This post was originally titled a more respectable "A Travel Trailer Makeover" but then I thought, wait a sec...this is my chance to use Pimp and Yo in the same sentence! I can't ever do that writing a chicken recipe! So I changed the name to "Pimp My Camper, Yo!!" Hahaahaaahaaa!
Whatever, I think it's funny. I know most of you may be here for a recipe, but I wanted to switch it up a little bit by posting about me and J's current experience renovating a used 26' 2001 Dutchmen Travel Trailer/Camper. I hope y'all don't mind.
J and I love to travel. Now that we have two dogs in the family, it's become a little more difficult to leave them for a week or two at a time. Camping is the perfect solution for us to bring the girls along for road tripping, so we started thinking about buying a used camper.
Yes! What a perfect idea and great adventure this will be! We excitingly thought, "Hey, let's buy an older used one and then we can update/remodel the interior to our liking! OMG, it's going to look so cool! It will be just like a little house on wheels...and it'll be sooooooo easy! What could go wrong?"
Well, as a first time buyer, I can tell you honesty that plenty can and probably will go wrong. What we thought was going to be a simple updating of a 15 year old travel trailer camper that shouldn't have taken any more than a few weekends, turned into a 3 month long process. We had to deal with such things as, repairing water damage and an infestation of nasty ants. Good times!!
Here's the girl right after we bought her. Nice, clean, barely looked like it had been used, especially for being almost 15 years old. The interior screams early 2000s and is not my jam at all. Yucky vinyl linoleum flooring, vertical aluminum blinds, oak cabinets with gold hardware, and the window valances have all got to go.
Although, I am tempted to keep that sweet wallpaper border. Seriously, if anyone knows where I can get my hands on a bunch of that border, please let me know ASAP. It needs to be in every room of my house...
I forgot to take a picture of the couch but I can tell you it was covered in the same gorgeous blue and tan geometric patterned fabric you see in the photo above of the dinette seats. I know everyone is on the edge of their "seats" wondering if we kept it or not. LOL!!
This is the bedroom where all the wood damage from a prior water leak was hiding behind the whole entire wall. Yes, that whole freakin' wall and half of the two side walls and part of the floor. J took it all down and completely stripped it to the outer wall of the camper. He then rebuilt the entire wall and floor frames, put in extra thick installation, and covered it all with a sturdier wood wall.
He also had to take all the windows out to do this, then put all the windows back in with some special fancy putty stuff to make sure they were sealed properly. Yeah, I'm glad J did all that and not me. I have no patience for that kind of stuff. Oh yeah, there was nasty old blue carpet in the bedroom too. Eww, so gross!!
I forgot to take photos of the rear bunk beds but, trust me when I tell you this, the only thing you are missing is looking at a bunch more ugly pine wood paneling.
Here's a lovely before pic of the bathroom for inquiring minds. Not pictured is the mirrored pine medicine cabinet above the sink.
Okay, are you ready? Here's the finished camper remodel!!
Above is a photo of the kitchen/dinette/couch area looking towards the bedroom.
Here is the same area but picture was taken from the other side, by the couch. I took it with my iPhone so the picture quality sucks but it shows a wider shot. Bunk beds are to the back left, with a closet in the middle, and the bathroom to the right.
Even though this is a terrible photo, it still can't downplay how gorgeous those wood floors are!! The best thing we did was to rip up that fugly vinyl flooring. Love the flooring now that it's all wood. Also, a big shout-out to my man, J, who insisted on installing wood floor trim to finish out the look. Even after I repeatedly said "no, that's stupid" to spend money on floor trim, but it looks so much better with it! Who says this is just a camper?
Brighter pic of the kitchen. I took on the tedious and laborious task of painting all the oak cabinets bright white. Even though I used a paint specifically made for painting cabinets (and that had a primer all-in-one), I still had to paint them 50 million times each. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but it sure took freaking forever to cover up all that pine wood. Also, the kitchen counter tops were painted with the chalkboard paint.
A blurry close up pic of the Smart Tiles we used on the kitchen wall. Smart Tiles are lightweight plastic peel-and-stick tiles that look like glass tiles. They were ideal for the camper and so easy to put up. It did take some extra time making sure the tiles were lined up properly and evenly, but it was a breeze compared to using ceramic tiles.
Another crappy iPhone pic below of the bathroom and more Smart Tiles!!! I painted the bathroom a pretty blue color, while the rest of the camper walls are painted tan.
Why in the world can't I take a decent, non-blurry photo??? I am so dependent on my tripod for taking food photos that I now cannot steady a camera to save my life. Apparently, I need to invest in some IS lenses. Hurry up Christmas!!
Anyhow, this fuzzy-ass pic above is showing the dinette table top that I painted with chalkboard paint and the cushions recovered with canvas painting drop cloths. Both of these ideas I saw on another site, so can't take credit for them. It was perfect though because J had some chalkboard paint leftover from when he made a dartboard cabinet. Yay, one less thing we had to buy!
Bedroom photo. Not the clearest (sigh...again) but you get the idea. Can't find the right kind/color/pattern of throw pillows yet for the bed so using our patio furniture pillows in the meantime 🙂
Isn't this the cutest pillow? Picked it up at Home Goods. Love that store so much!
Another Home Goods find above, a lightweight canvas hand painted picture that we hung in the living room area. It has all the colors we used! Score!!
One last photo to sum up the awesome fun time I had painting all the pine cabinets white. Nola decided to chew this trim brush on the first day of painting. I guess she thought it was a toy for her. Please note: this photo was taken with a tripod and is NOT blurry!
All in all, the camper renovation was so rewarding in the end and I'd love to do another one next season (how cool would a vintage camper remodel be?) Also, now that J has experience in fixing a camper's water damage, we won't be scared off when we see one in rough shape and stripped down to the outer walls.
All items I used to pimp my camper:
- painted all the cabinets and the refrigerator wood panels with white cabinet paint (used INSL-X Cabinet Coat Urethane Acrylic Satin paint)
- all of the walls, the dinette booths, and the bunk beds were painted tan colors
- painted the closet and bathroom doors with an off-white paint
- spray painted all cabinet hardware, the doorknobs, and the bathroom towel rods black matte
- painted all table tops with a chalkboard paint
- installed a wood floor (TrafficMASTER Handscraped Saratoga Hickory Laminate Flooring) and added ¼ round foot moulding
- installed Smart Tiles for the kitchen and bathroom wall back-splashes
- recovered the couch and dinette cushions with heavy duty canvas drop cloths
- installed black curtain rods and hung ivory colored blackout curtains on all windows
- hung teal silk curtains dividing the bedroom from the living area
Hope you enjoyed this Pimp My Camper post and my tips! Please let me know in the comments below how you are renovating or have renovated a camper because I'd love to hear about it!