When we first got our little Santa Fe pop up camper, Mr. TypeTwoFun and I had very different opinions on what items needed to be addressed. I was all about aesthetics, and he was about function. It took us both awhile to see each other’s points of view, but eventually, we made a great team. There were some rocky moments, though. 😉 This next reader makeover feels so familiar because not only did I get Shannon’s point of view, but her husband, Jeff, weighed in on their remodel, too. It brought me back to the time Mr. TypeTwoFun and I spent remodeling our own pop up camper. Because we very seldom get both husband’s and wife’s sides of the story, I’m going to let Jeff and Shannon tell you all about their remodel in their own words.
Shannon & Jeff’s Pop Up Camper Makeover
Shannon: I’m a teacher, so I’ve always dreamed that my future summers would be for traveling and exploring this awesome country. Jeff and I have tent camped since we began dating after college. We squeezed into a two person backpacking tent for a few too many years, and then we started a family. After a 4 year camping hiatus, we took our two boys, who were 4 years and 18 months old at the time, camping with friends to a state park in New Hampshire. We borrowed a tent just in case it was a nightmare, but it ended up being fantastic. That was three years ago. Despite purchasing a new tent and everything that goes with it, I’ve held on to my dream of summertime travel. After stumbling across Larissa’s Pinterest page and spending many nights scouring the Pop Up Princess blog, I thought I could make this happen sooner rather than later. I told my husband I was done with our (his) lake vacation and gave all the reasons why we needed a trailer.Jeff: Giving up the lake completely was actually not an option, but cutting back from two weeks to one seemed like the right compromise. I have fun everywhere, and the thought of finding a new lake somewhere else in the country sounded appealing. I sent a long sad email to my cousin, who we rent the lakehouse from, and just like that, my lake vacation was cut in half. I really hope we don’t hate camping in a trailer.Shannon: So in the dead of winter, we searched Craigslist a lot. When springtime came, we visited several local camper dealerships. We considered and debated hybrid trailers versus pop ups, both old and new. In the end, I felt like The Pop Up Princess was personally challenging me to makeover a PUP. 😀 We looked at a couple PUPs that we found on Craigslist. but they never seemed like the right fit. We struck gold when a gentleman at our church overheard a conversation about camping and mentioned that he was looking to sell his lightly used 2004 Fleetwood Yuma. My husband went to see it when the weather warmed up in the Spring, and a week later it was parked in our driveway. We were VERY lucky.Jeff: The entire pop up was in terrific shape, and if we did nothing to it, it would have been fine. Shannon kept saying, “But that’s not why we got a pop up!” and I kept saying, “Wow, we really don’t HAVE to do anything. It’s in great shape.” That was partly because I knew that I would have to take part in the remodel, and partly because it really was in fine shape. 😉
I was most concerned about tackling the fabric but immediately had a great idea. I am a public school educator, and at the high school where I work, there is a textiles class. I knew of a talented senior that was taking on projects for community service credits. Turns out, she grew up in a PUP, and she accepted our challenge to re-upholster the cushions and sew our new curtains. Now it was off to the fabric store.Shannon: After a Facebook post and thread from The Pop Up Princess about clearance shower curtains at Target, I pretty much went immediately! Obsessed much? 🙂 I had a nautical color scheme in mind, and found some clearance shower curtains that I thought I could use for the privacy and side curtains. Then, after shopping in three states and browsing several fabric stores, we found the fabric for the dinette cushions and the valances. Shopping for fabric is really challenging. I pulled all the curtains, valances, and cushions out of the pop up and off they went to the high school with the new fabric.When April vacation came around, we had no plans, which meant we had an entire week to dedicate to the remodel. The next step was to paint the cabinets. I was so unsure about what color I wanted, but I knew I wanted it to be brighter. My dad, who has great painting expertise, recommended priming with an oil-based primer called Zinsser Cover Stain. He gave me great advice (and Facetime consultations). After the primer coat, we painted the cabinets with two coats of Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Chocolate Froth. It looks white, and my only concern was that it might show dirt more easily. We’ll see how it holds up after a few trips. Neither my husband nor I are professional painters, and there are a few areas that got paint on them that shouldn’t have, including a nice clump of paint on the clear vinyl. Oops. 🙁Jeff: After the painting was finished, I began working on the floor. The original flooring was a vinyl tile. It was in nice shape, but didn’t fit Shannon’s vision. Like many readers, we used TrafficMaster Allure plank flooring in a Old Hickory Nutmeg. It took about a box and a half. I chose to go around the cabinets and dinette booths, so there were many cuts that had to be made. I used a pair of tin snips for the small cuts, and a small circular saw for any straight cuts. At the entrance, I installed a new satin colored threshold, being careful to leave space for expansion. I used that same threshold on one end of the PUP to close the gap between the new floor and the existing threshold under the bunk end. On the opposite side, I needed a longer threshold, so I found another one that worked at the big box store. Again, no nails went through any part of the new floor to allow for expansion. The floor wasn’t too hard to install, and I found it easiest to lay out the first full row down the center, then build from either side. Obviously, the camper wasn’t square, so there were uneven gaps on the edges. Those were easily covered by quarter round, which we used to give the project a finished look.One big concern, that we didn’t learn about until we owned the camper, was that the crank assembly wasn’t locking or working properly. On some occasions, the roof would slowly start to come down and didn’t make the “crank” sound like the manual indicated it would. After looking on YouTube, I found a video that shows exactly how to check the gears in the crank, service the gears, and put it back together. After a little grease and some silicone spray, the crank worked perfectly and the roof stayed put. You can find this video here. Another thing that needed replacing was the drain hose under the sink. It was kinked when the owner folded down the sink. A quick trip to the pool store, and we had it fixed in no time.Shannon: After reading Larissa’s post on bedding, I purchased a 2 inch memory foam pad from Amazon for our bunkend. I was able to score some nautical themed decor items at a local consignment shop and purchased our bedding from Target. I added a pop of coral color to ours, but decided on something a little more fun for the boys. I picked the camping themed bedding from Target’s new PillowFort line to keep the boys’ area of the camper bright and happy.The bulk of the makeover took a week and most of work was done over our April vacation. While we were busy inside remodeling the PUP, our son learned how to ride a two wheel bike in the driveway. We aren’t traveling the country just yet, but we are a lot closer. New camping and biking adventures await! 😀
How awesome is Shannon and Jeff’s new pop up camper? I have been eyeing that new PillowFort line at Target for awhile, but my kids are just too darned grown up for it now. I was thrilled to see it in action in Shannon and Jeff’s camper. What fun for their boys!
Thank you for sharing your insight on the remodel process, Jeff. And thanks for the trip down memory lane! Mr. TypeTwoFun and I have such great memories of transforming our camper two years ago… On second thought, maybe you better not ask him about that. He might see it a little differently. Haha! If you and your significant other have taken on a camper remodel together, I’d love to hear your stories! Was it a true test of your marriage or easy-peasy? Feel free to comment below!