You guys, I am so excited to finally be writing this post! This is wild, I feel like it was just yesterday that we were bringing home our camper and parking it as D.J.’s dad’s house, but that was already 4 months ago!
We knew our camper was in great shape and other than the really crappy caulking job the previous previous owner did on the outside and needing to replace the awning, there really wasn’t anything else that NEEDED updated (other than those couch/dinette cushions that I thought were so ugly and needed to get rid of) but we were going into this knowing we wanted to give it a little makeover, making it more modern and homier.
D.J. and I both grew up going camping with our families but our experiences looked a little different. D.J. used to go down to his family’s farm in West Virginia where his Pap grew up. He would have to spend days cutting the grass out in the field just to be able to “set up camp”. They didn’t have any bathrooms, running water or electricity, so he was definitely used to roughing it or camping “primitively”. When I was younger, I used to go tent camping with my church all the time to different campsites and when I got a little older, my family upgraded to a pop-up. Ever since then I have definitely enjoyed more of the “glamping” lifestyle, especially after staying at a 5 star Dude Ranch in Montana for 3 different Kilar Family Reunions. (Go checkout the Ranch at Rock Creek if you want to see what I’m talking about!)
So even though we had a fully functioning camper in great shape, we wanted to turn it into a glamper before taking it on our first trip. Pinterest has definitely been my best friend throughout this project and where I go when I need some inspiration. I am the WORST when it comes to making decisions and I get so stressed out when I have too many options, so it’s been so helpful seeing what other people have done in their campers! I created an entire board “On the Road” and you can check it out below.
We were originally supposed to be on a cruise the week of Thanksgiving but because of COVID that was obviously canceled. We decided to still keep our PTO for that week and spend all our extra time working on the camper. We literally thought back then that we would be able to knock out this entire project during that week… HAHAHA! This has quickly turned into a lot more work than we were originally planning but it’s been so much fun and I have been learning so much along the way! If our three days of demo taught me anything, it’s the fact that you can really learn so much about how something is built by taking it apart. I am totally confident that we could build one of these from scratch one day but let’s get through this project first!
Demo Day 1
- Updated all the lights to LED bulbs. The very first thing D.J. wanted to do as soon as we got in the camper was to update all the lightbulbs to LED and they truly made such a big difference! Campers are already so dark and dull with the color choices they use and the lighting doesn’t help. Switching them out really brightened the place up!
- Took off all of the doors, hinges, and hardware from the cabinets. We tried to do this is in a very organized way making things easy for us when we were finally ready to start putting things back together. We put all the pieces in labeled Ziploc bags and stored them right on top of the cabinet doors they belonged to in one of the spare bedrooms in D.J.’s dad’s house.
- Removed the bathroom door
- Took apart the dinette. By taking it apart, we saw how simply it was built and knew we’d be able to make something similar. We’re planning on keeping the original frame and seeing what we can do to enhance it.
- Knocked out the wardrobe that was behind the dinette.
- Ripped off all the trim throughout the camper and tape between the wall panels.
- Cleaned up a BUNCH of mouse poop and the dead mouse we found. When we bought the camper Venetia and Roger had little baggies of shredded Irish Spring soap scattered throughout which they said helps keep mice away. They obviously didn’t stay too far away because we literally found a dead mouse which I hated and got so paranoid we’d find more so D.J. bought some Ultrasonic pest repeller electronic plugs which seem to be working pretty well!
- Disassembled the tv/sound bar that was connected to the overhead cabinets above the couch. We’re still deciding whether or not we’re even going to bother putting the TV back in. We hardly ever watch TV in real life when we’re at home and can’t really see us watching one too much in the camper, but have been thinking about getting some sort of projector.
- Took apart the Jackknife sofa and ripped up the pink carpet that was underneath it. I’ve never heard of this style of sofa bed before. It was honestly pretty cool and nice because two people could sleep on it if needed, but I knew in my head what I envisioned for that space. That couch was not it, so had to go.
- Super Bright LED Bulbs for 12V RV Ceiling Dome Light
- Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
- Craftsman V20 Cordless Drill Combo
- 3-Piece Trim Kit
- Utility Knife and Blades
- Ziploc Baggies
- Black Sharpie
- Broom/Dust Pan
Demo Day 2
- Removed the vinyl paneling behind bed. The previous owners added this thick vinyl paneling behind the queen bed as a headboard for some extra cushion/padding for their heads. We didn’t love the look of it, so we ripped it out. There was still glue stuck to the wall in big chunks that have been really hard to sand down and we obviously can’t paint on top of that, so we’re going to glue a new panel up there with a different look.
- Hammered in all the staples from the wooden boxes that were covered in carpet. The wheel wells and pass through storage area were both covered with that pink carpet and after we ripped it out there were still staples sticking out of it. We hammered them all down so they were flat against the wood.
- Scrubbed off all the tape residue from the walls with Goo Gone.
- Took out the speakers from the ceilings and the actual unit from the cabinets above the dinette.
- Took down the air conditioner cover from the ceiling.
- Took out the microwave.
- Unscrewed all the light fixtures from the walls/ceilings.
- Took down the window treatments and the window frames/screens.
- Scrubbed down all the walls, cabinets, and windows. You can imagine how dirty a camper gets (especially areas that aren’t typically exposed) so we made sure to give everything a deep cleaning.
- Swept up all the debris on the floor.
Additional Products Used on Day 2:
- Goo Gone Adhesive Remover Spray
- Microfiber Towels
- Plastic Bucket
- Warm Water
- Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
- Dilution Spray Bottle
Demo Day 3
- Sanded the walls and cabinets. Don has a belt sander that was a huge help covering a larger surface in a shorter amount of time. I was really thinking we were so close to priming and painting, but while we were sanding over by the front door, we noticed a soft spot in the wall.
- Took down the overhead cabinets above the couch and above the dinette. The damage was on the right side of the cabinets so we had to take them down in order to rip out more of the wall to see how much damage there really was. (I was so happy though because it opened up the space even more and we decided that we weren’t going to put the cabinets back up.)
- Ripped out part of the wall/ceiling to assess the damage. We ended up finding a hole in the roof where the awning was screwed in. Unfortunately it was letting water in, and we could tell some of the boards in the wall were damp.
- Pouted and realized this project was going to be more work than we originally planned. This honestly was a little discouraging. I knew that the camper would be looking a little nakey while we were going through demo but now there was literally a huge hole in the wall with water dripping in from the ceiling.
Additional Products Used on Day 3:
- Belt Sander (from Don’s tool trailer)
- Pro Grade Precision Sanding Sheets 120 Grit Coarse
- Pro Grade Precision 120 Grit Fine Block Sanding Sponge
- Pro Grade Precision Sanding Tool – 120 Grit
EVERYTHING IS OKAY THOUGH! (I may just be saying this because I’m writing this after we’ve already made it through the demo and fixing the hole and getting everything taken care of and are so much closer to wrapping this reno up!) I am so glad we found everything when we did before it caused even more damage. This really gave us the chance to make it a full-on renovation and not just a makeover.
The next blog post will be all about how we fixed this mess!