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RV renovation is all the rage right now, especially for older RVs that are full of outdated dark brown and beige woods, fixtures, and accents.
Dan and Samantha Mathews of @WeAreDanAndSam on Instagram did their first RV renovation in 2019. This couple gave their 2002 Jayco Jayflight a complete makeover, creating a beautiful tiny home for themselves and their two children.
The family has since sold their original travel trailer, but remain active in the RV community – specifically the RV renovation community.
After being asked to help a friend renovate their RV to sell, Dan and Sam launched an RV remote design and consultation business, and have since completed another RV renovation for a client.
Dan and Sam's second client renovation was a 2015 Open Range 319RLS fifth wheel. The couple purchased and renovated the fifth wheel on behalf of their client and spent three months on this stunning renovation.
About the 2015 Open Range 319RLS Fifth Wheel
The 319RLS model 2015 Open Range fifth wheel is a 35′ RV with a rear living area. The bedroom of this RV is in the front beside the bedroom, with stairs down into the kitchen and living area.
The 319RLS has two opposing slides in the living area that create a ton of living space, and one slideout in the bedroom for a total of three overall. The open feel of this fifth wheel make it a great candidate for renovating into a light and airy modern camper.
The Original 319RLS
The original design of the 319RLS is almost exactly what you'd imagine when you think of a 2015 RV model: full of dark brown cabinetry, cheap fixtures, and generally very “cookie cutter” as far as RV design goes.
The fifth wheel had the typical RV window treatments, embellished slideout trim, dark cabinetry and beige wallpaper.
The dark cabinets and beige wallpaper make the RV feel dark and cramped, and this type of design has been industry standard for a long time!
Demolish to Rebuild
The first step in any RV renovation project is the same: demolition. To prep the RV for renovation, Dan and Sam dove in head first!
The first steps in the demolition process were removing all the furniture, window coverings, trim around slideouts, overhead cabinets, and more.
The overhead cabinets were replaced with open shelving. The choice to replace the cabinets with open shelving is a personal preference that stands out and this aesthetic is becoming increasingly popular with RV renovators.
Next, all cabinet doors and hinges were removed along with light and sink fixtures, countertops, the shower, and the carpet. And, along with the carpet, thousands of staples!
The clients purchasing this RV are avid readers who don’t watch much TV. So, the decision was made to remove the TV entirely. The TV sat above an electric fireplace which was also removed.
During the demolition process, water damage was found behind the fireplace. The decision to rebuild this area was a lucky one, because the water damage was repaired in the process.
RV Renovation Rebuild: Living and Kitchen Area
Since the clients are big on reading and not on TV, an arched bookshelf was added in the space where the TV hung. The arched bookshelf adds a unique design element to the RV and is totally functional.
The fireplace and mantle were completely redesigned when building the bookshelf. Faux brick was added to replace faux stone, and the mantle is a piece of distressed pine board.
The arch shape in the bookshelf gives a unique and modern look to an area that once felt dark and boxy.
Reimagining the RV Dining Area
The original dining area had a table with four stand-alone chairs. Dan and Sam built an L-shaped storage bench, turned the tabletop sideways, and added two woven chairs to complete the renovation. A modern light fixture was installed directly above the dining table. The original tabletop was refinished and they painted the base to fit the overall farmhouse aesthetic.
The original dining area lacked creativity, and the new dining area looks like something straight out of a magazine.
The custom L-shaped bench provides more seating for guests and has plenty of storage inside.
Modern RV Kitchen Makeover
In the kitchen, the existing kitchen island was turned sideways for a more homey look and feel. The overhead cabinets above the sink were replaced with open shelving and a faux brick backsplash.
Originally, the Open Range had a double-sided stainless steel sink with stainless steel fixtures. The sink was replaced with a beautiful big farmhouse sink and stunning brass fixtures. They replaced the original kitchen countertop with stunning butcher block wood.
Above the sink they added a beautiful two-light wall sconce with Edison bulbs.
RV Bedroom and Bathroom Renovation
The bedroom and bathroom underwent major transformations. The door between the bedroom and bathroom was removed and covered with a wall with an inset shelf for additional bathroom storage.
The new wall with inset shelf provides storage space for extra toiletries and decorations and makes use of a doorway that wasn't really needed.
The clients wanted a composting toilet in the Open Range, so the original RV toilet was replaced with the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet.
The original shower in the RV was removed and replaced with a beautiful gray tile and brushed gold showerhead and fixtures.
The vanity in the bathroom was completely upgraded with new faux brick backsplash, a beautiful circular mirror, a raised ceramic sink, and brushed gold waterfall faucet. A double globe wall sconce replaced the original light, matching the larger version in the kitchen. The vanity countertop was replaced with the same butcher block used in the kitchen.
In the bedroom, the mirrored closet doors were removed for a more open and airy feel. The drawers in the closet were moved to the center to create a more balanced look.
The new space has lots of shelving for storage and doesn't feel as clausterphobic as the original mirrored closet doors.
The headboard of the bed had a built-in bookshelf that was painted green to add a beautiful accent to the room. The bedside tables were re-imagined with butcher block wood and white paint. Gold lamps, similar to these were added to the bedside tables, perfect for night time reading.
Painting and Paint Prep
Before new fixtures could be installed or finishing touches could be put on the RV, it had to be painted.
Paint prep included removing outlet covers, covering lighting wires, taping off all the windows and sanding wood surfaces with 120 grit sandpaper.
The paint for the Open Range renovation came from Sherwin Williams. First, the surfaces were primed with Extreme Bond Primer. The paint used in the renovation was Sherwin Williams Cashmere. For the whites, Dan and Sam chose the color “Snowboard”. The green used was the “Evergreen” shade, and the blue was “Riverway.”
Replacing the Flooring
The flooring in the RV was replaced with a luxury vinyl plank flooring from Shaw Matrix. The color of the flooring is “Toffee Elm”.
The flooring was replaced after the new furniture was built and the paint was applied.
Fixtures and Hardware
Once the paint dried, the cabinet doors were re-installed along with the new light fixtures and accessories. Handles were replaced with gold cabinet pulls that match the fixtures in the rest of the RV.
The light fixtures installed in the RV are residential fixtures. Residential fixtures can be used in an RV as long as you use a 12v light bulb in the socket.
Finishing Touches on This 2015 Open Range Renovation
No RV renovation is complete without finishing touches. Furniture, curtains, and decor truly make a place feel like home.
Wall decor purchased on Etsy decorates the walls with warm and light tones that fit the farmhouse vibe of the renovated Open Range.
After the finishing touches were put on this RV, it was ready for the clients to take over and move in!
The new owners of this RV plan to use it as a stationary home, so there is no need to worry about securing items on the open shelves throughout the camper.
Check out this short video below for a full tour of the renovated RV:
Interview with Sam About the Renovation Process
In the following video, Ashley Mann, owner of RVinspiration.com, interviews Sam of @WeAreDanAndSam to discuss the renovation in more detail: