Oh! The things we do for our kids! I had never been camping. Had never slept on the ground in a tent and didn't have a desire to do that. But when my 5 year old son asked if we'd take him camping, I just couldn't say no! I knew that the memories we could make together were more important than any hang-up I might have about camping!
But I still wasn't sleeping on the ground!
So my husband and I scoured Craigslist looking for the perfect Pop-Up Camper. We found a lovely 2004 Fleetwood and even though it was in terrific shape, we got right to work on our pop up camper renovation.
We painted the cabinetry, changed out the floor, and replaced all of the fabric. Of course I knew nothing about camping. And I knew even less about renovating a camper. But here are a few things I learned along the way...
1. Set a deadline. We bought our camper. Then I went out of town. Then my husband went out of town. Then we went out of town as a family. But we still wanted the whole thing renovated for it's grand reveal on the 4th of July, when our family would be camping with us. Our deadline was tight. Super tight. Like less than a week. We had to be flexible and had to scratch some our best laid plans and come up with new ideas! Like wrapping and stapling the seat cushions, rather than using the seamstress I'd hired and getting a couple yards of coordinating fabric, when we ran out of curtain fabric. But by the time the 4th of July weekend rolled around we were so happy it was done! Had we not set such a strict deadline, we'd probably still be painting the cabinets!!
Speaking of painting the cabinets....
2. Use a primer when painting your cabinets! We used deluxe, premiere paint with primer in it. So I figured we'd clean the cabinets with TSP, give them a little sanding, and go on our merry way. WRONG. Ya'll I painted that thing for days. I painted 4 coats and it still wasn't covering that weird fake-wood-paper-veneer that was on the cabinets.
4 coats and you could still see completely through the paint! 4 coats and I thought I'd totally ruined our new camper. Finally I broke out the primer. 4 coats of paint. 1 coat of primer. 1 more coat of paint. And voila. Complete. Start with the primer, ya'll!
3. Have fun! I know, how cliche' right? But seriously, my husband and I enjoyed the renovation process! It was fun to pick fabrics and decor for our little bitty tiny home away from home! I think it is really a translation of our style. Nothing in it is perfect. But it's light, bright, airy and beautiful. And most importantly, our family has already created sweet memories camping in our new pop up!
And Mama hasn't had to sleep on the hard ground!