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I’ve been struggling with keeping up with content and projects and emails, and orders, and well… everything for so long that I’ve fallen crazy behind. You may already know this and if not, welcome to my reality, although I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

In an ideal world, we would have been posting our RV renovation projects consistently and in some sort of organized fashion, but that hasn’t happened. I dropped the ball, many times… Woops.

Here’s the thing, before we left on our RV trip I felt like I was doggy paddling just to stay above water. And this went on for at least a year. Every time I thought I was going to get ahead some crazy wave would crash and there I was, paddling even harder.

We had a plan but as we all know, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Gotta keep it interesting, right?

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

However, moving from 1800 square feet into less than 300 has taught me a lot, and it’s only been two months. I’m learning to slow down, be more present, and most importantly not worry about how everyone else seems to have it all together when I’m over here feelin’ like a hot mess.

It’s funny that without a permanent address and A LOT less stuff I somehow feel more at ease, a lot less anxious, and a lot more fulfilled.

That’s not to say I don’t look forward to settling down in a year or so, but for now, I’m going to erase the prior expectations I had set up for us and focus on moving forward with a clean slate. It’s strange how taking off that type of pressure can be so liberating and energizing, isn’t it?

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this… Eric and I had this idea of how our RV renovation was going to go, and naturally, that didn’t involve a massive water leak or generator issues, haha. We had also planned to share the projects we were working on along the way, to lead up to the final reveal of that specific space we had been working on. Well, that didn’t happen, so we’ve decided to say screw it and switch it up.

RV Kitchen Renovation

Today we’re going to share our RV kitchen renovation, and then link to the projects involved as they get posted later down the road.

We’ve been enjoying our tiny kitchen for two months now, but we still have a few projects on our to-do list. However, if I wait to share it until everything is “done” you may never see it, haha.

Here’s the before photo of our RV kitchen, just in case you need a refresher:

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t our style, and every single person that owns a 2008 Tiffin Open Road 32La has this exact kitchen. We needed a space that felt like ours, ya know?

The plan was a rustic modern kitchen design that would also brighten up the space.

So the first thing we did was remove the cabinet doors so we could get started on the painting process, which you can read all about here.

Renovating Tiffin Allegro Open Road 32LA | MountainModernLife.com

From the beginning, I knew I wanted two-toned cabinets, but was torn between painting the lowers black or gray. To be honest, I really wanted black but everyone kept telling me I was crazy to put black cabinets in such a small space. In most circumstances, I would have done it anyway but for some reason, I was more nervous this time around with this being our first real renovation project.

So we painted the upper kitchen cabinets white and the lower cabinets in a medium gray. Two weeks later we discovered a massive water leak in the ceiling due to cracks in our skylight. The upper cabinets had to come out so we could replace the ceiling panel, and that’s when I made the decision to paint the lower cabinets black…

And I’m sooooooo glad I did!

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to paint the cabinets (or anything for that matter) the color you feel is right in your gut. You’re the one that’s gotta live in the space anyway, so do what’s going to make you happy.

I’ve swapped out the photos below with photos taken about a year after this post was written.

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

Besides, paint can always be re-painted. It may not always be the most fun task, but it isn’t permanent.

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

If you follow us on Instagram you may have seen the mountain art I created on leftover reclaimed wood – the same kind we used for our rustic bathroom storage shelf.

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

The backsplash was created from tongue and groove planks and the countertops were made out of oak wood flooring. We originally planned to do a faux shiplap but we had the leftover tongue and groove so we went that route instead.

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

I really wanted a single basin sink but finding one in the dimensions we needed (that wasn’t over budget) turned out to be a much bigger task than I anticipated. Luckily I scored a stainless steel sink for just $20 on eBay.

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno

It may not be the biggest kitchen, but Eric and I spend a lot of time in here (mainly because the living room/office and kitchen are essentially one space), and we are really happy with it so far.

I’ll list the projects and sources below, but we’ll be sure to update the links as we add the projects to the blog.

So what do you think of our RV kitchen renovation? If nothing else I hope you feel inspired to create a space in your RV or sticks and bricks home that reflects your own personality and style.

additional resources

 

Kitchen Renovation Projects:

Product/Decor Sources:

I recently shared some kitchen reno tips over on Wayfair, along with some other bloggers, which you can check out here.

