A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Felicia thanking me for inspiring her to give her pop up camper a makeover. I was touched… and completely blown away by her amazing work. 😀 She and her family completely transformed their little pop up camper, which they named “Poppy,” and they did such an amazing job that I wanted to share it here with you all. Here’s Felicia to tell you all about their camper transformation in her own words…
We were lucky to find a large 2003 Starcraft Gemini Constellation on Craigslist a few hours away from home. We were immediately drawn to it, due to the fact it was fairly large and had slide outs for beds and the dining area. It definitely needed a lot of cleaning, though.
We found the Magic Eraser was our best bet on getting the grime off the outside vinyl and awning. The previous owners had traveled with a dog so we spent quite a bit of time cleaning out fur and trying to get the smell out. We knew we needed new mattresses, new curtains, and new cushion fabric, and after seeing several other pop-up renovations on your blog, we definitely wanted to get rid of the flooring.
After thoroughly cleaning the PUP, our first job was to try and pull out the existing laminate flooring. This was the hardest part due to the dining area slide out. We had a terrible time getting the flooring out under the dining table slide out. We eventually used a crowbar to lift the area just slightly so we could get under it to pull out the old flooring.
We primed the floor with Kilz first to make sure we wouldn’t have any water issues. Then, we laid peel and stick vinyl flooring that we bought from the Home Depot for around $70. This color hides dirt really well, and the floor stays pretty during our camping trips.
We removed all the cabinet doors and the hinges for painting. We knew we could reuse the hinges by spraying them with Rustoleum High Performance Enamel in silver. We decided to go with different knobs and chose a basic wooden one. which we painted a cute blue color to coordinate with our curtains. When replacing the cabinet pulls, make sure the ones you choose aren’t too large, otherwise you’ll have problems when you try to close the slide outs. The knobs could damage whatever they hit when you close up the camper.
For the cabinets we chose Amy Howard “At Home One Step Paint”. This requires no stripping, sanding or priming. We’ve used this paint on other furniture pieces with great results. Based on our fabric swatches, we ended up choosing a retro-green color called Dunavent Green. It was $32.50 for a 32 oz can.
While working on cleaning and priming the floor, we made several trips to the fabric store to find the perfect curtains and cushions. At $20 to $30 a yard, all the fabrics we liked were far too expensive. We went on Fabric.com and found several indoor/outdoor fabrics for just $8.98 a yard that would hold up to 500 hours of sunlight exposure, resist stains and be water resistant. This was a huge savings from all the stores I had visited, so we ordered about 8 different swatches and then took them to the paint store to figure out which color scheme we wanted to go with.
I am not a seamstress so I called a local lady who has an alterations business to help with all the sewing projects once we’d picked out our fabrics. She was wonderful to work with. When I took the old fabric off the cushions, I discovered that they were in great shape and did not smell. We were lucky to be able to reuse the foam by covering it with the new fabric. I made sure to order extra fabric just in case we ever have a cushion that gets messed up.
We could not get the curtains back on the little track they were on, and I’m actually kind of glad because we came up with a better system. The valance at the top was put on with Velcro. The rest of the curtains are on rods that are held up with Command strip hooks, which work great. Now we can take them down each season to have them cleaned. I don’t think the previous curtains had ever been washed.
The mattresses were the first things that were put into the trash. We found a foam outlet that was able to cut out mattresses to fit the strange sizes of the bed area. It took less than a lunch hour to get mattresses cut and was around $100 for each side.
We covered our little step that goes outside with carpet and it helps keep the dirt outside. We also found that solar blankets on each bunk end is a must. They keep the camper cooler in summer and warmer in winter and help the older canvas stay water tight.
We still have a lot we want to do, but we love our “Poppy” so far. We have a bathroom/shower unit in this pop-up, but we haven’t ever used it. We’ve always been camping in locations that provided adequate bathroom facilities. We really like the additional storage space that area provides, so we are still looking for some type of shelving solution for that area. We hope to add LED lights and an air conditioner soon, and we also need to fix a few cosmetic issues on the outside shell.
Our boys are currently 8 and 12 years old and camping with them has been the best thing for our family. We have made some wonderful memories by spending a day hiking or playing in a creek and an evening by the fire or around the dining table playing a board game. We’ve also met some great people and had the best neighbors in the campgrounds. One even saved us from freezing by lending us spare heaters on a frigid night when we couldn’t figure out how to get the heater to work. Many of our neighbors at the campgrounds have large campers and say they started out in a pop-up and have fond memories of their first years camping with their family in a cozy little pop-up. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your pop up camper makeover with us, Felicia. It looks amazing, and I am so glad you and your family are out enjoying it! We’ve made some amazing memories in our PUP as well, and it sure makes all the hard work worth it!