Renovating our 5th Wheel Camper: a DIY

Being able to live in a 365 square foot 5th wheel camper full time as a married couple and enjoy it takes a rare breed, or so I’ve been told.  Living in an RV presents the challenges of getting accustomed to small rooms, limited storage, very little privacy, planning on things moving when you relocate and most of all and cleaning constantly.  RV’s are not made to be lived in FULL TIME and other than this past year, J.O has been in our 2006 Forest River Cardinal full time since 2007 and we’ve been living in it together full time since 2009.   Needless to say, our little home on wheels has been loved and lived in full time for over 6 years.    Even though we have tried to make it our own with various decorating skills, we wanted to take it to the next level.  Read about our other DIT camper upgrades HERE.  When we decided that we would be heading back to California for work, we both decided on a whim that our very lived in 5th wheel needed a much-needed facelift.

Our bedroom before the transformation

Our bedroom before the transformation

Our living room before the transformation

Our living room before the transformation

Our non-existant headboard before the transformation

Our non-existant headboard before the transformation

 

When J.O and I sat down and spoke about what all we wanted to get done, the number one priority was our floors.  The nasty carpet that was throughout the camper was gross, I mean icky.  I had been renting a Rug Dr. every other month, but it hadn’t been able to keep up.  Along with new floors, we also decided that our project would include:

  1. Remove all carpet and replace with laminate and trim
  2. Refinish all cabinets and woodwork
  3. Replace all window treatments
  4. Reupholster weird carpet areas on walls that have to stay.
  5. Paint all walls
  6. Replace all furniture: sofa bed, recliner, dinning room table and chairs
  7. Create a backsplash in kitchen
  8. Reorganize and downsize all belongings

J.O and I had spoken about what kind of theme we wanted to go with and had both decided in order to make that area appear to be larger, we would go with a light and airy color scheme.  We both love the beach and after having lived in Hawaii and on the coasts of California, we had a lot of beach memorabilia; therefore, we planned on a light and airy beach theme.   We looked through a few magazines and found a paint color we loved (Blue Bonnet by Benjamin Moore) and agreed on white cabinets, woodwork and lighter maple floors.  The vision had been set!  Oh, and did I mention that with our projected departure date we would have roughly 5 weeks to complete all this? Uft-dah! Luckily, I was super excited, motivated and ready to get started ASAP!  I made up a timeline sheet for myself and got on it.time table

I started by getting going on the demo; taking down all of our cabinet doors and drawer faces, labeling them and removing all the hardware.  I was shocked to discover that we have 49 cabinet doors and drawer faces! All of these were brought to my parent’s spacious basement for refinishing.  J.O then helped me remove all the furniture from the camper and we were able to donate some of it and the other items that were extremely “loved” were brought to the dump.  Finally, I ripped down all those ugly window treatments and started to pull up the existing carpet.  Ripping up the carpet gave me a reminder why we never had it installed in our Wisconsin home: it’s disgusting.  Besides the fact that my skin broke out in hives from all the chemicals and fiberglass that was in it, the amount of dirt and dust that lay dormant under it was disturbing.  Gross.  Ripping the carpet up for the most part was pretty simple; nothing was glued down or stapled down to contact strips so I simply used a razor and my hands.  There were areas that I had to use a utility knife and cut out because cabinets were built on top of the carpet and they could not be removed.  After everything was removed I started to tape the areas that needed to be protected for when I refinished the woodwork in the camper and areas for when I painted the walls.

Post Demo

Post Demo

Post Demo

Post Demo

 

bedroom demo

bedroom demo

Our cousins, Brian and Rebecca, gave us the recommendation to refinish our cabinets with the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation kits.  They had done it to their bathroom cabinets and were very pleased with the results.  Plus, they said it would be easy: no sanding or stripping required!  I was sold on the idea after I say theirs, did a little research and realized that we would be able tot refinish everything for $120!  My cousin, Jessica, suggested for us not to do a stark white, as it would show off every grease and dirt mark and instead do one shade darker.  We decided to go with the Linen Finish as opposed to the White.   I’m very happy with that decision. J  I knew that it was going to be a time consuming project: factoring in many layers, drying time and refinishing both sides of the 49 doors.   To make the process go faster, I was able to set up a bunch of tables in my parent’s basement and lay each cabinet door out.  I also elevated them on VHS tapes, this way I was able to paint the sides of the doors without ruining the tables.  By laying everything out, I was able to create an assembly line for painting.  I then split my time up so that I would do one task for the doors in the morning before heading out to the camper to work on the woodwork there and then another task/layer on the doors at night before going to bed.  The entire process only consists of three steps (a deglazing, applying the color or bonding coat and then applying the protective coat) and other than the drying time, it went pretty fast, it was just tedious.  The only change we did from the original instructions was that we applied three coats of the color/bonding coat as opposed to the recommended two. We also did not do the optional glazing coat.   The cabinets and woodwork took roughly two and a half weeks to fully complete, but I chose not to reinstall any of the cabinets or do the final protective coat on the woodwork in the camper until all the wall painting was finished.  This way, I could do touch-ups on the woodwork if needed and not mess up the protective coat.

