Heels to Tractor Wheels

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Camper Renovation Reveal Part 1

I'm EXCITED to finally write to you and show you our camper renovation reveal!!! It's been a long time coming. In fact what was seriously supposed to have taken us two weeks to complete took us FIVE MONTHS to complete. Although she still needs a bit of work she is finally road worthy and ready!

She was a disaster when we brought her home. She needed a whole lotta T.M (Time & Money). Neither of which we had but the Lord above supplied. When we first set eyes on her she needed a new faucet for the kicthen sink, a new water heater and a new set of tires as well as the roof sealed as we were advised of a soft spot in the floor in the loft/bedroom area. The soft spot in the floor seemed minor when we looked at it and tested the floor out. All in all she had great potential. As a 1985 39' Royals International with one slide out in the living room she had just enough space that would allow our family of 5 to live comfortably in while on the road.

We saw her potential. Do you? Below is roughly a 10 minute video on what she looked like when we purchased her for $1,500.00 and brought her home. To say she was a mess is an understatement but she was ours now.

Now that you've seen the rough version of her, here are some before and after pictures of what she looked like and what she looks like now. It took us a week just to scrub her down she had so much grime. I honestly wondered if no one had cleaned her since 1985 it was so bad. 😩

The Kitchen Benches (These fold out so you can turn it into a bed)

These benches took a whole day to scrub down and clean! 

 When my husband and I turned our attention to these benches I was of the opinion to tear them out and put in a bar table in with some bar stools. It would free up more space especially in the kitchen area. My husband on the other hand wanted to keep them as it would allow more seating and would be a better fit for the kids. After going back and forth on this for a week it was finally decided that we would redo them and keep them for now. 

We found water damage inside the benches but the damage wasn't bad enough that we needed to tear them out to fix the flooring. As long as we fixed where the leak was coming from and used a  dehumidifier we could save it and keep it from getting worse.

Kitchen Table

Vinyl Table Cloth Covered the Kitchen Table
The solid wooden table was covered in a vinyl tablecloth that had been not only stapled to the table but it had been on so long it might as well have been glued as well. It took a lot of scrubbing with a cleaner to get it all removed.

The After Pictures

My Map Table
This table came from a Pinterest idea I had come across. I was excited to try it as it would be great way to not just see where we'd be going while on the road but to teach our kids how to map a route, how to read a map and to help them learn all the different States. The trouble I had come across in making my idea a reality was finding a map that would fit this table as it had odd measurements. After much searching we settled on this map which we found at one of my favorite stores Hobby Lobby. This map is actually an interactive map so you can use it with the iPad or with your iPhone and it brings things to life on each State you scan it over. Our kids love it as do my husband and I!

I painted our table and benches in a Alabaster White from Sherman Williams which is what we also used to paint the campers walls with. Then we used a special adhesive to make sure the map stuck to the table. Once dried I then covered the map and table in a clear coat of Polyurethane. It took at least 6 coats.   Eventually I'm going to get a custom made glass top to put over it in the hopes my map table will last longer because having 3 kids ages 5, 4 and 21 months nice things don't last. Any other Parents have this problem too? Are kids just naturally destructive out of curiosity's sake? At what age does this end? Age 8, 10, 15 or do I have to wait until they turn 18 and move out until I can enjoy having nice things again? Hmm...someone please enlighten me on this.😕

The view of kitchen and living room space
The after view of kitchen and living room space

To the right is our slide out before picture

After picture with my darling girl
I love that our camper as two big double doors that open up which allowed easy access for carrying in and out all the cupboard doors for painting as well for moving in furniture. If you look towards the left of the above picture you'll see one of those doors painted black. I had the thought to turn them into chalkboard doors for my kids but after painting them with the black chalkboard paint I didn't like how they turned out so had to repaint them white and the taped off portion is what I left of the chalkboard paint.

The before picture of living room space

The after picture of living room space

Our color scheme for our camper is Alabaster White for the walls, Seafoam for the Cabinets and Steel Gray for the trim. When we first started painting I wasn't so sure about the Seafoam color but once we had everything painted and all up I love the look of it. The colors help brighten up the space, they make it seem more open as well as give off a relaxing feel. Kind of a beachy theme which I love! I would love to park our camper near the ocean! I'm all for the beach!! Would love to have a beach house someday!

Grimy double entrance doors
The after pic of what used to be grimy double entrance doors
I'm SOOOOO glad I repainted these doors white and was still able to incorporate the use of the black chalkboard paint for my kids. I started stenciling arrows so as to give a boarder to the chalkboards but stopped because I didn't like how it was turning out. I had to repaint it to cover it up and I'm still unsure of how to frame these in to make them look better. Maybe a wooden frame of sort??? Any ideas on this? They would be most appreciated!

View from the living room

We are still deciding on flooring & on how to go about painting the ceiling as it looks to be covered in some type of wallpaper that cannot be removed. All in good time.

Our Bedroom/The Loft area
Our supposedly small leak and small soft spot in the floor turned out to be a big leak, no soft spot in floor but rotted out walls instead!!! This was a major undertaking as we ripped out the carpet, ripped out the walls and ceiling and found that the wood was all rotted and just fell apart when we went to go remove it. Honestly we found that these campers are not made of much. You'd be surprised on how their built and put together. Must be for lightness sake to make it easier for pulling and traveling.
I was so glad to see that purple carpet go though and so so so so glad my husband found the major soft spots in the walls and decided to remove paneling to check on said soft spots. 