Are you planning to an RV kitchen renovation in your camper or have you already updated it? If so we would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVrenoThinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVrenoRV Kitchen Remodel with black cabinets | MountainModernLife.comThinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVrenoThinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVrenoThinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com
Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno
Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno
Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno
Thinking about updating the kitchen in your camper? Come see how we made a huge impact in our motorhome with our RV kitchen renovation! | MountainModernLife.com #RVreno
RV Kitchen Renovation

76 Comments

    1. Thank you April! I figured this tiny kitchen will have to do until we get our “dream” kitchen someday. Of course we had to be super careful with any weight we added, otherwise I’m sure there are some other materials we may have added. Overall, we’re pretty happy with our mini, traveling kitchen πŸ™‚

  1. What a beautiful new kitchen!! Very well done. Can you tell us more about the paint you used on your cabinets? Was that process difficult? Does paint hold up?
    Would also love to know how you turned wood flooring into those wonderful new counters!!
    Enjoy your adventure!!

    1. Thanks Kathy! We’ll get into the painted cabinets a bit more in another post, but we originally lightly sanded the cabinets, then cleaned them with TSP. Afterwards we used primer and then painted the uppers with BEHR Ultra Pure White. The lowers were originally BEHR Mined Coal, but when we re-painted them we used DecoArt Carbon Chalky Paint. They’ve been holding up really well so far. We did use wipe on poly finish (oil-based) the first time around and when it came time to re-seal the lower cabinets after re-painting them I tried a few different sealers and waxes. The DecoArt clear varnish seemed to work best. I didn’t have the water based wipe-on poly, otherwise I probably would have tried that.

      The process wasn’t difficult, just a bit more time consuming than I would have hoped since we had to remove the cabinets after the water leak and repaint, but if you paint them right the first time (and don’t have a water leak) it’s not bad at all. Hope that helps πŸ™‚

      1. hi Katie,

        With the cabinet paint (uppers), waht finish did you use? Eggshell, semigloss, or? I am currently redoing my 31′ Winnie and making decisions on paint. I am doing white cabinets, grey walls, which is the grey clouds color, a super light grey

        I really all the posts, love what you guys are doing.

        1. We used Satin finish with all of our white paint. Ooooh I’d love to see how it turns out so definitely keep me posted!

  2. Looking great, you will be able to start your own reno business after you complete your own project. Good on you both.

  3. You and your husband have made such a beautiful and creative space in your RV. You are both very ‘handy’ and brilliant in what you have achieved. You make a great ‘team’ πŸ™‚ I am sorry to hear about your water leak, but to be quite honest it was obviously for the best in one way as it made you paint your cabinets in the colour which was in your first thoughts, which for me was the best way for you to go, specifically as the frames of your windows are black too and black is a ‘classic’ colour and they look just stunning. You were right when you said the grey looks ‘good’ it did, but now you have achieved ‘stunning’. Love, love, love it all and ….. of course, being on your ‘Renovation Journey’ with you both πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Denise! It’s funny because we joked that the water leak was a blessing in disguise in many ways because it forced us to learn more about our RV than we ever intended. I mean, it would have been nice to do that without the water leak and all, but I guess there’s always a silver lining, right? πŸ™‚

  4. Most people would keep top and bottom one color. But that is awesome. It looks …maybe not bigger… but less cramped. My SIL is on her second rv, and we have one also, so having worked in three I know the cramped feeling. We want to redecorate ours and your site has given me many ideas.

    1. Thanks Marlene! I think painting the ceiling white really helped too because it almost makes the cabinets look like they disappear. I had seen two toned cabinets in larger homes and loved it so I was hoping it would transition okay, and I think it turned out pretty good πŸ™‚

  5. Never in a million years would I have imagined how great matte black would look with the white uppers. I agree with another comment that it looks less cramped. I think it’s because it is broken up, instead of feeling like one (relatively) big wall of cabinets. Also, I noticed that in the before photo, the black microwave seemed to stick out, and now it looks smaller, and an intentional part of the design process! Hats off to you!

    1. Thank you Judy! We also painted the rest of the cabinets in the front of our RV white so at least the uppers match those, and help brighten the space up even more. It’s funny because I hadn’t noticed that about the microwave, but it sounds good to me!

  6. We have been trying to use command hooks and foam double stick tape to hang things in our new trailer, but, nothing will stick!!!! Do you have any suggestions to get them to stick or alternative products? We’re going crazy over this! By the way, I love what you’ve done with your makeover!!!!

    1. To be honest, we haven’t had the best luck either. They’ll work for a couple days and the next thing we know whatever we have hanging up has fallen to the floor, along with the hook. I think it may have something to do with the humidity or maybe I’m not prepping the walls right, I dunno. We had great success with them in our sticks and bricks home so I’m determined to get some to work, but for now we’ve used mostly hooks you screw in, or cup hooks. I LOVE cup hooks because they easily screw into the walls or ceiling of the cabinets. That’s what we have our mugs and pot holders hanging from. In fact I have that basket hanging on the side of the upper kitchen cabinet hung from two cup hooks, and the basket holding pencils above out desk in the bedroom (https://mountainmodernlife.com/wall-mounted-desk) is also hung up by cup hooks. Then there’s another basket we have hanging up on the side of our sofa with cup hooks…Can you say obsessed much? haha. All I know is I found something that worked and I kinda just ran with it.