Cabinets are painted, walls are primed!

Cabinets are painted, walls are primed!

 

IMG_2870 Painting the camper walls was next.  After patching all the nail holes and taping off the woodwork that I had just refinished, I applied two coats of Kilnz primer and three coats of Behr paint.  At first I was nervous on our color choice.  It was appearing in certain light to be whiter than a light blue.  Luckily, after the second coat, the blue tint came out more and my nerves settled.  The one mistake I made was taping off the veneer woodwork I had just refinished because when I removed the painters’ tape, the color came off with it, making me have to do more touchups than I had planned on.

bathroom painted

bathroom painted

living room painted

living room painted

We on a whim we decided to create a headboard like piece for our bed and bought some wainscoting and trim.  Using a few finishing nails, we had a completely new look in our bedroom! Plus, it added more depth to the room itself.

installing the headboard

installing the headboard

 

headboard installed

headboard installed

 

At this time I was able to reinstall all the hardware on the cabinets and then reinstall them in the camper.  J.O also got started on our flooring.  We knew that this part would also take some time, with all the nooks and crannies that had to be cut and constant testing with the slides to make sure that nothing was going to be scratched or stuck.  He would work on them at night after work and even was able to recruit some help from one of our great friends, Norman.  The floors and trim were worked on until the last week.  J.O did such a fantastic job, going that extra mile to ensure that everything looked fantastic.  He trimmed out everything to make it look finished and lovely.  Our main slide was something that we had to take into consideration when installing the floors, as there is a transition area that lifts and slides into place.  When there was carpet, there was simply an extra long flap that covered this transition bar, but with a floating laminate floor, that would not be an option.  After much research and thought, J.O ended up installing an extra piece of laminate where the slides meet and then a transition strip that elevates itself.  It works beautifully!  No scratching or catching whatsoever. We just make sure that the floor is clean from any debris before moving in or out the slides.  I was truly impressed and proud.  Have I said how much I love my lineman? 😉

Floors being installed into the 5th wheel

Floors being installed into the 5th wheel

IMG_0285

Side view of the threshold piece from the slide to the main cabin

Side view of the threshold piece from the slide to the main cabin

Our window treatments were all made with tender-loving care in 9 hours by my incredibly talented mom and sister.  We had bought 6 large panes of window drapes from Ikea and after I took the necessary measurements they were able to sew and create custom drapes from us.  I bought all of our rods and finials at Ikea and had J.O cut a few rods to length for me.  We ended up using screw hooks to hold the rods up on each side of the windows as the rod holders that were included stuck out too far.  I’m still deciding if I want to go the extra step and make thermal/black out drapes to add in or not.  As for now, these are working perfectly!  I also have two feet long segments of white cording to use as tiebacks to keep the drapes open when wanted.mom and jen

New Curtains!

New Curtains!

By this time, I was ready for a brake from the mundane tasks of painting.  It was time to think about the furniture!  I decided to buy the majority of our items from Ikea.  Not only was there a warehouse within 30 minutes from my parent’s home, but also they had many items in a birch finish, thus adding to our beachy theme.  The main reason though was that Ikea is a European company, so all of their furniture is smaller, making it perfect for a camper.  I did some scoping online before my mom and I ventured over there.  Our first (yes, first) trip there, we were in the store for 4 hours! I was overloaded with ideas, but thanks to my innovative and artistic mother (the woman is amazing when it comes to decorating), my mind was put at ease.  She helped me figure out colors for pillows and rugs.

Finally, before we were able to move all the furniture in start decorating, I reupholstered the weird carpet covered areas surrounding the door and one side of a cabinet with the same fabric we used for the drapes.

We decided to replace the big sleeper sofa with a twin size bed that with pillows would be transformed into a daybed.  This would allow us to have more room, less weight in the camper and more storage (under the bed).  Plus, in the future a trundle bed could be added under the bed in place of storage for additional sleeping.  All the bed dressing is from Ikea, except for the personalized pillow cases which came from Pottery Barn, a gift from my mom for our anniversary!

new day bed with lots of pillows!

new day bed with lots of pillows!

