Pop Up Remodel Review Part 1

We purchased Peggy Sue, our Pop Up Camper, the last week of 2016.  I had already mapped out a plan to remodel a pop up a month before we even purchased our camper.  Each week, I would squirrel away my ideas onto Pinterest boards and read everything I could find from the Pop Up Princess.

Right after we purchased her, remodeling began with the plan for a year of camping trips.  It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun.  It can also be a work in progress.  Even after we 'finished' our remodel, there are still little things that we discover that need work or updating.  However, we did have an initial road map or plan for getting ready to camp.  Whatever we discovered along the way was a bonus.  Think positive here.  Its not more work.  Its bonus projects to make our camper that much more awesome.

There were 12 big things that we had planned from the start.  Today, I'm going to share 6 of them in part one of this post.  Next week, I'll finish up with the rest of our remodel.

1.  Clean everything from top to bottom

We started out the new year with our new project.  After getting home with our pop up, we took advantage of the dry weather and popped her up to assess the work and start cleaning.  New Year, New Project  was my first post of the year featuring our new pop up camper.  It was a great way to start the new year!

One of the products that we used to get us started and cleaning everything top to bottom was
La's Totally Awesome All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner Degreaser .  This is a great, gentle cleaner that was super effective.  My husband and I both believe that this is a great way to get everything clean without destroying your hands and breathing in a lot of fumes.

This degreaser was probably one of the first products that I ordered when we were planning to purchase our camper.  By accident, I ended up with 2 bottles of this stuff.  Great mistake.  We use this to clean everything these days.  Even if you aren't a camper or aren't remodeling one, you might like having a bottle of this stuff to clean the tough stuff.

Before pictures of Peggy Sue as we were starting to clean everything up!

2.  Make new curtains

Making new curtains was the biggest portion of this project.  I made valances that wrapped around the entire box of our camper.  This made for a lot of work and sewing just due to the overall length.  I wanted valances that had a nice full gather.  Therefore, I measured each side and doubled that length.  A LOT of fabric was involved to do this.  Plus, I lined every curtain that I made.    

For the valances and our privacy curtains that closed our windows to the outside, I lined with blackout fabric.  For our bunk end curtains, I used simple muslin as a liner.  It was over 40 yards of fabric total with the lining to do all of this.    I realize that this is a lot of fabric.  But I new that if I did it right, I would be happy with the end result.  You can read more about how I made our curtains in a two part post.  Part 1 is about how I made the curtains.  Part 2 shows how I hung up the curtains in the camper.  

My curtains were a mixture of colors and patterns in grey, mint, and coral.

When making your curtains, make sure that you plan how you are going to hang them from the beginning.  This will determine what you make and how you make it.  I knew that I was going to be using wall and ceiling tracks to hang the valances and bunk end curtains.  For our privacy curtains, I was going to hang a curtain rod and use cafe rings.  

I think that all of my work paid off.  I do love how it all turned out.  Curtains and cushions are two ways that totally transform a space alone.  When choosing colors, pick something that you want to be surrounded by and enjoy.  For me, I picked colors that were soothing and happy.  That was my overall goal, and I feel both of those in our camper.  Its a great space!

3.  Make new cushion covers and pillows

As I finished making all of my curtains, I started to recover the cushions in our camper.  I don't sew with patterns.  However, I did read a lot before tackling this project.  I recommend a few things.
  • Measure everything perfectly.  Don't get in a rush.  Write everything down.  If you are afraid that you cannot do this without a pattern, make one based on your measurements using newspaper.
  • Making cushions is like creating a box with a zipper.  Cut a top and a bottom piece for each cushion.  Then measure and cut a piece for each side.  I would allow for a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  You want these to fit snug.  
  • Use long wrap around upholstery zippers.  Mine were a little short.  I made do, but I recommend getting really long ones.  
  • Lay your cushions out and lay out your pieces on top of your cushion inserts after each step to make sure that you are on the right track and that everything is going to fit.  
  • Take your time!  Don't rush.  Its the best way to ruin a project.  
  • Watch You Tube videos on any part you are unsure of.  I needed a video on inserting a zipper into a cushion. 
My cushions were a play off of the patterns and colors from my curtains.  I used Old Waverly Inspiration Fabrics at Walmart for most of this.  They were from the same color palette and worked well together as a whole.

You can read about how I did our cushions on my blog post from February.  

While I was working on my cushions, I decided to make a few throw pillows to decorate and tie everything together.  It was a simple project using pieces of fabric from the curtains as well as some additional fabric I purchased on a trip.  The throw pillows weren't necessary, but I do think they look nice.  

4.  Recover the counter surfaces

I wanted to take our cabinets from drab to fab.  Recovering the counter surfaces was something that could be easily done.  I used an adhesive product specifically made for counter tops.  I do recommend a heat gun for putting this product down.  It makes the product more malleable.  Otherwise, it can be brittle and a little difficult to work with.

Finally, I finished this out with a little plastic edging.  This was a simple project that cost less than $50 to do.  The results look nice and are easy to wipe and clean.

The recovered counter tops look really nice and tie everything together!

5.  Paint the cabinets and hardware

We used paint that we already had to freshen up our cabinets.  We had a semi gloss, light grey from our bathroom update last year.  This was a our paint to redo the cabinets.  It was more than enough, and it was a great way to re-purpose something in our shed.  If you are remodeling your camper, look around and take inventory of what you have from previous projects at home.  This is a great way to save money and use existing products at your home.

I also had a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint that we used to paint all of our cabinet hardware. This paint has a nice dark look and doesn't show fingerprints or dirt.  Plus, I wanted to save the money on replacing everything if I could avoid it.  Spray paint is a great way to give everything a whole new look.

Because we had everything on hand, this was the least expensive of the updates to our camper.  The results were great.  Everything matched and fit within the color scheme and plan.

6.  Finish out the flooring

Next, we finished out our floor.  The previous owner had redone the floor with vinyl wood flooring.  It looked great!  However, to make sure that there were not gaps and places to trap dirt and dust, we installed a product called InstaTrim Flexible Trim Solution (White).  This flexible trim has a self adhesive backing that installs quickly and easily.  It seals the floor and bottom cabinets so that there are no gaps.  It is easy to keep everything clean.  The finished look is great.  It is a cost effective solution as well.  You can read all about how I finished out our flooring with this product on my blog.

The InstraTrim was easy to put down and looks great in our camper!  This would also be a great product to use at home for DIY projects.  I'm about to use this in our home in our bathrooms.

This is our half way point to finishing our remodel.  Next week, I'll share the final 6 things that we did before we took our camper out on our maiden voyage.  Remodeling a camper is a lot of work. But the finished product is great.  Making wise decisions from the start yields a great result that you will enjoy for a long time.

One thing that we have learned is that this is a work in progress.  I'm sharing with you the things we did to get our camper ready to take out on the road.  But, we are continuing to update and do new things to our camper to improve it and help make it last as long as possible.  To find a list of products that we found helpful and easy to use in our remodel, visit our Pop Up Remodel Page.  You can find links to curtain hardware and more to use on an existing or new project.  

What were some of the first things that you did to remodel a camper?  Or, did you purchase something new because you didn't want to take on the task.  There are pros and cons to both.  My husband always has camper envy when we travel because he sees fancy travel trailers and newer models.  I love what we have.  We have made her our own, and that is the best part for me.  Happy camping!