Oh, you thought the “Camper that could” was the actual Camper


Good morning all from a brisk Sunday morning. Can you believe it, it is November.  Lets give a little update. The camper was sold a couple of weeks ago. I know right, all that work and then poof, gone before we even camped in it one time. Have you ever heard the saying ” its the chase”, well for me and design it is kinda the same. Generally once I am 3/4 the way through a project, I already have the next one in my head. I loved working on the camper and could pour my creativity into it, but in the end it was another design project. I listed the camper and in less than 24 hours, cash in hand, sold! We sold it to a great little family, with a little girl, who the back bunk area looked like it was made for her!

So this blog was named ” The Camper That Could”, it shall stay named that, as the Camper That Could, was always more so me than the actual camper itself. This is where we venture off more into that little part I warned you about before, my crazy DIY life!




The Grand Finale!


The grand finale, the final curtain call, the fat lady is singing somewhere in the background. After many hours of works, sweat, and tears ( lots of tears), she is done. I think I probably have about 200 hours into her. It honestly was one of the more rewarding projects that I have done. We were able to take a camper that was so stuck in the 1980s and make her fabulous again. It really shows that anything can be brought forth , redone and made useable and awesome again. We reused most items that we already had on hand. Left over paint, cabinet handles, bedding, curtains, fabric we are put back to use in our awesome camper, and helped us keep this project redo under $500 for the whole camper. Mind you we still have to do the floors, that should only run us about $180.

The only thing that is really left to do is fix the water heater from leaking and that part is on the way. Honesty the funniest thing is, when you look at the camper from the outside, it certainly looks like the Clampits live there !. So here she is, hope you like.


Walls crumble, but hope does not


I was feeling pretty good about our camper purchase, until I put my hand through the back corner of the bunk area. The Knapps calmed me down, explaining that it really would not be that much to repair. So we trudge on with the rest of the camper until my dad and I could take a closer look.

Demo day finally came and with that we had some hard choices to make. The rot and the damage was way more than we had thought. The entire back corner brace was gone, as well as several of the supports. It seems as though the awning when installed never was sealed off. So years of rain leaking in through the four screws resulted in major damage. We had to tear out the top bunk, part of the ceiling, and parts of two walls. It was however the easiest demo ever. The wood was so gone all the demo was able to be done with just our hands. Here are some of the demo and damage pictures.

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Now with all of that out, we start the rebuild. We made the decision to not replace the top bunk. The top bunk was only rated to hold 130 lbs. Dalton weighs 125, so he was not going to be sleeping back there anyways. The decision as made to make it a place for Alyssa, and also add shelves for storage. After tons of measuring, and creative construction, Dad and I re-built the structure, placed new installation in, and sealed the screws from the awning that were the original problem.

Now that’s its all sealed up, off to build and finish the shelves for the back, and the shelf with the light by the bedside. We decided on three shelves in the back for storage. This got a little tricky, as the back of the camper is not square.  Alyssa and Dad worked together on these projects. Alyssa has a little of my addiction to design and building, so it was fun to watch her and Dad work on it together.

Finished project time? Jump forward a couple of weeks and the back bunk area is complete. After finding the water damage, my hope were crushed, but we were able to fix and build it back better than ever. Even when your projects take an unexpected turn, keep your head and hopes up and push through. It was well worth it and now it is the best feature of the whole camper.

I will post in another section, how I made the tufted headboard. Alyssa loves the area, and it added tons of storage for us. Although you should have seen her face when she was told all those shelves were not just for her LOL!


The watercloset, privy, latrine, you can’t possibly call that a bathroom?



The bathroom, well it needed a lot of work. It’s hard for me to call the original one a bathroom per say, think the word latrine or privy was closer to what it really was like. Again the all the sinks, tub, and toilet are a weird off white ( yellowed) color. oh-e-vey!

Bought a new faucet, pleased to find out from my friends at rvforum.net, that I could just use regular bathroom faucets. We were on vacation in Florida at the time, so off we set to the nearest Home Depo. People do that on vacation right? Shop for their DIY projects in Florida that are sitting in Ohio. Any how off we headed to find something not too fancy, just a plain chrome with some nice shaped handles. 30 mins later, after getting several nasty looks from the sales people, apparently only in Ohio do teenagers insist on sitting on every tractor, and trying out every shower enclosure, we left with a faucet and scored it for $22.

Back in Ohio, I primed everything with Zinsser and sat out of a color scheme. All of the other cabinets were white, didn’t want to continue that into the bathroom. Decided to use a grey color on the cabinets ( sorry custom blend of mixing and looking) and the walls were going to Sherwin Williams Embellished Blue SW 6749 in flat. Best part of having super small bathroom….a paint sample can was enough to do it, and I still have plenty left over. Cabinet handles since we only needed three I grabbed a chunky bar type, they were $3.50 each, but I only needed 3 so, good splurge I think.

Now on to the biggest change that needed to happen, the toilet and sink area. The toilet ( outside, not the inside bowl part) and the sink got a good scrub and then lightly sanded and then scrubbed again. I spray painted them white. I know, let the nay sayers start. I used Kryon spray paint for plastic. Yes I spray painted the inside of the sink. Thoughts, we aren’t going to be shaving and holding water in there, it should last, and if it doesn’t what do I have to lose? It took four coats, but it came out perfect and I love it. I AM A GENIUS! Well at least for now.

The mirror just screamed cheap camper mirror, and that we just could not have. Always had a vision of a nice big round mirror for the space. The trick was figuring out how to hang it safely on the wall. Hmmm. I turned to my trusted buddies in the maintenance department at my work,they had just the thing. Brackets that we use at work to anchor paintings to the wall to stop theft. It worked great, this baby is not coming down, also helps it is plastic, just looks like a heavy wood!

I think it is safe to call it a bathroom now. Like it for sure, and the pop of Melon really makes it new and fresh.


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Fabric and Insta Granite are your friends


Going back to the original camper, some of the worst parts were the horrid fabric, and it was everywhere. Some type of polyester beige with a plant of some sorts, sprinkled with dusty blue and mauve. Never a good combination. Again I urge the camper makers to hire someone, maybe like David Bromstad or Nate Berkus. So if you are looking for quick update don’t be afraid to change the fabrics.

I started with the cushions for the table area. I didn’t want to sew new slip covers, instead I used the method found on YouTube. I took thin wood and made a backer for lack of better words for each pillow. Then I wrapped the pillows like a present and stapled the fabric on the back with a staple gun. Now is this washable, no, but here is the thing, I have about $10 in it, if they get stained, rip them off and do again. Which judging by my track record it will probably happen stain or no stain, just cause I like change. Also took down the dark wood “screen” for lack of a better description. Replaced with a fabric silver chevron shower curtain. Curtains I made with fabric I  found at Joanne Fabrics, then lined with thermal backing. This is important in keeping the summer heat out of the camper!

The counter tops in the camper weren’t terrible, I have seen worse. They were a light pink almost, but not exactly my style either. Replacing countertops is terrible, been there done that. So I was off to find another update solution. Cant paint them, no tile, oh how I want the marble look…..then I found it! There is a new product called Instant Granite. They are endorsed by Rachel Ray, what did I have to lose. Hopped on the website (http://www.instant-granite.com/) and there it was marble. So I ordered a bunch and hoped for the best. It was awesome. It is a heavy almost contact paper looking product that looks awesome. Marble for me!  We ordered enough to do all the countertops in the camper, so the look continues into the bathroom as well.

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Love the progress we have made with camper. It is honestly starting to look better than some of the places the husband and I lived when we were younger! Keep following, we aren’t even done with this little redo yet!