TAKING AN OUT DATED VINTAGE CAMPER AND GIVING IT NEW LIFE!
ALL LINKS ARE AVAILABLE IN ONE SPOT AT THE END IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THEM.
When we purchased our cabin 3 years ago, it was sold as is and everything left on the property became ours. One of the items that was included in this was an old 1967 Vega vintage camper. When we first walked through it everyone thought it would make its way to the junk yard, since it had been sitting outside for over 10 years and the mice and squirrels had made it their home.
But after re-doing a different camper 3 years ago on a budget of just $500, I was excited for a new challenge and decide to breath new life into this beauty. The fact that it was vintage was fun from a design perspective, but a bit of a nightmare for Ryan from a parts perspective. I knew I couldn’t completely renovate this camper on my own like I did the last one, and would need him on board to help with some of the major fixes. He got on board…eventually, after a little kicking and screaming:) But it ended up being a super fun project. Ps, you can find my other RV renovation project HERE.
So now back to the current project. I have a full before and after tour of the camper on my instagram as well as videos of me doing all of the DIY’s saved to my highlights. So if you are thinking of redoing a camper, I would suggest checking that out for the most information and easiest way to understand it:) You can find my Instagram account HERE.
HOW TO START
This blog post is a bit hard to write a complete DIY on since every vintage camper has it’s own set of problems and also different layouts. I’m going to try to show you the order I went in to get the finished result. So the first thing I did was to spray paint all of the gold metal windows black. I did this first so that I didn’t need to worry about taping off around the outside of the windows since we would replace that. All I needed to do was to tape off the glass. This is my favorite black spray paint. I also have a full tutorial on how to spray paint windows black HERE. I used this technique in my whole house and the windows are holding up great. After I spray painted windows we had to fix all of the soft spots in the walls and rebuilt them. Ryan helped with some of this, and once the walls were rebuilt I could then use 1/4″ sheets of plywood cut into 5″ strips to use as a vertical shiplap look. The great thing about using 1/4″ plywood is that it not only is cost effective but it’s also lightweight which is extremely important in an rv. I used the 1/4″ plywood strips for the ceiling and many of the walls. I always used 3/4″ nails and never hit any wire with them.
THE KITCHEN - BEFORE
THE KITCHEN - AFTER
So looking at these pictures we obviously changed a few things, the first being we took down the hood over the range as well as the upper cabinets. This is super controversial I have figured out, as some people want the additional storage and also are afraid to travel without closed storage. I set this camper up as more of a tiny house, but you could easily pack these items in your lowers and pull them out once parked.
SHOP THE KITCHEN
This image shows you how I dressed up the cabinets by adding 1/4′ plywood strips 1 1/2″ thick to frame out the cabinets. I also added a pine 1×6 to cover up the hole under the sink. I did this so I could add a towel bar here. Once the cabinets were all framed out I painted them with my favorite color, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.
I also forgot to mention that before I painted everything white, I added pine trim around all of the windows as well. It ended up being about 1″x2″ trim.
I ended up painting the cabinets and all of the trim in the Revere Pewter. Once the whole camper was done with shiplap and trimming, I used this paint sprayer to prime everything and then give it a coat of Simply White paint.
This picture was just the primer, but I was ecstatic to be at this point to say the least. Once all the wood was sprayed it was time to put this camper back together and make her pretty!
I used marble contact paper from amazon that comes in wider widths to cover the wood countertops. This stuff is amazing and such a cheap fix. It’s easiest to start on one end and work your way over, and it’s also easier to cut a hole out in your sink so you can play with it a little easier.
We bought this faucet and also soap holder to use in two of the three holes that were previously there. The third hole we filled with spray foam and went right over it with the contact paper so you no longer see it. You can also tell that the stove is no longer harvest gold. I used appliance epoxy spray paint to spray it white, and then used my favorite gold rub n buff to paint the handle and knobs gold.
The stove now looks like a cafe appliance and all it took was paint! Another thing I switched out was the hardware. I love these because they lock and are able to keep the cabinets shut while traveling. I did need to add a little piece of wood behind the lock part so that it was flush with the cabinet, since they are originally made for inset cabinets. Also, since they didn’t come in gold I used the rub n buff to have them match the gold of the stove.
When we took down the upper cabinets, we added a butcher block shelf to replace it. I bought a 4′ piece of butcher block and cut it down to 10″ deep. I needed to add on about a foot to the end with a kreg jig to get the board to run the whole length of the kitchen. I made sure to mark all of my studs before I put the shiplap up so I could attach the brackets to the studs and then the butcher block shelf to the brackets.
The last thing I added was this long cabinet pull to use as a towel holder. I loved how slim it was so it didn’t stick out far since space is of the utmost importance. I bought it black and used the same rub n buff to match all of the golds. I also used a left over chunk of the butcher block and cut it to size to fit perfectly over one side of the sink for extra countertop space. I stained both the cutting board and the shelf with this stain.
BEFORE & AFTERS OF THE KITCHEN
THE DINING AREA - BEFORE
Although this area changed a lot, there isn’t any particluar products to link. Spraying the windows black and framing them out make a huge difference in this area since it’s full of windows. The other most dramatic difference was the table. I wanted to keep the table functioning the same since it can turn into a bed, but decided to spray the bottom and sides black and then add a fun chevron patter to the top using the same 1/4″ plywood as the walls.
