When most of us were 11-years-old, the biggest thing we probably built was a cardboard box home for our teddy bears.
But 11-year-old Lauren Nelson had a much bigger vision than that: she wanted to make her very own tiny home out of a camper.
Lauren, of Attica, N.Y, was determined to have a productive summer after COVID saw the cancellation of the majority of social activities.
After being inspired by an American Girl doll magazine, Lauren started to lay out plans for her mission.
Her goal was to buy a van for as cheap as possible, as in American Girl, there was a toy $650 VW bus for sale.
Speaking to WKBW about the moment her daughter showed her parents the magazine, mom Aimee Nelson recalled:
“My husband was like, ‘That’s ridiculous, you could buy your own camper for that price.’”
So the pre-teen decided that’s exactly what she was going to do: buy her own camper for that price.
Lauren saved all her pocket money and began searching for campers that would make the perfect tiny home. Her mom Aimee explained to NY Post:
“Lauren really does have an envelope where she saves money. And it’s just a little bit here and there from things, like $5 at Easter or Tooth Fairy money. It just added up.”
As it turned out, a neighbor just down the road was selling a 20-foot long camper at a completely affordable price, and, despite its beat-up appearance, it was love at first sight for Lauren.
The creative 11-year-old needed to do some negotiating, as the camper was being sold for a price beyond her budget.
She admitted that getting the price down wasn’t hard, adding:
“He said $500 and I said $400 because that was the money I had in my bank account and he said sold.”
The actual renovation process was far from simple, especially for a pre-teen with very little manual work experience.
But Lauren was prepared to put in the hard work, and got stuck into deep cleaning her new tiny home.
Of course, the renovation cost money too, and Lauren had to do some more saving. She spent around $400 in total on the furnishings and accessories for her boho-styled hideout.
Lauren’s inspiration came from the HGTV show Tiny House Hunters, and she did her own research and looked through Pinterest to bring her ideas together.
Her home is simplistically decorated with blacks, whites and greys adorned with the occasional pot plant and mandala decoration.
There’s everything you’d need in a home: a cozy living space, a four-bed bedroom, a tiny bathroom, and a kitchen.
While space is limited, there’s a cupboard in the bedroom for storage, and additional storage in the kitchen and living room cupboards.
The 11-year-old loves being part of the tiny home community and has inspired other people to do the same.
Lauren’s home is certainly very cute, and is a testament to her parents for allowing her to stretch her creative wings.
Not all parents would allow their child to buy a camper and renovate it in their back yard, but Lauren’s mom and dad saw it for what it was: a harmless project that would teach Lauren a lot of life skills.
Check out the video below for interviews with Lauren and her parents, and a full tour of Lauren’s renovated camper.
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