Step 1: Removing Hardware and Built-ins

So now that we have a camper, we know where it is damaged (and we know where it is ugly), what do we do to fix that? Well it’s time for a renovation, of course! And that means demolition is in our future.

However, before we can just start ripping things out, we have a lot that needs to be carefully removed, thrown away, or painted externally to the camper, and carefully re-installed when the item is finished.

The first order of business (which I don’t have pictures of, sorry!) was removing the ugly fabric. Let me give you a short step by step to help with this process. (At this point you’ve probably realized there are a lot of cushions in your way. Just take them inside and deposit them in a low traffic area, you’re not going to need them for a couple of weeks.)

1. Remove the valance like objects first. These are fabric pieces stapled to the wood extrusions that hold up the curtains. In order to not damage the wood veneer of the walls or the wood pieces themselves, you’ll want a pair of needle-nose pliers to help pull out the staples. Protip: wear some gloves if you’re smart. I am not smart and the pliers’ rubber grip rubbed a raw spot on my palm, AND I got stabbed by a staple. 

2. Once you’ve gotten the valances off, you need to remove the curtains. In our camper, a small square headed screw prevented the curtains from sliding out of the end of their tracks. I removed the screws and slid the curtains out and straight into a garbage bag.  

3. Remove the tracks the curtains were in. This isn’t really fabric removal, but you might as well do it now. Our tracks were made of a plastic material, if yours are a thin metal the same process will work. Ours were stapled in. If yours were nailed in you can use this method, but if you have screws you will need to go fetch your drill. Basically, the best way to remove these is to just pry them out. If you’re my husband, that means with your fingertips. However, if you’re me, you’ll want a method a bit less strenuous. I recommend a small crowbar (but even a metal ruler will help. A flathead screwdriver is another option.) Just start at one end and carefully pry them away. In order to preserve the wood pieces (which is important because these wood pieces serve as supports for the bunk beds above), you need to pry more and pull less. Go a couple inches at a time instead of trying to quickly rip the whole thing out at once! 

4. Now you’re mostly done. Yay us!! Look around for any miscellaneous fabricked surfaces. In my case, the front of the sofa bed and the top of the camper doorway had a shin and head guard, respectively, made of fabric. The sofa bed piece was actually attached with screws, and we unscrewed them and then just threw the whole piece away, interior wood piece, fabric, screws, and all. The head piece in the door way is still there. One: because I forgot it. Two: because it’s helping my husband not hit his head while we renovate, so I’ll wait and replace it later, once I have fabric picked out. 


Now, we have removed all the fabric bits, so it’s time for everything else. The general rule of thumb here is to remove anything that can be easily detached and reattached later. Right now I just want to get it out of the camper where it will be less likely to be harmed when we rip up the floor. That also means we don’t need to bother taking off handles and nonsense from the removed cabinet doors just yet, we’ll do that later. For now, we just need to remove the hinges from the cabinets and walls and take the entire doors, including hinges, inside to store for bit.


There is no real step by step for this. Instead just unscrew everything and get it out of there. Below you can see what ours looks like once we’ve taken everything out of it. We also went ahead and pulled up the old linoleum. That was easy as much of it was water damaged and you could easily rip it off the floor. We trimmed the linoleum around the cabinets and walls using a box cutter for a clean edge.



Here we have the view from the door of the sofa that turns into bed number 2. In this picture we have the linoleum ripped up so you can see the subfloor and some water stains indicating water damage and potential rot.

Before                  After

Here’s a view of the sofa from the far end of the camper, you can see the light coming in the door to the right. All the cabinets have been removed but I took this picture before we ripped up the linoleum.

Before                 After

Next we’ve got the kitchen, cabinets have been removed, linoleum is still down. Check out that hideous wallpaper!! I can’t wait to paint over it.

Before                 After


The next four pictures are the bathroom area. First we had to take the whole door off, then inside the bathroom the cabinets and movable fixtures were removed. We ended up removing the threshold pieces from the bathroom door and the middle of the kitchen floor. However, we don’t plan to tear up the floor in the bathroom since it is structurally sound. For now we’re leaving the linoleum down until we get new tile or tile linoleum.



Cabinets were easy to remove. These built in benches were a little more difficult. As you can see everyone pitched in a hand, or paw, to help. The benches were screwed in from the outside wall and the screw heads were underneath the outer paneling. We removed the visible screws, then pulled the boards off of the outer wall screws. Finally we cut the protruding screw heads from the wall with a bolt cutter. Yay for making up procedures!


Finally got those out! You can also see a metal box on the floor. We unwired it before removing the subfloor. It’s a converter for the electrical system, and we marked each wire with masking tape to match the diagram provided on the converter itself, that way we can easily rewire it later.


Final before and after showing the kitchen and the dining area/main bed.

Before                                   After

Now, all we have to do is start demo on the floor! Sign up for my email list to get notified when that is posted. OR tune in here next Friday, to see the continuation of this series.