Sunday, December 6

Wild & Precious (Part 2) | We Bought An RV

If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen some of our travels in our new 5th wheel but I realized that I never shared officially about the whole thing and I've had a bunch of you asking for photos of the layout and what it looks like now before it is renovated (spoiler alert, it's not really that bad) so I wanted to share this 2nd half of the experience for those of you following this new adventure of ours. (Part 1 where we bought the truck is here if you want to read about that!)

After we arrived on the (crazy) idea that we wanted to purchase a truck and an RV so we could spend this upcoming year traveling and exploring different areas of the country, we had to start doing some research and figuring out what we wanted and needed. There's actually a lot of options for living on the road and we weren't sure at first which would be the best fit for us. We took to the internet and read up on all the various styles of homes on wheels from vans, to schoolbus conversions, to motorhomes, to travel trailers, to airstreams, to 5th wheels.

We decided that a truck + 5th wheel combination would be the right fit for us for now. We had already been considering buying a truck and we liked the idea of being able to unhitch from our "home" and explore the area. (Not really possible with a motorhome or van.) And, as inexperienced towers, we wanted a hitch that was really solid and easier to tow and we read lots of reviews that helped us feel secure that a 5th wheel would be the best for us to learn with!

We talked about all the ways to get started on this and all the options. We decided that whatever we found, we wanted to be able to buy it with cash since living a debt free lifestyle is really important to us. We also didn't want to bite off more than we could chew. I mean, we've never even done this before, what if we hated it?! So with the decision to pay cash for our 5th wheel we had a budget in mind and were able to start shopping around.

We looked online and decided to go to a few local dealerships to be able to physically tour some of the styles we liked. I'll be honest, we were a bit disappointed by a few of the dealerships which really didn't have much for us to see. One dealership had this one, pastel colored and slightly faded rig parked off to the side. We didn't originally consider it because the layout was not what we originally believed that we wanted. But after driving by it we both thought that we should stop and step inside... just to see.

Of course, we fell in love with it. The photo above is of me and Bubs inside at the dealership. Everything about this rig felt good. It was clean and exceptionally well maintained. The wood was already painted a super pale grey (instead of the horribly dark finishes inside most rigs) and there was tons of natural light. Other than some little cosmetic issues, some dated fabric choices, and some pretty faded carpet, there wasn't much we would need to do. We put in an offer.

Something weird about buying RV's is that it's kind of a strange mix between attempting to buy a car and attempting to buy a house. There's so much to consider. Luckily, since we knew we were paying cash, a lot of the stress of the purchasing side of things was never even an issue and we were able to sign the paperwork, write a check, and take the keys!!! It was such an amazing feeling!

So enough about how it happened! I know you want to see WHAT it looks like! We decided to take it on a maiden voyage before changing anything inside. That way we could get a real sense of what we wanted to change and what didn't matter much to us. Luckily, our little rig is in pretty good shape so we were able to use it without having to do much cosmetically. Here's the layout of our 2008 Coachmen Chaparral:

And here's what it looks like "before"...

Here's our rig all hooked up and with the slides in. This is how it looks while traveling. Of course, the rig is not really liveable with the slides in. In a pinch we could but it's not at all ideal. When we set up, we expand the slides and it practically doubles our living space. On the opposite side is the front door which also has a screen door so we can keep bugs out but let fresh air in when the weather is nice. On the opposite side is also a huge awning that comes down when we are parked to offer a really big, shaded outdoor space. When the slides are out and the 5th wheel is detached from the truck, it looks like this...

And now, a quick tour of the inside, as it was when we purchased it!

These valences have got to go. The same with the fabric on the sofa. The sofa, however, is a sleeper sofa that perfectly fits into the space and expands to a full size bed. We are debating trying to replace it or just recovering it. The blue curtains will be removed. The RV shades have grown on us. At first we wanted to take them out but after traveling we realized just how perfect they are and we know we couldn't DIY something like that ourself so they will stay. Things like this were exactly why we wanted to travel at least once before doing an overhaul of the interior! I highly suggest you do the same if you purchase an RV!

