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.
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!
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 🙂 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.
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’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 🙂
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 Houzz.com. 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…
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 🙂 Everything else we brought from the old house. TIP: The sheer black fabric really makes the cheap plastic bones around the door look great.
It’s nearly June and I’ve been working on the yard like mad. It was pretty much a moonscape when we bought the place, so I have much to do. The first area I tackled this Spring was the pond. The previous owner did the hardest part, digging the big 3′ hole, as well as lining it and adding the filter box and pump (see the “BEFORE” pics). I dug out the stream and hole at the top for the filter box, lined it and added all the rocks. (thankfully there is an great rock place right up the road from us). I’ve been adding plants and the dwarf Japanese maple bit by bit and now it’s done! Feels good to have one big project completed.
I have bits and pieces of other projects done as well, but will wait to post those images until they are complete. Still a long ways to go but making headway! Other projects I am in the middle of: Adding a cutting garden to the side of the house and adding 3 small raised bed vegetable gardens on the lower level. (Working on the inside of the house as well, mainly painting and wallpaper) Yard projects still to go:
Painting the fence, Staining the decks, Adding walking paths on the lower level, Adding a low rock retaining wall/planting bed on the lower level, Adding a bit of artificial turf (for Max the Pug!), Landscaping two bare areas behind the house, Planing along the back fence (likely lilacs and snowball viburnum), Adding a graveled seating area on the lower level. Painting the arbor, Painting the house. All this and then the upper level by the entry, which will require a landscape contractor. I sure have my work cut out for me! It is very satisfying work though and I know I am adding to my property values 🙂 So without further ado here is the pond project:
Call me Scrooge if you must, but the Christmas decorations are all packed away. I wanted to do something I haven’t before, and decorate a bit just for New Years (without it having to compete visually with the Christmas decor.) The man and I are having a nice quiet evening at home, just the two of us, with a special dinner (we’re making seafood paella!) and champagne. I thought it would be lovely to have a simple and elegant table-scape we could enjoy all week. I dug through my holiday decorations and found 4 lengths of sparkly silver beaded wired garland (I think I bought it at the thrift store years ago) and added some chandelier crystals from my stash of craft supplies. I draped these over the current light fixture (I have a new one that will be going up soon) and that’s it! A sparkly New Year for us 🙂 I also picked up about $13 worth of hydrangea and spray roses from trusty ol’ Trader Joes. Simple, elegant and easy. I think this may have to be a new tradition for us.
I’m liking the way things are looking here at the new house, (but of course I can’t wait to paint, wallpaper and change out the light fixtures! 🙂
As promised, here is the outside of the new house gently done up for the Holidays. You may recognize the decorations from previous years at the old house, all recycled here this year. The one new addition is our delightful Christmas Goose, a curbside find (ie: free) here in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago. I’ve named him Gustav the Goose (yea I know, I’m a dork :-). He is lit by a section of led rope light. (I just poked it up through the hole he has in his feet 🙂
Also FIRST BIG PROJECT REVEAL! We had new steps and a gate put in a couple weeks ago. We love what it does for the entry to the house both functionally and aesthetically. We are planning to add wall caps to the new concrete walls as well as paint the house a coordinating grey in the spring and will also refinish the deck. Here are the before and afters, during the day and at night.