Before & After: This Dated, Rotted RV Was Transformed into the Cutest, Coziest Home on Wheels

updated Oct 21, 2020
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Location
Bedrooms
Square feet
180
Sq ft
180
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Bree Contreras, who writes beautifully on the blog, Life With Bree, completely transformed a 1970s Class C RV they nicknamed “Hottie.” Bree documents their travels in this not-van and the RV’s transformation on Instagram as @doesthiscountasvanlife. And though Bree knew instantly upon first seeing Hottie that this was perfect home-on-wheels for them, the before was in pretty ROUGH shape.

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The rig was full of the previous owners’ belongings when Bree first toured the space. Water had also taken its toll on the RV over the years, particularly in the ceiling and loft. “It was absolutely disgusting when I bought it,” Bree admits. “There was so much water damage and the entire bottom of it needed to be ripped out to the aluminum and replaced with new framing and materials.” Bree wasn’t deterred by the work ahead. “I loved her and I had this idea that I was going to make her my home, so I went for it,” says Bree.

Though transforming a rotted, run-down RV was going to be difficult, the physical condition wasn’t the hardest part of the project. “The biggest challenge of renovating this entire rig was… probably that I had no idea what I was doing,” they admit. “Before I jumped into building Hottie I had a random smattering of building/DIY experience. I’d built an IKEA bed here and there, helped relatives fix things around their homes, and watched a couple uncles build a shed once. Nothing very hands on and nothing quite like this.”

“I remember when I picked Hottie out, that was one of the things most of my friends and family were concerned about for me. She looked like (and was) a lot of work, but I knew she was worth it so I forced myself to figure it out. Luckily I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last rookie builder to jump into RV renovations so YouTube, blogs, and friendly folks on the internet full of information and helpful tips were never too far away. When all of that failed though, I just asked my grandpa and usually we were able to figure something out,” says Bree.

Hottie got a huge aesthetic face lift, but Bree also implemented a huge layout change. Bree says one of the biggest reasons why they bought Hottie was because of all the windows in the dinette area, which Bree actually transformed into a lofted bedroom. “I knew that I wanted to wake up and see the world out of those windows every day for the foreseeable future and so I built my bed right into that little nook,” Bree explains. “I almost always park so that the sun creeps in the windows first and it makes waking up so so pleasant and yes, the views are every bit as amazing as I imagined.”

Bree decided to create a lofted bed so that the dogs would have a cozy bed nook in the RV, too. Bree’s grandpa helped come up with the idea. “It is my favorite thing for so many reasons, but mostly because my grandpa and I put it together together. So I guess it’s more of a DIYWGH (Do It Yourself With Grandpa’s Help) but it’s still my proudest.”

The kitchen is another favorite spot of Bree’s, and they got lucky with the fact that the original stove, oven, and fridge were all in working order. “I love cooking so the fact that the kitchen reno was actually the easiest thing to do in the entire rig was a really welcome break considering everything else I had to do,” says Bree.

Another area that got a huge transformation was the loft nook, which had received much of the water damage and required near complete rebuilding. The after result is a snuggly and cute space well worth the work.

“Throughout the build I kept imagining it as this really cool spot to hang out and chill to read or stargaze at night. I’m glad I saved it for last because the plans for that space sort of grew and morphed on their own as time went on and quite frankly the finished product is much better than I anticipated. One of my favorite things to do is curl up in there with a book and read until I fall asleep,” Bree says.

You can see all of Bree’s gorgeous Hottie home-on-wheels in the full house tour.