A couple turned a 100-square-foot RV with a fireplace and patio into their dream tiny home on wheels

Feb 10 · 5 min read

Most people live in RVs to travel, but Kirsten and Devin Trout saw an RV as a way to save money and live tiny.

Insider Kirsten and Devin’s 100-square-foot toy hauler.
Insider Kirsten and Devin’s 100-square-foot toy hauler.
Kirsten and Devin Trout live in a 100-square-foot toy hauler with their three dogs. Photo: @fifth_wheel_living/Instagram

By Monica Humphries

Born and raised in Delaware, Kirsten and Devin Trout had no plans to move.

Then, one day in 2017, the couple both felt the itch to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee.

“We never talked about moving to Nashville, so it was very random for both of us,” Kirsten told Insider. “Since we never talked about it, we just felt like it was a God thing.”

Kirsten, 27, said she was sitting at home thinking about Tennessee; meanwhile, her husband, 29, was on his way home with the same thought. She said they discussed moving to Nashville for the first time, and the next day they started making plans.

Nashville appealed to them for a variety of reasons. For the Trouts, it was a place with new things to explore and where Devin could pursue a career in country music.

With their sights set on Nashville, their next challenge was finding a place to live. After searching for affordable housing, they eventually landed on a tiny home on wheels.

The couple’s initial moving plans didn’t involve an RV

The RV (left) and Kirsten sitting in her kitchen (right).
The RV (left) and Kirsten sitting in her kitchen (right).
The couple started off living in a 350-square-foot RV. Photo: @fifth_wheel_living/Instagram

In the fall of 2017, the couple was set on moving, so they started exploring housing options. They searched for homes and apartments, but couldn’t find anything that fit their budget.

Devin kept searching for a way to make it work, and one day he stumbled upon a YouTube video of a couple living and traveling in a van, Kirsten said.

A van felt too small for the couple and their three dogs, but an RV could work, they decided.

That October, they spent $18,000 on an old fifth-wheel RV, a type of large camper towed by a pickup truck.

The couple stayed in Delaware while they renovated their new home. The RV had a handful of issues, like water damage, so the couple hired a friend to help them replace the flooring, paint the interior, add trimming, and remove cabinets.

At the end of the year, they traveled down to Nashville, and by January 1, 2018, the couple was living in their renovated home parked at a campground.

Initially, they planned to live in the RV for one year, sell it, and use the money to put a down payment on a home.

“Then we fell in love with the lifestyle and the freedom of it all,” Kirsten said. The RV gave them autonomy, privacy, and outdoor space, and it was still more affordable than a home with a mortgage, she said.

After spending two-and-a-half years in the RV, the couple decided they wanted to travel more. So, they abandoned their house plans, and by the fall of 2020, they decided to go smaller.

Read more: A family of 4 lives in a 350-square-foot RV that has multiple bathrooms, a washer and dryer, and a fireplace

For the Trouts, a smaller vehicle meant bigger opportunities

Kirsten, Devin, and their three dogs.
Kirsten, Devin, and their three dogs.
The couple has three dogs, Daisy, Bonnie, and Phoebe. Photo: Chicka Artistica Photography

While traveling was doable in their fifth-wheel RV, the couple decided it was just too big for their travel needs. A smaller camper meant they could have a smaller car, fit in more campsites, and save more money.

Kirsten said she was initially hesitant to downsize, but after weighing the pros and cons, she felt the ease of traveling in a smaller RV outweighed the negatives.

The couple started looking for their next home and landed on a Forest River XLR Micro Boost, an 18-foot toy hauler RV with a patio that extends to 23 feet and an interior living space of around 100-square-feet. The couple purchased the vehicle for $16,000.

Their RV has a back patio and a fireplace

The RV’s living room area, bedroom, and bathroom.
The RV’s living room area, bedroom, and bathroom.
The RV has a living room area, bedroom, and bathroom. Photo: @fifth_wheel_living/Instagram

The couple fell in love with their current RV for a variety of reasons.

Kirsten wanted an open layout that didn’t have built-in furniture, giving her the freedom to pick out furniture and change the home’s floor plan. The vehicle has a bedroom, bathroom, and living room, which also serves as the kitchen area and dining room.

The bedroom of the couple’s toy hauler.
The bedroom of the couple’s toy hauler.
The bedroom of the couple’s toy hauler. Photo: @fifth_wheel_living/Instagram

The toy hauler also features one of Kirsten’s favorite things: a fireplace. Her other favorite feature is the back patio. The doors open out to a small area where the family’s three dogs, Daisy, Phoebe, and Bonnie, can enjoy fresh air.

With their ideal RV model, Kirsten was excited to turn the blank canvas into a home.

Simple renovations transformed the space

A before-and-after look at the couple’s kitchen.
A before-and-after look at the couple’s kitchen.
A before-and-after look at the couple’s kitchen. Photo: @fifth_wheel_living/Instagram

Kirsten estimates that they spent about $1,500 renovating their RV, turning it from gray and brown to fresh white with pops of color.

So far, the biggest expense has been hiring painters to redo the interior, according to Kirsten.

Beyond a fresh coat of paint, Kirsten has added a slat wall in their bedroom and a stained trim around their front door. The renovation still isn’t complete, but Kirsten said only the small details are left, like adding a few pieces of decor and deciding on accent wall colors.

Read more: Before-and-after photos show how a family of 5 transformed an outdated RV into a modern space that they now live in full-time

The couple currently lives on a farm but has travel plans for the future

Inside the couple’s home (left) and outside the home (right).
Inside the couple’s home (left) and outside the home (right).
The couple’s home is currently parked on a farm in Tennessee. Photo: @fifth_wheel_living/Instagram

Due to the pandemic and busy work schedules, the couple hasn’t traveled much since purchasing their home but they hope to explore Tennessee and its surrounding states in the future. They plan to take weekend trips to nearby campgrounds and boondocking (off-grid camping where RVs aren’t connected to water or electricity).

In the meantime, they’ve welcomed friends over for bonfires and created fun memories in their new home.

“It’s amazing,” she said of her life in Nashville. “I’m so proud of all of this.”

For more great stories, visit Insider’s homepage.



Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store