Then, the real fun began. Demo was dirty, but rebuilding was all kinds of smelly. TSP, Bondo, BIN primer, two (ultimately three) different types of paint, polyurethane, Deftoil, Silicone, vinyl adhesive, and Waterlox… each with its own magnificent odor. I mean that both facetiously and seriously. Almost every step of the way, something smelled downright toxic, but the smell of progress? I’ll take it any day. (Plus, Foxy kind of came with an old trailer smell, and every new smell we brought in gave us a better chance of chasing the old smell away.
We began rebuilding with the cabinets. We redesigned the layout of the cabinets, taking advantage of the space previously occupied by nasty green velvet inserts to add additional doors. Where we once had two cabinet doors at the front end of the trailer (where the bed would go), we now installed four, with three along each side instead of two.
In preparation for these grand changes, all cabinets were roughed with sand paper, stiles (the up and downy parts of the cabinet where the doors rest) were constructed and installed, existing structures were reinforced, and all seams and holes were filled with Bondo and sanded smooth. Every surface (except the floor) was then primed with BIN Primer (a primer specifically formulated to cover every type of surface we needed covered) in order to prepare them to receive paint. Then they were painted.
(Though not right away) we remodeled the kitchen cabinets to allow for high quality drawer slides instead of the wood on wood slides that came with the trailer. Since we removed the oven/cook top, we designed the new cabinet layout with a full extension drawer for an electric induction plate, and a cubby to house a planned Breville Smart Oven. We added slide out drawers under the sink to make the most of the small space available, and added a false drawer panel above them and an additional drawer to the right of the sink in place of the semi-functional split utensil drawer that had been there before.
My husband (a SUPERSTAR of a carpenter who constantly makes my design dreams a reality) built and painted, installed, and leveled all new shaker style cabinet doors and drawers. 27 of them! This made such an enormous difference in the look of the trailer. There is nothing wrong with painting over the existing doors, but because we were moving into such a small space, we really wanted it to be as much of a home after our own hearts (and design preferences) as possible.
The cabinets were painted with Insul-x Cabinet Coat in White, and the walls were painted with BEN (Benjamin Moore) in Coventry Gray (which, while a lovely color, just looked like a chalky primer on the walls of our trailer, so it was eventually covered over with Benjamin Moore’s Regal Paint in the color Black). When we bought the gray paint, we were really pinching pennies, and though we usually buy the Regal paint, we tried out the BEN instead. There is a HUGE difference in quality between these two paints. In California, there was also a huge difference in price. This is not the case in Montana. Here, the Regal is $20 less a gallon that the $55 it was in California!
My rock star husband crafted the showpiece of our new home; a gorgeous walnut wood butcher block counter. It is seriously stunning. A neighbor who helped us move it into the trailer was even wowed into saying, “Man, this thing’s fucking gorgeous,” and it most definitely is. We replaced the old sink with a narrow, stainless steel bar sink, and the yellowed, plastic faucet was will be replaced with a pedestal piece in stainless steel as well. As I mentioned above, the kitchen was redesigned with functional drawers and slide outs. The old vent covers under the fridge and below where the oven was previously housed were replaced with shaker style vent covers with white “union jack” style metal vents.
After an epic failure spray painting the vent hood in a stainless steel faux finish, we decided to toss the hood altogether. We clipped and capped the wires and folded them into the vent space to the exterior, and cut an insulated foam block to fit inside the space to keep out drafts. This we masked with a vent cover painted to match the wall, and now it’s as if the garish white hood never existed.
After extensive research on RV electrical systems, we installed a new electrical outlet under the cabinets for the induction plate and Smart Oven. The drawer for the induction plate is fitted with slides that lock open (and closed) for safe use of the plate.
We sleep on a California King size Tempur-Pedic Cloud. This is the bed we owned before we moved into the trailer, and there was absolutely no question as to whether or not we would do what we had to do to accommodate it. The bed takes up close to half of the living section of our trailer, but it doubles as picnic spot and couch, laptop work station, and TV room, and in my opinion, it’s totally worth it. Especially since we now also share it with the dog- a sacrifice we made in order to stop having to pick up or step over a large dog bed every single day. Yes, it’s like sleeping with a flatulent, hairy toddler.
A custom frame was constructed to support and contain the bed without a box spring, as that would have raised the bed much too high. (We were already accommodating the water tank below, if you remember.) The plan is to add three very deep drawers under the bed for storage, but for now, it’s just an open space full of stuff, covered by a black blanket that acts as a bed skirt. It works out okay for now, but I’m really looking forward to the drawers. It’ll make accessing our hiking and camping gear much, much easier.
Another by-product of such a large bed is the small amount of open space on either side of the bed. We’re still deciding what exactly to do with that. In the mean time, the spaces operate as night stands, as well as collect clothes and extra pillows like a pair of pack rats.
After shopping around quite a bit, we decided on a roll out vinyl flooring in a wood pattern. We went with an IVC flooring in Camargue, which I believe has been discontinued. I’ll do a post about laying the floor at some point, so I’m not going to get too detailed here. Basically, we applied the floor directly on top of the original vinyl with pressure activated adhesive after scrubbing it down with a pre-vinyl floor cleaner we picked up at Lowe’s. It was the end of autumn, and getting to be a little too cold to lay the vinyl, but we wanted to have it done before winter, so we did it anyway. It took much longer to dry than it should have. Be smart… follow the instructions. 😉
The Desk/Breakfast Bar
This is another area that will most likely have its own post, but I will say that the design for this particular project underwent several different incarnations before it became a reality. Even though it was inconvenient not to have the surface, I’m glad we had time to live in the space before we committed to a design. It allowed us to change the design to suit our actual lifestyle instead of what we thought our lifestyle was going to be like. Though it’s mostly finished, this piece is still under construction. It currently has shoe storage, miscellaneous basket storage, and pull out spice racks. It’s also slated for a small firewood storage section as soon as we can get to it.
Another feature of the desk/breakfast bar is the strip wood desk top, which is so sexy, it’s practically indecent. I’ve only included a limited number of photos of the construction here because I’m planning a blog post of the entire process in the not too distant future. I personally LOVE how the desk top turned out- it has the richness of a butcher block piece, but adds in a cool, reclaimed texture. The construction process was relatively straightforward, and it gave us a gorgeous piece for a small fraction of what it would have cost in solid wood construction.
Clearly, this is all a work in progress, and we are excited to share it with you! We’ll be adding new sections and posts as we continue to build our little travel trailer into our teeny tiny dream home. Make sure you follow the blog (just click on the little blue button on the left side of this page or on the right side of our homepage) to get updates on all the latest about our travel trailer renovation, preparing step by step for a future in homesteading, and our fun and adventures exploring the beautiful state of Montana!