Carmen, an RV Makeover Love Story, Part 3 (of 3)

Today brings us to the final installment of my RV Makeover Story. I’ve always wanted to do this, and it’s amazing to get to fulfill a dream. I actually drove her to the mechanic this morning (she’s ok, just some expected work that needs to be done) and I miss looking out the window and seeing her; miss going out to have an evening glass of wine with her. Sigh…she’ll be back in a week or two, all tuned up and ready to go.

the Kitchen, Bathroom & Exterior

rvrearkitchenareathe Kitchen, BEFORE


The kitchen is tiny, but has everything we need. I painted all the wood a gloss black to work with the black range and hood, and used wallpaper left over from my living room for the backsplash. I placed a sheet of clear plastic behind the stove for easy clean up of spills and splashes. I also used the wallpaper on the drawer fronts, and coated it with Modge Podge to help it wear better. I added a rod hanger from Ikea and magnetic knife holder, magnetic spice rack, hanging paper towel holder, a few cup hooks and a clock (all Amazon) along the back. We changed out the leaky faucet with a taller one, which I like much better.






I wasn’t expecting to go black and white in the bathroom, but I already had 2 yards of the black alligator-embossed vinyl and the vintage black and white floral and decided to use those. I love the way it turned out. I used the same Gianni black granite counter paint I used in the kitchen in here.rvbathdetail

I’ve had this vintage black glass candle holder for years, it works well in here. I had these leftover coque feathers from an old project and popped them in, I love the way it looks. The zebra plate was a thrift store find. I added black plastic trim (hot glued on, bought on Ebay) where needed to cover up not-so-good-looking edges.rvshowerinsideIn the shower I simply covered the walls and ceiling with cheap pvc shower curtains and caulked the edges with white caulk to ensure a good seal. I replaced the shower head and added a space-saving shampoo/soap dispenser. I love that the shower curtain looks like tile.rvbathshowerThe clear shower curtain with pockets adds extra storage. I also replaced the toilet (the old one was falling apart) and plan to replace the sink and faucet in the future.rvabathlowI installed black picture shelves under the counter to hold towels. It makes good use of otherwise wasted space. I love how the black vinyl looks on the walls, and it’s easy to clean. The little black panther heads on the wall are from Target, and the trash can, matching counter container (with the pink peony in it) and soap dispenser are from the Assistance League thrift store.

the OUTSIDErvrightside



We did a ton of prep on the outside, sanding down the stripes and rust spots, cleaning her well, priming with automotive primer, then painting with a heavy duty exterior latex gray paint.


Believe it or not, I didn’t want to get too crazy with the outside (this is subtle in my book πŸ™‚ My aim was to make it unique but still look good here and match the house somewhat, which is mostly grays. I also wanted to keep it simple so it wouldn’t take too long to do, and because painting a design over the textured paneling is very challenging.rvrightrearI added a touch of gold on the bumpers, rims, door and mirrors for a bit of glam. The designs are inspired by tattoos on my arms by the amazing Sandi Calistro, a tattoo artist in Denver, CO. I also added a hanging flame light lantern by the door and solar lights by all the entries.rvrightfront_edited-1rvfrontrvfronteye

rvhood2She wouldn’t be complete without her own custom-made hood ornament. That’s a ceramic bird I found at the thrift store, a mini disco ball, and old pair of earrings and some iridescent glass balls.rvrearleftoutsideShe’s just about ready to go. I have a cargo hitch that will hold her new generator on the back. As soon as she comes home from the “Car Doctor”, we’ll be taking her for a little spin. There will be more to come in the Adventures of Carmen the Vintage RV!

Carmen, an RV Makeover Love Story, Part 2 (of 3)

It’s time for Part 2 of our RV makeover adventure. (See Part One HERE) Today it’s about the loft and cab, as well as the closet and a few extras.




I love our little loft, such a cozy spot for a nap. I removed the board (it was cracked and warped) that went over the driver/passenger seats that made the area into a full size bed, which we no longer needed as I turned the sofa area into a daybed. It feels much more open now, and there is still room up there for 4 fabric storage bins and a sleeping area for one. I’m using a tri-fold memory foam mattress (and loads of pillows) that just fits and is easy to fold up if we need more storage space.

