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.  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.

Please help keep Carmen rolling…

Well our sweet Miss Carmen is at the Car Doctor, with a blown head gasket. I brought her in for her check up, knowing she’d need a few things, but this was a big surprise, and a major blow to the wallet. If you’ve enjoyed Carmen’s story, please consider a donation to help keep her rolling. Thank you 🙂 (ANY amount is deeply appreciated, this is just a suggestion.)



6 thoughts on “Carmen, an RV Makeover Love Story, Part 1 (of 3)

  1. Pingback: Carmen, an RV Makeover Love Story, Part 2 (of 3) | the Year of Living Fabulously

  2. Loved reading and admiring your Carmen! Shes beautiful and you’ve done an amazing job! I’ve got one just like your’s named Molly. Figuring out what do to then a dear friend shared your story with me. Something to think about. All the Best.

  3. Pingback: 8 New Succulent Planters for $0 (From 3 Old Overcrowded Ones) | the Year of Living Fabulously

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