before and after

Before & After: An RV to Call Home

by Grace Bonney

It’s always been a dream of mine to travel cross-country in an RV. Maybe it’s all those years watching National Lampoon’s Family Vacation as a kid, but the idea of being on the open road (while still having some of the comforts of home) seems so liberating and exciting. So when I heard from Lacy Young that she and her husband Cliff sold everything they owned to move into an RV and travel, I was all ears.

Last May, Lacy and Cliff sold or donated almost all of their belongings and bought a used 1994 Safari Continental. Excited to make some changes and get on the road, they started looking into things and discovered they had a mold problem that required a total gut rehab. Lacy explained, “It has been, and continues to be, a BIG adventure and I’m convinced that adventure really means advanced troubleshooting!” These two have done an amazing job of transforming this space into a warm, welcoming home in just a few months. I love all the personal details (Lacy used different knobs for each room’s cabinets to differentiate the space) and the way they maximized space by adding storage under their seating. Lacy and Cliff are on the road as we speak (somewhere in the mountains of California) and I hope I can run into them on the road one day and see this great makeover in person. Read on (and check out their Instagram page!) to hear about how they tackled each area — and the mold. xo, grace

The makeover, before & after. Lacy said, "I found mold when I was peeling back wallpaper, which led to us gutting the RV and starting anew. It ended up being a really good thing. We put in new walls, new ceiling (beadboard instead of carpet) and new floors (cork). We refinished all the old cabinetry, replacing the molded parts with new wood and then painting then and installing new hardware."
The living and dining area, before.
The living room, after: Lacy and Cliff replaced all the furniture and had a built-in bookshelf made. Then they added divider curtains (shower curtains!) for privacy when they are parked at night. Lacy keeps her shoes in the baskets under the couch and Cliff keeps his in the cabinets over the bookcase.
The living room and dining nook, just off the front door.
The kitchen, before.
The kitchen, after: Lacey and Cliff added a new under-counter sink, faucet, butcher block countertop and white subway tiles for the backsplash. Then they painted the cabinets (lowers are SW Really Teal and uppers are SW Greek Villa) and added new hardware. They removed a giant microwave and replaced it with a toaster oven. "What we lack in wall space we make up for in cabinets," Lacy says.
The view from the kitchen into the living room.
The bedroom, before.
The bedroom, after: Lacy's friend, interior designer Jamie House, helped conceive this space for the couple. They managed to squeeze a California King-sized bed inside ("Imagine it folding like a taco!") and then Jamie found this reclaimed wood to line the back wall. Cliff made a bigger bed platform and covered the base in the same beadboard that they used for the ceiling throughout the RV.
Lacy said, of their bedroom wall, "I believe your home is a snapshot of who you are. That meant we HAD to have an art wall somewhere. This is literally the only wall that is open floor-to-ceiling so I took full advantage."
Lacy and Cliff used conduit pipe for the bedroom curtain rods and since the curtains are actually shower curtains, Lacy used leather cord to tie them to the rod.
The bathroom, before.
The bathroom, after: The bathroom is still waiting for its full makeover, but Lacy and Cliff found a great (tiny) sink from ReStore and Lacy's mom sewed a skirt for the sink (to hide the collapsible laundry hamper underneath).
Cliff in front of the RV.
Cliff and Lacy, on the road!

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  • Thanks for answering some questions, but I missed an answer to I think the most important one: how do you handle the (apparently) freestanding furniture while in motion? Does it have to be locked down? Can any of it be used while moving?

    The built ins would have had the advantage of being usable by guests while traveling. Without them, is there anywhere safe to sit while in motion?

  • I too would like to know about the freestanding furniture. My husband and I are about to renovate an RV making it our full time home BUT we also at times will travel with additional people as we are a touring band so seating everyone safely is a concern. I would also like to know about the beadboard ceiling – what a great idea! Did you remove the carpet/fabric from the ceiling first or did you install the beadboard right over it? Thanks in advance for your answers and for the inspiration. LOVE the transformation.

  • Hi! It’s lovely! My husband and I are doing something similar. We’ve already bought the bead board but are unsure of how to attach it over the carpet ceilings. How did you do it? Thanks!

  • Where do they put the litter box? We have always been told you can’t do it in an RV and would like to know your solution.

    • This is an old post, but in case anyone is interested in having their feline friends with them in the RV, I want to share with you that it is easy to teach a cat to use the toilet!!! They can even flush if you install a special device on the handle. I inherited one of my Mom’s cats after she passed away. The cat was approximately 8 years old when she came to live with us. It took less than two weeks to toilet train her! Please do NOT fall for the EXPEN$IVE kitty potty training seats. The one I used was inexpensive and consisted of a very flimsy plastic doughnut that fit over the toilet bowl and under the seat. It was purposefully flimsy to hold just a small amount of litter (at first) and also to discourage the cat from stepping onto the tray. Kitty would perch on the toilet seat and attempt to “go” in the litter, but the center was open to allow elimination to go directly into the bowl. She scratched around in the litter to “cover” and jumped down when done. After the first week of litter in the ring this particular cat was ready to have the litter removed from the ring. After about a week and a half, I removed the plastic ring entirely and she had no problems. Don’t give away your litter box because if kitty gets injured or sick and cannot jump up to the toilet you will need to have a litter box available.

  • I’m redoing a Toyota Motor home RV. I had to degut, and I was wondering what kind of stuff for my new place to live. I have a lot of fun and exciting as a reference for this one was just a matter of finding someone who has ever been there before. I think you have an excellent source of information on how things are looking pretty awesome.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the road. We are going to be able to make this happen.

  • How did you attach the bead board ceiling? I love it and would love to do that too our remodel of our 5th wheel.

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