      1. Oh and the same goes for the apron and kitchen towel hanging on the side where the flip up counter extension used to be. We plan to add an counter extension back in the same spot, so we left the previously drilled holes and I just screwed the cup hooks into those existing holes.

      2. Using a dehumidifier makes a big difference! We frequently travel to humid areas and we can’t believe the amount of moisture it removes. It’s a must for all full-timers.

        1. Agreed! We purchased one during the reno when we noticed a water leak and run it at least a few times a week. It’s insane how much water it sucks in!

    2. I just noticed my old comment and wanted to mention that I’ve been successfully using command hooks since this post (yay!). It definitely seemed to boil down to me not actually following the instructions. I never had to in our sticks and bricks home so when just sticking them up didn’t work I moved on. Now that I actually follow the directions they work (whodathunk? haha). If you’re still having issues you may even want to consider using velcro – there are different strengths.

  7. Glad you went for the blackβ€”it’s a perfect backdrop for your wood and copper accents. The whole kitchen looks great.

    1. Thanks Mary! Our windows were certainly a determining factor when it came to painting the lowers black. One of the main reasons we bought our particular RV mdoel was because of all the natural light it has. I figured there was enough light to help keep the place from looking too dark, even with black cabinets.

  8. You two are amazing! The black looks wonderful and I thought the grey looked great! Katie keep making the decisions! They are always the right ones! Love you?

    1. Thanks! Can’t wait for you guys to see it. I can’t even remember what it looked like the last time you visited πŸ™‚

  9. I dearly love the renovations to your RV, it looks incredible! I have been begging my husband to do this for about 4-5 years, and he still is procrastinating. I guess I will have to just get it and get started on my own, then he will take over, because he doesn’t always like the way I do it. Hee Hee, he doesn’t know that’s how I get him to do most projects!

    I want to live an travel in it for a few years, and to continue to write my blog. I am seriously hoping that after seeing your renovations, and reading about your escapades traveling, that he will change his mind and decide to do it too! Please pray for us, so we can get going too!

    1. I don’t have issues getting started, but my problem is trying NOT to get distracted by 32487293482 other projects, and actually finish what we started! I’m sure you’ll get started when the time is right…just tell your husband that the time is right now πŸ™‚ haha

  10. You did AMAZING work!!! We have a camper not a RV, but I am wanting to make our camper “ours.” I have brought up to my husband about painting the walls. Did you paint over the wall paper and boarders or did you strip the wall paper? Maybe I can get him on board and do a winter project.

    1. Thank you so much Ashley, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your camper!

      It’s funny but we’ve been meaning to share posts on painting the RV and am hoping to finally get those posted before the end of next week.

      Not gonna lie, painting SUCKED, haha. The walls weren’t as bad as the cabinets, but they did require some prep and extra coats.

      We removed the borders, but not the actual “wallpaper” that’s adhered to the walls of the RV — you don’t want to try and tear that off. The borders were fairly easy to remove in our coach. We just lifted up one area with a flat head screwdriver and were able to slowly remove it, then use goo gone to get rid of the gunk. Some people will use a blow dryer to help lift the border from the adhesive and use warm water and fabric softener to remove the adhesive.

      As far as painting the walls (we also painted the ceiling and it made a HUGE difference!), we lightly sanded, then used TSP, then did 2 coats of primer and then 2 coats of paint. We did paint everything white so I think it required more paint then if we had used a darker color. For primer, oil based may work better but we used a water based because I can’t stand the smell of oil based paints. I believe we used Kilz or Zinsser, but I’ve read really good things about Glidden Gripper Primer.

      Hope that helps, and keep us posted on the updates you make!
      Katie

  11. This looks amazing! My boyfriend and I are getting ready to remodel a camper of our own and posts like this make me so excited! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Morgan! Ooooh I can’t wait to see what you do with your camper, I hope you’ll share some links or photos afterwards!

  12. Hi. We did the same thing to our camper almost a year ago and love it. But we thought itr would be impossible to replace our countertops because it’s kind of a weird pattern and layout. How did u guys cut out the countertops? I’m confused about how you did that all.

    1. Hi Ariana,

      We plan to have the post for the countertops available in the next week, but we basically removed the old ones, created a template from plywood and then installed the wood flooring on top. I’ll be sure to update this post with the link to our countertop post once it’s available πŸ™‚

      Katie

  13. You did an amazing job on the reno! I didn’t see you post anywhere about what flooring you used. I’m looking at options and am having a hard time deciding. I really like the look of yours.