J.O and I also had decided to get rid of the stock dining room table and chairs that we never used.  They just took up space and were too tight for us to sit at comfortably.  Plus, we usually eat outside whenever possible.  Our cousin, Brian, is a fantastic woodworker and he was gracious enough to build us a custom foldaway table that will be stored under the daybed when we don’t use it and attached to the wall (where the blue kitchen cart is) when we want to use it.  It is simply attached with 2 sets of tongue and groove picture frame holders.  Two are permanently attached to the wall and the other two are on the table’s side.  They latch into each other when we want to put the table up and we can easily take the table down and store under the bed.   Mom and I found birch crates that not only act as storage for some dry pantry goods, but with added seat cushions they will be our chairs for when we use the table.

Our fantastic custom table set up and ready to use!

Our fantastic custom table set up and ready to use!

The mounts used to mount the table to the wall

The mounts used to mount the table to the wall

The mounts we used for our fold-away table.  You can find them at your local hardware store.

The mounts we used for our fold-away table. You can find them at your local hardware store.

New kitchen dining area holds  our bookshelf, a kitchen cart and crates that act as both storage and seating at our custom table that folds down

New kitchen dining area without the table holds our bookshelf, a kitchen cart and crates that act as both storage and seating at our custom table when we have it up.

Other furniture that we found to help with storage included a kitchen cart, magnetic spice containers, a magnetic strip to hold our knifes (and they stay up when traveling!) storage boxes for under the daybed, storage boxes for tools, documents and medicine, drawer organizers, refrigerator organizers,  a cutting board that fits perfectly over our stovetop to give us more counter space, a small bookshelf that fits along the head of the daybed and another crate stool that J.O uses for a side table at his new recliner that we found on overstock.com.  Long dog also got a new bed and food dish.  My one problem I ‘m having now is that I have things too organized and am having a little trouble remembering where I put things!

New Day bed and new kitchen storage area

New Day bed and new kitchen storage area

Long Dog's area!

Long Dog’s area!

new shelving system installed for our canned goods.  We use spring rods and made bookend-like pieces of each end to hold in the cans when we travel

new shelving system installed for our canned goods. We use spring rods and made bookend-like pieces of each end to hold in the cans when we travel

New Kitchen, note the magnetic spices!

New Kitchen, note the magnetic spices!

Unfortunately, our backslash for the kitchen is still on backorder, but when it ships to my parent’s house, they will forward it onto us in California.  We special ordered a backsplash that is actually made out of a gel silicone to look like glass.  It’s a peel and stick application that looks to be easy to install and can be removed with the heat from a hairdryer.  It is from a company in Canada called SmartTile.   I’m super excited to get it!

*Our backsplash finally came in and I just installed it!  It looks amazing!  Click HERE to read more about how we installed it and why we love the product so much!

Before and After of the kitchen

Before and After of the kitchen

There were also 4 cut out areas in one section of the cabinets that originally had pieces of carpet inlayed into them (weird…).  I decided to remove those pieces and in place install customized window-like pieces.  I cut out pieces of Plexiglas to fit the openings and using all the sea glass J.O and I had found over the past few years while on beach walks, I made mosaic like windows that I then inlayed into the holes.  I am simply holding each window up with Duck tape on the hidden backside, as someday I know I’ll want to take them with us.  I then installed self-stick, battery operated puck lights behind each glass piece.  At night, they are illuminated and pretty damn cool if I say so myself!

Inlayed windows we made for our cabinets.  Made out of plexiglass and sea glass we have found over the years.  There is a battery operated puck light in the cabinet to illuminate it at night!

Inlayed windows we made for our cabinets. Made out of plexiglass and sea glass we have found over the years. There is a battery operated puck light in the cabinet to illuminate it at night!

our living room at night with sea glass illuminated

our living room at night with sea glass illuminated

 

In the final days before getting ready for the departure back to California in our renovated home on wheels, we reorganized every cabinet, our closets, the under belly, weeded out appliances and items we found ourselves never using, J.O installed new wheels and tires on the 5th wheel, had the brakes done, then installed a Thule roof rack system on our truck (which freed up a ton of room in the underbelly) and did a lot of packing, running around making returns and exchanges and stops at Goodwill and our storage unit. You can read more about how we downsize by clicking HERE.

new wheels!

new wheels!

 

The best part was showing off our home on wheels to all of our friends and family at our going away party.  Many had never been in our camper home before, so it was fun to show them.  We also had everyone that came in to see it sign our chalkboard, a fun guestbook for us to look at while on the road to our next adventure.   Find out how to create your own magnetic chalkboard by clicking HERE.Chalkboard

It feels so amazing to have a new, clean and more functional living space.  We both love it and are so happy with the outcome.  I know that none of it would have come together as smoothly as it did without the help of so many loved ones.IMG_3023

Collage of our 5th wheel renovation!

