Photos by Elisabeth Eden
Blue wallpaper. Mismatched flooring. Musty velvet curtains. These are some features that the Iepson family’s camper came with when they purchased it from Facebook Marketplace this past spring. Now, many COVID quarantine months later, the camper is a boho-mid-century oasis, ready to hit to road.
Before adding kids into the mix, Brett and Elisabeth “Bethy” Iepson had a 1970s camper they used to travel south with in the winter. But after a few years of very little use, they decided to sell it. Now with two young boys, a baby girl on the way and a full year of both working full time for their own business, the couple decided now was the time to return to the camper life.
Since owning their two previous campers, the couple has found great success in their photography and creative agency business, Elisabeth Eden. Embracing the freedom that comes with running a business, they had plans of escaping somewhere warmer for the winter months. As the COVID outbreak began to really assert itself as not going anywhere, the family started actively keeping their eyes out for a good deal on a new camper. “With COVID, we figured if we were going to go anywhere this winter, we should bring our house with us,” said Bethy. “With our business, we’re really flexible to go to a warmer state and work from there if we want, so that is hopefully still the plan for this winter.”
Some online searching later, the couple drove out to a small, rural town in Minnesota to claim their chosen camper. What they found was a fifth wheel that had been sitting on a farm for a year, unkempt and marked by the cat. They knew they’d have some work to do, but for the right price, this was the one.
When the coronavirus lock-down was in its height, the Iepsons took advantage of their extra downtime and dove into the camper renovation. When they purchased it, they knew it would need some work, and this extra downtime was the perfect opportunity for such. The initial stage was primarily taking out all the “ugly things” and prepping it for the good parts. Being that tearing things out isn’t an expense, this was an especially COVID-friendly and budget- friendly project. It wasn’t until late July that the finishing touches were added, all the decor had been placed (much of which came from their house anyways!) and the camper was ready for family adventures.
Thanks to some water damage, one of the first big projects included installing new flooring and subflooring. While this was a necessary update, it also was an opportunity for a cosmetic refresh. The original camper had three different types of flooring throughout, all of which the new owners did not enjoy. Now, the owners enjoy the warm wood-look of their honey-toned floors throughout.
They knew that solving existing cat-urine damage was on the to-do list, but an unexpected task came with removing a mouse nest from behind the bedroom’s wall. While this re-insulating wasn’t planned, they ended up loving the wood panel they installed to replace the previous, damaged wall. “The wood wall behind the bed is now my favorite view, from standing in the kitchen looking into the bedroom. It is amazing because everything else is white and then there’s this rounded wood wall behind the bed and it’s so cool. It is something that we didn’t plan on that I ended up loving the look of,” said Bethy. “It was more work than we thought, obviously, but I feel like that’s any project ever,” she joked.
As for design inspiration, the first goal was to make it look more spacious. Obviously, when it comes to a camper, it can only be so large, but some tricks of the eye helped achieve this goal. “I wanted it to look bigger, so I knew everything was going to be white, just plain white,” Bethy said. With some coats of white paint and neutral, airy decor, a bright and inviting atmosphere was created.
Following the vision of all-white, luckily the kitchen cabinets were already white, which made the owners happy to not have to take on the task of redoing all the cabinetry. To still put their own touch on them and give the cabinets a modern refresh, they opted for matte black hardware updates. This added bit of contrast coordinated with the new matte black faucet and light figures. “I struggled with picking out the knobs and fixtures because I had never done black before. I’ve always just done brass, but brass would have made it look even more dated in here,” said Bethy. Now loving the matte black, Bethy joked that she was tempted to change out some of her house’s finishes to match.
In addition to the touches of contrast, the kitchen was made brighter and fresher with a peel-and-stick subway tile backsplash. For not doing any huge undertakings, the Iepsons were really happy with how the kitchen update turned out. Add in some counter-top accessories and a matching matte black kettle, this kitchen is sure to host some memorable cups of coffee and family breakfasts together.
Since working from the road was a lead vision from the start, they needed to prioritize making the camper a good mobile office. To do this, they included a desk area with two seats, nestled beneath a big, beautiful window. “A huge goal for us was to have our business be able to be remote. That we can live in the camper, but also have an office area,” said Bethy. Having a designated office – and not just the camper’s kitchen counter – ensures their business can be productive and successful, no matter where they are parked.
When everything was finally put together, the result surprised even the owners. “I Facetime called Brett and I was like, ‘This honestly looks like a camper I would save on Pinterest or Instagram. It looks better than I thought it would!” said Bethy. A lot of the camper’s design details echo the Iepson’s home, which made the decorating process come naturally.
After months of demo, planning, design, installation and sweating in the heat while painting, the camper is ready to be home to many memories for the growing Iepson family. We cannot wait to see what magic the owners will create while working from it, both near and far.
About Elisabeth Eden
Brett and Bethy Iepson’s business, Elisabeth Eden, has been serving North Dakota and beyond since 2007. What began as a photography business for Bethy, Elisabeth Eden is now a full creative agency that offers photography, marketing, design, social media management and content creation. They also offer The Eden Collective, which is a monthly membership-based content agency that provides members with marketing consulting, photoshoots, social media tips and strategies and even a customized preset to ensure their feed stays cohesive. Elisabeth Eden works in all the facets of the brand year-round, but in the summer and fall, Bethy works especially hard on the photography side, so that when the winter rolls around, they can hit the road and draw all their attention to the marketing side.