Monday, September 25, 2023


Stash your RV inside a “fake house”?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Hide your RV inside a house? It’s a concept being looked at by city officials in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Last week city council members got a presentation from the city’s planning director and an interested citizen of Golden, Colorado, Scott Jacobs.

Jacobs has been looking around Cripple Creek for property that he might develop with a unique concept: Hybrid “RV pavilions.” On the outside, the structures look like a sticks-and-bricks residence. But apparently, a motorhome or trailer can be slipped inside the “false front” (our term), and connected to a full utility hookup. The “pavilion” would then serve as an official residence.

The planning director envisions these pavilions used as vacation or second homes, with the potential of conversion over time to a regular full-time residence. He was quick to point out to city councilors that building and zoning codes would need a revamp to make the idea work. The council asked for more research into the subject and a report back.

With a common objection among property owners when somebody floats the idea of, say, a new RV park, such as “our property values will plummet!” and “these things are unsightly and attract the criminal element!” – perhaps Mr. Jacobs’ idea could shoot down some of the noise and make it possible for full-timers to have an established home base without the usual flack that’s raised.

Kudos to Cripple Creek for its open-mindedness. Of course, with its gold-mining town history, it may have a few existing “false front” stores even today. Maybe that’s what makes it a bit more open to old-new ideas. We’ll stay on top of this story and let you know if something more develops.

And just to clarify: No, we don’t think the proposed false-fronted houses look anything like the picture we’ve posted. It’s just a “gag” photo to catch your attention!


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


  1. Several years ago and I mean back in the early 80s Trailer Life did an article about a RVer who built a RV house/barn. It was big enough to accommodate their 5th wheel trailer+, when the trailer was inside it was connected to all the normal utilities and the living room with furniture, TV, etc. was outside the trailer in an enclosed area of the barn. The trailer was used for the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom but they had a normal sized living room for their comfort and entertaining friends. From the outside it looked like a farmers out building in the field so it wouldn’t attract attention when they were home or away on a trip. At the time I thought it was an excellent way to use the RV 24/7 365 days a year and protect your investment at the same time.

  2. Envision this, a modern 60′ X 30′ steel/stone building with interior pedestal and 2 – 14′ tall garage doors, one on each side aligned so the RV can be pulled/driven straight thru. On the side facing the RV’s front door is a nice sized interior patio facing 2 -12′ wide garage doors with see thru panels that can open up on fine nights into a large semi-circular open air patio with fire pit. Not bad, not bad at all.

  3. Mother Earth News had an article where the rv parked inside a shed and provided all utilities. The living room and dining room were on the same level as the rv entrance.
    Since no living quarters were in the shed it was taxed as a shed rather than a home.
    I thought it was brilliant, wife was considerably less impressed.😁

    • I helped on a building with that same concept just a few miles south of us here in Sarasota. I too thought it was a great idea.

  4. I think this is a super idea worth much more discussion and evaluation. Exciting and innovative. Of course we’ll do it safely and we’ll be nice about it. Climate and natural critters come also to mind. The comment about the light is also an interesting consideration. I appreciate the freewheeling mindset.

  5. While address checking for the Census last year I had to do the airport in Pahrump NV. All of the houses there are hangers or have hangers. I went in one where the owners were building out their living quarters in the hanger. One of the first things I pinned in Pinterest was a “house” where the front including the porch raised up to expose an airplane. Great idea!

  6. Years ago, friends of ours built a large Morton building (pole barn on steroids) on a piece of property they intended to use for retirement. They came up on vacation with their truck camper which they setup inside the building. As they went along, they built in a shop, then an apartment structure. Eventually they built a house, after they retired. The building was large enough to house campers, farm equipment, cars, etc., and provided shelter, security and storage. Kind of the same idea as this story, except no effort to make it look like a residence.

  7. This already happening in some small towns and rural communities. It is a great idea for those that need a home base (Legal address and taxes for that community) Or people like me that love to travel but yet wish to hold on to some of my possessions with out paying rent somewhere for years. Florida has RV port homes – where you can see the RV from the Side. I like a place I can work on RV in any kind of weather – out of the weather. Metal buildings have been used also.

  8. The article isn’t clear as to whether the intention is to hide the “unsightly” RV from officious neighbors, or to build a shell so you can live in your RV as you slowly back it out while building the ‘guts’ of a normal house? Either way, it seems like it would feel very strange having extra walls around an RV you live in…

  9. If we ever sell the house and move, the new home will have one of those 40 foot “RV garages” built in as part of the house. We both agree on that.

  10. Photo is for illustration It’s not an example of a home as explained in the article.” I very much dislike “click bait” I did not bother to read the article after reading the disclaimer.


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