I used the rough side of the 1/4″ plywood so it would have more of a raw edge and framed out the table first. Then I cut strips 3″x12″ to create the chevron pattern. I nailed them down with 3/4″ nails and then sanded the whole top and stained it with the driftwood stain from above, and added some special walnut stain over the top of that to deepen the color just a bit. I love how it turned out!
The other most obvious change is the cushions. I used painters drop cloth from Menards for the fabric, and used the original foam for the cushion. I then wrapped the cushion in quilters batting, sewed covers that were 1″ too big, and used a thick embroidery string to sew an edge around them. I love that the quilters batting made them look extra fluffy and comfy. I have videos showing the whole process over on my instagram page HERE.
You also can’t see it from here, but I used a piece of butcher block to put on the little counter behind this bench. It’s the perfect spot for a small lamp and pretty decor to make it feel more like home:)
This bathroom started off dark and tiny. I couldn’t do anything about the tiny, but I definitely fixed the dark:) Here’s a picture of the before….
I decided to add vertical shiplap right over the vinyl walls that had a vintage floral pattern on. I knew I was going to spray the whole thing after so I didn’t worry about painting the wall behind it first.
You can also tell that the counter top in the before pic was completely rotted. We decided to use the same butcher block to make a new countertop. I love butcherblock since it’s inexpensive and also you can easily cut it to any shape. We used the old countertop as a pattern and cut and sanded this to fit perfectly. We were able to reuse the same sink after spraying it with appliance epoxy and I bought THIS FAUCET and sprayed it black to match the rest of the look.
I painted the cabinets the same as the kitchen which is revere pewter by Benjamin Moore. I also put in THIS CUTE LIGHT FIXTURE. Did you know that you can use any light fixture as long as it has a knob to turn for on and off? You just need to make sure that you but THESE 20V LIGHTBULBS and then it works!
SHOP THE BATHROOM
I used THESE FUN TILE STICKERS to cover up the vinyl in the shower. I used two packs of twenty tiles and was one short so I then ordered a 10 pack to finish it off. I get asked often how I think these stickers will last long term. And although I would never use these in a shower you use constantly, I think for this tiny tub where you arent’ going to use it as your main shower, they will hold up just fine.
This camper has been sitting in our yard all winter long in sub zero temperature and the stickers have stayed on great! I love the modern flare they add to the space! I also sprayed the tub and toilet portion white with the WHITE APPLIANCE EPOXY. Even though this bathroom is small, it still packs a punch.
Isn’t this floor fun? They are also stickers, and I must admit that when they arrived I was amazed at how thin they were. I stuck them down and applied a couple of coats of matte polycrilic over the top of them to help them last longer and be waterproof.
THE BEDROOM - BEFORE
I didn’t get a picture of the camper while the bed was still in, but we decided to rip it out and rebuild it so we could fix the flooring underneath. Ryan re-built the bed frame and we put this mattress on it. Mattresses that come in a box are the best way to go for Rv’s since they can easily fit through the door and also don’t weigh as much!
I added the same 1 1/2″ trim to these cabinets to dress them up and then painted them revere pewter. It’s amazing what paint and hardware does!
I never talked about the flooring, but I found the perfect color peel and stick flooring on Amazon. It was so super easy to install and I could cut it with a scissors. I used 3 boxes in the camper and it updated the look and made it look much higher end. The little vintage rug was an etsy find and I love how it’s the perfect size and brings in just a hint of color:)
Cant you just imagine snuggling in with a good book in this cozy corner? I added this fun reclaimed wood board to the small wall to give it a little definition and I love the warmth it adds.
THE CHARGING STATION - BEFORE
I love this little nook so much! I thought it would also make the cutest little coffee bar area, because we can’t neglect the coffee even when camping:) I framed out these cabinets as well and put new butcher block countertop on. I added the same light as I put in the bathroom but this time used rub n buff to make it gold.
We also had to take out the old built in propane fridge since it didn’t work anymore and put in a mini fridge that we owned. I think a pretty glass door fridge would be so fun in this space:)
The other thing I did was to spray paint the doors, both interior and exterior, in black. I was the easiest and cheapest fix to update them!
THE EXTERIOR - BEFORE
PIN TO SAVE FOR LATER
FLOORING x3 $120
COUNTERTOP PAPER $34
BUTCHER BLOCK x2 $220
SHOWER WALL TILES x3 $90
GLOBE LIGHTING x2 $112
LIGHT BULBS $12
RV LIGHTS x2 $32
RUB N BUFF $12
KITCHEN FAUCET $83
TOWEL BAR $10
SCONCES x2 $73
SHELF BRACKETS $18
HOOKS x3 $15
BATHROOM MIRROR $50
BEDROOM MIRROR $50
LUMBAR PILLOW $30
BATHROOM PLAQUE $15
BATHROOM FAUCET $33
BLACK SPRAY PAINT x4 $12
PAINT SPRAYER $80
EXTERIOR PAINT $35
INTERIOR PAINT & PRIMER $100
TOTAL COST FOR UPDATES = $1640
- Depending on what sort of extensive work your camper needs for repairs this budget would change. We needed also change out the water pump and the water tank, which added another $150 to the budget.