Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RV Remodeling

It’s taken some time but I think we’re nearing the end of our remodeling project in a shabby beach shack theme. We still have a couple of big things left to do like replace the carpeting and the vinyl flooring and we found this cool real wood veneer we’re thinking of putting on the walls to make it feel more like a beach shack. We may only do the bathroom area in that. We’re experimenting with it at the moment.
Meanwhile, it’s been a rather cool winter here in Pensacola Beach, so we’ve had to take time off from remodeling to take advantage of the few nice days we’ve had to soak up some rays. Staring at that gorgeous Gulf water even for just a little bit does a lot to recharge one’s system!
Back to the remodeling subject, this may get a little long and boring, so be my guest and just browse the photos if you’d like.
This has been our project so far in mostly chronological order: First, we redid a wall to create a faux window. We’ve reworked it a few times. At the moment it’s a window looking out on a tropical beach with palm trees. That wall still needs a little work.

Next, Trevor made a desk for me that you can see right under the faux window. I can raise it from desk height to center island height as needed. He’s thinking of making me another desk top mounted to drawer slides that would remain at desk height. That way I can use the higher surface for chopping vegetables or for using the crockpot and yogurt maker, without having to clear the laptop and all my stuff off of it. I can just pull the lower one over to me and shove it back toward the wall when I’m done with the computer or need to stand up to the top shelf.
Then, we replaced the laminate counter tops with granite. The installers placed a stainless steel sink in the kitchen and a porcelain one in the bathroom.  We also replaced the faucets. 
We tore out the old dinette and Trevor built a new one out of wood (goes with the shabby beach shack theme and no more sinking cushions). 
 Next we tore out the old cabinet over the dash board and Trevor built a new one for that. The TV’s been mounted on a wall mount, swing arm that pulls out for easier viewing from the sofa. We affixed strong magnets in strategic areas to hold the TV in place while we travel. We used galvanized sheet metal for the center panels on the cabinets. We eventually replaced the granny rail (shelf rail) near that area as well.
We were going to use dock/boat cleats for the handles on most of our cabinets but I had a difficult time locating the ones we wanted. I ended up ordering some cabinet knobs online that resemble cleats. They turned out to be much smaller in person, but we mounted them anyway.
We removed all of the remaining cabinet doors (except the bedroom which we are not touching (at this time) and had a cabinet maker create new ones for us in the Shaker style to be more consistent with a dock crate look. When finished, he sent them to the finisher to be painted.
We had the wood replaced on the refrigerator door as well. I thought I’d picked out a color that would resemble the old red retro refrigerators, but it didn’t turn out quite like I’d planned. Not the finisher’s fault, it was mine. At some point I may take them to get them painted Candy Apple Red. If I had my way, I would have made the refrigerator door look like one of those old timer gas pumps. Since I couldn’t find a way to make that work, I went with the retro fridge look, planning to put some kind of chrome decoration on the freezer door like the ones on those old fridges that look like what Chrysler puts on their trunk lids. With the wrong paint choice and deciding to put galvanized steel on the door as well, I didn’t quite pull that off either. Someday we may fix that.
I found some cute little starfish knobs for the kitchen and the bathroom. I didn’t want to go crazy with them so I only used two in each room and used our old hardware for the remaining cabinets in each of those rooms. 
In the meantime we sanded, primed and painted all the cabinet frames and tore down the wallpaper border and primed and painted the walls.
At one time we had a desk in here for Trevor and luckily Trevor’s parents didn’t listen to us when we told them they could chuck our old loveseat they were storing for us. We took the desk out and replaced it with the loveseat we had reupholstered in a casual beachy theme.
 Removing the desk left us with no place to put our printer, so Trevor removed the stand on our foot stool and replaced it with a dock crate looking box for storing that. He put casters on it so we can easily move it around where needed. We got Trevor a portable desk that he can move to any area he wants.