Collage of our 5th wheel renovation!

 

Bedroom. full view

Bedroom. full view

Daybed, slide, full view

Daybed, slide, full view

recliner, kitchen, full view

recliner, kitchen, full view

full view

full view

Day bed instead of a couch in our 5th wheel, great under the bed storage!Day bed instead of a couch in our 5th wheel, great under the bed storage!

New Day bed and new kitchen storage area

New Day bed and new kitchen storage area

living room 1 done Lower level

New Recliner and kitchen

New Recliner and kitchen

Bathroom

Bathroom

bedroom 1

bedroom 1

New headboard for our bed!

New headboard for our bed!

Kitchen Complete with new back splash
Kitchen Complete with new back splash

 


Comments

Renovating our 5th Wheel Camper: a DIY — 172 Comments

  1. The camper looks fabulous! I can’t believe how much work you two did in such little time! Paid off because it’s beautiful!

  2. Good job. I lived in a 250 square foot apartment when I first moved to Toronto, and our high-rise apartment was only a little bigger than your RV – 550 square feet. It’s a challenge living in a small space. Good thing there’s Ikea!

    • It can be a challenge, as you well know! It’s always easy to upgrade in space, but downsizing is more of a challenge for sure. BUt it feels good every time we free ourselves of unused objects! And yes, THANK Goodness for Ikea! :)

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  4. I love it! Very inspiring. My husband and I are full timing in a 21ft bumper pull. We are thinking about moving up to something 5th wheel sized. It is great to see the beautiful modifications you made to the standard RV type of decorating. Very homey!

  5. Really beautiful remodel. We just bought a 89 class C and we want to remodel it so this has given me much inspiration. We have like a roll bar that is carpeted, so I am curious what you found behind the poles that were carpeted in your RV. You mention you covered them with fabric, how did you attach it?

    • Thanks! We were able to take down the carpeted pieces on around the door. They were simply attached with a few screws. We then reupholstered them by wrapping them in the new fabric and securing the fabric with a staple gun, similar to how you would reupholster a chair. There was one area that couldn’t be taken down, so there I hand sewed the new fabric over the existing carpet

  6. We’re wanting to replace our icky carpet with hardwood. We are keeping the bedroom as is, but we have three slides on the main level. Can you please explain what you did with a little more detail. My lineman doesn’t want to do the work so there more info I have the better! Thanks!!!

  7. I love what you did.I live in a 32 ft. fifth wheel as Im taking care of my ailing mother.I have very little decorative abilities and the most I have done is ripped out the ugly window coverings.Now I dont know which way is worse to look at.I am going to try to start with tearing this useless hideabed out to make room for a twin bed like yours.Great idea!!How difficult was it to remove? Its like mine is literally bolted from rhe bottom all the way up the back and sides.Help!

    • Thank you! Sometimes they do go a little heavy on the number of nails or screws they use to attach those headboards to the wall, but all in all, they are daily easy to remove. Good luck!

  8. Thank you for sharing! It is beautifully done.
    My husband and I did something similar with our Airstream which we lived in for a couple years before we moved to Central America. We are thinking about coming back to the states and are thinking about upgrading to a fifth wheel for more space.
    Great inspiration here. Gracias! Rose

  9. What an awesome makeover! My husband and I were full-time with our 3 teens and pound puppy for over a year. We’ve settled down now, but one of my goals for 2014 is to buy an RV to renovate so my husband and I can hit the road again. Probably not full-time, but for a month or so here and there if we can swing it.

  10. Love wha you did here! We have a ’96 Excel 28′ that we prefer to our house! I am sick of all the pink and oak, but husband is not on board with redoing. I am not giving up – :). In your kitchen, did you replace sink and faucet? Did you use stock from Home Depot, etc.? The “tiles” are fantastic!

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  12. Great job! We’re thinking of tacking the cabinets and flooring next, so your post gives us great hope.
    My husband and I live in a 35′ Excel full-time too. We’ve been in it for 2 years now. The first thing we did was remove the heavy window coverings and valances. We painted the walls with Behr 2-in-1 primer and paint (a pale blue-green in the living area, periwinkle in the kitchen and light apple green in the bed and bath. Then we added light striped window coverings.
    We’ve started to work on the built in sofa, but are taking a break to figure out what we really want. We bought folding wood chairs by Stakmore and are saving up to get a Stakmore expanding table.
    We love our small space, but still need to figure out better access to things…we store them away and then can’t find them.
    Thanks again for your post.

