Ashley & Her RV
Blogger and stay-at-home mom, Ashley Petrone, proves that less is definitely more with one glimpse inside her revamped RV. When she found herself on the hunt for her next project, her and husband decided to buy land, sell their five-bedroom house and live in their RV with their three children while their new house was being built. Living in such a small space with five people might seem less than desirable for many people, but it's been a wonderful experience for Ashley and her family—one that she admits that she will miss when they move out because she loves the simplicity and financial freedom that comes along with RV living. So how does she keep the small space looking so stylish and organized? She limits what comes into the RV, and only brings in pieces or items that she really loves. She's learned a lot by living in the RV, especially that the simple life is actually very fulfilling and good things really do come in small packages. Step inside Ashley's super cool space and get ready to feel the need to downsize—or at least do a major purge of all the clutter and unnecessary stuff in your own place!
First off, tell us the story about how living in the RV came to be!
Well, my husband likes to call me the gas and he’s the brakes. I was on the hunt for our next project, but I didn’t know it was going to be this extreme. We bought land, sold our five-bedroom house, and decided that while building a home, living in an RV sounded the most exciting. When most apartments were more than our mortgage was, it made it pretty simple. Plus, we were ready for an adventure.
You have five people living in the RV. How do you manage to keep the space so beautiful and not cluttered? Any organizational tips for our readers?
When moving into the trailer, I was very selective. I wanted it to feel like home, be beautiful, but not to feel crowded. My number-one tip for people is 'less is more.' I know I know, so cliché. But truly, it’s key to living tiny. Because we don’t have a ton of room, I am constantly cleaning out and I always leave room in the cupboards. It would be stressful to open the cupboards and have things falling out of them.
Living in a small, temporary space, what are some of your must-have home décor pieces?
My coffee bar by the front door is my favorite spot. It has my favorite art over it and it’s just a happy space. I love swapping out pillows for a quick refresh, but I don’t buy the inserts, just the covers, so it’s not taking up extra space.
We love how you mix patterns without it feeling busy. Where are some of your favorite online and local places to shop for textiles?
Talk to us about your design process. Which area of the RV was the hardest for you to decorate?
I think the bedroom was the hardest part to decorate. Behind our bed is a giant window with a cover over it on the outside of the RV. But it gets even better, on the outside of the RV was a giant cougar. Well it didn’t matter what I put behind the bed as a faux headboard, you could still see the cougar. I ended up hanging a shower curtain with command strips, adding greenery, and now we’ve eventually removed the cougar outside and painted the outside. But it took me a while to figure out how to make it work, while looking pretty.
You have a lot of great accent hardware pieces throughout the space. Where’s your favorite place to shop for those fun smaller touches?
I tried to design the RV on a budget. All of my hardware on the doors are from Amazon. All of our designer lighting is from @lucentlightshop. The company was amazing because it actually worked with me and I was able to design what I wanted for each space. I haven’t seen another lighting company that does that, let alone do it for an RV or (DC lighting).
What are your plans for the RV after you’re done building?
We have a few ideas floating around, but I think keeping it on the bottom of our land and either Airbnb it or have it as a granny flat. It’s a source of inspiration for me, so I don’t really want to get rid of it.
What will you miss most about living in the RV?
I think I’ll miss how simple life is. Once you have space, it’s just so easy to accumulate things. I really want to remember that we don’t need much. I’ll also miss the financial freedoms we have now. It’s so amazing to be able travel and do whatever we want to do.
Any tips for readers who are upgrading from a smaller space to a bigger one and looking to have some fun in the design process?
My best tip would be to take chances! Life is too short to play it safe. Play around with different ideas and if it doesn’t work, eliminate until it does. Sometimes I bring multiple things into a room and end up removing half of them, but needed to see them all in there together first. And I would also choose well! Don’t buy just to buy. Make sure whatever you’re bringing into your home and keeping is what you really want!
You’re a blogger and stay-at-home mom with three adorable kiddos. How do you maintain your creativity living in a small space?
I did homeschool for the first part of this journey, but now my kids are in school, so that frees up a lot of my time. But my creativity is spurred from whatever is happening in my life. So, living here has opened up an entirely new creative side. Using where you are at in life to fuel you, is a huge gift that people miss out on!
If you can give one tip to people looking to live in a very small space or an RV, what would it be?
Have grace! I had to learn this early on and I’m still learning it. You’re going to get in each other's way and get annoyed easily because everything is magnified. But I’ve had to learn to be super gracious with my family and with myself.
Is there anything you wish you could change in the RV?
I wouldn’t hate a washer and dryer in here! I miss that the most! We usually do laundry at friends' houses. We just sort of invite ourselves to dinner and then just happen to have laundry in the car. Don’t worry though, we usually bring dinner or at least a bottle of wine!
How do your kids feel about the space?
The kids have adjusted really well. They play so well together and have really learned to use their imagination more. They’re at such a great age for this though. If my boys were teenagers, it would be a lot harder, I think.
What's your beauty routine? How do you manage one at all in your living space?
I got a gym membership just so I had a place to take showers! But seriously, I shower and get ready just like I would at home. I just usually save hair washing and leg shaving for gym days. I shower, throw on some powder, blush and mascara, and usually top off my outfit with a hat. A mom's best friend.
Favorite moment from living in the RV so far?
After two months of being in here, Dino and I were sitting outside by the fire pit. We talked and drank wine and laughed for hours. It was so quiet out and so peaceful and there were just no distractions. I remember we both said that we would have never had a night like this if we weren’t in the RV.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by friends and designers on Instagram, by my family, and most of all, by my life. I’m constantly evolving and changing. I feel like I’m inspired by what is happening in our lives.
What's next for you and your family?
Next step is we are moving the trailer to the top of our land, then hopefully building our home up there. We are currently renovating an Airstream to sell, and when we are finished, we are looking to renovate another RV/trailer.