  14. Wow such a simple but amazing renovation! Love the way the white on black looks on your cabinetry, I guess that little surprise having to take them down worked out in the end.

  15. Finally, someone who knows how to take pictures of a remodel! I live in my 29 foot full-time (single lady retired) and have started planning kitchen remodel because I’m vertically challenged. MW is too high and I would like more counter space. I’m going to take out range/oven and replace with 2-burner cooktop then install MW/Convection below. Your ideas and perseverance are great. I look forward to your projects.

  16. I love it! We just sold our remodeled camper trailer and bought a brand new much bigger one! Even though it’s brand new, I plan on glamping in out.
    Do the wood counters add a lot of weight? We are looking towards laminate/Formica… whatever they are called because of the weight. Our trailer is 6800lbs, our car can haul 9k. But we fit things for 5 kids in there!

    1. Yay, how exciting!! The counters are heavier than the previous ones, but not as much as I originally thought. We’ve saved weight in other areas of our RV and then used plywood vs. MDF for our base – the previous counters had MDF which was petty heavy even though the formica was light.

      Formica would definitely be lighter if you’re concerned about weight or you may want to look into lighter/ thinner wood options. Most of the butcher block we found was at least an inch thick, but I know you can custom order thinner counters – we were just on a time crunch so that wouldn’t have worked out for us.

      I would maybe check around and get quotes from companies that can make the counters for you and see how that compares to making them yourself. They’ll be able to tell you what they recommend as far as thickness and weight. Since you probably don’t need a huge counter, the cost won’t be as high as it would be in a sticks and bricks kitchen. It may be worth checking into anyway to see if you’d rather DIY or buy and keep us posted on what you end up doing! πŸ™‚

  17. The before was much better. Why people paint over beautiful wood grain makes no sense

    1. If you love the cabinets that come in your RV then you’ll definitely save a TON of time by not having to paint, so that’s a plus. The base of the cabinets wasn’t real wood, only the cabinet doors and we knew we would be adding real wood to other areas of our RV so I didn’t mind painting them. I think it’s important to create a space that fits your own personality and taste, regardless of what other people think because you’re the one that has to live in it. If you find a RV that you can appreciate as-is, that’s awesome!

        1. Hey Doris, it’s actually a cover that came with the cooktop. It has padding on one side and a hard surface on the top side. I think you could make one of these fairly easy or order one. Though I have to say I really like the padding on the underside for two reasons, one being that it helps hold it in place, and the other is that it eliminates noise as it sits on the stove top. Anyway I hope this helps.

  18. This is just what I had in mind for hubby and me to live in as we get back on our feet financially and maybe do some traveling after he retires. Thank you for showing us what can be accomplished.

    1. We absolutely love RV life and our tiny home has everything we need, at least for now. I recommend giving it a go! There are challenges but the experiences are so worth it!

    1. Thanks Candice! I’ve heard good things about the peel and stick backsplash options, but we decided to go with tongue and groove because we wanted to use wood, yet keep it lightweight πŸ™‚

    1. We kept the oven in the original place, and I’m barely 5 foot and don’t have issues reaching it. The cabinet above it…. that I need a stool for, haha.

  19. Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on. I also learn something in kitchen remodeling.

    1. Hey Denise, I thought we had some in there, but I may not be understanding you correctly. Would you mind explaining for me in more detail?

  20. found the answers to my questions….sorry to not have read thru the previous comments more thoroughly!

  21. The updated hardware… Is it specific for campers or did you use regular hardware? I am having a hard time finding updated heavy duty latching hardware for my camper!

    1. Hey Suzanne the hardware we used in our kitchen is not RV specific, Katie just did her research thing and found the hardware she liked πŸ™‚ if you have any other questions make sure to let us know πŸ™‚

  22. What brand of paint did you use and what were the actual colors? I love it! I’ve followed you for quite a while and we’re getting ready to make the plunge!

    1. Thanks Jenn! Here’s a link to the post where I share more about the paint we used:

      https://mountainmodernlife.com/painted-rv-kitchen-cabinets/

      For a quick answer, we used BEHR Ultra Pure White for the uppers and originally used DecoArtchalk paint on the lowers – but I don’t recommend the specific chalk paint we used – at least not on cabinets. For a non-chalk paint finish, you may want to consider BEHR Carbon, which is what we have on there now. With that said, I definitely recommend trying different paint swatches because the paint colors can have an undertone that you may or may not want. And I still love chalk-style paints and they may work for you, but I would research different brands and read reviews of those who have used them in their kitchen. Fusion Mineral Paint and Heirloom Traditions are two you may want to look into. We used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in our bathroom.

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