Many of you know who have been with us on YouTube for awhile that we were planning to buy a new fifth wheel this year. We had been shopping and researching for the past year of our rving journey. That is all until we were getting ready to sell Rocky our 2009 Thor Jazz 2780BH fifth wheel. One thing we had been putting off what carpeting the steps into our bedroom and Josh’s converted bunkhouse office. We were in Seaside, Oregon when we decided to ask the local carpet store if they could install it for us. They happen to have a guy that specialized in flooring in RVs! We were stoked! We went to their carpet outlet and found some very inexpensive carpet that fit just the right amount of space we needed to carpet. And guess what??? The total bill carpet and labor to get it installed was $190! It took just about 2 hours to install and boom all the sudden we saw our little 33 ft. RV in a new light.
We got to thinking what else could we change about this RV to make it work even better. Thing is we have put in a lot of time and money (more time than anything) making our home look like a cottage on wheels. We love the length of the RV since we can go almost anywhere and park almost anywhere with ease.
I had already begun calling RV dealerships to get an idea of what we would be paying for a new Grand Design Momentum. Grand Design has really won us over with their customer service and the way they pride themselves on their products. I was searching all over for a Momentum 348M and it was stressing me out. Salesmen didn’t take me too seriously on the phone and were not fun to talk to. I about gave up and told Josh I was done talking to salesmen about buying a new RV and was finding out very quickly that our “custom RV” was worth basically nothing and we would be WAY better off selling privately. Side note- studies have shown that women get quoted higher for almost everything, quotes, jobs, etc. I felt often that salesmen were talking down to me as if that would make them seem more credible.
Any who, Josh had an idea why not try to remodel the RV for under that cost we would be paying in taxes. This was something to consider. If we were going to spend say $70,000 on a rig in Washington, where were are from, we would be paying $7,000 in taxes alone. So we started imagining what our kitchen could be like without it jutting into our living room. (This is the only part of the RV we didn’t tear anything apart in our initial RV remodel) You can see from the picture above how little counter space I have and how awkward the cabinets are. Taking them out would open up so much space.
I cook three meals a day and after a year of making this set up work I was tired of it. Constantly shuffling things around was getting to me. I want the simple like not the shuffle lifestyle. So I drew up a little plan of what this kitchen could be and how we could do it for under $7,000. Really wanted to be under $4,000 and we did just that!
I began calling RV remodeling businesses around Oregon and got the run around from many of them. The first one I called seemed happy to give a quote and said the job could range in price (that was basically what everyone said) and rightfully so. You never truly know what you are going to uncover when you are taking things apart in an RV. From my experience you hope and pray that the people who put together your RV actually cared about their job. Also hope that your rig wasn’t pushed to be completed on a Friday when the team of builders might be rushing to get a job done before the weekend. You will find that your rig is mostly compiled of sticky glue, staples and lots of screws. We spent an entire day ripping apart the kitchen cabinets. It was a ton of work but in the end totally worth it since we saved so much money by doing it ourselves.
Back to getting quotes for the remodel. One solid quote we got was from a RV remodel/ custom builder was about $6,000 for the job. Mind you this would be completely custom cabinetry. $6,000 was a bit shocking to me it being only a 5ft. 8 in. space so we decided to inquire elsewhere. Another option told us they would need a $250 deposit in order to give a quote… I wasn’t having that. So I asked them “Okay well if we do put down a deposit when could you do the work?” They told me they were booked out FOR A YEAR! What??? Why wouldn’t you just say that first? Goodness…I was getting peeved at this point.
Finally we decided to have a mobile RV repair company come check out our RV and give it an overall look over before we dropped some cash money on this remodel. The guys from Arc Mobile were awesome and super straight forward. We had some specific questions about structure, the roof and then we asked them if they knew of anyone who might be up to remodel our kitchen. He said he would ask around and get back to us. We really appreciate that and guess what!? He actually got back to us and made us feel very confident about keeping our RV.
A few days later Gary came out to the RV and said he could do the job but wasn’t sure how many days it would take. He chatted with us about all the different scenarios and said it could be a 2-5 day job. What we liked about using Arc Mobile was that we could pay them by the hour. I am happy to pay people for an hourly rate. We told Gary about the quotes we received and he said it sounded like they didn’t want to do the work which was the vibe I was getting from these places.
The total job was three 8 hour work days at $135 an hour. To me this wasn’t a bad price considering we didn’t have to get a hotel or move the RV to get the work down. They also waived the drive time fee for us since it was such a big job. Before Gary arrived we bought all of our cabinets from HomeDepot.com We went with Home Depot cabinets since they were inexpensive and if we had any problem we could take them back to the store in Bend. At first I was really considering Ikea cabinets that would have been a lot pricey-er, a lot higher in shipping costs and would probably have had to be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to work with the space we had. We purchased our counter-top from Lowe’s since they had one in stock with colors that I liked. I really wanted a butcher block type counter but again a $99 6 foot counter-top from Ikea was going to be $348 to have it shipped to Bend. So I passed.
The sink we bought was from Amazon as well at the drop in stove top. A lot of people have been wondering how we will survive without an oven. Well, we mostly used the oven for storage. I baked every once in a while but not enough to justify having an oven. Instead we plan to take out the microwave and replace it with a convection oven. It will save space and will be able to cook food pretty quickly. Besides most meals I am using my Instant Pot or the stove top. I am really happy with the storage space instead of the oven.
Overall we are so so happy our kitchen ended up being way less than we would have paid in taxes on a new RV. I know we will be happy in here for many more years to come and I am grateful for that. I feel like I have a new RV now and can utilize my kitchen the way it should be used. I don’t have to fuss with moving tons of pots and pans or digging is drawers and not being about to find anything.
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