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OUR RV KITCHEN REMODEL: Beauty is in the Details

by Lesli on June 13, 2011

in Our RV Renovations

When we purchased our used RV — a 1996 Manor by Thor — she was in overall great shape and we were blessed to find her — but the old girl was in definite need of an overall RV remodel.

As my dad used to say, “a little lipstick and paint makes a lady what she ain’t”.



Click to Enlarge — RV Kitchen Before the Remodel

Not bad — clean, big window, lovely stainless steel double sink, moderate counter space for an RV — overall good bones.  What had to go …

  • the 1996 floral wallpaper
  • the prom queen of window coverings that are all ruched (gathered) at the waist and finished off with a fabric “corsage”
  • and finally, the little wanna-be spice rack on the wall next to the stove — made to hold 5 or 6 spices — definitely not enough for this girl



Click to Enlarge Kitchen RV Remodel - Paint

Our first attempt at the kitchen remodel was all about paint. We painted the walls and window casings with the same Cottonfield color that we used throughout the entire RV. That in itself was a big improvement!

We also painted a black magnetic paint on the wall next to the stove so that we could use the vertical space for our magnetic spice holders.  I didn’t actually like this process because it took about 17 coats of magnetic paint to give a reasonable level of magnetic holding power for my spice canisters.  After all 17 coats of magnetic paint were on, we were able to paint over the magnetic paint with Cottonfield, so it blended in with everything else.  Though the magnetic paint held my spice canisters, it didn’t hold them firmly and they tended to shift a bit as we traveled, creating a messy look to the area.

That problem led to the idea of installing tin on that wall, which you’ll see in a follow-up picture.



Click to Enlarge SNEAK PEAK of RV Kitchen Remodel

This was a BIG change and we love it!  I got brave — really, really, brave — and decided to tile the backsplash in the galley.  Truth be told, I’d wanted to do it from the time we first bought it, but I’d never tiled anything before and I was scared to death.  What if I ruined it?

Turns out, tiling the backsplash was somewhat challenging, — yet easier than I imagined — and I absolutely love the results.

Next, I was disappointed in the magnetic paint job and how it held the tins firmly to the wall.  I called around to metal shops to see what they would charge me to make a simple magnetic tin wall for me.  Turns out they wanted $200 minimum for the job.  Well, that wasn’t in the budget, so off to Home Depot I went.  I took a magnetic tin with me and tested different materials until I found a 4×6 piece of metal that the tins stuck to perfectly.

I bought that tin for just $17 and a pair of tin snips for $10 and went about creating a template and cutting the metal for the wall.

You can read all about the RV Backsplash Tile project here.

Read the step-by-step instructions for creating the RV Magnetic Spice Rack.

How about you?  What projects have you done in your RV?  Please do tell :)

Peace, Love and Flip Flops,

Lesli :)

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Clark Leighton July 1, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I never thought of magnetic paint in an RV. What a great way to use space!


Lesli July 2, 2011 at 2:23 am

Hi Clark, it was a good alternative, but as I wrote in the post, nothing fell off the wall when we were traveling, but things slid around more than I like. I ultimately ended up putting tin on the wall and I love – love – LOVE it!! Thanks for popping in to my new RV blog ;)


Janice L Evans` July 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Wow. . .looks great, and sounds exactly like something I would do. First thing I said when we decided on our fifth wheel was, “something will need to be done about this bedroom”. . .and it has been. Doesn’t even look like the same place!

Great Job!



Lesli July 2, 2011 at 2:22 am

Hi Janice, I popped on over to your blog to see pictures of your bedroom remodel and didn’t find any. If you’ve posted pics, please send me a link. Thanks — and nice to meet you :)


TravelingOnTheOutskirts July 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I was shopping for magnetic spice jars just yesterday! lol I want to get rid of our ugly window treatments and paint over this horrible wallpaper soooooooo bad! Thanks for following me on twitter so I could find this post! :D Nice collection of spices by the way!


Lesli July 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I’m so glad you found me! Our spice “rack” is workout out beautifully. Dive right in! I love the header on your blog, by the way.



Lamb July 24, 2011 at 2:59 am

I’m stopping by tonight to let you know that your post has been nominated for the Best in Show award on my blog! Be sure to vote and GOOD LUCK :)


Lesli December 12, 2011 at 12:41 am

WOW! I’m honored to have been nominated. I’m new to all this, so I didn’t see this in time to vote, but nice to have been nominated. Thanks for letting me know ;)


Cindy August 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hi..was googling Rv remodels and was reading about yours. My husband sets tile and you did a great job!!

Now for painting the walls. Did you take all the wall paper out..or did you paint over the wallparer? If you painted over them what method did you use.

We own a 40 ft 5th wheel that we are moving into. Leaving and renting out our 2400 sq ft home and living on our property so we can keep our garden and chickens nd our shop/storage.

Anyhow I will post pictures in a few weeks. My hubbie wants to paint…and I don’t know yet..my wall colors are pretty neutral all ready.

