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Drab ’90s RV renovated into stylish home-on-wheels

All for less than $5,000

All photos courtesy of Sarah Lemp

Here at Curbed, we’ve seen plenty of jaw-dropping RVs and campers, from luxury camper vans to innovative trailers of the future. We’ve also loved watching people renovate and DIY their adventure vehicles, including vintage Airstreams and camper vans transformed into full-time homes. But throughout our extensive coverage, one thing we haven’t seen much of are top-notch restorations of Class C and Class A RVs (curious about RV classifications? We’ve got an explainer).

And that’s a shame. Because let’s face it: These types of RVs ruled the ’80s and ’90s, and their design often leaves much to be desired. But if an RV has low mileage and plenty of life left in it, a bit of elbow grease can go a long way towards a refresh.

That’s the goal of Sarah Lemp, a Detroit mom of five who buys, renovates, decorates, and resells RVs. Lemp documents the process on her All Things With Purpose blog, and in the past she’s renovated a vintage camper and a 1987 RV. Today, we’re sharing before and after photos of a 29-foot, 1994 Horizon Class C RV she found on Facebook Marketplace. The good news is that the camper only had 84,000 miles on it when she bought, but everything else was what you’d expect from a 1990s relic: outdated furniture, bad wood trim, and a bland color scheme.

Lemp purchased the camper for $3,500 and spent about $2,370 during the renovation process. The initial problems were plentiful; the camper had water damage in the front cab bed and ceiling, old carpet, a broken toilet seat, mice-ridden air ducts, outdated fixtures, roof damage, and broken window coverings.

Like a true DIY-er, Lemp did the work herself, repairing the camper’s damage, sealing cracks, and ensuring things were water tight before she started interior repairs. The camper received a fresh coat of exterior paint, a round of bleach to clean it all out, and then new paint on the interior walls, ceiling, and cabinets. All of the light fixtures were upgraded to new 12-volt LEDs, and the camper also benefitted from new vinyl floors and appliances.

Lemp chose an all-white with black trim aesthetic to keep things bright, and easy-to-apply stick-and-peel wallpaper and tiles add a professional look. Rugs and pillows came from Walmart and wall decor and pictures were picked up from Hobby Lobby. You can see the whole list of supplies over here.

The result? A modern and fresh take on what an RV can look like. See the full photos, below.