We purchase a used 2012 Passport Express Super Lite travel trailer by Keystone in January 2017 from Camping World in Anniston, Alabama.
I am not sure why I have always had an obsession with campers. Perhaps it is the idea of being able to pack up whatever you need in your “house” and hit the road. It just seems so freeing . . . and it really it! It forces me to STOP working, doing laundry, and checking off my “To Do” list. It forces me to relax, enjoy the moment, and recharge my battery.
Our favorite place to “camp” is Gulf Shores State Park. We have thoroughly enjoyed each trip and lost count of the times we have visited there.
Purchasing our camper has also become a funny story Neal tells all our friends and family. Someone had given my Dad an old camper and he and I were secretly plotting to renovate it together. Neal was against this idea and as my children frequently quote Neal, “This is just not practical.” In the end, he was right (don’t tell him I admitted that ?).
When my father died last summer ?, I listed the camper on Craigslist and eventually reduced its price to free to get a taker. Once you list something for FREE on Craigslist, there is always someone who will take it. Hurray for my fellow hoarders! The other related story Neal tells is that us buying the camper tipped the scale in talking me into retiring. That is somewhat exaggerated, but it sure does make for a good story! We always laugh as he tells the story and like all good stories, the details of the story grow over time! ?
One benefit of camping is that I am relieved from the constant obligation I feel to be doing something productive at the house. We love living on the lake but because it is our home, there is always laundry, dishes to wash, something to clean, blog posts to write, a DIY project to complete, education consultant work to be completed, etc. Camping sort of forces me to stop and enjoy the moment of sitting by a campfire at night, riding bikes on the AWESOME bike trails at Gulf State Park, or enjoying the local attractions.
Another thing we enjoy about camping is being able to take our dog Daisy. We are definitely dog lovers. ❤️
So back to the camper makeover . . .
We wanted to purchase a used camper because we were not initially sure if we are “campers”. I am more of a camper than Neal, but he has adapted well and I think actually likes it (the things husbands do for love ?).
The fabric on our sofa and curtains was sort of camouflage with palm trees. YUCK! ? Who decorates campers? ? I think the decor is starting to improve, but so many of them have the same look of totally tacky!
The salesperson who sold us our camper suggested that we don’t make too many changes so as not to hurt its trade-in value. However, my thought is when we sell it privately (prior to purchasing a newer, bigger camper ? because we are official campers now) I think our neutral couch looks so much better than camo-palm trees!
First, I shopped around to determine the color scheme. The walls are sort of a brown/tan textured wallpaper, but I wanted to work in some gray too. After shopping, here is the color pallet I decided to use.
BEFORE:AFTER: I purchased this upholstery fabric at Hobby Lobby. It appears to be gray but has threads of various shades of tan and gray. I like it because it is sort of a chameleon; in other words, it takes on the primary color of what is around it. ??
I removed the existing valances (carefully taking pictures of the original to ensure that I could reinstall the new valance the same way after covering with the new fabric). I paid attention to how each corner was folded/wrapped and also took pictures of this so I could replicate with the new fabric. (My memory is not what it use to be. ?♀️)
I used the old fabric as my pattern for cutting the new fabric and used a small staple gun to attach the new fabric. I used small staples because the wood valance was thin and I did not want the staples to go all the way through the wood valance. I refolded the corners the same way they were originally folded. (Thankful I had taken pictures to remind myself. ?)Below is the BEFORE picture of the window over the sink (kitchen area): Below is an AFTER picture.
Below is the BEFORE picture (window next to bed). Below is the AFTER picture.
Below is the small window next to the bed.
This just comes down to good old fashioned sewing. I bought matching curtain rods, measured, cut, sewed, and VIOLA! I liked just having a valance and no side panels – – simplicity. We kept the metal shades and they can be completely hidden under each valance. It gives us some options for natural lighting.