  13. We will be selling our motorhome and buying a 5th wheel. We are considering getting a used 5th wheel and remodeling it. What kind of 5th wheel do you have? I like the layout of the kitchen etc.

      • Hello I just bought a 1993 travel surpreme fifth wheel. The kitchen and living room is remodeled but still need to paint or wallpaper. It has new carpet I want hard wood floors. How easy was that to do? My bathroom also needs to be updated. We are moving in this full time.
        Thank you, Christine

  14. We are in the process of remodel of our 34′ Holiday Rambler Alumascape. I have foud your blog to be very encouraging. We also purchased a floating floor at Lowes. We installed a few pieces last night a brought the slide in. We got a couple of scratches. I figured we could put a couple of runners under it each time we close it up. We are not quite sure how your husband solved the problem. Does the picture of your finished floor show that transition area? You have done an awesome job.

    • Oh, No! I hope it didn’t scratch your floor too bad! The photos do in fact so the transition piece. YOu can see that the threshold between the slide and the main cabin sits about 1/4″ higher than the ground. This was achieved by using a threshold trim piece. He screwed it to the slide side so that it hovers and overlaps over/onto the main cabin side. You also want to make sure that you have swept you floors really well before bringing in the slides. Good luck!

  15. Very very cool…. love it you have done an awesome job. One question where do you put your stools and the small rectangular table by the side of the daybed when you travel so that everything doesn’t slide around. and have to save and re read the flooring and slide as if we keep this rv I want the carpet out too! very impressive!

    • Thank You! The table goes under or on top of the day bed and because the slide pulls in so close to the recliner chair, everything stays in place. The stools are strapped to the side of the bed with bungee cords :)

  16. Man…. this is AWESOME! You’ve totally inspired me! We are looking for an RV now and can’t wait to stumble upon something this perfect – I absolutely love the layout and the reno you did is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for posting!

  17. How does the laminate hold up in the camper. I’m sure you don’t keep the air on all the time. Also the back splash. Does it get too warm and peel off?

    • The laminate floors have held up great! We have had no problems and live in a damp climate so our temps change often. The back splash hasn’t shown any sign of peeling or wanting to peel! It’s on there good!

  18. I found your wonderful remodel while looking for information on painting an rv interior. Wow. Nice job. Very nice. We are inspired which is what you hoped we would be. It worked!
    We are 1/2 way through our rv remodel and I am holding off on the painting. It seems pretty daunting! We are transforming a wonderful 5th wheel.The good news is that the rv is in excellent condition, the bad is that the color scheme is pure 1994.We are not into mauve and teal with fake shine brass so much. I wish we had taken photos. You wouldn’t believe the sand I found under the light teal carpet. Who puts light blue carpet into a camper?.
    The sea glass inserts were genius.
    Anyway thanks and I hope this finds you having a wonderful stay wherever you might be now.
    Sarah Bjorndahl

  19. Your camper looks wonderful! I was wondering … did you strip all the wallpaper off your camper walls before priming/painting?

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  21. I gotta ask, was this quite affordable?
    You folks did an amazing job!
    And was it all DIY? Or did you hire ?

  22. What a fabulous (and inspiring!) facelift! The great thing about deadlines is that you “get ‘er done!” Congrats – hope you’re enjoying the new space

  23. Awesome job on the floor, I really liked the before table/chairs, it beats built in dinettes! We just bought a 35′ holiday rambler, stellar condition, if you like brass-the save for us is everything is cream (goes with everything) including the carpet – yikes! My first thought is to put stainless pulls in the whole thing – I believe I counted 39 and spray the brass lighting stainless matt or silver. I love the idea of the daybed, is it comfortable seating?

  24. The sea glass inlay is so pretty. I bet the RV manufacturers will be stealing your idea for the fold away table. What Ikea items were used? Specifically the daybed and other furniture.

  25. Totally enjoyed seeing your RV transform! I am currently looking for ideas to make ours “ours”- ya know? Right now it looks like the stock design. Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. WOW!!! Totally awesome! GREAT JOB!!! this is the best RV renovation I’ve seen yet. You were so thoughtful about everything! My favorite is the day bed in place of the sofa. Perfect idea!

  27. Love love love the redo you guys did. We are also curently full time living in our 5th wheel 32ft travel trailer. Its me, my husband and our 2 boys. When we got our trailor someone had removed all the original furnishings and redone the floors with laminate tiles. We also got a small bunk bed from Ikea. Its actually a reverse bed for a growing child but it was the only thing short enough to fit in the slide out space and provide space for both mattresses. We also whent couch shopping and found one that is a duel recliner. The backs come completly off so it fits through the small door. It is still a work in progress. You have givin us some good ideas thank you for sharing.

