Remember camping trips as a child? When the whole family piled into the car or, if you were lucky, the camper, to head out on the open road to some place you’d never been before? It was the ultimate family bonding time, when dad took the wheel and mom took the map (this was before cell phones and GPS) and together they found the most scenic route while you fought for space with your sibling in the back. Quarters were close, and everything seemed smaller — the beds, the barbecue, the cereal boxes — until you arrived, stretched outside, breathed fresh air and studied the kind of sky you can only see outside the city.
There was probably more yelling than you remember, but your mini-home on wheels didn’t just take you to new places, it created lifelong memories. It’s these memories that team Vintage Voyage call back to with its Vignette, the kitchen part of an old-school camper combined with nature and a striking nighttime scene. “Camping brings back a lot of, ‘Oh remember when?’ moments, that nostalgia, so we wanted to invoke that,” says team lead Jennifer Hughes. “Because Vignettes’ theme is ‘explore,’ we thought we’d do a vintage throwback to a cozy camping feel, with some retro elements.”
It’s tough to get more retro than turquoise appliances, like the mini-fridge, with the matching turquoise radio, Thermos and cushions on the chairs sitting on white tile next to flowered wallpaper. But it’s the small and even hidden details that bring out the charm of this cross-sectioned camper, and, like the rest of Vignettes, the closer you look, the more you see. Gold leafing lines the tiles and the cabinets and drawers have handcrafted gemstone handles. Open them up and you’ll find some of the best parts of family camping trips — the goodies and games. The drawers and cabinets are filled with candy and single-serve cereal boxes, and the fridge has classic glass bottles of Coke — sugary fuel for seemingly endless rounds of the board games found in the cupboards.
When the games are done, it’s time to step outside on the wood chips to take in the calm, clear night, represented by Grady Wallace’s stunning stencilled mural. It’s of a pink-haired girl, flashlight in hand, walking among graffiti green trees against a pitch-black sky with her blue grizzly bear protector. Not something you’d see, or would want to see, on a real life camping trip, but perhaps, after a day of inhaling crisp mountain air, something you’d dream and remember for the rest of your life.
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This article appears in the July 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.