and Porsches. He would buy old ones that didn’t run from junkyards and fix them. He had me helping him every weekend. I can look at just about any older car and tell you the make and model and what kind of engine it has.

If we weren’t working on a car, we were working on the house. He’s the reason I know what I know today.

I lost dad in 2019 to black lung. He was only 61. Working 39 years as a miner operator turned his lungs as black as the coal he mined.

Joe and My Pride and Joy

I’ve been with Joe, a licensed master plumber, for over 25 years, and we have an 18-year-old daughter named Livingston Grace. I get asked this a lot, so I’ll go ahead and tell ya; I named her after a book called Jonathon Livingston Seagull. Grace is a family name.

She’s the coolest kid I know, but I may be a bit biased. She attends Converse College on a partial art scholarship and is studying to be an art teacher. She’s my pride and joy, and I’m so dang proud of her I can’t even stand it!

The Beginning of the Blog

I started Mobile Home Living® shortly after we bought the 1978 single wide in 2011. It was our first owned home, and I was ecstatic. The seller wanted $6,000 for it, and we would rent the lot it was on for $250 a month.

Except, we didn’t have $6,000.

Heck, we barely had $600! Thankfully, the seller agreed to a rent-to-own contract with a $1000 down and low monthly payments. We borrowed money for the down payment, signed the contract, and moved in.

After we moved in, I searched for mobile home remodels on Google, but I didn’t find much. I figured if I was looking for these topics, then 20 million people living in mobile homes were probably looking too. 

I saw a void and tried to fill it.

Since I’ve lived in mobile and manufactured homes just about my entire life, and my husband has been a master plumber for over 24 years, I figured we could at least help people with mobile home plumbing issues or other mobile home repair and improvement projects.

I just started a blog, and it caught on somehow. If I can do it, anyone can!

Over the last eleven years, Mobile Home Living® evolved into what you see today. This site is now the most popular manufactured home repair, remodeling, and decorating resource online (besides Pinterest, of course).

Issues We Want to Change

I think it’s important that manufactured homes be seen in a positive light. Manufactured housing is one of the nation’s most affordable housing options, and they’ve given me a place to call home for over 40 years. 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed.

The biggest issue is that parks are raising their rent too much. One well-known park owner said we should always expect a 3%  lot rent increase yearly. He then went on to say that they are raising their rents to be equal to the price of apartments. Parks are not apartments. If we wanted to pay apartment prices, we’d live in an apartment. 

The second issue regards warranties that aren’t honored. The notorious blame game has to go!

Lastly, I believe manufactured home installation needs to be better regulated; I’ve read that 80% of all warranty complaints are due to improper installation. It’s vital to have the home set up properly for a long life span. 

Also, our elders and low-income families need to be better protected when parks close. 

Our 1978 Single Wide Mobile Home Makeover

Here’s our 1978 Homette single wide in the coalfields of Southern West Virginia before its very affordable makeover. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m very happy with it so far.

The entire home had its original, unpainted paneling, but the ceiling and flooring had been modified. The home had a brand new metal roof installed the year before. The bones were good, but the plumbing system was a total mess.

The kitchen and dining room when we first bought our home:

Kitchen before makeover
The kitchen and dining room when we bought our 1978 single wide.
Kitchen counter before makeover
The kitchen when we first bought the home.

We built the deck quickly after we moved in:

Mobile home before painting the siding
1978 Homette single wide, 12’x58′ – our home sweet home.

We took a weekend and painted the mobile home’s siding. It cost less than $150 and 2 days of work using spray paint (yep! spray paint!). I firmly believe in doing what you can with your resources (you can read my little rant about that very thing here).

Mobile home after painting siding
Our 1978 Homette, where Mobile Home Living started after we painted the siding.

Here’s our living room now. I joke that my favorite style is ‘Pinterest cause there are just so many great ideas there!

1978 single wide living room after makeover
Living room after makeover
Living room.

The kitchen needs a lot more work. New paint and floors made a huge improvement.

Kitchen after makeover
It’s an end kitchen!

We have about half an acre on the outskirts of a small WV town. Here’s our backyard:

Mobile home livings headquarters - backyard
View from the back porch.
Mobile home living headquarters - backyard 2
Another view from the back porch.
Mobile home living headquarters - front yard
The view from the front door.

My 1965 Airstream Safari

I have a 1965 Airstream Safari, y’all!

EEEEKKK!

I’ve been trying to slowly refurbish it, but since we live in SC now and it’s in WV, it’s been tough. The interior is about 85% finished, but I need a couple of pieces of skin (aluminum) replaced, so if you know anyone that has a 1968 Airstream or older with a few panels of aluminum in good shape, please let me know (it has to be a 1968 or older because that’s the last year they used the high shine aluminum).

1965 airstream safari interior 3

Mobile Home Living’s Mission

The mission of Mobile Home Living® is simple – to provide mobile and manufactured home remodeling and decorating ideas, home improvement help, and other relevant information for all makes and models of factory-built homes.

Affordable housing is needed more than ever, and these homes are not the tin cans that some people think of – they are real homes built with the same framing and roofing that stick-built homes have. They just happen to be placed on a steel chassis with wheels.

If you don’t own a manufactured home, I hope we’ve given you a closer look at the homes and a better understanding of them. Our latest articles are a great place to start:

Livi and i

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Crystal Adkins, Founder Mobile Home Living®!