Thanks for sharing. Cindy


pat sandt September 8, 2011 at 7:47 am

Looks Great. I bought the 1″ x 2″ in brown glass tiles. Going to do the same thing you did. Glad to see that I was right and it would look great. Funny thing is I also bought the same spice jars and was trying to figure out where to put them. But on the side of the stove I figured will be too messy when I cook. Did like them high by the microwave. Good job and glad to see that someone does think like me, Tile in a RV.
have a good day


Lesli December 12, 2011 at 12:23 am

I’d love to see your project when you’re done Pat :)


Laura October 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Glad I found your blog. I have a question on the tin (which is BRILLIANT BTW) how did you keep the edges of the tin from being dangerously sharp? Also, did you take off the wall paper first or just prime over it? Laura


Lesli December 12, 2011 at 12:22 am

Hi Laura, so sorry it took me so long to get back to your question. First I primed and painted the wall, which was fine, but then I decided I wanted the tin on that wall. If I were doing it again, I’m pretty sure I would just blue the tin directly to the wall, no priming necessary. At least, that’s my presumption, though not what I did. So far as the sharp edges, I kept ALL the cut edges to the inside lines (next to the cabinetry, top of the ceiling, and top of the counter. I made a template and simply cut it to shape. It’s nearly a perfect fit, and if there are sharp edges, they’re so flush to the cabinetry that it’s not an issue. Thanks for your kind words and interest in this project. If you do something similar, I’d love to see pictures :)


Carol February 16, 2012 at 1:25 am

We just bought an ’87 motorhome and it has the same flowered walls…..yuk. I suggested painting it(after priming it), but everyone is telling me that it would just peel, so I was very thrilled to see that you were able to do it successfully!!! Now though I think I might try the tile on the backsplash too. I know they have some out there that has adhesive on it already, I wonder how that would work? May just be best to glue it though. We are in Indiana so we probably will wait until it warms up a little before we start, but I will be sure to put some pics up when we do. Thanks for all of your input and love all of your updates!!


Lesli March 1, 2012 at 5:59 am

Hi Carol, don’t be worried about painting. Yes, prime first and then paint to your hearts content. It’s a big job. I’m trying to talk myself into painting all my cabinetry. I’ve just put in new floors that actually look good with the oak, but I sure would like white cabinets to go with my beach theme. So far as the backsplash, I haven’t seen any with glue on them already — though I’m sure you’re right — they must exist. Really, it’s a small area and using the compound and grout was no problem. What I didn’t know when I did the tile is that the window could be unscrewed and I could fit the tile behind it (using thin tiles like I did). I just added a beadboard headboard to my bedroom and we placed it behind the window frame and I realized I could have done the same thing in the kitchen and it would have looked better. I’ll be anxious to see your pictures as you begin posting, so let me know as you do, OK. And thanks for stopping by Blue Jeans, Carol. It’s so nice to meet you!


Nadine April 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Lesli, you are my inspiration! We just purchased a 1985 Holiday Rambler that is crying out for a makeover! We have had it for 10 days and I’d love to share what I have done already…how do I attach pictures for you? I need advice on the kitchen…I primed and painted too but am not happy with the color. I wanted more of a merlot color rather than a rose so was thinking about washing a dark glaze over it to make it look ‘antiquey’. We are on the road living in it so I don’t have any power tools n’ such, as we haven’t been back home to get any yet. (And it may be mid summer before we do…).
I love your blog and ideas! You are SO CREATIVE! :-)


Monica @ J5MM October 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I love the tin storage containers! In my old Airstream I had these in silver; however, with the recent purchase of our new Airstream I decided to go the “white” route and I absolutely love them. I love what you have done with your kitchen — I think, one of the best part of RV ownership is making our girls our own :)


Lisa November 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I’m so excited to read how all of you have fixed up your RV’s! You’re all giving me such ideas for our new home!


Michele February 23, 2013 at 4:19 am

Wow great ideas! We just bought a ’98 5th wheel, super clean so of course the first thought was “we don’t need to do much at all!” Well of course after perusing websites, pintarest and now your blog you know that conviction went out the window! Definitely starting on the paint this weekend, new cabinet pulls and the magnetic spice jars/metal wall. Next up: new upholstery! I also had an epiphany last night on the dinette, going to keep it as an optional sleeper but adding a “u” seat at the back wall and fabricating the table top so it pulls out when the slide is open for a 5 seater and more comfy space. Can’t wait!


Lesli April 23, 2013 at 4:14 am

Awesome ideas Michele. I hope you’ll post pics somewhere and let me know so I can see your before’s and after’s. I love to see what others are doing.


Shirley March 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Love reading your blog and glad I found it. My sister and I just purchased a 2007 thor travel trailer together! Looking forward to having great times with our DH’s in tow.

Reading with interest your redo of your rv. Next spring both of us want to begin putting our own touches on it (We call her “Betty”). my question is, does painting and redoing the camper devalue it? We want to paint the walls and pull up the carpet (to put wood in) then take out the built in dinette and jackknife couch for things that would be more comfortable. i.e table with chairs and a couple of recliners……. As it is now it can sleep 10 but with the changes it would cut it down to 6.

Any foreseeable problems?



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