Ugly-Duckling Trailer House Gets Colorful Single Wide Makeover

In April of 2012, I shared an article about a colorful single wide makeover that Better Home & Gardens featured on their site. This was a big deal to me since there wasn’t a whole lot of mobile homes being featured in national home decorating magazines. Unfortunately, BHG used the words trailer house or trailer home to describe it.

What even is a trailer house?

A trailer house? Trailer, mobile home, single wide, camper, travel trailer, or heck, just house or home would work. But, a trailer house?

I took it personally. A mobile home, especially an older one, was being recognized in a national decor magazine and they called it a trailer house.

Of course, I called the national magazine out:

Trailer House? Is that what we’re calling it these days? OK, I guess you can call a house this cute anything you want!

I found this beautifully remodeled mobile home today on Better Homes and Gardens website, They call this gorgeous home a “trailer house” in the article. A trailer house? Who even uses those 2 words together? A trailer is something you attach to the back of your vehicle to carry stuff!  Call it a trailer if you absolutely must (please don’t).

Now, seven years later, as I’m updating all the old content and articles that I wrote when I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing I stumbled on this article. I clicked the link to make sure it was still active and I noticed something.

The words trailer house had been removed! The title was changed to “Lake Home with a Secret.” They had, however, left the words trailer home in the article body. Hey, I’ll take it as a win against the stigma of mobile homes.

I don’t know if I actually had anything to do with the minor change. Either way, I’m counting it as a win.

If us mobile homeowners can change just one negative involving our homes; whether it be an article or an attitude, we can change the world!

Ugly Duckling Structure: Before and After

What’s the secret to this rehabbed lake getaway? It started as a dilapidated flat-roofed 12-x-60-foot trailer home! Thoughtful renovations gave this ugly-duckling structure the look of a pretty country home. The addition of several porches and decks expanded the living space from a mere 720 square feet to about 2,400 square feet. Read on and see the inside styled with a 1940s look in yellow and pink.BHG, describing the single wide

BHG’s ugly duckling trailer house, better described as a colorful single wide makeover, is a great example of the endless possibilities of every single wide mobile home.

Single wide mobile home before the complete remodel and makeover featured on bhg

In the image above, you can see the beginning of the single wide lake house makeover. The home sits beside a lake protected by the Army Corps of Engineers so that complicated the construction a bit.

The owners of the lake house wanted to focus on exterior living space so they built a self-supported roof that extended over both the home and the porch. This would protect the home from water and give it a completely different look by hiding the home’s rectangle shape.

You’d never know this was really a mobile home:

Single Wide Lake House Makeover - home after complete restoration

Interior After the Colorful Single Wide Makeover

Walking into the single wide mobile home is kinda like walking into 1940s era cottage by the sea. It’s a colorful shabby chic cottage.

The interior of this ugly duckling structure, as BHG describes it, was given a cute colorful cottage look using beadboard, black and white tile, and soft pastels.

Lake Home with a Secret A gorgeous lake lot is now home for an Arkansas couple who completely transformed its downtrodden trailer house.  BHG, opening paragraph about the mobile home

The single wide was given a subtle kitschy cottage style reminiscent of the 1940s without going overboard. It’s a perfect mixture of texture and color.

1940s style kitchen with pastel colors in single wide makeover

See another cool mobile home makeover here.

Timeless Style

Even though this single wide makeover was done almost a decade ago the style holds up well. Most everything used in this mobile home like the beadboard, the checkerboard tile, and the colors is timeless.

Open shelving is still a huge trend for kitchens and retro refrigerators will never go out of style.

Lovely Living Room

Color is a homeowners best weapon against tired decor. The owners of this cool cottage style mobile home lake house used color to give the home a calm happy look.

Butter yellow paired with light pinks and white is a perfect combination.

Colorful Single Wide Makeover - pastel living room colors

 To simplify the style and create a consistent look throughout the living areas, all the walls and ceilings were covered with beaded board — a quick fix for walls in bad shape.BHG, Lake Home with a Secret

Custom-built wooden sofas were made to use a twin mattress as the seat. Pillows fill the back, making them comfortable both as chairs and beds. In front, a flea-market window has been turned on its back as a unique coffee table.

