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The moment has arrived. Time to reveal the final results of our Ultimate RV Makeover with before and after shots of CC’s transformation into our ultimate home and office on wheels.
Hopefully, you have already seen all the previous posts in the series here. It has been fun, but it has also been a LOT of work. We actually now have as much time invested in creating and sharing the series of posts and videos about the renovation as we did on the renovation itself. During the renovation, our core team worked long hours every day for 23 days, and continued with shorter days for a few more weeks knocking out the punch list. We had additional help contributing many hours as well. But the results are truly amazing.
When we first bought our RV, CC, many commented that she looked really good as is. But we had big plans to update and refresh her looks. Those plans got even bigger when our friend Jane Brown offered to fly over from Australia to help out. Her professional designer skills allowed us to bring a whole other level of design to the makeover.
We will share a lot with you including a bunch of before and after photos.. And, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the related video first.
What we will cover in this post.
In this post we will share some of the key elements of the final design, and of course many before and after photos. Sometimes it is hard to remember just how different it all looks without the photos from before. The design is cohesive throughout the whole RV, and some elements appear in all areas. We will break this post into segments to make it easier to follow.
- Elements Found Throughout
- Front Cabin Area
- Main Workspace
- Living Area
- Bathroom Vanity
- Toilet Area
Many of the products used in the renovation are available on amazon. Visit our amazon page to see more.
1. Elements that Run Throughout
When we bought our RV, the flooring was separated into three sections. Carpet in the front living area. Ceramic tile in the kitchen, dining and bathroom. Carpet again in the bedroom. We wanted the flooring to be consistent throughout for a better sightline and also to be easier to keep clean.
We chose a medium tone brown luxury vinyl plank flooring to help anchor the space and provide an organic feel. Being a ‘floating’ type floor, there is a gap left at the edges which we covered with simple quarter round trim that we painted black.
We changed virtually every lighting fixture in the RV. We will cover specific lighting changes in focus areas below, but the ceiling lights were a consistent change throughout. The original ceiling lights were fluorescent fixtures. Nine of the fixtures were the same, with two bulbs, and the main fixture in the kitchen was square with six.
We found a simple solution by purchasing simple 1×8 lumber, sanding it down, and cutting holes in them with a drill bit. Then we inserted high output LED puck lights. It was a great solution that not only modernizes the look. They also allowed the opportunity to change the light color ‘temperature’. We have a softer, warmer and more homey light in there now.
Our CC was originally ordered with the white-washed ash interior. So, the interior was already a shade of white. This meant that we didn’t need to paint inside cabinets. But virtually every other wall and cabinet surface was painted. We chose Benjamin Moore paint in simply white as the primary color throughout. We accented with black and blue in other areas that we will talk more about in specific focus areas below.
One of the bolder moves that we have seen some questions about in the forums is our choice to flip the cabinet doors throughout the RV. This was originally suggested by Jane to calm down and modernize the cupboards. The craftsman style interior of the cabinet door is more simple than the raised panel style original faces.
This was a big project that involved cutting new groves for the hinges and much more. Also, being 20 year old cabinets, all needed some work, and some actually fell apart and needed to be glued back together. Flipping the cabinet doors was increasingly important because our RV was originally ordered with the upgraded mirror package which included 48 (yes we counted) mirrors. The mirrored cabinets even had mirrored handles/pulls.
When we removed the mirrors from the cabinet faces, the original cabinet face was unfinished. If we hadn’t chosen to flip the cabinets, they would have looked terrible and we would have needed to build/order new cabinet doors for those cabinets. We installed bold, straight lined black handles on them in the front living area of the RV. Those black handles really do a great job of pulling other accents in together.
2. The Front Cabin Area
We couldn’t stand the large TV mounted above the driver seat on a swinging arm, and removed it the first day we owned the RV. But, having power outlets in the cupboards above the windshield opened up another great solution. We were able to use those cabinets as a charging station for our tech gear. This is only phase one of our technology upgrade in this space. More to come in a future blog post focused on technology/connectivity upgrades.
We also needed to create a secondary workspace in our RV since Julie and I both work full time. The driver seat is often an unused area in motorhomes when parked, so it was a perfect opportunity. We used some leftover pieces of flooring clicked together as the desktop. This ties in well with the rest of the design, and quickly and easily folds up when it is time to hit the road. The desktop is plenty of space for a laptop and some papers and notes. A lap desk provides a great ergonomic location for our wireless keyboard and mouse. This lap desk also serves a secondary purpose. More on that when we talk about the main workspace below.