  28. Hi there!

    Congratulations on an awesome result! I found you because of your mention of the Smart Tiles, too.

    I just bought a 1994 Diesel Motorhome that I am rehabbing into my #sewmobile (see my progress and other stuff on Instagram – I’m RipStitcher there) .

    Your work is inspiring. Thanks for taking the time to share your efforts with the rest of us!

    :)

    Sally / Ripstitcher

  29. for the kitchen backsplash, what did you use? it looks like tile. I just bought a 35′ 5th wheel and getting ready to do reno’s before I move in. loved what you did.

  30. Great job!! Love the whole decor!!! I’m fixing to start tomorrow remodeling one myself but for someone else hope it all turns out great!!

  31. My husband wants to buy a camper-the slide in kind-to put on the truck that we bought. It already has a deluxe 5th wheel attachment in the truck bed, and I would much prefer a 5th wheel than a camper! If we order a new one, I wonder if I can tell them I’ll bring them the upholstery fabric and window covering fabric to replace the ugly stuff that they have to choose from. You are an inspiration to prove that it can be done and doesn’t have to look like every other one!

  32. What an amazing job! My husband and I live in our 29 ft Cardinal 80% of the time. We purchased our camper a few months ago and I’m looking to upgrade it over the next year. We are expecting so I’m looking to make it more kid friendly. This is such and inspiration. Absolutely beautiful!!

  33. Wow.. I really love what you have done! We are full time RV’ers ourselves, and I’m like you were.. I’m sick of looking at all this brown and disgusting carpet..ewwww.. plus we have a cat and between him n I we have hair flying everywhere and tons of his in our carpet. The first thing I did was rip out the window coverings, but left the blinds, then I took all the border off the walls. But I was really scared to do the cabinets, but I’m really liking yours.
    Anyways, I want to Thank you for sharing and helping me feel better about my decisions too. Take care, and safe travels, maybe one day we’ll cross paths.. (we are in the southern TX part right now.. getting ready to leave Houston and head towards Corpus Christi.. (we travel with my hubby’s job, he is a weld supervisor -welder..been traveling going on 12 yrs).

  34. What an awesome accomplishment and in such a short time!
    My husband was also very skilled and we worked together on many projects. Last Sept. 2013 I made the decision to trade my jeep in for a pick up, my 15 ft. travel trailer for a 25 ft. travel trailer (something I could live in full time & haul myself) & started the huge task of downsizing. I retired this year and in June my fur companion “BobCat” & I moved into our little home on wheels. The dream my husband & I shared was to become “Snowbirds”. I have decided to live this dream for both of us. Next week I start the drive from Ontario, Canada to spend 6 months in Florida. I am bringing my little sewing machine and plan to purchase fabric (seaside, beach, etc.) and sew replacement window treatments, pillow shams & a quilt for my bedroom. I have an enclosed window where my headboard should be & when I return to Canada, I plan to build a lightweight bead board shutter window covering that is hinged & can be opened up during the day. The wall is sloped and I dislike curtains hanging on my head. I have 2 other windows in the bedroom that I will sew curtains. I also plan to start painting the dark wood that makes the spaces look smaller & on a cloudy day just as dreary. I need to bounce some light around. I will paint the bathroom first. Thank You both for all the photos, write ups & info. You have given me many, many ideas & new projects to look forward to. Everyone out there that reuses your ideas will do so to suit their needs & personalities.I took your beach glass idea & made a window covering for my bathroom out of seashells, tiles, beach glass & stained paint & mounted everything on plexiglass. The light comes in but still gives privacy.
    Wishing the three of you “Safe & Happy Journeys!”

  35. I’m getting ready to paint the walls (I’m starting in the bathroom in case I completely screw it up haha). There are places where the wallpaper has bubbled from water. I’m not sure if I should try and pull the wall paper off or paint over it. I’m nervous if I pull it off, I won’t be able to get it all off, if I don’t pull it all off then you will see a line where some of the wallpaper is still attached or if I paint over the bubbled wallpaper if it will chip off later. Any suggestions?

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  37. I LOVE YOUR REDO!!! We just purchased a 5th wheel trailer. A 2005 and other than the bedroom it is identical to yours. One question I have though, did your trailer come with the inserts that are in your cabinet doors or did you purchase them? Ours has mirrors with a sandblasted animal on them and I just can’t handle them. Did I mention that I love your blog? Well I do. Wishing you happy and safe travels.

