Intermission: Renovation

We’re taking a break from our irregularly scheduled programming for some exciting news:  we renovated our RV!  Now, this may not be a surprise, since we’ve posted a few pictures on Facebook and Instagram, but we haven’t posted the full set anywhere yet.

The majority of the work was done over the course of about 3 weeks in El Paso, Texas, while staying with Jake’s mom.  We installed everything ourselves.  There will be some more details below, but a short list of the renovations includes:

We also added a throw rug and a new, custom artwork by Heather.  We may end up making some additional renovations, but we’re waiting until after the new year – 957 Home Depot trips in 21 days was enough for now.


Before & After

Here’s a few pictures showing our RV before and after the renovation.  Our RV is from 2002, and although it was in good shape when we bought it, much of the interior looked very outdated.  Even if it were new, RV furniture and decor tends to look pretty crummy.  While the floor and countertops took a lot of work, many of these fixes were simple and relatively inexpensive.

As you can see in the picture above, we took up the ugly old green carpet and replaced it with vinyl “wood” flooring, along with a colorful and inexpensive rug.  Heather sewed new slipcovers out of fabric for the couch and the dinette cushions, and she also made some artwork to replace the mirror in the upper left of the “before” picture.  She also covered the window valances with new fabric. Oh, and we replaced the broken cupholder!

Another shot of the dinette renovation.  You can see Jake’s gigantic computer in the first picture, which he moved into a slightly less gigantic case. We also have plans to upgrade the table, and maybe replace the carpeting under the table with vinyl planks too.

The kitchen is where we did most of the work, and we’re really happy with how it turned out.  We installed a new laminate countertop, which basically glues onto the existing countertop, as well as a new kitchen faucet.  Laminate sheets are the worst thing ever to work with (all they want to do is chip and slice your hands), but we showed it who was boss. We also added a backsplash, which is really just a bunch of stick-on panels (shh, don’t tell anyone), and changed out the gold hardware with oil-rubbed bronze handles with a more modern profile.   Our favorite part is the new faucet – the old one wasn’t even tall enough for our pots to fit underneath!

A close up of the new countertop, faucet, and backsplash.  The countertop was purchased from Lowe’s, but we got the faucet and backsplash online.

Our tiny bathroom definitely looks a lot better now.  We removed the old sink, which was really small and cheap, and put in a new, copper sink we purchased online.  We also installed a “waterfall”-type faucet and a new countertop.  Because of time limitations, we didn’t extend the new flooring up and around the toilet, but we have some extra planks so we may do that in the future.

Close up of the new sink and faucet.  Amazon links for the interested:  sink, faucet, drain.

An overall shot.  We think it turned out great!  Note, we didn’t have a good overall “before” picture so we used a stock photo from the manual, but it’s extremely close to what it looked like.


We haven’t tallied up the total cost of all the renovations, but it was probably substantially less than $1,000.  In part, this is because we did the work ourselves – we ripped up carpet, cut and laid flooring, glued countertops, and Heather even hand-sewed the slipcovers.  (It helps that we could only use the lightest, and therefore cheapest, materials.)  It was a ton of work, but we definitely learned a lot.

Here’s a gallery of in-progress pictures for anyone interested.  We included captions, and you can see the whole story by clicking on the first one and using the arrows to move to the next picture in turn.  Mobile users should also be able to swipe to get to the next picture. (Unfortunately, it looks kind of crummy on mobile – that’s something we need to figure out. For now, we recommend looking at it on something with a bigger screen.  We also uploaded the album to Imgur which may look better.)


What’s next:  Currently, we are in Phoenix, Arizona, enjoying unseasonably warm weather and unreasonably pretty sunsets.  Soon, we’re headed back to the Northeast for the holidays.

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Week 6: Road Through Rhode Island

Cast your mind back to the halcyon days of early August.  Everything was different then; the summer still stretched before us, Labor Day just the fevered nightmare of students and wearers of white.  Geno Smith hadn’t yet been punched in the jaw by his own teammate, and Zimbabwe had not yet defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in Harare, which is an actual headline we found (six balls to spare!).  Donald Trump was somehow a viable presidential candidate… well, never mind that one.

But we at Nothing Mundane did not yet have a car.  And now we do!

Yes, in early August while staying in Rhode Island, we successfully purchased a used 2010 Honda Fit, which is tiny, hopefully trustworthy, and eminently towable behind our RV.  It’s been a huge improvement over our previous world, in which we had to drive our thirty-one foot motorhome over questionable roads into unfamiliar small towns in order to do basically anything.  This would typically involve a lot of hopped curbs, panicked 27-point turns in the middle of busy intersections, and our nemesis:  speed bumps.

Ever gone over a speed bump with your house?  Everything sounds like it’s going to break:  dishes, glassware, the crystal chandelier decorated with razor blades which dangles directly over us while we drive.  It can be a little nerve-wracking.

But now, those days are (mostly) over, thanks to our glorious new (extremely used) car!  Wonder what we did with it…


So glad you asked.  The first thing we did after getting the car was drive to nearby Providence, Rhode Island.  Providence turned out to be pretty unexciting, except that the roads are insane and were entirely under construction, which was a fun test for our brand new (extremely used) car.  We walked around the campus at Brown (motto:  “the grandfathered Ivy”) and ate some crepes, but didn’t end up with much in the way of pictures or stories.  We did spot this very strange sculpture which we rather enjoyed, though.

Newport Cliff Walk

Next up was the Newport Cliff Walk, which is a semi-famous path along the ocean in Newport, Rhode Island with nice views and large houses.  Newport is in southern Rhode Island while Providence is more northern Rhode Island, so it took upwards of forty-five minutes to drive there.  In Rhode Island, that qualifies as a road trip all by itself!  (Just some trash talk from a Connecticut native)

It was a beautiful summer day, and the views were gorgeous.  It’s hard to beat a walk along the ocean, especially when it’s a weekday and you don’t have to go to work because you quit your job to drive around in an RV.

We saw these warning signs all over.  We took their meaning to be “Caution:  Do not jump off of the cliff while decapitating yourself,” which really threw our afternoon plans for a loop.

There were a lot of old and pretty houses along the cliff walk, along with a lot of hedges hiding said houses.  We especially enjoyed the the blue and yellow construction wrapping on the house in the picture above, and felt pretty clever for making jokes about an Ikea being built there, until about 3 other groups of people passing by did the same thing.

Maybe they were semi-professional travel jokesters too?  Yeah, most likely that’s what it is.

We still need some work on our selfie aim.

The Fantastic Umbrella Factory

Our final stop in Rhode Island was the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, which confusingly is not a factory and which does not sell umbrellas.  But it is pretty fantastic!  The FUF, as we’ll call it to save a tiny amount of time, is basically a hippie bazaar / petting zoo: it features a great cafe, cool gardens, chickens and rooster and goats and emus, a bamboo forest, and lots of tie-dye.

My Big Lebowski Vitruvian Man shirt totally played at the FUF, which may give you a sense of the kind of place it was.  We also got to see a pretty impressive rooster that seemed to have some peacock in its blood.  The pictures don’t quite do it justice – it sort of looks like it’s getting turned down by the other chickens here, but trust us, this rooster was the cock of the walk.

It’s a pretty small state, so that’s all we’ve got for Rhode Island.  If you’re interested, see below for a few more pictures of the weird and cool world of the Fantastic Umbrella Factory.

What’s next:  Currently, we are in southern Pennsylvania, seeing some friends and hoping to tour Gettysburg tomorrow.  Next up:  friends and fatcats in Washington, D.C.

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