This contemporary motorhome renovation was completed off-grid in under a month
After a short hiatus due to health reasons, we’re back with a new RV Tour that is well worth the wait! If you tend to lean towards interiors that are more contemporary or luxe, you’ll wish you were vacationing in this stylish motorhome.
I mean, that bedroom alone is more luxurious than most hotel rooms and y’all, this is a Class-A Motorhome! It’s rare to come across renovated Class A RV’s these days, especially any that look like this!
If you’re currently RVing or have spent some time (or an obsessive amount of time) researching RV life, including how to choose the right RV, the best places to stay, and what gear to purchase, chances are you’ve heard of Marc and Julie, the creators behind the oh-so-popular website and youtube channel, RVlove.
And if you’re new to the RV community, allow me to introduce them! Marc and Julie have been traveling, working, and living full-time on the road for the last 6 years, all while documenting their experiences and sharing the massive amount of knowledge they’ve learned along the way. They even offer online courses for RV’ers AND have a best-selling book!
Yup, these two are an inspiration for anyone thinking about hitting the road.
Today we’re taking a peek inside their current RV, which they affectionately named CC. For this renovation, they called upon the help of some friends, including an interior designer, Jane Brown, who transformed their outdated motorhome into a comfortable, contemporary, and luxurious space to work, live and travel in. And, they did it all off-grid while documenting the entire process!
Contemporary Motorhome Renovation
Type of RV
1999 Country Coach Intrigue
All After Images were taken by GabrielaPhoto.com
Tell us a little about you, and those you share your RV with:
We are Marc and Julie Bennett, full-time RVers, authors, and the creators of RVLove. Rather than wait for retirement, and realizing tomorrow is promised to no-one, in 2014 we decided to hit the road in an RV in our 40s, to live, work and travel from the road full time. That was almost 6 years ago, we’ve visited all 50 USA states, plus Canada and Mexico, and we plan to keep on going!
What type of RV do you have?
Class A motorhome – a 40′ diesel pusher – 1999 Country Coach Intrigue with a single slide. We call her “CC”
What made you decide to go “tiny”?
Well, by RV standards our motorhome isn’t considered ‘tiny’ but it is certainly a big downsize from our previous 1,800sqf, 3 level townhome! Our 40′ motorhome has a single slide out, and is about 350sqf in size. Our first motorhome was 36′ with 4 slideouts, and about the same sqf. We definitely liked the idea of simplifying our lives, downsizing, and just living with less stuff. It’s just the two of us, no kids. But we did start our travels with our beloved labradoodle Coda who, sadly, is no longer with us. In fact being able to do more travel, while still working, and spend more time together AND with out dog, is ultimately the reason we decided to hit the road in an RV.
How long did the renovation take?
The main renovation took about 3 weeks. An intense, crazy, but ultimately gratifying 3 weeks! We spent another 3-4 works knocking out a punch list of small fixes. And we’ve done a couple more enhancements since then.
How much did it cost?
Doing it ourselves – with the help of some incredible friends – cost us around $12,000.
How are you able to work while traveling?
When we first hit the road full time back in 2014, Marc had a remote job, working for a Texas-based company that had a mostly virtual workforce. As Julie was in between jobs (she’s always been in marketing) she started our RVLove blog and YouTube channel. Over the years, Marc was promoted a couple of times, and was Director of Operations, until he quit his job. With RVLove growing fast, requiring more time and energy from both of us, it was a huge leap of faith for Marc to leave his job which had been our primary source of income. But in 2017, we both decided it was time to focus on RVLove full time. Since then, our blog and YouTube channel have grown, we launched an online school for wannabe RVers and wrote our book “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” which was published by Simon & Schuster in November 2018. We are proud to say the book is already a bestseller and will also be coming out in Audio format this summer. So our work is really designed all around our RV life, and completely remote, so we can do it from anywhere, as long as we have an internet connection.
What are your favorite places to shop for décor?
We like bargains, so found most of our decor items at TJ Maxx, Ross, Bed Bath and Beyond, Pier 1 Imports, and Amazon.
What was most challenging about your motorhome renovation?