I used a seam ripper and carefully removed the ruffle at the top of the shower curtain. I liked the white shower curtain in general and it was specifically made for the camper with special clips for the track, so it worked just to replace the ruffle and the sash. The original sash had velcro, so I carefully removed it with my seam ripper and sewed the same velcro to the new sash. It worked like a charm!
I also replace the sash on the curtain that serves as a privacy panel. The old sash was that same camo-palm tree fabric. ? I used the same fabric to match the window valances.
And now to deal with that ugly, dark wallpaper border . . .
I was not crazy about the dark wallpaper border. My first plan was to just remove it and leave the plain. Oops! ? The wall was so sticky once it was removed and I tore a hole, so I had to cover this with new wallpaper. Here is the new wallpaper border. It matched my color theme of gray and beige really well. Here is a picture once we rehung the TV. Notice that I also tied up all the hanging wires/cables with twist ties and rubber bands to make this area look neater.
Now on to the kitchen area (removing wallpaper border and adding sticky tile):
The kitchen area also had this dark wallpaper border. We removed it and because it was so sticky, I decided to add “sticky tile” to this area.
This is what we used. It has both beige and gray, which worked great for our color pallet. We ordered it from Amazon.
We started in the corner to have a straight edge and worked left toward the window over the sink. We used scissors to cut the sticky tile. We painstakingly matched the pattern using scraps around the window. This project was much harder than we originally thought. ? I am thankful Neal helped me!
Once we finished the long wall around the window, we worked on the small perpendicular wall next to the refrigerator.
Voila! Here is the final result! We were very pleased with the way this turned out! It is also really easy to clean with a wet rag. Because this is so economical, I might come back and redo this in a sticky vinyl subway tile. But this color scheme works for now!
Here is a before picture of the couch (also before I redid the curtains). Again, who decorates travel trailers? This fabric had to go! Here is a closeup so you can really admire the original fabric. ?I used the same upholstery fabric that I used to make the curtains (from Hobby Lobby). It really did work for what I was trying to accomplish. It lightened up the interior of the camper and blended well with the gray I was trying to integrate into our color pallet.
I had thought about trying to recover this myself, but Neal talked me into taking to a professional upholstery shop (good suggestion by Neal ??). We unscrewed the brackets attaching the loveseat to the platform (the platform is over the motor for the slide). I added the fabric that is the skirt around the platform. I measured the length of fabric needed, hemmed one side of it, and stapled it on the platform where the loveseat would hide the staples. Again, I ALWAYS take pictures when taking something apart to remind myself how to put it back together. Perhaps this (and taking pictures of Daisy our dog and Buddy our cat) is why I have thousands of pictures on my phone. ?
And here is the final result: It looks so much better, but I wish the upholstery shop had put a little more stuffing in the back of the couch. I plan on adding more and then whip stitching the seam closed, but that is for another day . . .
Comfort while sleeping is important to Neal (a conditional requirement of purchasing a camper), so we used a real mattress. It is a little longer and higher than the mattress that came with the camper, but it is exactly like sleeping in our regular bed at home.
After recently visiting the Biltmore mansion and seeing Mr. Biltmore’s elevated bed which was symbolic of importance, I now feel very important sleeping on our elevated bed in our travel trailer. Hum… that seems like a contradiction . . . ?I used a comforter that I already had, which also has grays and tans. It really made everything blend. And here is a picture of the other end of the camper after we recovered the couch, updated the window treatments, added the sticky tile and wallpaper.
Here is another touch. We added an old piece of wood with hooks by the door. We use this for keys, flashlights, dog leash, etc.
For fun (and because Neal had just given me a Cricut as a retirement present), I made these soap dispensers. One is for Dawn dish detergent for our kitchen sink and the other is for hand soap in our bathroom.
And one final touch . . . I used my Cricut to add an F to our front door.
Just as a reminder, below are more BEFORE and AFTER pictures. That is our sweet Ladybug sitting on the couch. She passed away a few years ago. ?
After this camper update, I am a Happy Camper for sure!
Stay tuned for future posts about our camping adventures!
Let us know what you think or if you have any questions by commenting below.