We did replace a couple of light fixtures, but I have to tell you the most frustrating part of this whole RV remodel has been the limited choices of RV lighting available. It’d be nice if the lighting manufacturers had a clue about the market niche there is in the area of 12v fixtures. IF YOU WANT TO BE COUNTED IN MARKET RESEARCH POST A COMMENT THAT CAN BE PASSED ALONG TO PEOPLE IN THIS INDUSTRY. Sorry about the caps. Not shouting, just wanted to wake you up in case you’ve fallen asleep by now.
The worst lights are the ones mounted under the cabinets. I hate staring right at those things when I’m sitting in my living room. If we only used this rig for camping and occasional traveling, it’d be one thing but when you live full-time in a tiny space like this, it’d be nice to have something nicer to look at.
We were able to have a custom sign painted for us to use as our backslash behind the stove. I was looking for a retro type sign for this and when I couldn’t find one in the size I wanted, I asked our niece to paint one for us.
 We took the old valances out and put sheer curtains up instead. We bought some of those sheer valance scarves and took them to an alterations person to make custom curtains from them. The color doesn’t exactly match the colors of the loveseat (actually there isn’t much in the rig that matches anything else), but they are ocean colors and that’s what I want to look at. I have some white sheers ordered that have shells and starfish on them that will go behind the sea foam sheers. It looks pretty good in my mind, but we’ll see if that works out when they arrive in the mail.
The shutter we ordered for the kitchen window has arrived but we won’t actually install it until we’ve decided if we’re covering the walls with the wood veneer. We experimented with one sheet of the veneer that comes in 4 by 8 ft. sheets. It kind of has the look I want, but at the same time, since we’re cutting them into 6 inch planks, it kind of looks like wall paneling. Not sure what we’ll end up doing.
I’ve been trying to locate someone to make a sofa cover for me, but because of the shape of the sofa it’s been difficult to find someone willing to tackle that problem. I could buy a different colored one similar to the one we have, but the fabric reminds me of corduroy. Not what I picture for a beach shack theme. I’m looking for something a little more light and breezy.
Last but not least, we replaced the wood trim on the slide and hung some old fishing net and net floats on the top of the slide.
We got the idea of doing the remodel in this décor while having lunch at Hurricane Grill and Wings in Orange Beach, Alabama last spring. Since our kitchen and bathroom sinks and counters were in such bad shape, along with the dinette seats, we knew we were going to do some work around the house and got totally inspired over chicken wings that day.
When you live 24/7 in such a small area, things get beat up real easily. Knicks in the cabinets, scuffs on the walls; you can imagine I’m sure. We think going with the shabby beach shack theme any scuff, scrape or nick is only going to add character to the place. We purposely primed everything with a dark gray color, so if it does get scratched or dinged, it’ll appear along the lines of the scuffed up furniture that is so popular in the shabby chic look.
The dinette booth was made out of soft wood so that scratches will give it the aged and worn appearance as well.
Since we decided long ago, we were going to use this rig until it couldn’t be used any more we were able to be a little more brave in our decorating. We’ve barely broken the engine in so if all goes well, we should be good for many years. And if we can’t use it for some reason at a future date, we know some people who’d love to use it for camping.
I love this décor. I used to wake up in the morning and walk toward the front and not be too impressed with my (interior) surroundings. Now I walk to the front and I’m happy. I’m much more comfortable living in my own style.
It’s been a bonus now that our beach shack is actually parked on the beach. The interior matches the exterior!
Well the weather’s pretty nasty all over the country. We’ve been praying for your safety and the safety of those down here as well, as snow and ice move into an area not completely experienced to deal with it. The wind is raging and rain is falling in sheets as temperatures fall below freezing. The school of dolphins we watched swim by here yesterday must have been heading for the keys or something. Dolphins are pretty smart, you know.

I’m hoping the high winds won’t be around the day we need to cross the big bridge in order to get off this island. But if the wind is blowing us all over the road, we have a new decal on the back of the rig that I’m hoping will help to warn our fellow travelers. It’s the delta maritime signal flag that means: I am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear.
Keep safe and warm guys. We love you!

Love, Trevor & Roni