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As a full-time RV-er with decades of interior design experience, I pour my heart and soul into rain2shine ventures. I bring passion and creativity to each project, prioritizing functionality and style. I wear many hats at r2s; not only am I running a successful business, I design every remodel, tackle much of the labor and decorate each project to bring a client’s vision to life.
Rain2shine ventures and myself have been featured on the cover of RV Enthusiast, in O’Henry Magazine, WFMY News 2, and a handful of other publications.
At rain2shine ventures, we enjoy giving each project a unique name. This was no different for our first non-profit RV. “Woof Way” is a C-Class that rain2shine ventures converted into a mobile dog rescue. Woof Way was a true labor of love due to the conditions of the C-Class when it arrived at the shop. However, as animal lovers with a long history of fostering dogs and adopting rescues, we were up for the challenge!
Mobile Dog Rescue RV Remodel Design
Our client had a few ideas about the redesign of the Class C motorhome, and we were happy to oblige. They didn’t want the TV, microwave, oven, bathroom, or shower. They did, however, need a fridge for medications and wet dog food. Additionally, they wanted a pull-out pantry to store canned dog food. The client was also interested in an exam/care area, kennels, and a small desk for working on the road. Their final request was to have calming (blue/green) colors throughout the RV.
As someone who worked a few years with dog rescue groups, I knew firsthand what different transport vehicles looked like from the inside. While fostering dogs, I’d meet the transporter on Friday evenings to either rehome a dog or receive a dog to take home while a forever family was found. I was in contact with the transporters a lot. So, I knew what was lacking in their vehicles, what could be done better, and to always expect the unexpected – sick dogs, dogs going into labor, and more!
Because of my past experience and the knowledge I gained from transporters, I suggested a dog bath station that could also double as an exam/care area. Surprisingly, I found a “Pro Dog Bath” on Wayfair that would be perfect, and I ordered it right away.
I had a clear vision in my head of not only making their rig a transport vehicle for dogs but a welcoming vessel for showcasing dogs at adoption fairs. I drew up the design and converted it into a 3D rendering for my RV techs to assist them in knowing where to add extra wiring and plumbing throughout.
Here is a breakdown of the phases of this mobile dog rescue project:
- Living Room: Removal of all furniture: Started with removing all the screws with an Impact and a set of bits; most commonly the square bit.
- Removal of all curtains and brackets
- Removal of all cushions
- Kitchen: Removal of the fridge and surrounding cabinetry.
- Bedroom: Removal of the bed frame, mattress, fresh water tank (under bed), upper cabinets, wardrobes, nightstands, curtains, and brackets.
- Bathroom: Removal of the shower (and surrounding walls), bathroom walls, cabinetry, toilet, stink pipe, and black tank.
RV Repairs Made for the Mobile Dog Rescue
- Passenger Side Wall: The entire wall was rotten and delaminated. My hand was able to go through the interior wall and pull out saturated wood. We ended up having to remove the siding completely.
- First, we took down the awning and took out the windows, storage doors, vents, and rails.
- To prep the corrugated siding to reinstall, we scraped off the remaining wood and glue. We then had to remove all the remaining rotten wood and insulation from the interior.
- Once there was nothing left, we installed new exterior paneling (Lauan). Then we installed new insulation and finished it with another layer of paneling creating a new interior wall.
- Next, we glued the siding back onto the exterior panel and clamped it down until it dried. Once it was ready, we reinstalled the railings.
- Driver-Side Wall: We removed the remaining rotten wood from the driver-side wall and installed new insulation and panels.
- Back/Rear Wall: We rebuilt the back wall, replaced the window as well as all new siding ordered to match from a company in California.
- Flooring: While the passenger side wall was off, we cut all the soft spots out of the floor and replaced them.
- The Loft was completely saturated and rotten. We opened the nose above the windshield after removing all the corner rails. Then, we drained the water and took out all the old, rotten wood. Once the wood was removed, we discovered that the frame was corroded. So, we pulled the frame out, cut out the corroded areas and welded new aluminum beams into place. We chose to then add extra beams to create a better structure and used Lauan for the bottom panel of the frame and reinstalled it. Next, we cut insulation boards to fit within the frame, glued them in, and installed another Lauan panel on top. Following that, we installed ¾ plywood on top of the Lauan.
