Let the Destruction Begin!

It's hard for me to believe that Gracie has been in Michigan for almost two weeks now.

Initially, I had to get caught up on work stuff but we were dying to start the remodel projects that we've been thinking about.

And every good remodel project starts with?

A Demolition project!

So we spent an afternoon gutting the bedroom. Our plans are to make better use of the space and have a bunkhouse in the back room where all 4 of the kids sleep. As for Becky and I, we were tossing around the idea of sleeping back in the bunkhouse as well or getting a better pullout sofa which could fit two adults.

The goal is to have a place where the kids can play (plenty of floor space during the day) and where they can sleep without us having to make their beds each night. When we bought the motorhome (I still cannot believe we bought a motorhome!) it slept 6, but there was only one permanent bed the queen bed in the back room. The other two beds (the dinette area and the sofa bed) had to be made every night.

This isn't a problem for a week long vacation, or even a ten day trip from California to Michigan. But when this will be our house for over a year making the beds each night can become a real pain.

Not to mention that Becky and I would like some time together after the kids go to bed. However the default setup has the kids sleeping in the living space. So for 10 days we put the kids to bed then went to bed ourselves. We were quite exhausted each night from driving and experiencing cool things but we knew that we couldn't keep up that pace and needed downtime just the two of us where we weren't relegated to a bedroom.

We knew all this before buying a motorhome.

But 10 days living in one confirmed our plans.

So we started tearing stuff out.

Before. AKA How It Was When We Bought Gracie


The bedframe is the board I'm sitting on, the wardrobe is the back wall of the camper with the mirrors, drawers and a tiny TV.


Turning left from there you see the overhead storage, the window treatments and the larger bedside table.


Turning to the left even more you see the smaller bedside table, the toilet room door and the washer/dryer combo (and me taking a break before we begin!)


Keep turning to the left and you see the other side of the doorway with the shower plumbing access.


And finally all the way back to the wardrobe with the tv and the nasty (to us) window treatments.

Our goal was to salvage as much of the materials as possible.

We're borrowing most tools from our landlord. Funny thing is he didn't leave a crow/wrecking bar behind! So we're unscrewing everything and trying to pull out sections as best we can. Most of the furnishings (wardrobe for example) were built outside of the motorhome and then installed into it. This means the screws holding it all together may not be visible.

We did have to employ the use of a skillsaw (using it like a sawzall) once but that small cut freed up the whole wardrobe.

When we took the bedframe out we noticed that there was space under it which was unusable. About a third of the space wasn't reachable unless you were superman. We also found a large section of the wardrobe which was completely unusable due to no access. And finally we noticed that the drawers, while convenient and used a lot in the ten days did not go all the way back (about 4 inches of unused space) nor were they the full width of the cupboard they're in (each side has 3 inches between the cupboard wall and the drawer itself.  This confirmed to us that we'll get better use of this space by rebuilding it.

When opting for luxury and selling options the motorhome engineers sacrificed plenty of cubic inches of storage space.

Progress. Progress is Good, Right?

Here are some pictures of the destruction in progress and our temporary storage for the parts we might use again later (basically the wood/drawer tracks).


More symbolic than anything else, the first thing to go was this gaudy window treatment. We saved every screw though. Starting my junk drawer collection!


The wardrobe proved to be the most difficult thing to remove. Fortunately, I have a great partner who was able to squeeze into small places and remove the screws needed to free up this wardrobe.


In the end the overhead storage needed to come down first to get the wardrobe out. There's a puzzle to get this stuff all out in as few of pieces as possible.


And the storage yard. Our landlord was kind enough to let us use his barn to work on the motorhome.  However, Gracie cannot fit in the door so we're using the barn for temporary storage of things we might re-use or scrap to build something better.

Current Status: Bare, Almost Naked

We didn't remove the paneling because we're just going to paint it and there's no reason (yet) to remove it. I understood that because I read this article from Brushwork painters. The nice part is that the paneling was installed before the other equipment so we don't have any bare studs that need covering.

2015-04-12 12.23.16

The unusable space in the wardrobe and where the larger bedside table were. The hoses in the back corner are where the freshwater tank is filled from (we hope to relocate those soon!) This also shows where the overhead storage was.

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Turning to the left this is where the little bedside table was. Yes we left the wiring hanging, we will be re-wiring parts of this room to have USB ports to plug in our electronics!

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Looking into the rest of the camper from a very empty room!

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The corner that had the little TV, and the terrible window framing/decorations.

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The rear wall of the camper. We gained an extra 16sq feet of living space by removing the wardrobe. But we'll be putting different storage in soon enough.

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at nomadtogether.com and own connexdigitalmarketing.com We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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1 Comment

  1. Mandi

    I can’t believe you guys have a washer in there!

    Good call on the horrid blinds. Window treatments are an 80/20 upgrade. Custom ones are actually quite easy and inexpensive to make with the help of Joanne coupons and access to a sewing machine. I have transformed a few doggy dwellings that way.


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