Other Design Elements in the Cabin Area
Other design elements in the front area of the coach were creating a timezone clock artwork, and the curtains. We bought five simple clocks and labeled the time zones with trophy plaques. The original light gray curtains actually still worked well with our design, so we only needed to give them a wash, and rehang them.
3. Main Workspace
One of our first changes to the RV when we first bought it was upgrading the workspace. We made this change on our first boondocking trip with CC. Working full time, we needed a much more efficient and ergonomic space to create from. A simple white desk from IKEA worked perfectly. We kept our nice office chair from our previous motorhome workspace. You might be wondering how this travels down the road. We use the lap desk and another piece of furniture and a couple straps to secure the desk drawers and chair while in motion.
Other design elements in this primary workspace
LED lights controlled with a dimmer switch were mounted to the bottom of the cabinets above the desk, and the bottom of the cabinets was painted black to give extra pop and depth to the design. We used cord wraps to reduce the visibility of all the power cords. We have a lot of tech gear in this area, and actually added an extra little cupboard mounted on the floor to hold them and keep out of sight.
The floor space for the extra cupboard was made available by removing the bulky original carpet covered box for the furnace vents. When we removed the box, we simply terminated the furnace vents at the end of the kitchen. The air still flows very nicely into the area because there are virtually no obstructions.
4. Living room
Furniture in our main living area was still in surprisingly good condition. So, we were able to keep our original couch, recliner and front seats. All of it is made with high quality Ultraleather and quality internal cushions. All they needed was a deep cleaning to bring back some of their luster.
Window Boxes and Shades
The most impactful visual change was to the window boxes. This was a big job. Danelle and Jane spent a couple full days recovering the top fabric on all window boxes for the main living area. They used curtain fabric and developed a great process for creating consistent clean look. We have lots of footage related to this process, and may do a dedicated blog post about it in the future.
While updating the window boxes, we also updated the window shades inside them. The original pleated shades were cumbersome to operate. And the dusty rose color no longer fit with our fresh new interior colors. We ordered simple roller shades from select blinds.
Having formerly worked for Hunter Douglas, Marc can definitely tell they aren’t as high quality as others. But, for the price we paid (under $400 for all eight shades in the whole main living area) they are well worth the money. They work much better than the original shades and look great with the icy blue color.
Other Design Elements in the Living Area
Soft pillows and throws were added to bring in some additional texture and color. We also added a small table for drinks. Flooring and ceiling lighting updates were mentioned above. Originally, the RV also had a light fixture mounted on the wall between the window boxes that separate the couch from the dining area. Rather than replace the light, we chose to simply remove it and add some new artwork instead.
5. Dining Area
Perhaps one of the most significantly changed areas in the whole coach. The dining area saw a complete rip and replacement starting with the dinette. The original dinette was well built, but bulky. We didn’t need the original ability to convert the space to additional sleeping.
Visually, the original booth also broke up the living space with the large wooden back of the dinette right at the edge of the couch. The new design allows your eye to flow all the way through the living and dining areas. This makes the area a major focus and also appears significantly larger.
We included heaps of storage inside the new ‘L-shaped’ design, and had the creative solution of using headboards ordered online as the seat backs. Having removed the original table, we replaced it with a beautiful free standing, real marble, round table. This allows us to move the table to other areas of the RV for greater flexibility of the space.
The table is pretty heavy and doesn’t budge while traveling. But, just to be safe, we built the dinette in a way that the table base slides under it. This way, if the table ever tipped, it would be caught by the dinette base.
An interesting backstory about the chandelier in the dining area. When we got married, our friends gave us a larger version of this chandelier for our townhome. We loved it and were sad to leave it behind when selling our home. When we hit the road, those same friends gave us this smaller version for us to install in our first motorhome.
It didn’t work well in the original RV, but we knew the moment we saw this coach, that it would be perfect. We mounted it off center from the original location for a couple reasons. First is to center it above the new table. Second is to give it more wire length, so that when we travel, we can easily set it down onto a pillow to keep it from swinging.
Another huge change to the dining area was to the feature wall. As mentioned above, the new layout draws your eye into this area of the RV. Originally, the RV had floor to ceiling beveled mirrors on this wall. We removed those mirrors and the whole wall when swapping out our RV fridge for a residential fridge.
When we rebuilt the area, we covered the new wall with white wallpaper with a silver tree branch pattern. An electric fireplace became the new feature. It has ability to change colors depending on our mood, and also can help heat the space. The fireplace creates a warm and cozy space, both visually and literally.
