The best part about writing this blog is that I get to share all these amazing makeovers my readers have done. Every time I see a new one, I get so excited! Anne’s pop up camper makeover was doubly awesome, because not only did she give her camper a pretty new look, she also did an amazing job organizing it to fit her needs. I shared how we organize our camper last week, so it was fun to see how another camper organizes hers. Here’s what Anne told me about her PUP…
We started with tent camping, moved up to a popup with air conditioning and finally to a popup with air, heat, hot water, a potty – the works. We never regretted it. 🙂
We lived with our 2002 Coleman Niagra Elite (“Scout”) just as we bought it, ugly fabrics and all, for years until I started seeing what could actually be done with the interior. I had never even considered painting cabinets, sewing curtains or anything like that. It was just utilitarian. Now that our kids are pretty much grown (17 and 19), I wanted a more comfortable and home-like experience when we took the camper out. At first, we thought we would just sell it, thinking we wouldn’t really use it as much since the kids have grown. I thought perking it up a bit would encourage us to keep it a little longer, and it couldn’t hurt the resale value down the road, right?
I did a lot of research on Pinterest, the Pop Up Princess blog, and popup mod sites. I wanted to go as inexpensively as possible. Who doesn’t? I figured my first step would be cushion fabric and the rest of the remodel would flow from that choice. I waited until JoAnn had a 50% off coupon, and it took what seemed forever to find just the right fabric–one that I liked and that wouldn’t totally offend my husband. Nothing prissy or too themey. I took all my measurements and bought three fabrics – one print and two coordinating solids along with some accent cord trim. I really wanted to use Sunbrella outdoor fabric, but it was way beyond my budget, even on sale.
I’ve been sewing since I was 12, so that part was not so difficult. The first cushion was a learning experience. I had a HUGE roll of sew-on Velcro I purchased at a garage sale years ago for $5 and used that on all the cushion covers instead of zippers. Big savings there. If I hadn’t had that, I might have used buttons or the fold-over style. The fabric was a thicker upholstery type. I didn’t Scotchguard it because I didn’t want it to bleed. I just rely on removing and washing them if they get dirty.
The curtains are more of a fleece-type fabric, because it was very inexpensive. I used the old burgundy curtains that came with the camper and just sewed the new fabric on top. I wanted the curtains to retain the blackout lining. I ran stitching up and down the middle of the curtains to give the new fabric staying power, sort of like quilt stitching. I sewed around the existing clips but had to re-attach a few of them. To do that, I had to drill tiny new holes in them, so I could get a needle through and sew them on. To get the curtains off the rails, I had to remove the end stoppers from the rails. I also retained the upper mesh on the bunkend curtains to facilitate airflow. The mesh is a little dingy but it works. I decided not to replace the valance all around the camper roof because it just seemed too busy. The curtains are a little stiff, but they work.
The potty curtain always seemed to make the whole camper seem much darker, so I wanted to really lighten that up. I ran out of the fabric I had bought and couldn’t get more, so I opted for a pre-made fabric shower curtain. It already had the holes at the top for the clips, and it was the perfect width and length. I just cut out the bottom corner to fit the couch. I wanted some really cute curtain clips but couldn’t find anything that I truly liked, so for now they are just white. I am really happy with this curtain. We don’t use the area for showers, but we use that potty a lot.
The cabinets were next. There was a little water damage to some of the bottom edges that needed to be repaired first. Water damage to particle board is a pain because it swells. I did my best to insert glue where I could and clamp it down to make those spots a little more presentable, but ultimately just gave up and painted over them. I kept all the original tan trim. It didn’t offend me too awfully much. I also kept the original brown door to the fridge, although I may update that at some point. All the countertops are original and I kept them – just too much work to change them.
After cleaning and sanding, I primed the cabinets white and painted two coats of white over that. I had planned to add some blue to the cabinet panels and had even bought one of those “sample” cans of paint, but decided to keep it simple. It’s a lot of work, I won’t sugarcoat that. There are more surfaces in a camper than I anticipated. So far, the paint has held up well though, and it’s so much brighter!
Finally, I wanted to cover that ugly vinyl floor. It was the only thing in the camper that went from light to dark instead of dark to light. 😀 I bought two boxes of adhesive-backed laminate strips in a mahogany wood pattern. Since I really didn’t want to put down quarter-round trim on the floor, I spent a LOT of time trimming the flooring to fit exactly to the cabinet edges. Some edges aren’t so perfect, but they’ll do. I added the laminate to the doorstep, but I don’t expect that to last since it is out in the elements when popped up. The floor feels warmer, doesn’t show dirt as much and just makes the whole camper feel more like home.
Since we are one of the few that cook in our camper, especially in inclement weather, we kept the stovetop. We have a small microwave opposite the “kitchen” and a lightweight oven that sits on the shelves above the sink. It’s not just a toaster oven, it’s a fully functional oven purchased at WalMart. We make cakes, biscuits and other fun stuff in it. We can cook all our comfort foods that we normally have at home.
The shelves above the sink/stove are two tension rods anchored by curtain cups at top and bottom. Elfa-type shelving is attached to the rods. (You can find that shelf tutorial here.) It all breaks down and can be stored on the floor. On those shelves I put six little bins purchased from Target and labeled them for first aid, koozies, solo cups, cleaning supplies, etc. I used a clear flexible cutting mat to set next to the oven to keep our phones when they are charging and other personal stuff.
The coffee pot sits on the stove. Two white crates tuck in under the original fold-up shelf opposite the kitchen which we use for groceries. They store in our house between trips. The microwave, oven and most other stuff gets stored in the potty area and anything else is stored on the floor. I also keep two white laundry baskets. They contain all our sheets and items that need washing between trips in our house. When in the camper, they hold our clothing and shoes and sit on the couch (since we don’t use that much).
Our “chuck box” is two mini 3-drawer units from WalMart. They can be taken outside when we cook there. They contain all our eating and cooking utensils as well as electronics, batteries, and other smaller items used often.
I don’t have a lot of cutesy stuff in the camper, the décor is simple and clean. If it was just me, I would probably add a lot of fun glamper-style stuff, but it just wouldn’t suit my husband. We use the camper a lot for the time being, maybe more when my son goes to college and we visit him there. There’s a KOA near where my daughter goes to college and we really like it there. All in all, I’m pretty darn happy with Scout and his new look. I would estimate that I spent about $400 for the remodel. The camper originally cost us $4000 and I’m thinking we might be able to get all that back if we sell it. But not just yet… 😉
Doesn’t Anne’s PUP look great? I love how bright and open it looks now! And the best part is that she’s customized it to fit her family’s needs. It makes a perfect home away from home when she visits her grown kids. Nice job, Anne! 😀