8.23.2013

Camper: Painting Fake Oak Panels and Plastic Stuff


Hi Everyone.  I've been so busy working on the camper redo.  Basically every night I work inside for about 4-5 hours and so far it has consumed my weekends.  I am having tons of fun, but I really am itching for it to be finished.  
If you are thinking about buying your own camper and giving it a little face lift, know that it takes a lot longer than you think it will.  Because it's small and and a tight workspace, getting in all the little spaces can be a little bit of challenge.
I wouldn't change a thing but thought you should know that it's most likely not just a quick weekend fix up.
Here's a little bit about what I've been doing along the way.  If you follow me on Instagram, you can see my progress and laugh at some of my misses!


First up.  I wanted to plank part of this wall where the dinette benches are.  I had left over planks from my TV Room.  I stained them with Water based Miniwax in Grey and was so happy how it looked.
Here's where the install got real tricky and then failed.  I had to use Liquid Nails.  All was going along just fine until I neared the end.  Then, bam, the stuff started pulling off the wall and falling off.
I stomped my feet and got real annoyed.  I then realized it was all for the best, even though I was super mad, because even this little thickness of the planking would have messed up how the cushions fit on the dinette.  So failure, but it was a blessing in disguise.
 I quickly wiped off the Liquid Nails.  Luckily it was still super goopy.  Later I went back and primed the wall and topped it off with a medium colored grey from Valspar paints.  Beautiful.
I decided to refuse the planks for the banquette benches instead!
 Up next was starting to cover up the ugly oak cabinets.  My test piece was the refrigerator panel.
I deglossed it and used Valspar paint and primer in one.  It went on like butter and ended up drying real nice.

 This is how it looked after I started to prime all the other oak paneling and cabinets in the camper.

 I really am pleased with how much a little paint and lots of blue tape can transform the walls and cabinets in this camper.  I am using Zinsser 123 Plus primer and have really liked how it goes on and sticks to anything.  
I found that another way to really make things look new again is to use spray paint.  The AC unit, speaker covers and ceiling vents were all dingy and in an almond color.  I gave them all a good cleaning and then sprayed on basic satin white spray paint.  I didn't even prime and the stuff went on wonderfully.

 I tried to reused the filters in the AC but I think they had never been cleaned and even though I washed them, they were still pretty bad off.  I ordered replacement filters from Camping World.  BUT....when they arrived, they were the wrong size.  Bah.  I ended up just cutting them to fit and you'd never know the difference.  
Ahhh, fresh filters=fresher air.
Look how nice and clean the spray painted AC cover looks!
I've been busy installing new flooring and painting every nook and cranny in the camper.  More to follow and wish me luck along the way.  Follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

8.07.2013

Camper Redo: We bought a camper!

We bought a camper!  I've been spying campers for a couple of months now and really didn't think we'd end up getting one until next year.  On a whim, I was able to get Hubs to jump on the bandwagon and we went to go view a 1979 Airstream.  It was in great condition and if the owners came down in price, we would have bought it.  It needed cosmetic work on the inside but the real reason why we didn't buy it was because it needed axle work and that is a much bigger project than we wanted to take on.

Here is what we bought!
1995 Jayco Eagle 24 Feet

Later that day, feeling a little deflated, I went on Craigslist and saw a much smaller travel trailer for sale and it was nearby.  The pictures made it look extremely clean and well kept.  I emailed the seller and she quickly got back to me.  I was leery though because she said they were the third owners.  Hmmm, I really wanted to buy something that was from one owner.  However, I was giddy to hear that the location of the camper was only 15 minutes away.  I almost jumped in the car and went to spy it at night, but knew that wasn't the best thing to do...even though I really wanted to.

Hubs and I went the next afternoon and had a price in our head of what we were willing to pay.  The camper is from 1995 so it's rather old. We were actually very surprised how clean and well maintained the camper was.  The couple that were selling it had upgraded to a slightly newer and bigger camper.  They were very nice and showed us all the mechanics of the camper.  They let us inspect it all over, under the sinks, on the roof, under the belly, everything.  They were very open to our questions and answered everything we asked.

Now Hubs is the negotiator.  I run the other way.

He asked the owner if there was room for negotiation and she was willing to come down $800 dollars but it was still far from what we had in our minds.  I could tell that Hubs was willing to go up on our agreed budget and he politely gave an offer.  She didn't bite.  We thanked her for their time and let them know if they changed their mind to give us a call.

We had a few things going for us.
They already had another camper in their driveway.
We were so nice and polite how could they not like us. :)
We made a lot of small talk as we had a camper before and gave them some tips on places to stay where they haven't been before.
The husband wanted to sell it to us.  You could tell.  The wifey was the money negotiator.  She didn't budge at first.

On the way home, Hubs and I discussed how much we liked the camper and how clean it was.
Do you know what made us make a counter offer?  The little camper has two entry doors.
Yes, that was it! Hubs could get up in the AM and go get coffee without having to disturb me.

We made a counter off that was very close to meeting the owners offer in the "middle."
The owner and I had communicated via email over the last few days, so I emailed her and then held my breathe.  Actually, I went to go clean out my husband's truck.  I had the vacuum blaring and glanced over at my phone.  SHE ACCEPTED OUR OFFER and said Bring Cash and Come and Get it.
I screamed and did an odd jump in the air.  
Hubs thought I found some freaky bug while cleaning out the truck.  
Within 15 minutes we were on the road to go pick up our brand new camper.

Here are some things we learned and some things that may help you if looking to buy a camper.
1) Go to dealers and look around.  Try to figure out the size you want and what some of the amenities you need.
2) Look on Craigslist, Ebay, newspaper, peer in people's driveways.  Basically get the word out you are looking and go on the hunt.  I never thought I would buy ours 15 minutes from home.
3) Look for any sign of water damage. Look under the sinks, each of the corners of the camper, check windows, poke around the floors, etc.  If owners look at you weird, who cares. If they won't show you around the camper, think hard about why not.
4) Know that you can fix the cosmetics of the camper.  If you are like me, you want the camper to be pretty, to be fun, to be your home away from home.  Know that you can paint, clean and make the place look fabulous.

How do you like that lovely floral fabric, pastel wall covering and oak plastic trim and cabinets?


Here is what we wanted when we were looking for a camper.
1) Small camper between 20-24 feet that had bathroom and two places to sleep.
2) Lighter weight camper so we could possibly tow it with our Ford Explorer or our Ford F250.
3) Awning
4) Clean spaces that had a little more room that our previous truck camper.
5) A bathtub/shower that was bigger than what was in our truck camper.

We came away with all of that and the two entry doors. :)

I'm working on ripping out carpet, plastic trim and other things I no longer want in the camper.
Next steps are painting and adding lots of fabric by Premier Prints.  I love their patterns!

The carpet was very discolored, somewhat clean.  It didn't smell like dog or cat or pee and just looked old.  I found out there was a lot of sand ground into it when I ripped it up.  It was a real pain to tear up because it is attached under the walls and under the bed, not right up to it.

Also, see all the dirt in those floor vents.  ICK.  I bought new ones that open and close at Lowes yesterday.  Hopefully that will help from crap falling into them.  I don't think they were ever cleaned.

I ripped all the fake plastic trim off the walls and ceiling.  I will caulk and fill in most of the gaps and holes.  Some spots will require new trim, but I'd rather have real wood trim then plastic stuff.

Follow me along on Instagram or follow my Camping Pinterest board.  I can't get enough inspiration and love to hear your suggestions and comments.