6. Kitchen Area
Replacing our RV fridge with a residential fridge was one of the larger single changes of the kitchen. Moving fridges in and out of an RV window requires a lot of hands on deck. So we swapped out the fridge months before our main renovation while we were in Texas with a large group of other helpful RVers. Our new 18 cubic foot Samsung fridge is awesome.
We also bought a new Samsung convection microwave oven. When we bought the RV, it had a large aftermarket microwave, but we love having a convection oven for baking. A secondary advantage of of the new convection oven is that all the controls are lower, which makes it much easier for Julie to access.
Custom Stainless Steel Counter Sections
Two elements of the kitchen were put in motion long before we got to Oregon. We needed to get them started early because they are fully custom. We worked with a company called HollyFab in Texas to create two completely custom pieces from stainless steel. The first was a replacement for the broken Corian cover above the range.
The burner cover was made with heavier grade stainless steel so that it is very sturdy. Bent to go over the counter edge, and with a cutout for a handle, it is a perfect fit. We also made a modification under the counter for it to slide into when using the burners.
The second piece is a counter top extension that we designed. It hangs on the edge of the counter when not in use, and slides into place with support of an extra leg stored in the dinette when needed. The quality and finished product far exceeded my expectations.
New Tile Backsplash and Black Accent Paint
One of the big visual changes was removing the mirrored backsplash and replacing it with beautiful ceramic marble tile. We also painted a wall with black chalkboard paint to anchor. We used magnetic primer so we can also stick magnets on the wall. Black paint was also used under the overhead cabinets, and at the floorboards which visually makes the cabinets appear to float.
Additionally, dimmable LED lights were mounted under the upper cabinets which allow great control of lighting, especially when combined with all the new ceiling lights we mentioned earlier in the post.
Other Functional and Design Elements in the Kitchen
We made a number of upgrades to the functionality of the kitchen as well. Additional electrical outlets, extra towel holder, a new fantastic vent in the ceiling, and countertop utensil holders were added for easy access. As mentioned in Episode 7, we also installed a new residential faucet and a new water purification system from Acuva.
Previously, we had a bulky countertop water filtration system. The Acuva is an elegant small faucet that takes up almost no counter space, and the water is much more safe and pure with the added benefit of ultraviolet purification. If you would like one for yourself, use coupon code RVLOVE to save $100.
7. Bathroom Vanity
Similar to the kitchen, our bathroom vanity area also originally had beveled mirror backsplash. It also had additional mirrors on the upper cabinet door faces, and on the cabinets on the opposing wall. The opposing wall could be used for a washer and dryer, but we prefer to use the space as a large pantry.
Mirrors on the pantry doors were left because they are the mirrors Julie used the most. The beveled mirrors were too busy, and the mirrors on the upper cabinets were too high for Julie. We replaced the backsplash with blue decorative tiles and even added blue grout by mixing some of the paint into the grout.
Bold New Paint
Speaking of the paint in the grout, we went with a very bold splash of blue paint. It hits you unexpectedly when walking down the hall. Being in a recessed area, it is only visible when you turn to face it. The blue theme deepens with the coordinated blue drawer and cabinet pulls, and blue pictures. A new white basin replaced the dingy and scratched gray basin. We also installed a new residential faucet with a much higher and more elegant shape.
8. Shower Area
No More Glass and Brass
Removing the brass trimmed glass door was a priority for us. We didn’t like the brass, nor the clear glass which was hard to keep spot free. Also, we usually keep our dirty clothes hamper in the shower area. With a clear shower door, our laundry felt as though it was on display.
By removing the glass door and replacing it with a shower curtain, we were able to bring new color into the space. Mounting the curtain onto an adjustable shower rod was great too. It allows a larger shower area when extended out. When retracted into the shower, it opens up the hallway a bit more. We mostly leave it out, but sometimes put it in because it is a great place to hang wet swimsuits or towels to dry.
Along the same theme of removing the brass, we also replaced the brass shower head and hose with a new silver oxygenics head that provides better water flow. A new soap dispenser from was added too, so we don’t need to have loose bottles.
9. Toilet Area
Loo Feature Wall
Our loo with a view took on extra meaning besides the window when we added a large mural. Originally a plain white wall with a toilet roll holder, it is now a major statement piece in the final design. This is one of the largest single wall spaces in the RV. Adding the mural really livens up the space.
You don’t just see it when sitting on the loo. it is visible whenever walking down the hallway. It was only $30 for the mural, and is a peel and stick type wallpaper. So if we ever want to change it out, it would be a very quick and easy change.