I made it my mission to obliterate every inch of brown in there, so I painted the brown vinyl with an appropriate vinyl paint, in purple of course πŸ™‚


As in the rest of the rv, the walls are covered with fabric. I also covered the ceiling in the loft with fabric. I’d been carrying that green fabric around with me for years just looking for the right place for it, and it worked great here. I added more dangle-y beads around the ceiling light and vent opening. The ceiling was a mess, warped and stained from previous water damage. After resealing the roof and windows, we painted it all out with Kilz paint then I went to work with the fabric. It covers a world of sins! You can’t see where the ceiling is warped at all now. I also made very simple curtains from leftover velboa fabric. The windows are covered with “stained glass” window film from Home Depot. Those unusual wood finials are another thrift store find I’ve had for years who have finally found their home.

The Cab

This is the craziest area of the rv. Inspired over the years by friends with art cars, I’ve always wanted to have a dash plastered with chotchkis. I’ve got a good start on that dream here, with space to add many more kitchy things in the future.


Everything is attached with silicone, which worked great. Some of these things we’ve had for years, some from our crafty-stuff boxes and old costume pieces, and some fun finds from thrift stores and yard sales.rvdashjewelsI covered the steering wheel and door inserts with vintage faux fur sleeves I cut off an old coat. One of the few things I bought new were the sheepskin seat covers , which I enhanced on the back with a touch of purple fabric paint. On the floor we ripped out all the rotting old carpet and padding and replaced it with heat and sound shielding pads covered with a couple yards of old faux fur I accidentally washed in hot water, but, bonus! It wound up looking like shag carpet after I “damaged” it.

rvsteeringwheelrvcabdoorinsidervlookingoutfrontA Few Little Extras…

The insides of the cabinets are all done leopard print shelf paper (Amazon).


Just inside the entry of the rv are a couple small framed pictures of her namesake, Carmen Amaya…


The other side of the entry is decked out with shoe holders (painted with purple plastic spray paint) and hooks.


I made a simple purple curtain for the main door and also painted the inside of it and the header with the purple vinyl paint. Eventually I’d like to do something fun with the screen door.


The closet was one of the biggest challenges. It was very badly water damaged and had to be gutted down to the fiberglass walls. After having the roof and back professionally resealed to ensure no more damage, I rebuilt the inside of the closet with new wood and paneling. I had this lovely fabric in storage and it fit in there perfectly to dress up the walls. I attached those plastic over-the-door shoe hangers to the insides of the doors for extra storage.



Next, Part 3! The Kitchen, Bathroom and Exterior

Carmen, an RV Makeover Love Story, Part 1 (of 3)

Please allow me to introduce you to Miss Carmen Amaya, a 1984 vintage GMC Vandura 3500 21″ Recreational Vehicle, made over in the name of that iconic Flamenco-dancing Bad-Ass Carmen Amaya. This lady has taken me on quite a journey over the last 4 months. She’s been pretty well gutted, and then glittered up, dangled and frocked within an inch of her life, and I hope now worthy of her glorious namesake. It took about 100 glue sticks, 2 packages of industrial staples, 3 big cans of spray adhesive, 4 gallons of paint, about 45 yards of fabric, 50 yards of gold gimp trim, countless trips to thrift stores for pillows, bedding, and assorted chotchkis and Home Depot for wood and screws and other industrial what-nots…Not to mention a world of bumps, scraps, bruises and hours and hours of labor. She is worth every bit of it.





That’s my friend Xavier, who was good enough to help me out with some of the early stages of the transformation. Couldn’t have done it without you bud!

Every inch has been transformed…painted, covered in fabric, covered in some way.


Much of what I used I’ve been collecting for years. Bits of vintage fabrics, pillows, architectural pieces, tassels, and more that I’ve found at thrift store and yard sales. I can’t resist a nice bit of fabric. (That’s my sweet pug Max on the bed).rvinsideleftbed

I used leftover wallpaper from my living room on the kitchen drawers, back splash and bar area. I coated it with Modge Podge to make it easier to clean. That lovely Ralph Lauren bedding I found at the Assistance League Thrift Store here in Salt Lake City, along with many of the pillows. I nabbed a few free wine boxes from the wine store to use as under bed storage.Β  I painted the wood a gloss black and the counters with Giani black granite painting kit (the bath counter too). I replaced the kitchen faucet which was leaking with a simple RV faucet from Amazon. I also found all the ceramic cabinet/drawer pulls on Amazon, 30 for $24! More than enough to do the whole RV.rvinsidebedmax

