Two Couples Pull out All the Stops to Personalize Their RVs and Make Them Stand out from the Crowd
Imagine you’re seeing a friend’s new home for the first time. You step inside to look around, and everything feels oddly familiar. “Hey, you’ve got the exact furniture that I do!” you tell them. Stunned by the coincidence, you look around and realize that everything from floor to ceiling is exactly what you have in your home. You have just entered the “RV Lookalike Zone.”
When you buy a new RV, there’s a strong probability that a thousand other rigs made by the same manufacturer will look exactly like yours. For decades, the RV community didn’t seem to mind look-alikes, but a new generation of RVers is creating homes on wheels that celebrate individuality. If you’re looking to personalize your RV, check out how these owners added glam and style to theirs.
The Asphalt Gypsy Combines Functionality with Flair
“When designing our space, I really wanted to leave it as blank canvas-ish as possible,” says Autumn Bailey (@theasphaltgypsy). Her twelve-week RV makeover project transformed their new Keystone Fuzion 416 toy hauler from a dark-palette weekend-warrior party pad into a cozy, bright home on wheels.
She and her husband, Rusty, chose the 42-foot-long rig because it enables their family to be together while Rusty travels for work as a rig welder.
The toy hauler has plenty of room for the whole family, including three young boys: Bear (five), Oak (three), and Sunny (two). As an RV it works well for them, but six months after moving in, Autumn took note of which aspects of the fifth-wheel were working for the traveling family and which were not. Something had to go.
“In my opinion, most (if not all) toy haulers/trailers are designed with the weekend in mind. By that I mean that they are designed for entertaining fun short trips, not for day-to-day living,” she writes in her blog at asphaltgypsy.com.
While Rusty was away on assignment, she mulled over ways to incorporate full-timing functionality and her family’s personality into the RV’s interior.
“It needed to be versatile and easily changed as our kids’ needs change every year as they get older.”
A Space All Their Own
Three months later, their new home was transformed. Most of the factory-installed furniture was tossed. Gone were the factory-beige walls, dark-wood veneer cabinetry, carpet, and vinyl flooring, and gray plastic counters.
Autumn also brought the family’s love for the outdoors inside by painting the RV interior white, choosing dark matte gray tones for the cabinetry, and installing light-colored, builder-grade honey maple countertops. She also laid down a waterproof vinyl plank tongue-in-groove flooring with a cork base that was relatively easy to install.
She did most of the labor, with a little help from Rusty when he was in-between jobs. Two years later, she and her family still enjoy the redesign.
“Living in a place that is completely 200 percent your own is wonderful, I love being able to walk through the door and feel instantly at home, in our tiny space designed for us,” writes Autumn.
Micki and Marty’s Big-City Glam in a Tiny Space
Everyone defines “tiny” differently, and nobody knows this better than Micki Kahn and Marty Jutres (@MickiandMarty) from Brooklyn, New York. The new RVers travel in a completely renovated 1987 Toyota Odyssey motorhome that’s a rolling re-creation of their tiny, big-city apartment.
Early on in their plans to travel for a year, they walked through dozens of new RVs to look for the perfect rig. But it didn’t take long to decide that the layouts, color schemes, wallpapers, and window treatments of modern RVs were not for them.
“We wanted something that was a little homier, where you can make a mess in here but still enjoy yourself,” explains Marty. Then they stumbled into the vintage Class C and everything fell into place—or rather, fell apart.
“It was not the plan to completely rebuild from the ground up,” explains Micki. “We definitely planned on renovating the inside. But as we started the demolition process there was a lot more water damage than we anticipated. We didn’t want to be stuck in Yellowstone with big a leak coming through, so we decided to do all of the work up-front.”
Community Helped Create Their Dream
After saving cash to quit their jobs and travel, the couple returned to Marty’s family home in western Massachusetts to glam up the little 21-foot rig. Access to a large garage, tools, and the internet provided everything they needed. Along the way, the couple met dozens of great people ready to help make the dream happen.
“Doing a project of this magnitude kind of restored our faith in humanity because you meet people from all walks of life; everyone wants to come together to help you out,” explains Marty.
From the octogenarian woodworker down the road to internet friends on YouTube, it felt like everyone was cheering them on, even when setbacks occurred.
“There was a lot of back-end thought that went into it, and a lot of trial and error,” says Marty. For instance, a herringbone-pattern backsplash that seemed perfect felt too busy once it was installed.
So, they ripped it out and replaced it with subway-style tile instead. Later, they had to refinish the wood table and countertop with a better clear coat, after noticing water stains seeping through the varnish.
Marty and Micki are now living their dream, proud of the sweat-equity they put into their motorhome. They nicknamed their RV “Martha,” and joke that it isn’t much smaller than their old apartment, but it’s exactly what they want.
From gorgeous 180-degree views through large windows to a sweeping tongue-and-groove cedar ceiling and live edge counter and tabletop milled from a locally grown tree, the glammed-up motorhome feels as open, breezy, and fun as their never-ending adventure.
Glam Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
If tackling a huge RV renovation project isn’t on your to-do list, you can still glam up your RV with a few easy strategies.
- Make a quick transformation by adding cozy textures to your home. Throw pillows, blankets, vintage rugs, and curtains can change the feel of your interior.
- Decorate your RV with road trip memorabilia that holds special meaning for you. Something as simple as postcards can add a personal flair to an otherwise generic interior.
- Adding plants and flowers can also brighten up your RV space for minimal cost.
- Keep wall hangings and décor in place with an industrial-strength hook-and-loop fastener and RV-specific hardware like RV drawer closures.
- Want to add a splash of color? Talk to paint experts about the surface you want to paint. RV walls and cabinetry surfaces range from slick plastic to laminate. Yours may require several types of paint for one specific job.