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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  • This is the cutest thing I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!!I NEED ONE!!!!! congrats on them for having such great vision and making it so unique!

  • Wow, Oh Wow!! As an event planner, you just made me wish to plan events on the go! Btw- I’m in Marie Forleo’s B-School this year and saw your interview. It was one of the most informative and inspiring interviews ever. Thank you for all that you do! With gratitude, Samantha

  • I love this! It’s the best thing! I can imagine squirreling away things in the overhead cupboards and choosing only my favourite books to take. I wish them wonderful adventures.

  • This is one of the best before and afters ever. I never associate RV culture with cute, airy, and comfortable. This totally flips that! Also, I love that they travel with a cat. Great feature.

  • I knew it was possible and Lacy and Cliff have shown us how it’s done. Style, comfortable living and mobility all inside an RV. Wonderful post, thank you!

  • I love this so much! Being a gulf coast resident, my husband and I are always talking about the need for an “escape pod” – but where does the catbox live?!

  • Love and follow you after seeing your Marie Forleo interview! This is why I love social media so much… I never would have seen this. Now I’m inspired (and thinking about taking my solo PR freelance biz and my yorkie, Lucy on the road!). #dreamBIG

  • Wow… Just wow!

    Love all their choices. Funny enough I was considering similar colour combo for the wooden cabinets of our kitchen. This just confirms to me how fun the colour it would be. Great job!

  • What a wonderful space! Congrats to Lucy and Cliff on a great renovation. I’m curious how their cat does on the road? Only because I’m also a cat owner and I would love to do the same thing!

  • I love this so much! Two questions: Where does the litter box go? How do the books stay on the shelves while you’re driving?

  • It’s lovely, but I’m curious about thw furniture pieces that look freestanding instead of built-in (LR couch &chair, dining table & chairs). Are they secured somehow to keep them from shifting while on the road?

  • I love this, especially the kitchen. Our big dream is to get an Airstream to renovate/customize. We’d love to be able to hit the road for months at a time to visit the family across the country and see lots of other stuff as we go. I love the idea of being able to take my home with me no matter where I go.

  • Love it! So inspirational, Hmm…how can make this my life?! Also love your podcast and your recent interview with Marie Forleo!

  • Love this. Does this RV-in’ couple have a blog/website? I’d love to follow their adventures.

  • LOVE THIS!! Lacy & Cliff did an amazing job. We had to sell our ’93 conversion van (The Roadhouse) but soon hope to replace it with something a bit bigger. It’s fabulous to take your home with you.
    Quirky question: Where is that multi-hooked unit from that’s in the photo w/ the shower curtain panels hung with leather? Is it retro style or truly vintage? I’m hoping it’s a reproduction!

  • I could not have imagined such a wonderful space in an RV! Thanks for enlightening me.

  • I love the kitchen cabinets! I design motor coaches for a living and it’s so nice to see the older models brought back to life. You have given me inspiration for a new design concept! The bead board ceiling is great too and a fresh look compared to the normal vinyls used.

  • Absolutely stunning! I also love the cross country travel idea. What an adventure they have ahead of them!

  • Well this is certainly an eye-opener! Makes me want to sell all my things and set myself free! Well done and congratulations on embarking on such a wonderful adventure! Enjoy every minute! xx

  • Your RV is a beautiful home. Sorry for the strange question but where do you keep the kitty liter box? As a cat lover and someone planning for a year in an RV in my future, I have been wondering how I will handle a cat box in such a small space in terms of it being visible or smelly.

  • OMG what a blast! I believe in (almost) every adult is a kid who still wants to make and hang out in a ‘fort’. Job SO well done!

  • It was all I could do to tear myself away from the photos, inspecting every little detail of this brilliant and homey reno. I love all the finishes and the great use of space, but I’m dying to know where they made up the loss of the two little closets for hanging clothes! And what Caroline said!

  • Everything is lovely, but I particularly like the black and white rug in the entry. Any chance you can share where it’s from? Thanks!

  • I have the same dream. We have had some amazing RV vacations with our family over the years and to do this full time sounds amazing.
    I love how the living area looks like a living space in a small home instead of an RV. Great design concept. I would love to see more photos.

  • What an inspiring story. Your mobile home looks so pretty, functional, and comfortable. Thanks for sharing your dream come true with us readers.

  • I’m so inspired! Thank you so much for sharing your dream come true. Would love to hear how Cliff and Lacy are doing on the road.

  • This is great and inspiring. Having an RV to travel the country has always been a dream of mine also, but my husband and I experienced part of the dream when we drove across the country from NY to CA with our two little dogs. I’ve done it twice now and I highly recommend it. This is a glorious country and the only way to really see it is on the highways. Just do it!

  • Looks so fun! We are getting ready to redo our 32 ft trailer. Good bones but plum and forest green ummm…happy travels!

  • So many clever space saving ideas! Anyone living in a small space can use this as a guide. And not afraid to ditch convention — love the fruit bowl that’s UNDER the table. Perfect.

  • I had the pleasure of getting to see the RV in person. The vibe is just as cozy as it looks! My favorites: the reclaimed wood in the bedroom, the art wall and the beautiful color on the kitchen cabinets.. oh wait and NED kitty! Congratulations, Lacy and Cliff!

  • I’ve seen this RV in person, and let me say: it’s unbelievably roomy and comfortable! Lacy and Cliff are a true inspiration for living life on your own terms. <3

  • Thank you all for the sweet comments! Seriously, you are all so kind and we are feeling really loved over here.

    Here are the answers to a few of your Q’s

    @katherine the black and white rug is an outdoor rug from Pottery Barn last season


    @kitt we have everything hanging in the wardrobe in the bedroom and then have clothes in the “hall” cabinets and in the cabinet above the desk. we super downsized our wardrobes and have been playing with capsule wardrobes and are loving it!

    @matt the coffin shaped tub makes us giggle too. it will go when we reno the bathroom come june.

    @christy the litterbox is one of those plastic ones with a lid. it lives between the two seats behind the curtains. we’ve never had an issue with smells.

    @Jessica our cat is called Ned <3

    @matoaka we had the shelf custom made with a lip so that all stays put when we are in motion.

  • I love it. We have a ’95 safari and have done some renovating ourselves. We r fulltimers as well with 2 cats. Hope to see you all down the road sometime!!

  • 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.

  • I love the bead board on the ceiling. Can you tell me how it is attached to the ceiling?

  • 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.

    • I would put it in the tub, cover the drain of course and take it out when showering.

    • 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.

  • How much did it cost to do all that renovation? Who did you get to do it or did you all do it yourself?

  • 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.