(Camper) Design Vibes: Stunning Camper Transformation
Planning to remodel your camper, or looking for design ideas you can implement into your tiny home? This week we’re touring a renovated camper that blends simple, modern decor with boho-farmhouse influences. This is one cozy home you won’t believe is on wheels!
We recently started a new design series where we highlight renovated campers (and other inspiring spaces) every Friday! Our goal is to share how others have reimagined their homes, in hopes of inspiring you to create a space you love, regardless of the square footage.
Stunning Camper Transformation
Thuy (Twee), her husband Ray, and their goldendoodle, Rainer, recently moved from their first starter home, into their remodeled travel trailer, so they can have the freedom and finances to travel more often.
She’s a middle school teacher planning to transition to online teaching and he recently got out of the military and is working for a non-profit organization that requires him to travel.
One aspect I love about this transformation is despite their camper being just a couple of years old, they didn’t let that stop them from making changes to create a home that reflects their personal style!
This camper doesn’t resemble anything you can purchase from an RV dealership, and instead looks more like a stylish, cozy condo.
One thing is for sure, this is a stunning camper transformation!
It seems even Rainer was up for the challenge.
What kind of RV/Camper do you have?
2016 Jayco Eagle 338RETS
How would you describe your decorating style?
I have no idea what I would call it. I love the bohemian look, but also farmhouse, and modern, so its a mash-up of the three. We also have a lot of souvenirs from various countries during our travels and that’s hanging out in various corners of the RV.
How much did you spend on the renovation?
We spent $3,000 renovating the RV and $2000 on the countertops, so a total of $5000. We actually sold a lot of the old parts and furniture from the RV and made a lot of that money back.
Hover over the image to see the before.
What led you to the tiny life?
Our passion is to travel. In fact, we had a destination wedding in Hawaii and it was travel themed. We bought a home but only used half of the space and were gone most of the time going on trips. Also, Ray’s job requires him to travel quite often. I would get so jealous when he would arrive in an amazing location and longed to be with him enjoying the experience, but instead, I had work obligations that prevented me from joining him. We are young and we spent a lot of time apart due to military deployments during our first years of marriage. We wanted that time together and what a better time than now to do it. TIny living allows us the flexibility and the finances to gives us what we were lacking, so we took a leap!
How often do you travel?
We plan to be stationary 3-4 months at a time in any given location, traveling by other means during that time.
Who do you travel with?
It’s just the three of us, Ray, Thuy, and our fur baby Rainer. We have a couple plans to meet up with friends, who are traveling as well, and family who will meet us at various locations.
How long did it take you to remodel your RV/Camper?
We spent 7 months remodeling. We were only able to work on it during the weekend because of work and school obligations. During this time, Ray traveled a lot for work, so I had to work in alone at times in between school and work.
Did you do everything yourself, pay a professional or do a mix of both?
We did everything ourselves except the countertops, which were installed.
Paint Colors Used?
We used kilz primer, Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, and Benjamin Moore’s Winters Gate.
If you updated the flooring, what kind did you use?
We used Home Decorators Collection vinyl plank flooring in Cider Oak.
What is your favorite project or piece of decor and why?
We absolutely hated our dining table that came with the RV, but it was good quality and well constructed so I decided to make it work for us. I refinished it and changed the base to metal hairpin legs and now it’s not only functional, but our style and beautiful! I love being able to refurbish old furniture and seeing the transformation makes me appreciate the piece so much more!
What was your least favorite project and why?
Painting was my absolute least favorite project. The prep work took forever, was boring, and uneventful. The painting process was even worse. It just takes forever, is an arm workout, messy, and in an RV, there are so many nooks and crannies that are hard to get to.
What was most challenging about your renovation?
Painting and flooring were the most challenging. I say painting was also my most challenging because we messed up and had to scrape and repaint some areas. The flooring was challenging because it’s such a big project and I didn’t have any experience in flooring. This project seemed to last forever. The cuts were difficult at times. I took butcher paper, cut it to the size of one plank, created a template to trace onto the actual plank, then cut and fit. What I thought would be the most challenging was the electrical and plumbing, but those projects went surprisingly smooth.
What project made the most difference in the space?
Paint definitely made the most difference but was the biggest pain. It immediately opened the space up and made it bright and inviting.
What do you enjoy most about your space following the transformation? Is there a specific area you spend most of your time?
For two weeks before we moved in, we slept on a blow up mattress, so we appreciate our RV bedroom even more prior to moving in. We decided on a tuft and needle mattress and it is the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. We also used blackout shades, which we love because we both need it to be completely dark to sleep. We never want to get up in the morning, it is just so comfortable. We spend most of our time in the living room area working and lounging. We love being close to each other so we needed a bigger couch than the one that was previously in the RV. We love to turn the fireplace on, watch movies together, while we snuggle on the couch. Rainer loves the big open space to play in as well.
Where’s your favorite place to shop for décor?
My go to places are Home Goods, World Market, Marshalls, Amazon, and Ikea. Pretty much everything in the RV are from those places.
What piece of advice would you give people starting an RV/Camper renovation?
I have learned that the best way to go about when researching, is to make a list of topics or tasks in the order that you will use them, focus on one topic or task at a time, and execute a plan of action after the completion of research. When we first started, I was researching absolutely everything that had to do with RVing. Over time, all the information started to overwhelm me and when it came time to apply that knowledge, I couldn’t recall. I used a lot of blogs/youtube videos to help guide me during the renovation process. Two that I would recommend are Mountain Modern Life and This Little Adventure. They had amazingly detailed tutorials for flooring, painting, lighting, and the building of various furniture pieces within their own RVs.
What’s your favorite tiny home hack?
I think my favorite is the 22 drawer plastic storage bin from Home Depot. I actually use it for all my office supplies and to organize all the small things we need for the RV such as nails, staples, velcro, and command hooks. It organizes all the small stuff so well and makes everything so easily accessible and easy to find.
What’s your favorite aspect of tiny living?
We did not realize how much stuff we accumulated over the years. When we moved in together, we each had one bedroom’s worth of things. Living in our 1800 sq. ft. home, we acquired so much stuff even though half the cabinets were still empty. We spent so much time worrying about our things and spending time maintaining those things. It’s actually so exhausting and time consuming. We felt a weight had been lifted off our shoulder selling our last things and now we have more time to create memories, enjoy, and spend time together!
What is something you’ve learned in general or about yourself since going tiny?
I didn’t grow up with a whole lot and this whole process has made me realize how emotionally attached I get to things. I think I get scared that if I let it go, that I will never have the means to acquire it again. I also associate things with people who gave them to me and it’s hard for me to let them go even if I have no use for them. I learned to prioritize, but this is also who I am and I love this quality about me, so I also learned how to make it work for me.
Thank you Thuy, Ray, and Baby Rainer for sharing your home with us!
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You can learn more about the Ellison’s, view more photos of their camper, and follow along their journey over on Instagram!
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