I recovered the existing window shades with fabric and hot glued on gold bullion fringe. The awesome throws on the daybed I found on Ebay. I made the slide-out sofa into a daybed by adding a cut-to-fit 3/4 inch piece of press board on top of the existing sofa and a 5″ full-size memory foam mattress I already had (Amazon). My pug Max is the main reason I made the sofa into a bed, he would be very upset if he couldn’t sleep with us.rvceiling

The ceiling is covered in anaglypta wallpaper and painted gold. An easy and cheap fix for an ugly damaged ceiling. I found the starburst mirrors at the thrift store, and we already had the oval art piece. Covering the AC unit made a big difference in the look. The draped fabric in the front is 2 layered valances I nabbed on Ebay. The pretty string lights are from Target.


Much of the fabric and most of the pillows are from thrift stores. The sweet tiger rug I found in Amazon. The mixed “wood” vinyl flooring is from Home Depot. It was fairly easy to install.rvinsidelighttable

This sweet chandelier was also an Amazon find. I added leopard print shades I found at the thrift store. The silver 2-drawer unit is from Wayfair, which I wound up getting for free as it arrived slightly damaged. The pink candle is from Target, the rest (including the Mackenzie Childs vase) are thrift store finds.rvinsideceilingrvmaxonbedrvleftloft

The loft turned out so cute, a great spot for a nap. I covered the windows with fake “stained glass” window film from Home Depot. The colorful fabric storage bins are from Amazon.rvrightseatrvloft2rvceiling

I wrapped the existing ceiling lights with beaded fringe and crystals.rvrightrearseat


I love my little bar above the fridge. The Opus One box was free from the wine store, the wine glass hangers are from Amazon (I stained both), and the sparkly gold beaded things are vintage napkin rings from the Assistance League Thrift Store, hot glued in place.rvrightseatfridge

I found the cute little octagonal oil paintings to the left on The larger image is a very old (1800’s) oil painting that was literally falling apart. I cut it in half, mounted it to either side of the refrigerator, coated it in Modge Podge, and hot glued gold gimp trim as a “frame”. It seems to have “repaired” the painting enough to make it work here.rccherub

We already had the cute cherubs, which were hot glued into place.rvchandelierrvrightwindowsea

The paneling on the sides of the fridge was warped so we replaced it with new, thicker paneling from Home Depot, and painted it purple.rvrightwindow

The underside of the cabinets I Modge Podge’d with a collage of antique-looking images from an old music book.

That’s it for today, coming up: the Bathroom, entry, dash and outside.

Thanks for looking! I’m happy to answer any questions you have and welcome your comments.


Happy Holidays! A Night & Day House Tour

Happy Holidays All! No matter how you celebrate the season, I hope you are having fun! Here is our new home all done up for the holidays. It is scaled back quite a bit since moving into our new (and much smaller) home, but I just can’t let go of my Maximalist leanings πŸ™‚ Long-time followers of the blog will recognize most of our decor from the old house recycled in new ways for the new.

The only “new” things this year are the fresh wreaths and garland from trusty ‘ol Trader Joe’s, our adopted curb goose we brought home to live with us last year, and new sequined ribbon on our tree (75% off from an after-the-holidays sale at Neiman Marcus).

First, the Outside.


Herman the Goose with his (ornaments) eggs. He just makes me smile.2018holiday32018holiday14

Look out in the distance and you can see the city lights looking to the West. I love our neighborhood! Just beyond the lights is the Great Salt Lake.2018holiday12018holiday152018holiday2


I will always have bubble lights.2018holiday13


The quirky entry room/art studio/exercise room.


Overwintering the plants inside. 2018holiday12In the Dining Room, my proclivity towards pink endures.

