Sunday, February 14, 2016


Anyone that knows Mike and I are well aware that we never leave anything we own in its original state.  We are builders, updaters, crafters, creative and yes sometimes even called crazy!  We updated and built on to our first house, we completely changed our live aboard boat to fit our needs, and now we are making modifications to our travel trailer.  Yes we have only been out in it for two weeks since we bought it, but in those two short weeks we were able to come to the conclusion that some of the things in the camper were just not going to work for us.  Besides the fact we wanted to make the place "our own".  You see Mike and I have never been much for cookie cutter anything, well unless it is actual cookies and that's a whole other story.  We love collaborating on projects.  So the trailer is now our current project.

As we all know trailers of any kind roll off the manufacturing floor looking like hundreds if not thousands of others.  Oh the manufacturers may have a couple of different models that year, but basically they are all pretty much the same.  Same types of fabric, wall coverings, color combinations etc.  Well since we own this house on wheels and have no plans on selling it any time soon (if ever) and we have the ability, why not make it into ours.  So this will be the first post of I am thinking many of the modifications (mods) we are making to our travel trailer.

Our 28 ft Jayco Swift Travel Trailer

As you can see from these first photos, the trailer is quite nice inside the way it came from the factory, but it's just not us.  To much brown and not enough color.  As I said before we want to make it our own.

As much as we liked the idea of there being bunks in the back for the idea that the grandsons would some day come along with us, they just were not quite right.  Needless to say it is a lot a wasted space and realistically who the heck other than a 4 year old is going to climb up in there.  So our first renovation was going to start with this area and coming up with an idea to make it more user friendly for us.

From the photo above you can see that these bunks are larger than a single, but not quite as big as a double.  Two children could sleep there or one adult.  Knowing that the kids (big or small) were not going to be with us that much we needed to figure out a layout that would help us to utilize this space.
We decided we still wanted two bunks (remember 2 grandsons), but we are going to make them only 26" wide.  There will then be a walk way through to the back where Mike will build a floor to ceiling cabinet.  Yay! more storage.  The upper bunk will be able to fold up out of the way so that we can use the lower bunk as another seating area along with a possible small table that will folks flat to the opposite wall.  A place for crafting or what ever.

So our first action, or should I say Mike's, was to tear out the bunks, but save as much as the lumber as possible so that we could reuse it.  Below are a couple of different views of the area before he started tearing it apart.

Good size bunks but hard to access

The ladder to climb to the upper bunk.  It stows in a vertical position to keep the slide out from hitting it when retracted.

The forward part of the bottom bunk can be partially lifted up to access the storage space below.  The rectangle lifts out to access the water heater for flushing/winterizing.

Bunks removed.  On the back wall, single water line is the "city" water hook up.  Box with two lines is the outdoor shower.  Closed in box in corner is the electrical cable storage.  Foam covered box in front of it is the water heater.  This entire area was accessible from outside by a door just visible forward of the water heater.  

Close up of water heater, lines, and electric box.  Short dividers protect unit from things bouncing around while driving.

Black pipe is drain from the shower.  The short vertical piece is a vent.

The PVC drain line was a surprise.  Mike decided to keep it intact, and will construct a protective cover around it.  He felt that moving it would be too much of a hassle.

The 2x2s that support the bunks were screwed in from the outside, before the siding was put on.  Luckily, Mike planned on using them anyway, so it is not an issue.  The cross pieces that supported the bunks were stapled together, and were easy to pull apart.  They were then "wiggled"  back and forth, and broken off flush with the wood.

Roughing in the drain pipe protector, and the support for the lower bunk.

While Mike is busy working on the remodel of the bunk area I am working on eliminating all of the brown brocade fabric.  I realize that this is "stock" fabric, but oh lord enough is enough with all the brown.  So in comes my talents with fabric and paint.  Yes folks there will be color in our home away from home.  Would you expect any less.  So my first step was to stop by Giant Eagle and pick up some gift cards for Joann's since this is where I plan to purchase my fabric and paint supplies.  Must get gas points!!! We did the same for Mike when it came to his supplies with Home Depot Cards.  We need all the help we can get.

My goal is anything that is covered in the brown brocade fabric was going to be changed.  We also made the decision that the back cushions for the settee were just not going to work. (refer to picture way back in the beginning)  You can sit comfortably on either end of the settee but we soon realized that the ONLY person small enough to fit back by the window would be our 4 year old grandson Miles.  Now as much as we want him to have his own little space we need this to be usable by all.  So out came the original back cushions soon to be replaced with simple pillows that can be moved around as needed.  Besides this was going to be an fairly easy inexpensive fix since I have collected at least a dozen or so "poofy" pillows over the years.  I knew there was a reason I was keeping those things.

Pillows are stacked everywhere in hopes of some new covers.
The pillows were going to have to wait for a while as I wanted to get started on tackling the cornices. Again these too were covered in the bodacious brown fabric.  Eww!!! So I took on the task of removing the original fabric and the hundred staples that kept it in place.

Tricky taking this picture with my left hand while pulling staples with my right.  

I seriously could not believe how many staples were in just one small cornice.

Above is what the cornice looked like when the fabric was gone.  Hmm very thin wood in the front. I tried covering this with the new fabric and realized half way into it that the staples were coming through the other side and of course this was the front side.  So I ripped out the staples took off the fabric, sanded down the holes and worked on a different way to fix this issue.  So I decided for this valance that is located over the sink I would try to paint it then I will see if I can decoupage some craft papers over it.  More on this to come once it is completed.

Painted cornice and paper laid out to measure for decoupaging 
Okay so I decided on the cornices for the bedroom I would simply cover over the existing fabric and see if that would work better.  And whaha it did!

So far I have covered the two cornices for the bedroom and one of the cornices for the main living areas.  Still have a couple more to go, but I am happy so far with the way these have turned out.

Now is time for a little confession that my darling daughter will attest to.  When I am creative I am messy! There I said it.  I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful space in the basement of our condo to work in.  There is no heat down here but my space heater works great for the area.  Since we moved in I have acquired another work table.  The one you see in the photo below (far wall) Is a combination of some old cabinets from an old desk of mine that a friend of ours had in his barn and the table top is an old door I bought at the Habitat for Humanity resale store ($5.00).  So I now have two wonderfully flat surfaces to work on and yes they almost always have some project or projects covering them.  

Mr. Mike's workshop area is pretty much the same as mine.  Good to know out of all our stuff comes some awesome projects.    Oh and on this Valentines Day what do we get each other as gifts?  Lumber of course, what else!

Lumber, Valentines day gifts to each other.  These pieces will soon be turned into a cabinet and a head board.

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