19 thoughts on “About Mobile Home Living®”

  1. I own a Park Model in Arizona and recently remodeled. I tried to send an email but it did not go through. I would like to send you pictures. Thanks

  2. I’ve really enjoyed the articles and information you’ve been able to share here.
    There have been several articles on Spartan Trailers and within that Spartan Carousel trailers.
    But I’ve never have seen anything about the Spartan Crescendo trailer. The two bedroom,
    2 bath model with the large crescent shape wall that defines the kitchen/dining/living room.
    It was produced about the same time as the Carousel. I have a floor plan and a few photos from the Spartan website.
    Such a great model. I’d love to see photos of a restored one.
    Thanks again, Doug

  3. Crystal,
    Do you have any information on Liberty’s collapsible two story trailer that was manufactured in the 1950’s?

  4. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for the kind words! You’re right, there are no articles on electricity for two reasons: I’m a plumber’s wife/helper and know very little about electricity and I haven’t been able to find an expert to help write articles. I can switch out fixtures and outlets/switches but that’s about it.

    Since this issue appears to be around your water features, if could be the rfid/water cutoff switch (I hope I got those letters in the right order). Ive seen this several times in our rentals where the exterior outlet wouldn’t work unless I went to the bathroom and reset it. It seems like those outlets go bad quickly.

    To get better help please join our Mobile Home Living: Remodels and Repairs Facebook Group and ask your question there (I’m on the phone and can’t link easily).

    Best of luck!

  5. Hi Crystal

    I really appreciate all the information you have for those of us living in mobile homes! Lots of in-depth articles on everything it seems except electrical. Yet I know through searching to find answers to my own electrical issues that many would appreciate learning all we can about wiring runs and type of wiring in mobile homes.
    I have a 1997 fleetwood double wide. I have a problem in my circuit 2 A and B. It started as a light suddenly stop working in the small bedroom adjacent to the bathroom. My one and only exterior plug by the back door off the service entrance worked intermittently, now not at all. Then two other plugs stopped working, including the one under the house adjacent to the hot water heater. Other plugs on the circuit still works as do the rest of the lights.
    My plug in tester says i have an open neutral… Ive taken apart all the plugs and put new ones in. Still have the problem.
    Do any of your readers have a clue what’s going on or where to look?
    Where can i find a diagram of the wiring runs?
    Any help would be much appreciated!

  6. Hi Monica,

    I’m not knowledgeable about electricity but you may just have kicked the GFCI protections which is required anywhere there is water. Try pushing the reset buttons on all GFCI outlets throughout the home (kitchen, bath, laundry and even your outside outlets should have them). If that doesn’t work, try kicking/resetting the breaker for the exterior circuit and see if that helps. That’s all I know to do besides calling a professional.

    Best of luck!

  7. Hi Patri,

    There are a few places that will finance older homes like 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, and Cascade. If you’ll Google ‘Companies that finance older mobile homes’ you will find about 10 or so and then Google it again using your state/town to get the local mortgage brokers.

    Best of luck!

  8. Love your articles – many helpful tips. “House shaming,” is a part of our culture. I am a senior citizen, live debt free in a single wide, on 2 acres of land. Living debt free was a goal, after a divorce and starting over. I have upgraded roof, windows, carpet through the years. Value my independence, ability to take care of my property. So nice. Keep up the important work – would love resources re ordering parts, etc for mobile homes – but you can’t do it all. I thank you for your work.

  9. Hi, Crystal. Can you tell me where I can find the diagram of the cross section/cut away of a single-wide you use in a shadow version as the backdrop on your home page? It pulls the structural concept of the mobile together for me and if like to look at it more closely.

    Many thanks,
    Jo Ann

  10. Please read an interesting article about manufactured housing and the housing crunch in the Boston Globe, 10/5/2018. Very applicable for your newsletter

  11. Hello,
    I just finished the guest room and attempted to send you my pictures. I used your e-mail that we used before but it came back – if you would like to use my guest room please send me an e-mail.

    Chuck

  12. Hi Brian,

    I rarely let links stay in the comments (we get tons of irrelevant spam even with spam blockers) but you have a really neat product and I like it! I think you have a great idea. I’d maybe work on the hardware, it’s a little bulky for the smaller mobile homes and RV’s but for a regular house, you have a winner. Maybe an inner cabinet system where you don’t have to see the scale unless you open the cabinet door?

    I love seeing people fill voids and fix problems. Best of luck to you!

  13. How do I reach your company?? I want to do a full remodeling of a single wide trailer in Columbus Country NC

  14. Your website is an wonderful encyclopedia for those of us with manufactured homes.I have a question which I’ve yet to find a real answer . Our home was built in 1995 amd we have the gray polybutylene water pipes and while we were on our well we had “decent” water pressure. We refinanced and FHA said we had to connect to the county line. The good point was having a pressure release valve installed close to the house so we have immediate access to water cut off if we need it. The problem is the water pressure is generally lower and when one toilet is flushed the pressure in the adjoining sink pressure goes down as does other faucets in the rest of the house. I’ve increased the pressure at the valve”slightly” but it did not help much. Other than a complete water line replacement, do you have any suggestions as to what to do or references I might check to figure this out. I would like to have consistent “decent” water pressures throughout the house. Thank you for your help. Again, your website and the simplicity of your explanations are great. Sandy Redfern

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