Trailer Transformation

Photo Credit: Chris Hemer

by Chris Hemer
April 30, 2015
Filed under Feature Story, Trailer Gear


From carpet to cabinets to furniture and more, your trailer’s living space can be better than new


Home-improvement shows are wildly popular these days. People just love seeing what’s possible when a renovation expert gets his or her hands on an old house that has great “bones” but is simply worn out and in need of a little love. As an RVing enthusiast, you may not be aware that the very same thing is possible in your trailer — but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sometimes, a rig just fits your lifestyle — it’s got enough room, the floorplan is perfect, and everything works properly. But years of use have left the interior looking a little shabby, making you long for the days when it looked and smelled new inside.

Just like your home, the interior of a trailer can be upgraded, even completely remodeled to suit your needs at a fraction of the cost of a new trailer. Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design of Woodland, Washington, 30 miles north of Portland, Oregon, specializes in making older RVs new again. The company opened its doors in 2007, but brothers Dave and LJ Ast (say “Ahhst”) actually were raised in the business, helping their father at his interior design company when they were growing up. Today, pretty much anything goes, including basic flooring replacement and upgrades, reupholstering, and installation of window shades, electronics, cabinetry and more. The company also has the largest RV furniture and interior products showroom on the West Coast, making the business a one-stop shop.

Typically, motorhome owners are Dave and LJ’s biggest customers, so we were interested when the brothers called to let us know they were undertaking a complete fifth-wheel renovation for good customers. Originally planning just to replace the worn furniture, the traveling couple decided not to stop there and wanted to switch out the carpet, swap the sheet-vinyl flooring for Congoleum tile, create a matching backsplash and have new window shades installed as well. After about three days’ work and $10,000, the job was completed, leaving an interior that not only looked better than new but was much more comfortable and durable. No doubt, home improvement isn’t just for stationary homes anymore.

Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design | 360-225 7700 |


From a distance, the original interior in this fifth-wheel doesn’t look like it’s in bad shape, but the carpet padding was getting beaten down ...


... and the furniture was worn after years of use.


Because the owners decided to replace the carpet and the furniture, the first step is getting all the furniture out of the way so the carpet can be taken out. The dining table was secured by screws covered by wooden caps, which are removed. The rest of the original furniture was freestanding.


With all the furniture removed, the real work is ready to begin.


The slide floor carpet is gripped with a pair of pliers and simply torn out, followed by the main floor carpeting.


Here you can see both carpet and padding have been removed. Because the carpet actually wraps underneath the floor and furniture on the streetside slideout, this small strip of carpet cannot be completely pulled out, but the edge will be cut away and recarpeted so it looks perfect.


Meanwhile, in the forward bedroom, the crew is hard at work removing the queen-size bed ...


... so the carpet can be replaced here as well.


The old sheet vinyl in the kitchen and dining area is cut, then torn out. It will be replaced with Congoleum vinyl tiles.


Removing the sheet vinyl revealed mold on the floor caused by an earlier refrigerator leak. The crew treats the area with a bleach-and-water mixture, and once dry, paints over it to prevent regrowth.


The window lambrequins are also removed. They will not be reupholstered, but the windows will be fitted with new Auto-Motion Shade blackout roller shades.


Here you can see the carpet has been cut away from the streetside slideout floor and tack strips installed in preparation for the new carpet.


New, thicker padding is laid down and stapled into place, then carefully trimmed by hand.


Out in the shop, each lambrequin is fitted with a piece of wood that will conceal the new roller assembly underneath.


The wood is custom-upholstered in the same material as the furniture for a perfect match.


Each roller is then tested to make sure it deploys straight.


If not, the longer end is treated with a layer of tape (arrow), which effectively makes the tube larger in diameter and pulls that side up very slightly.


The finished shade looks like factory equipment. Note the top of the lambrequin with a piece of upholstered trim behind it (arrow).


Glue is spread evenly across the floor and must be allowed to dry to almost clear before the new tiles can he laid down. The tiles are then grouted with a special vinyl-based material that is flexible and won’t crack like household grout.


A special sewing machine is used to put a bound edge on the piece of carpet that fits in the curbside slideout, giving it a factory appearance.


The backsplash is sprayed with a light coating of adhesive, and then matching tiles are installed here as well.


The new carpet looks factory installed but is more plush and has thicker padding underneath. All windows are now fitted with daytime and blackout shades, which look great and provide added comfort.


The new floor tile is much more durable than the old sheet vinyl ...


... and with the matching backsplash, the interior has a modern, integrated look.


A new Flexsteel Ultraleather convertible couch and matching reclining rockers complete the transformation.





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