Renovating an RV at 10,000 feet: Renovating an RV is pretty fun. It’s like getting to do an entire house remodel on a much smaller scale, with a fraction of the cost.
But what happens when you have an RV renovation to do and you live at 10K feet in elevation, and it starts snowing, like a lot!? That is what we are faced with here in Colorado as we are smack in the middle of one of the biggest winters seasons I’ve seen here in 20 years. We bought the RV to take us into warmer climates and escape winter, so I cannot help but see the irony.
RV Renovation- The Demo
Luckily, there have been a few breaks in the weather, so we used them to quickly demo the RV and move as much indoors as we could. I am fortunate to have a heated shop at the marina where I work so I was able to carve out a little corner in between the boats and get to work.
RV Renovation: Cabinet Painting
One of the first items to tackle on the RV remodel were the dated cabinets. I don’t know if I have ever walked into an RV, old or new, and seen anything other than that same old dark wood. But it’s obvious from all the other RV renovations I’ve seen, that is no longer the look RV travelers desire. Small spaces demand light colors so we opted for a few lighter paint colors.
Cabinet Painting Lesson #1: Be realistic about the time you’re going to spend
If you’re going to paint your wood cabinets white, be prepared to spend a lot of time painting because you’re going to need about 3-4 coats. Settle in, crank up the tunes…it’s going to take a while. I’d recommend getting paint with a primer already in it so you can cut out at least one coat.
Cabinet Painting Lesson #2: Create 2 work areas
Because my cabinets needed so many coats, I found I had a lot of down time in between and wasn’t feeling that productive. So, I created a second work area where I could start on another full set while the others were drying. This might be the obvious thing to do, but I’ve never been one to do things right the first time. It took me a full two coats on the upper cabinets before I had this epiphany.
Cabinet Painting Lesson #3: Spend the time to set everything up right
Whenever I start painting, I get super excited and just want to dive right in. But, after many painting projects, and back pain, I’ve found spending a few extra minutes setting up a good ergonomic work area makes the overall process much more comfortable. I make sure everything is at a good height before I start painting. I’ve made the mistake (more than once) of setting my projects up on the floor. And after hours spent bending over, I wised up. Now I can paint without having to make a chiropractor visit afterwards.
Lastly, I cut some small wood blocks to use as stands for my cabinets so I could paint around all the sides without them drying to the work surface. Luckily, I’m a wood hoarder so I had some random 2×2’s lying around. Some girls collect shoes, I collect wood. It’s an obsession. So, any chance I have to prove to my husband that I actually use what I’m collecting, it’s a win!
So…turns out, renovating an RV @ 10,000 feet can be done!
We still opted to move him down to warmer climates, about an hour away. This way we could work on the things we can’t take inside a shop, like walls, cabinet frames and floors. Also, storage space for an RV in our town is non-existent, so thanks to our friend Jenny, he has a place to live where he won’t look like an ice cube.
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