Whenever they can, Californians Roman and Christina Molitvenik pile their three kids, Liam (5), Iris (2), and Matthew (6 months), into their motor home-away-from-home and hit the road. “We want our children to love the outdoors, and the camper is an easy way to experience them,” Molitvenik says, adding that it’s also been a great way to travel while social distancing.
And that travel is now both stylish and comfortable thanks to some thoughtful, Scandi-inspired touches: leather benches elevate family dinners; blonde cabinets keep things light and airy; and IKEA bedding beckons the family of five after a long day of hiking.
It hasn’t always been so kid-friendly and chic, though. When the couple purchased the 18 footer in 2016 it had extensive water damage and a giant hole in the roof, the results of a fallen tree.
The first phase of the revamp found the Molitveniks calling on a welder friend to rebuild the rusted interior shell and turn the hole overhead into a skylight, the latter of which immediately made the petite space feel larger. After that, the couple got their own hands dirty and added fresh wood paneling, swapped out the silver hardware for a matte black option, and reupholstered the benches before tiling the bathroom and installing a new showerhead.
Molitvenik says the quickest, most-impactful change she made to the trailer was swapping the silver hardware for a sleek, matte black alternative. Rug by IKEA.Photo by Christina Molitvenik
In working with the camper’s unique dimensions and loopy angles, Molitvenik says there was definitely a learning curve (pun intended), but she and her husband’s prior experience renovating their own home instilled in them the confidence to tackle the idiosyncratic project. An abundance of online guides as well as the wide selection of trailer essentials at The Home Depot helped as well.
Shampoo and conditioner bottles are mounted so they don’t shift around when the camper’s in motion.Photo by Christina Molitvenik
When the couple purchased the camper they only had one child—now they have three. A series of further DIYs have helped the RV keep up with their growing family. The existing sink has been replaced with a larger one that can accomodate more dirty dishes. Below, the oven has been removed and the cavity left behind turned into a cubby for toys and blankets. “We cook on the campfire or on a portable cooktop instead,” Molitvenik explains. “It creates less mess and is part of the experience of the great outdoors.” After dinner’s been cleared, another new accent makes bedtime a breeze: The dining table can be lowered to bench height, so with the shifting around of some cushions, their kids have a full-size bed to snuggle into.
The pair are planning on adding more storage underneath the dining area and giving the exterior a good buff pretty soon. They aren’t waiting around for those changes before their next round of trips, though. This year they’ll trek up the Northern California Coast, and then it’s off to Lake Tahoe.
Have you ever tackled an unconventional renovation? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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