Pastel colors in living room - colorful single wide makeover

Some interior designers say that large overstuffed furniture should not be used in a small living room but it seems to work here.

An overstuffed sofa was a daring addition to a small living room, but its grand size visually anchors the space and provides an extra sleeping spot. Reminiscent of ticking fabric, the casual pink-and-white-striped slipcovers can be tossed into the washing machine, making them an easy-care option for a vacation home.BHG, Lake Home with a Secret

traditional cottage decor in BHG trailer makeover

Built-In Bunk Beds

Older single wide mobile homes often have super small guest bedrooms. Vacation homes, or lake houses, needs a lot of sleeping space. Built-in bunk beds are a smart solution for small bedrooms.

Bunk beds in single wide lake house

Short on space? Bunk beds offer lots of sleeping space even in tiny bedrooms. These beds each have a bit of unique personality, shown off in various hues of softly striped linens. By the bed, a small green metal stool does triple duty as a seat, nightstand, and ladder to the top bunk. BHG, Lake Home with a Secret

Colorful Single Wide Makeover Gets the Porch Perfect

exterior - covered porch onSingle Wide Lake House Makeover - BHG00006

The covered porches carry on the colorful kitsch style with cute shabby chic vintage decor.

Outdoor porch decor in single wide mobile home featured on bhg

The natural landscaping is just the cherry on top of this awesome mobile home lake house. It is truly a perfect getaway.

wild landscaping for BHG single wide lakehouse makeover

I’m hesitant to call this home a shabby chic or kitschy though those seem to be the closest I can come to describe the style. Whatever you want to call it, I think it’s perfect!

Click here if you want to see more cottage style mobile homes.

Have you seen a mobile home featured on in any magazines or on a well-known website? We’d love to keep track of them so please share a link in the comments below.

Thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living®!

This article was first published on Apr 28, 2012. It was completely re-written on April 19, 2019.

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  1. TrisKit says

    My husband and I bought a 1994 single wide, 1,264 SF, back in January that we are fixing up as we go. The seller had started the remodel, thankfully. Lots of people here in Texas still call manufactured homes “trailer houses,” even if you’re never going to move it. Thanks for this wonderful resource, Crystal!

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Thank you so much for commenting. It means a lot to me to hear I’m being helpful! Congratulations on the new home! I’s love to feature your home someday (hint, hint)!

  2. Hunter Hampton says

    This is adorable, but I bet they are regretting that black and white tile floor. I made that mistake once, never again.

    1. Emily says

      I absolutely agree. It’s cute…but Never looks clean.

  3. Ellex says

    As soon as I saw the outside and the kitchen, I knew it was from one of the Do It Yourself magazine. I dug though my collection and found the article. The article appeared in Do It Yourself’ s Spring 2004 magazine on pages 59- 71. The homeowners are listed as Bill and Jane Hardin. And the original article called it a trailer house, too! Lol

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      That is so awesome that you have the magazine Ellex! And you remembered you had it – your memory is great 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing the information with us. I found it on the BHG website but I don’t think it ever gave the exact issue the home was featured in.

      It’s been 10 years since they featured a manufactured home (that I know of), so I think it’s high time they featured another Great to hear from you and thanks again for sharing the info, and having such a wonderful memory!

    2. David Rhodes says

      I used to call mobile homes “house trailers”, never heard of a trailer house.

  4. Deb says

    Hello Crystal,

    Actually "Trailer House" is a very vintage term, for mobile homes. I remember as a Child, that is what these places were called. They were trailers that could be mobile and people lived in them, so making them a house also. The terminology went from trailer house to mobile home. Trailer houses usually have the hitch on them, that permitted them to be hooked up to the back of the car, and pulled. They are many that are still lived in today.

    I have family members who live in a 1963 10 x 50 which was standard then. This is why I just loved finding your blog, because their place needs a complete and your blog is so inspiring. I love the article posted above, because this Trailer House makeover, is just what my family members trailer could look like, because it is just a bit older and smaller than the one in the article.