This kitchen, dining room, and living area are all one open space. The green wallpaper trim has got to go. It's sun-faded, an awful color and just visually cuts the walls in half. I'm not a fan. The stove cover is broken and will be replaced as well. Lucky for us, our appliances all work perfectly so we won't need to be replacing any of them!

There are a few quirks we wondered if we'd find useful that we just haven't. We are assuming this is a knife block. But it's chippped and god only knows what's in those grooves. It will be removed when we replace the countertops. There is nothing wrong with the countertops, but we feel that replacing them with butcher block or a light white faux-marble will visually transform the kitchen so we are on the lookout for the perfect pieces.

The living area is wrapped in storage. Literally the entire roof is lined in these cabinets. We have seen RV's where they remove the front and make a ledge but we love being able to close them and not visually see the clutter. The lights have already been updated with more modern fixtures. While they are not what we would choose ourselves, they might stay because they work perfectly and are not too horrible. We did purchase LED lights to replace all the lighting in the RV with bulbs that last longer and do not generate as much heat.

This little box, unfortunately, has to stay as it holds cables from the outside of the RV for power storage. It is currently built in as an end table of sorts. We are pretty undecided on how we will use this space. We might leave it as seating. We might build in seating. We might turn it into a desk space. Who knows! The photo on the right shows the controls for the RV.

I thought that removing and painting all the wood cabinetry would be my biggest DIY, but since we were lucky to find an RV that was already white (ish) I don't have to do any of that! So now the biggest DIY will be replacing the flooring. This green carpet and laminate will be removed and replaced with driftwood floors. And probably some cute rugs. Let's just be honest. ;) The purpose is both for aesthetics and cleanliness. Wood floors will be much better looking and a lot easier to keep clean as carpet holds onto dustmites, dirt, and all kinds of yucky stuff.

When you walk into the RV and turn to your right, this would be your view. The stairs lead up to a small hallway with a vanity sink and a full bathroom with bath and shower. Past that is the master bedroom. Before you walk up the stairs is this media built in. The previous owners left a lot of electronics we didn't need in there as you can see. I can't wait to make over this little area!

Here is a look at the vanity area on the left and the bathroom on the right. We especially loved that the vanity and sink was separate from the shower and toilet so that it is really easy for more than one person to be getting ready at the same time and not be up in each other's space. You can't tell in the photos but the RV has been modified so that the bathroom door and swing open and lock in place separating the master bedroom and the entire bathroom hallway from the living room. The bedroom door can also be closed to separate the living area and bathroom hallway from the master. So you can choose if you want the bathroom included in your master space or not. It's great with a kid because we can close our bedroom door but he can still access the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The bathroom is small, but not uncomfortable. We have a standard RV toilet. If we ever decide to live from the RV we will probably investigate composting toilets but for now, this works just fine. We were very lucky to find that this rig has a bathtub and not just a standing shower. This was a really happy surprise and great for traveling with a 3 year old who hates showers but loves baths. We will need to replace our showerhead asap to one that creates better water pressure. And after traveling we realize that we need to upgrade to having more hot water as we only get about a 5 minute warm shower out of this which is not quite enough to wash and condition my hair and get clean, and shave all at once. HAHA!

Here is the master! We love it! There is sooooo much storage we don't know what to do with it all. Drawers, cabinets, an entire 3 cabinet closet, and the entire bed lifts to an open space beneath the flatform of the bed. The bed can fit a queen or a king mattress. This in the photo is a king. We replaced it with a queen not realizing we could have gone bigger but we love the mattress we purchased so much that we are fine with it. This little shelf space perfectly fits some nick-nacks and a small TV to watch cable or movies from bed.

So that's it! We had a very eventful maiden voyage and learned a ton! I'll share more soon. We've also already started some updates and cannot wait to do some big makeover magic on this lady. She is still in need of a name but we are convinced she'll tell it to us soon enough! To continue following our story with the RV look for the WILD AND PRECIOUS tab here on the blog or follow me on Instagram! See you soon with some updates!
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