(oh! I almost forgot. We got a new rug, on sale from (thank you Black Friday). I love it! It is bigger than the previous rug and makes the room look larger.)2018holiday92018holiday82018holiday112018holiday5Max insisted on being in at least one of the pictures.2018holiday10The Living Room, pretty in pink.2018holiday6…I did add more goodies to the Nick Cave inspired chandelier πŸ™‚2018holiday7

Have a marvelous Holiday Season and an outstanding New Year πŸ™‚

Living Room Deluxe Redoux

As promised, here is the living room in all it’s Maximalist glory, finally (mostly) complete since buying the house in October 2017. I completed all the painting and wallpaper in a busy two-day whirlwind of back-aching labor, and it was worth it! So happy to have this part finished. There will be a couple small odds and ends to come (like a proper curtain and rod and the main window) but it is for all intents and purposes Fini!


This is what the living looked like when we moved in, sans the previous owner’s furniture.




I LOVE how the room came out! The paint is 3 shades of grey, dark eggshell on the ceiling, medium on the walls and pale grey semi-gloss on the trim and baseboards. The big splurge was the Ellie Cashman floral wallpaper (about $400) but so worth it for the big drama. Most everything was brought from the old Denver house; the sofa, ottoman, rug and 2 etagere are new, all found online at great deals.livingroomafter8

The sofa was a big mark-down at Z Gallerie ($699), the grey velvet ottoman $160 at Wayfair, the rug $140 on houzz (I don’t buy nice rugs because, dogs πŸ™‚ and the brass and glass etageres were about $260 each. I did a lot of comparison shopping and it really paid off. (painting to the right by Sandi Calistro)livingroomafter6Almost all of our art is thrifted, gifts, and trades with other artists. The big floor lamp was an awesome free alley score! I found the portrait painting on the right on

livingroomafter7The big lucite sofa table and 2 pink side tables were all thrift finds back in Denver, as was the signed “Los Angeles” print on the left, the white ceramic pots, and much of the accessories. The oil painting on the right I found recently on


Yes, there are 3 disco balls on the bookshelves πŸ™‚ (and yea I know, I really need to hide the wires…) Herman the Peacock (A yard sale find) seems quite at home here among the flowers.livingroomafter3

Here’s where I really let my inner maximalist out to play. Inspired by the amazing art of Nick Cave, I bedecked our old chandelier in about 20 pounds of costume jewelry, most of which came from grab bags at the thrift store.livingroomafter9livingroomafter4livingroomafter1

Thanks for looking! Next up: the Holidays.

Kitchen & Dining Room Before and After – a Glam Makeover for under $500


I’ve finally been getting some of the big projects checked off the to-do list since moving to our new home last October. Without further ado, here is the kitchen and dining room redo!

These rooms didn’t need much so I focused on updating and freshening things up. I changed the cabinet hardware (new pulls and knobs, all for about $50 on Amazon), painted the walls and trim in lovely shades of grey (about $75 for paint and supplies) and finally added a high-end wallpaper as an accent (this is where the big money went, about $130 for a roll of this Cole & Sons paper. I love this as a fun alternative to a tile backsplash, and it’s a whole lot cheaper. (I did install clear plastic sheets over the wallpaper above the sink to protect it, $25 on amazon). This was my first time installing wallpaper and it’s far from perfect, but I did a decent job πŸ™‚

In the dining room I changed out the ceiling light for a black chandelier. Can you believe it’s plastic? You’d never know, and it was just over $100 on I also added new curtains and rods, both found on Amazon. Most everything else we already owned.

I will be changing out the ceiling fan and outlet covers soon to finish it off, and we will be replacing the dining room rug with a larger one. Someday I’d love to redo the tile…


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Next Up: The Living Room

Halloween at the New House

Welcome to Halloween on West Capitol Street, Salt Lake City. It’s my very favorite holiday! We’ve officially been in our new house just over a year, and while we still have a long ways to go things are coming along nicely. Our Halloween decor is scaled far back from previous years but still fun and Gothy. When we moved we kept only our most beloved Halloween decorations and a result I feel our look is more refined.


All the pumpkins and gourds came from Trader Joes (except the two giant ones, those came from Costco). The skeleton wolves I nabbed at a 75% off sale at Big Lots last year, and the skeleton by the door was a delightful neighborhood curbside find. (Thank you neighbors πŸ™‚ Everything else we brought from the old house. TIP: The sheer black fabric really makes the cheap plastic bones around the door look great.



Again the pumpkins and gourds are from Trader Joes, and everything else was brought from our old house.