    • Thank you! Yes, it did originally come with inserts in the cabinet doors. The frosted glass. Also, in between the cabinets, there was originally carpeted inserts (yuck!) I redid these with plexi-glass and a sea glass mosaic.

    • They are all heavy enough that they really don’t move around. Our daybed is reenforced with industrial velcro strips to the floor and the table is tucked away under the bed with a non-slip pad.

  38. Are those wood floors, it says laminate floor but it looks like wood to me? Thanks we want to use wood and did not know if it would work.

  39. I am so inspired! We have been looking at new and used 5th Wheels as an upgrade to our travel trailer and the new interiors turn me right off. Thanks for a great post!!!!
    Jessica Byrnes SW Colorado

  40. Wow! You are brave to take on all of that work. I am impressed. I love our Flagstaff, but my husband is ready for something different. We have the rear kitchen too. Ours isn’t very old. I think my husband could wait a while if we could replace that sofa bed with something more substantial. We’ve blown 3 or 4 air mattresses. It is good to know that the sofa will fit out the door. The other thing he is frustrated with is the way the carpet matts down. We keep it clean, but I know he would prefer something else. I would have never guessed that laminate was possible. Nice job.

    • Our stove and microwave have a magnetic face and side to them, so the containers simply attach with the magnetic backing they come with! As for the magnetic knife holder, we bought that at ikea and attached it to the wall

  41. Absolutely love your creativity. And tho I’m alone in my renovations, I can do a little at a time. Much thanks for your ideas and inspiration

  42. This is a lovely remodel! I’ve seen many people paint their RV cabinetry but I’m nervous to do so. The cabinets in such a small space are more prone to getting knocked about. Are you happy with how your paint has held up to use? Would you do anything differently or use the same product if you had to do it again?

    • It’s been almost two years since the remodel, and I’m happy to say that I am happy with the cabinet paint! It has help up well for flu lime use, however, there are a few areas on the corners that need a little touch up. If I were to do it again, I would do 1 more layer of paint and protection :)

  43. Love the makeover! It is so fresh and airy. Very welcoming. We just bought our first motorhome in December. It was lived in for 4 years by the previous owner and let me tell you, the interior was never cleaned. But we saw the potential. 35′ 1985 Country Coach with double set of rear wheels (I forget the technical term that it’s called). As soon as we got it home, my Mr. pulled up the carpeting and can you say beyond gross? He moved the L/R sofa and there were used cigarettes and a lighter where the heat flows. Thankfully, the place didn’t smell like cigarettes. Anyway, on his days off, we’ve been slowly renovating. We went opposite in color when it came to the wood. He doesn’t believe in painting natural wood but he agreed to stain it. I like dark wood to begin with so we went with General Finishes “Brown Mahogany.” It offsets the creamy french vanilla that we painted on the walls and ceiling. I’m making the new semi-sheer white curtains for the windows and have already hand dyed the new dinette seat/seat back and sofa fabric in a light robins egg blue. I’ll be making the covers for those. He redid the flooring with floating planks in Maple which looks really nice against the dark stained cabinets. The bedroom carpet is too difficult to pull up the way the bed was designed so that is going to be shock and awed with rug shampoo. We redid the bathroom floor and entrance stairs in a pretty ceramic that resembles a white marble with faint grayish markings on it. Not overpowering. New bathroom sink and faucet, new kitchenette faucet and a backsplash by the oven/under the convection microwave. Tons of work, but I give him all the credit. It needs a refresher exterior paint job but that was being planned for next year. After all of this, not that we are done yet, we find out his job is transferring us to NYC. Can’t park a normal car there let alone a motorhome! So now our little piece travel heaven is going up for sale. We never got to use it! So ticked off.

  44. We have this same trailer! Love the makeover! Especially the bedroom! My husband loves the floor and the removal of the table. Thank you, Lord! I’ve been asking him, like, FOREVER! Thanks for sharing!

  45. great job, we have a wildcat with similar layout and down the road it will get a makeover too. in the meantime. we took out the table/chairs and added a counter with drawer under that window and two stools that slide in. drawer holds the computer. we always take out the front door glass and install mirrored window glass. i want to see who might knock on my door and you will be amazed how much you like it. costs about $20. for the glass and it’s a two person install. i also love the clear plexi insert for the screen door to do away with that 12 inch barrier at the handle. another $20. project that is a WOW factor. i built dividers from 1/2 plywood for all my cupboards and closets and if you have a pantry that is deep and hard to use, put the canned goods in the drawers and store oversize or upright containers for some of the drawer stuff back in the pantry. thanks loads for documenting and picturing your makeover. that too is a job!! deb

    • Thank you! We had a customized kitchen table made that can be folded and put away under the bed. We still have an open are on the other side of the bed where the original table was. When the table is not up and in use, we have our pantry crates (which double as chairs for the table) and produce cart in that area :)

  46. My husband and I recently purchased a 5th wheel I absolutely love what you and your family did with yours. My question to you is, how did you do the trim that covers the seams where the wood meets. The trim has gold in it. Will the primer that you used cover up that?