Other improvements to the Loo
You might have noticed that I mentioned the mural wall originally held the toilet paper. We felt it was much better to mount it to the inside of the sliding pocket door. Now it is mostly hidden, but in the perfect spot when the door is closed.
A new fantastic vent and cover were added to replace the malfunctioning original. We ordered the new vent fans and covers for the bathroom and kitchen areas. We filmed a lot of that process and may do a dedicated post about that process in the future.
Jane referred to our original bedroom design as ‘mirrored mayhem’. The mirrors completely dominated the original design. Virtually the entire rear wall of the bedroom was mirrored. It felt harsh and busy, in a space that you want to be tranquil and peaceful. We removed most of the mirrors. The mirrors on Marc’s cabinet doors stayed as they are mostly hidden and have some benefit for looking at an outfit when getting dressed.
The bedroom is actually where the idea of flipping the cabinet doors started. Partly because we were trying to reduce clutter. But also because once the mirrors were removed from the cabinet doors, the unfinished base of the door would have needed to be replaced if not flipped. The flipped doors provide very calm, clean lines with the new paint. Two of the doors were actually left off to leave the space open as decorative shelves. We finished off the remaining doors with jeweled pulls to add a bit of glam and luxe.
Adding to the glam and luxe are two chandeliers. Yes, we now have two chandeliers in our bedroom. We could have wired them with new lights from the previous 12 volt lights that were removed. But instead, we chose to leave them without lights and simply use small LED candles in them for a soft glow. They travel better than expected by using small bungee cords that hold them in place while in motion.
One of our favorite things about the bedroom in this RV is that it has huge windows. Unfortunately, the blinds it had when we bought it really diminished the ability to appreciate those windows. One set of blinds even broke, and we had to use temporary paper covers until our renovation.
Our new bedroom has elegant floor to ceiling draperies. One set of sheer fabric, and another for more privacy and light reduction. Not only beautiful, they also allow better function. They allow much easier access to the windows to let in the view, or a breeze.
Other Decorative touches in the Bedroom
The final look includes the same wallpaper that ties into the living room. This was used at the base of the bed, and behind the headboard. The headboard is soft and padded to lean up against if reading a book in bed. A decorative storage basket replaced the original twenty year old TV. Additional soft touches include a rug at the foot of the bed and of course some decorative pillows.
This project and final reveal would never have been possible without the help of many others.
Thank you again to our wonderful hosts Brett and Danelle Hays. Providing the beautiful property, the tools, your skills, and time helping with the project. And above all, for your friendship. Thank you to our friend Jane Brown for flying over 8,000 miles to help out. Not only in the design creativity and guidance, but in the hard yakka of the day to day labor.
Thank you to everyone else who helped with the project. Our friends Dennis and Donna Baril who came and helped with the punch list after the main renovation was complete, and helped us start to recover. To Bruce for his beautiful tile work, and to Ted and Sharon Hays for renting us their camper for Jane.
Thank you to Battleborn batteries for making this whole series possible, and the ability to do all this without being plugged into power by using our powerful off grid system. To Erik McCauley for designing our schematic Gary Quimby, Justin Ford, John Nejedlo, Dan Brown, and John Hebard for your help installing our off-grid system and replacing our fridge. Also to Battleborn Batteries, Dometic, Zamp, and Acuva for products provided as part of this renovation.
Thank you to Bourne Productions, Tom Morton, Jesse Ingram, and Gabriela G photography for providing us with their amazing additional footage. There was well over 1.5TB of footage between all of our cameras and all of our support footage. Having the professional footage really helped bring this series up to a whole other level.
Wrapping Up the Final Episode of the Main Series
In doing this renovation on an older RV we hope to inspire others by making it more attainable. Not just in renovating an RV, but in living the RV life in general. You can RV on most any budget, and you can have a high end luxury RV for less than you might have expected. This renovation might be pushing the envelope or even over the top for some, but we really like it.
We hope you enjoyed the final reveal and the rest of main series. We love helping educate and inspire others to live a life they love. That is why we created our online school, RV Success School, and why we wrote our now best selling book Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Live on the Road.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this long post 🙂 and for being a part of our journey. This might be the final reveal of the renovation, but we will still be sharing some related content in the weeks and months ahead. Though we will start mixing in some other content as well. If you want to have a closer look at the final result, check out the 360 Tour!
And look for the hashtags #rvlove #ultimatevrmakeover #makeovermonday
Thanks so much for watching and reading! We’d love to hear from you!