Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Our Family RV Remodel

Two years ago, our family went on a road trip to visit several National Parks.  We came to the painful realization that the price of hotels, cost of meals, and constant packing up and unpacking at each hotel were simply pains in the neck.  We started bouncing around the idea of getting a Class C RV for family road trips. When we got back from the trip, the topic of buying an RV continued to pop up; so, Leslie, Scott, and I went to look at new ones. Wow!!! They were so stinking expensive! That, and the fact that we had never used an RV before, made us look for a used one.  We checked Craig's list and found a used Class C that was in pretty good shape and pooled our resources to buy her.  We named her Miss Lippy, and started out using her for weekend trips to state parks.
We quickly discovered that Miss Lippy really didn't meet our needs.  There would be anywhere from 4 to 8 of us camping at one time; and, Miss Lippy realistically only slept 5. Honestly, probably 5 people under 5 ft. and weighing less than 100 lbs.
Our resident Jack-of-all-trades, Scott, said he could probably remodel Miss Lippy so that she was better suited to our needs.  It has been a 2 year journey; but, she is almost finished.  Behold... the transformation!
This is the kitchen before the remodel.  Typical 1980's decor of blues and mauve were used in the upholstery and wall paper border.

The jack-knife sofa was extremely uncomfortable, the carpet was a pain to keep clean, and the dining booth was too small for anyone but the grandchildren to sit in or sleep on.  There is also an over the cab bunk. But, I'm not sure what weight it is rated for, so only the grands are allowed to sleep up there.

The bedroom was separated from the bathroom area by a curtain. It had cabinets over and beside the full sized bed. There was also a corner cabinet with a TV that didn't work. Between the bedroom and living area, is a bathroom.  It had a sliding door that was constantly banging around so it was one of the first things we took off. It has been replaced with an accordion door.
The first project was intended to provide us with sleeping space that would fit people over 5 feet tall.  Scott gutted the bedroom area and had to reconfigure the plumbing, some wiring, and heat/AC vents.  He bought 2 smaller water tanks to replace the large one that was under the bed. He placed the smaller tanks on either side of the bedroom.  There were several PVC pipes that needed to be covered, and the under carriage storage to contend with; but, he managed to build boxes over those that are used as steps to access the upper bunks.

box covering new water tank

wiring and plumbing re-configured

new water tank

water pump, wiring, and plumbing; all were covered with a step
Scott spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make the bunks solid enough for an adult but light enough to not add a lot of weight to the RV.  He also wanted to make them so they would drop down on the outside of the top bunk to make couches.  That way we would have a comfortable place to sit and talk, play games, or watch movies when the weather wouldn't let us be outside. We also wanted lightweight but comfortable mattresses that were a better quality than the typical bunk or RV mattress. We ended up buying memory foam and cutting it to fit. We cut 2 bunk mattress out of one queen mattress. They are covered with bunk mattress covers that don't fit really well, but I didn't want to go to the expense of having them upholstered.  We may do that sometime in the future.

The top bunk crosses in front of the window so we took the blinds off.  

I used a weathered gray stain rather than trying to paint the wood. I didn't want to have to prime and paint when I could use stain and get it done in one step. I also painted the walls while the space was gutted.

There is some wiring hanging down that went to the TV cabinet. Scott is going to put some bunk lights in (eventually) and the wiring will be gone. The lower bunk platform is level with the under carriage storage.
After the lower bunks were built, Scott had to order some metal bars for the top bunks.  He put piano hinges on the backs so they will fold down.  I had to come up with something to keep the heat out and give us some privacy. Blinds weren't going to fit so I found some cute camper fabric at Hobby Lobby and made giant pockets. We cut car window sun shields to fit the RV windows and those slip right into the pockets for insulation for the heat/cold. I put tabs with plastic rings on them to hang them over the windows.  We tried command hooks, but they fall off in the heat.  We are slowly replacing them with cup hooks. When we take the window covers off, they easily store under a bunk mattress.

We used peel and stick vinyl flooring on the unfinished plywood.  (No more carpet!!!) I want to get more to add to the front of the step.  Scott's cooler fits perfectly and it is used as the last step to get onto the top bunks. The rear window is also an emergency exit.  I had originally wanted Scott to put some sort of entertainment center here for a TV, DVD player, etc. But, I know we need to have the exit.

