Before & After: We Can’t Believe this RV Was Completely Transformed for Just $500

published Oct 2, 2019
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Credit: Sarah Lemp

Back in 2014, Sarah Lemp and her husband Jay renovated their first RV that they purchased on Facebook Marketplace. At the time, the couple had three young kids and wanted to fix up something small for family road trips that could be pulled by their minivan. What started as a one-time project turned into a hobby, and five years (and many flipped RVs) later, the couple continues to execute RV overhauls—this 1977 Coachmen Cadet being the most recent.

The couple snagged the retro trailer for $500, and while that price seems like a steal, you get what you pay for—meaning there was a lot of work to be done. Looking at the before photo above truly gives you a glimpse at how dated it truly was. But what they did with the space while trying to stick to a small budget is pretty spectacular.

Credit: Sarah Lemp

Sarah and Jay started the project in the beginning of the summer and was able to wrap it up by early August, which she credits to her friends and family for helping out. “My friend Julia and her kids drove up from Chicago to help paint, clean, and sew,” Sarah wrote in a blog post. “My neighbor made curtains and helped with the upholstery. This camper has been a community labor of love!”

Credit: Sarah Lemp
Credit: Sarah Lemp

When looking at the exterior pre-renovation, you can definitely tell the off-white color with yellow and orange stripes pays homage to its ’70s origin. But with a little bit of primer as well as white and blue paint, the Lemp family was able to transform the outside to look brand new. They also added a new rubber roof coating to make sure everything was tight for weather conditions.

The inside, however, was an entirely different story.

Credit: Sarah Lemp

As you can see, dark wood cabinets and matching walls overtook the space, and the fabric on the seat cushions was dirty and worn. Luckily the fridge, oven, and sink, heater, and AC were all in good condition, and the only major replacement was the toilet in the bathroom.

Credit: Sarah Lemp

They deep-cleaned pretty much everything, painted over most of the dark wood with white, salvaged the old upholstery with fresh cushions, cleaned up the countertops, and added some decor elements that really brighten up the space (hello, plants!). Additionally, Sarah and Jay checked the water lines and electricity to make sure the RV was habitable for their travels on the road.

Credit: Sarah Lemp
Credit: Sarah Lemp

As you can see above, it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint (and some subway tile) can do to a space. A full list of the products they used during the renovation can be found here.

In total, the whole renovation cost around $500, meaning that they spent the same amount renovating it as they did purchasing the RV. All in all, $1,000 is a pretty great deal when you end up with such a beautifully designed space.

See Sarah’s full collection of flipped RVs on her blog, All Things With Purpose.