- We enclosed the front window in the loft to prevent any more leaks. These windows in any C-Class have a tendency to leak and cause all kinds of damage.
- There was quite a bit of delamination. Therefore, we removed the filon/fiberglass. Then, we glued and installed new Filon, reinstalled the rails, etc.
- Due to damage beyond repair, the RV required a new ceiling and roof with a new A/C, four new MaxxAir fans, and one vent.
- We rebuilt all the window frames that were damaged in various places.
- We installed new electric steps as the original steps were manual and broken.
- We installed a new electric awning.
Mobile Dog Rescue Renovation Steps
- Foundation and Structure: We started by installing a new subfloor and then built new knee walls to add support to fit the design from everything we took out. The first knee wall on the driver's side is the pull-out pantry.
- Cabinetry: We built all new upper (with flush mount lights) and lower cabinetry for the “kitchen.” We removed the new cabinet doors and drawers, sanded all the new Lauan and cabinetry to prep for primer and paint, and blew all the dust off with an air hose. Later, we reinstalled all the cabinet doors and drawers (with catches), drilled out for the new handles and attached them.
- Heating and Plumbing Systems: We reworked the systems (i.e. furnace, ducting, tankless water heater (new), etc. to fit under the new cabinetry.
- Countertop: We made a pattern for the countertop and took it to a local countertop maker where we picked out the Corian. The pattern included space for the mini-fridge and desk. Both would go next to the lower kitchen cabinets within the area of the two knee walls on the driver's side.
- Painting: We used our Graco paint sprayer to prime the ceiling, walls, and cabinetry. The cabinet doors and drawers were done outside on risers. Then, we taped off the walls and cabinetry with kraft paper.
- The ceiling is SW 7005 Pure White Satin (Superpaint). After painting the ceiling, we removed the tape and kraft paper from the walls and sprayed them with SW 6749 Embellished Blue Satin (Superpaint).
- Then, we removed the tape and kraft paper covering the cabinets and retaped the walls with kraft paper in order to spray the cabinets. The upper cabinets were painted with SW 9165 Gossamer Veil Semi-Gloss (Proclassic), while SW 6990 Caviar Semi-Gloss (Pro Industrial) was used on the lower cabinets.
- Lighting: We installed four flush-mount ring lights and one three-way cage light towards the back.
- Loft: We cut a new insert for the loft out of ¾ plywood. The clients didn’t have one when they brought it.
- Flooring: We installed LVP throughout including the loft area and wrapped the bottom of the insert in matching fabric to the cab ceiling.
- Washing Station: We installed the new pro dog bath by bracing it to the wall and adding new plumbing.
- Installed new light switches, USBs, thermostat, tank sensor monitor, water temp monitor, propane gas detector, and converter.
- Cut bracing underneath the camper to make room for the freshwater tank. Built a cage to house the tank and installed/welded it with anchors and brackets. Reworked most of the plumbing for the new design and dog bath.
- Final Touches: We trimmed the ceiling and floor with corner round molding. We used stencils to paint different size paw prints above the sink area and a dog rescue quote above the entry door.
Decorating the RV & Final Touches
The most fun part: SHOPPING!!!
We knew we wanted something to hang leashes and towels in the bathing area and found the perfect hooks: dog butts with tails sticking up. Additionally, we felt it was important to have a full grooming station. We found a cute cabinet to fit the space and ordered towels, brushes, shampoo, and conditioner.
We searched online for cute dog and rescue decor, picked our favorites, and placed them throughout the RV.
This C-Class ultimately became a brand-new RV. Our client was SHOCKED when they saw their new mobile dog rescue for the first time. It had come such a long way since they originally dropped it off! They couldn’t wait to take it home and put it to good use.
However, there was one missing piece. A good chunk of the budget was used just to bring the RV up to code due to the deterioration. Because of this, our client chose to install the dog kennels on their own. Finally, the project was COMPLETE! Rain2shine ventures was so honored to be a part of something that will truly make a difference in the lives of man’s best friend.
We hope to do more commercial projects in the future as mobile businesses continue to be on the rise. I mean, what consumer can resist convenience?