When you’re in the market for your first motorhome, it can be a tough process if you don’t have money for a brand new RV — or even a used one from the dealership in good shape.
This is the position that Alyssa Padgett and her husband found themselves in. But rather than giving up, the twenty something newlyweds bought a used rig from the online site Craigslist with plans to fix it up to suit their needs.
It all started with a plan to travel around the contiguous United States for seven months on an extended honeymoon before getting back into “real life”. They also planned to document their adventure on film and to even write a book about their experiences.
To set things into motion, the couple purchased a 1994 Coachmen a month before their wedding. Since they would be spending a lot of time in their rig, it would have to serve several functions. To fulfill all their desires, the RV needed to be a home, a film studio, storage unit, and a workplace.
Because they didn’t have much money, the Padgetts decided to renovate the rig themselves. Their 1994 Coachmen was 29 feet long no slide-outs, and they decided to make updates and choose colors that would give their rig a feeling of openness. Unfortunately, neither one had experience with this type of work, but they were determined to make figure it out.
Here is their kitchen before and in the process of being renovated.
Not sure where to start, they did some online research for inspiration and ideas. It didn’t take long to find a Jayco redesign that they loved and ended up using as inspiration.
Soon they had a master list of projects that they wanted to tackle:
- Remove the mattress, couch, chairs, and table.
- Remove, sand, prime, and paint the cabinet doors their desired color.
- Prime the inside of the Coachmen.
- Paint the interior walls and the overhead loft.
- Remove all the carpeting and replace it laminate wooed floors.
- Prime, paint, and seal the kitchen table.
- Use silver spray paint to paint all the hinges and handles.
- Put the furniture, cabinet doors, etc, back into the rig.
- Replace the couch cover.
- Create curtains for the windows.
By their estimation, it would take them about a week to finish these tasks and make the RV livable. With this is in mind, they set out to the local hardware store to buy their supplies. The Padgetts were able to find all their flooring and painting supplies at Lowe’s. In fact, the final price tag on their renovation was a mere $500.
After buying the necessary supplies, the Padgetts removed the cabinet doors from the cabinets. They also took all the furniture out of the RV. This was a simple enough task, although it took them the better part of the day to complete this first step. Next they primed the cabinets and the walls which took a full two days.
The couple quickly learned that the devil is in details, when it comes to remodeling an RV. For instance, painting the cabinet handles and the hinges was not a top priority in the beginning. But they soon noticed that the original paint clashed with their design scheme and they realized that they couldn’t skip over the small details. Also, it was quickly becoming clear that it would take more than a week to complete the project.
Up next was painting the interior of the Coachmen. This task also took longer than they expected, but this time the couple was ready. Their attitude of acceptance helped them to take the frustrating slow progress in stride.
After they finished painting, Alyssa had to return to work and all the construction work was left to her husband (the same guy who had never painted a wall before this project). Fortunately, there were only a few tasks left for him to do:
- Put the cabinet doors back on
- Paint the table
- Add the new laminate
When Alyssa was off working, Heath got busy turning their fixer-upper into a comfortable home. He ticked things off his list and even found shower curtains that matched their new walls and enlisted the help of his mom to sew them into curtains for the living area windows. His mom also found a light brown slipcover that they could use to cover up their old couch.
All in all, the Padgetts kept their remodel simple. They replaced the floors and painted the walls and fixtures to give their rig an updated look. Here is a picture of the renovated interior:
Wow! Looks good, doesn’t it? So you see, if you don’t have money to buy a new rig, or even a used one from a dealer, simply buy a fixer-upper with good bones and a working engine. This will ensure that any renovations that you make won’t be too technical and you can do them yourself. If two 23-year-olds, with no previous experience can do it, so can you.
To read more about the Padgett’s adventures visit their website, AlyssaPadgett.com.
What did you think about the renovation? Did it inspired you to embark on a remodel of your own? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Source: Do It Yourself RV