I found these organizers at IKEA.  They had to be altered to fit in the space but they are perfect storage for tablets, flash lights, water bottles, watches, etc.

The organizer was longer than shown with only one pocket at the top.  I folded it over, used jeans grommets to secure it. That gave us an additional pocket.  I can easily fit my lap top in the top pocket. Right now, these command hooks are working but I think I'll have to switch them out for something more secure.

This is the almost finished bunk room. I removed the old, floral curtain that was used for privacy and replaced it with a khaki colored one.  We still need to cover the front of the steps and put in bunk lights; but, it's usable the way it is now.  
We gave up what storage there was in this room when we built the bunks.  Leslie and I were at Ross one day and found some hard sided, fabric boxes with handles.  They fit perfectly under the bunks so we bought several of them.  It's convenient to take the boxes home and pack them, then put them under the bunks.  That way we aren't dealing with backpacks/suitcases.  Sometime in the future, Scott is going to gut the wardrobe in our bathroom area and replace it with shelving units to store the boxes.

Once the bunks were finished, we started on the living room/dining area. The guys pulled everything out so we could remove the carpet and put in benches that will convert to twin sized beds.  Because we were probably going to have people riding in this area when we travel, Scott left the seat belts on the sofa side.  While everything was torn out, Ron found used replacement seats for the cab (they were terribly uncomfortable) and the guys put those in as well.  Scott reused as much of the original wood as he could. I'm torn about that because I know it saved money; but, it's ugly.

There is a heat/AC vent that was squashed and didn't work anyway. I'm not really sure what Scott did with it; but, it isn't there any longer.  The cushions are actually a king sized memory foam mattress cut into 4 pieces and covered with some fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. I had them covered at a local upholstery shop rather than do it myself. It was well worth the added expense. 

Scott reused the doors on the dinette benches. We ended up having twice the storage with this bench. 

I had to put down flooring where the carpet was pulled up and stain what wood I could. I don't like the cheap RV wood below one of the benches but I'll just have to learn to deal with it.  We found a plastic folding table at Wal-Mart that fits between the two benches so we still have a place to eat indoors when we need to. The table is stored in the basement of Miss Lippy.  To turn these into beds, Scott made support legs and an add-on platform that are stored in the shower until we need to set up as beds. The back cushion then comes off and lays beside the bottom cushion. It makes a very comfortable bed that is plenty large enough! This is a huge improvement over the original furniture.

The bench where the sofa was. The seat belts are behind the bottom cushion.  The new cab seats are leather and have a lot more lumbar support than the original blue velor seats.

This bench is where the dinette was located.  We have clear pockets on each of the doors and I use 3X5 cards to write what is in each cabinet.  This saves us a lot of time when we are looking for stuff.

We are leaving the over cab bed alone. Luckily, it's a plain blue so it looks okay. The curtains up there are still in good shape so they will stay as well.  We have ordered replacement blinds for the windows behind the benches. These are in pretty bad shape and really faded.  

I painted the walls a very light gray, almost white. We found this peel and stick backsplash at Ross.  There were only 3 packages so I bought all they had. I would have loved to completely cover the back; but, this is a huge improvement over the wallpaper border.

As I mentioned, we have one more area to update. That is in the center of Miss Lippy. There is a split bathroom.  A shower and sink are on one side and a toilet room and large wardrobe on the other side. Scott wants to pull out the wardrobe and put a shelving unit in there.  He intends to have the shelves high enough that a dog kennel will fit under them.  That way we have the kennel for his crazy dog to sleep in. Our dogs, (Leslie & me) sleep wherever they can find a spot.

Miss Lippy has been quite an adventure. We have used her for camping at many of the state parks here in Texas while this whole remodeling process has taken place.  During that time, we have upgraded her tires all the way around. Ron and Scott plan to get all of her belts replaced soon because we will be taking her on her first real road trip in August.  Hopefully, she'll prove just how tough an old girl she really is. We can't wait!

1 comment:

Mary Barr said...

I can't wait to see the rest of the renovation and all of the after pictures!! The fun is about to begin and it's going to get better!! Happy RVing!!