Turns out the leak was due to the weather stripping having come off around where where the roof meets the sides, the joint area. Water seeped in over time and since no one fixed it all the wood just starting rotting in between the aluminum and inside wall panels.The roof is fiberglass which  doesn't need sealant. This would have been an easy fix had someone taken the time to fix it when it started happening are kept up with the maintenance of owning a camper/RV.  Owning a camper/RV comes with a lot of maintenance and upkeep and is definitely not something that should be skimped on.

The after picture of our bedroom/loft area

So glad to have the bedroom/loft area put back together again (My darling girl trying to paint the windows)
The after picture of our bedroom/loft area

The before picture of our bathroom
The after picture with my daughter's BabyBjorn Potty Seat on the toilet

The closet in the bathroom with the toilet

The bathroom in our camper is partitioned off into three sections. The bathroom sink area, the toilet area and the tub area. I've never seen anything like it before but somehow it works much better than having it all in one room. You have more space this way and definitely have more room to move around in.

The bathroom sink area

The before pic of decorative pieces that go on the cabinet doors

The before picture of towel hangers that came with the camper

This goop is the nasty stuff that came off all the hardware I cleaned (hinges and knobs)
Cleaning all the hardware was the worst part of the camper renovation! I wanted to toss it all and just buy new hardware but DUDE after seeing the price of hardware we decided to try and clean it up an d reuse what we had. After Googling ideas on how to clean it we tried throwing all the hardware into a 5 gallon bucket and threw a solution of vinegar, water and baking soda in it. We let it sit for 24 hours and the above it was the result of that. Now, we had some brass, some alloy covered in brass and when we did this solution it actually started eating away at the metal!!! DO NOT USE THIS SOLUTION as the acid was causing the metal to corrode!! We made another trip to Lowe's (We should have taken stock out in Lowe's with all the trips we made their weekly for this camper renovation!) and thanks to a very helpful employee we settled on a brass cleaner. The bad part of this was you had to clean them one by one. This tooks weeks to clean and I hated every minute of it!!! So many times I wanted to throw in the towel and say heck with it. Unfortunately our pocket book wouldn't allow me to do so. 

Once they were all cleaned we lined all the hardware up and spray painted them a metallic gray nickel. I loved the end result! Which you can see in the below picture.

The after picture of the knobs (We spray painted them)

The Pantry! My favorite thing about our camper is this pull our pantry which locks.

This pantry is hands down my favorite feature of our camper! I love that it pulls out, it's extremely heavy (well built) and it locks! It's great for storing your spices, canned goods and even 8 year old alcohol (one never knows when one might want a Margarita or Mojito even if it's been sitting on your shelf for the past 8 years an opportunity might present itself one day).

I loved renovating our camper, deciding color schemes, what to remove, what to keep, the painting and just seeing everything come together. It's amazing to see the potential in something and then see it come to fruition. Would I ever renovate another one? NO WAY JOSE!!! It took A LOT of TIME and with younger kids it's hard to work on something and keep your eye on them at the same time. Trying to entertain the kids while getting work done was the hardest part of it all. That's why it took us FIVE months to complete! 😅

Well, technically she's still a work in progress, but it's the little stuff that can be done while you're on the road. All the major stuff is done and not only is she ready for the open road she is on the open road! WAHooooo....we are officially a Trampin' Family now!

My dear friends, as we travel I will work on putting together a full video of our camper so you can see it in more detail but for now you get the above.

I'm truly excited to take you all on our journey as a Trampin' Family! So much excitement coming to my blog so stay tuned!


  1. Wow! What a transformation. Love the color scheme you chose. Love love love the map. And the chalkboard paint is such a great idea. My first thought was to trim it with a thin wood trim painted the white color and somehow glue or nail it to the door. 5th wheels are so spacious! We went camping last weekend with a 25ft travel trailer we rented and I fell in love with camping! We want to buy one in the future. This makes me think renovating might be kind of fun! I think of the money saved by renovating a used one. You all took on a large task with this one but for $1500 I feel like that’s a steal! And it turned out beautiful!! Beautiful job! Can’t wait to see more updates on the renovation.

    1. Thank you so much Nancy!I'm so glad I did the chalkboard paint as it's been great for school. William does his math on it and writes his words as well as Wyatt practicing his ABC's on it. They love it! YES! The white wood trim was what I was thinking as well. I just need to find some small thin pieces and I'll probably have to glue it on. I hope you guys get to do more camping this summer as it's such great fun and a great way to bond as a family. If you have the time and resources I definitely suggest finding a travel trailer that has potential and renovating it to fit your family. We were looking for an Airstream but was unable to locate one to renovate so we found our 39' 5th Wheel. It was a lot of fun and I love that we are making it into a home away from home. Thank you so much for your kind comments, very much appreciated!


I welcome your thoughts, suggestions, ideas & your own experiences. Perhaps we can all learn from each other and lift each other up.

I'll make every effort to reply back to you in a timely manner, however I do have 3 kids all under the age of 5 so bare with me. ;)