  47. i hate to say it but i liked the old style (minus the floor-love the new one) better than the new one .At least you had a table and chairs to eat , plus the paint will chip off whether you want it to or not. Just my opinion . I have a friend that is in the camper business and he tells about people stripping out and remodeling cutting the value out of a camper . I have one that was done like that and i picked it up cheap….As i said , i’m not trying to be negative , Just my opinion………

    • Everyone is entitled to their opinion! We love our floors, and we do have a table and chairs to sit and eat at! They were custom built for us and fold flat for for storage when we don’t want to use them and have more space! :) Our paint has only chipped around the counter tops a little, but other than that, it’s holding up great! I’d still highly recommend the Rustoleum Refinish product to anyone. Our remodel works for us, and since we live in it full time, that’s what matters most. :)

  48. Hi, I’m going to be going on the same adventure soon, and with a newborn! I have a few questions, as I’m totally going to tweak some of the basics immediately. When you ripped up the floor, what were those two big holes from? Did you do anything special when you painted the walls? (I saw on another blog that Mod Podge will help paint from chipping, have you heard of that?) Thanks!

    • Hi! I’m not sure what holes you’re talking about….which picture were you looking at to give me a better idea. As far as the painting, I did a primer and then the paint. I haven’t heard of the mode podge idea for chipping! I haven’t had any chipping so far!

  49. Any chance you could post a tutorial on the flooring for the slides? We have one with a level slide as well, and we’re probably going to put in laminate rather than vinyl plank, but those edges … I’m trying to figure out how to do those.

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  51. Good Morning Sweetie. I know that you havent been on your blog so much, but I have an important question about your redo. Did you have to fix any of your roof? We just got our unit and it seems that we have a soft part on our roof and we thought about going from the inside out so that we didn’t have such a big amount of money invested. (And this way I could get a new cabinet!) Thank you.

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  61. Love the Smart Tiles…. I didn’t know they existed! We live in our 1997 30ft camper with our 13 year old son. Next week (hopefully) we are buying a 2006 fifth wheel with a bunk room. Everything in the kitchen is already white…. But I plan to remove the hideous GREEN wallpaper border and fabric trim everywhere. The Smart Tiles will be my saving grace…. Modern look without thinset and grout! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  95. Love Love Love your ideas! I am an artist and my hubby and I travel around the country while I participate in fine art shows through out the USA with our two cats Romeo and Valentino. We purchased a 32 foot RV and as an artist I am DYING to rip out the carpet and renovate this “date & homogenized look” and create an artist eclectic fun and elegant custom styled RV both inside and out. EVERY THING IN YOUR POST has helped me tremendously and I really appreciate your thoroughness. THANK YOu THANK YOU THANK YOU!

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  97. I’m loving all of these ideas, my husband just got a new traveling job and we have decided to remodel a used RV to carry our family of 5 (and three pets) instead of buying a new one, so I will definitely be saving some of your ideas!

    I’m curious, did you sand the walls before priming and painting? Or just wash them down and put the kilz on?

    • Wonderful! You will make so many memories together <3 I didn't sand the walls. Our wallpaper wasn't very textured. I simply washed them and used 2 coats of primer, and 2 coats of paint

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  99. Wonderful job! One question, did you just paint right over wallpaper on the walls? If so, any special treatment beforehand?

  100. We have a camper 5th wheel and would love some ideas!! We have a two year old and a puppy! (: Were living here until husband finished school!! any ideas

    • I would love to know if you remodeled and see your pics. We are bringing our new to us fifth wheel home in a few days, and I’m looking every where for ideas. We have a 2 year old and 2 dogs. Really admire these before and afters, so pretty!

  101. what a beautiful reno! Can you please tell me what brand/color your flooring is and where you purchased it? Looks like Hickory? I LOVE IT! We are buying an RV and you have given me such great ideas. Thanks so much!

  102. Hi! How has having laminate on the slide held up for you over the years? You have by far the best explanation of how to do it!

  103. I’m buying a 2005 Cardinal and want to renovate aa well. I didn’t know it could be done. Love yours so much! Thank you for sharing!

  104. Hi! Getting ready to paint the cabinets in our motorhome and was wondering how well yours have held up and if you’d use the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Kit again? Thanks!
    Deborah

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