The timeline. We – along with our friends Jane, Brett and Danelle – worked on average 16 hours a day for 22 days straight to get it done, with the last 3 days working more like 20 hours a day. On the one hand, it was great to have a short deadline to keep us focused and finish it. Especially as we were still living in the RV throughout the renovation. But the schedule was brutal as we had a deadline to meet, with a film crew coming in to video it, and Jane flying back to Australia! We pulled it off – just – but we have definitely learned to be more realistic in setting a timeline for similar projects. An additional BIG challenge is that we decided to do our RV renovation OFF-GRID, powered entirely by our solar panels and lithium batteries. We did not plug into power or use our generator at all. We used close to a dozen power tools – including a tile cutting saw, table saw, skill saw, sawzall, electric drill, nail gun, belt sander – and recharged the handheld tool batteries from our RV as well. We were also able to run our residential refrigerator, microwave oven, tea kettle, toaster, vacuum and lights too.
We did our entire RV renovation off-grid, on a budget, in under a month.
What project made the most difference?
That would have to be removing 44 of the 48 mirrors! The original coach – being from the late 90s – had an insane number of mirrors. These were not only dated, but they made the coach look and feel cluttered, chaotic, and harsh. The bedroom alone had 9 mirrors and now it just has 2 remaining, on the front doors of Marc’s closet which most people can’t even see. It’s night and day different now, as the bedroom looks and feels a lot softer and calmer, more like a welcoming and romantic sanctuary.
What’s your favorite aspect of interior design?
Being able to personalize your space to suit your personality and lifestyle, and make it unique and comfortable for your needs. Very few RVs have attractive styling – they tend to be pretty generic, with lots of brown and beige. But we’re seeing a trend toward lighter, more modern colors and styling now – thank goodness! But seeing what others have done to design and personalize their RVs has been inspiring to us, and we hope what we have done also gives others the courage to make design changes to their own RV. We love how light and bright our coach is now, and the fact that there is really nothing else like it. Funnily enough, about 6 months after completing our RV renovation, we toured a $2 Million dollar luxury motorcoach that was decorated in a very similar styling and color palette to ours. So that was pretty cool, knowing we had a beautifully decorated RV for a fraction of the price!
Do you have any future projects or changes planned for the interior?
Overall, we’re very happy with the interior of our coach as it is. But a couple of changes we have been contemplating include:
1. Updating/replacing the two captain’s chairs and the jackknife sofa – These are the original 20yo chairs, sofa, and fabric, and actually are really high quality. And while they are still very comfortable and in decent condition for their age, more modern design and new fabric would really give the look and feel of the coach interior a lift.
2. Extending the main workspace – currently, it’s only suitable for one to work from. Our second workspace utilizes the driver’s seat area, which can get hot from the windshield glass. We’re thinking of removing the big comfy recliner chair and getting a longer desk, with another office chair, so we can both work side by side in the main living area, and enjoy the views from the big main window on the passenger side while working. That would also open up the living space a bit too.
What’s your favorite aspect of tiny living?
Simplification of our lives. Realizing we just don’t as much ‘stuff’ as we think we do, to live a comfortable and happy life. We only have the things we absolutely love and use often, so it feels less wasteful. And of course, we can move our home on wheels almost anywhere we choose.
What’s your least favorite aspect?
The RV can get messy pretty quickly if we don’t put things away in their place after using them! And while it doesn’t take long to make a mess, it doesn’t take as long to clean and tidy up either.
What piece of advice would you give someone about to embark on an RV renovation?
You will need more resources than you think, so plan accordingly! Time, tools, physical space, and helping hands. Any kind of renovation is usually a bigger job than you initially estimate, and almost always takes longer than you think.
What has been your favorite place to explore or a place you’re excited to explore in the future?
There are SO many amazing places we have loved exploring over the past 6 years we have been on the road, so it’s hard to choose. We last owned a home in Colorado, yet it is one of the states we have explored the least in our RV. And yet, we believe it to be one of the most beautiful. So we’d probably say we are most excited about exploring Colorado in our RV this summer and visiting many of the places we haven’t been to yet, despite Marc having lived there his whole life! Places like Durango, Telluride, and Ouray, which boast beautiful drives and scenery.
Most asked about product sources:
Custom Mattress – Mattress Insider (Use code RVLOVE to save 10%)