It all started with a broken-down bar cart that Carpinterian Jenny Rasak and her mother Brenda Rasak decided to renovate as a small creative project that the mother daughter duo could do together. Seven years later, Jenny has flipped that bar cart—and six trailers.
Brenda, an interior designer living in Summerland, still consults on design choices, but in the last three years, Jenny and her partner Anthony Vega have taken on the lion share of work to renovate five trailers.
“A couple years after the first bar cart and trailer, Anthony and I had a camping trip planned and the forecast said rain,” recalled Jenny. “I was bummed, looking for a winter tent on Craigslist when I found an old pop-up trailer.” The pair drove down to Sun Valley in Los Angeles to buy the pop-up and fixed it up in a weekend. “It was so much fun,” said Jenny, “But we needed one that was larger.” They listed the pop-up on Craigslist and within 45 minutes it was sold, and Jenny had already found her next trailer to renovate.
Jenny, who manages the event marketing team at Procore, and Vega, who works for Carpinteria’s Public Works Department, didn’t plan on becoming camper-flippers, but they quickly realized that they enjoyed doing it. They both like to build, use power tools, problem solve and work with their hands. “It’s a passion project and it’s something we can do together,” said Jenny.
For Jenny, renovating campers continues her family’s history in construction. Jenny’s 94-year-old fraternal grandfather was a developer in Michigan, and her uncle and great-grandfather on her mother’s side were also builders.
With three children between them, Jenny and Vega have also found that working on the campers is an avenue to teach life lessons to their kids. “With our kids getting older, it’s fun to pass on useful traits to them,” said Jenny. “Plumbing, electrical, using your hands . . . and it’s good for the environment too. We’re teaching our kids to take care of the things they have so they don’t have to always buy new. They can recycle and fix things up.”
Over the years, they’ve had a little help from their friends too. Local carpenter and artisan Matt Glasgow has built countertops; and that first bar cart, Steve Augerot did a lot of the renovation work.
To see the process on each trailer renovation project and to be the first to learn when a camper is for sale, follow along via Instagram: @trashtotrailers.