Home About Heaven Needs Paint, Screws and Hinges

Heaven Needs Paint, Screws and Hinges

written by Andrew Auten

This entry concerns our current space space, this thing that we bought to be the vessel of our wishes and dreams.


The vehicle is a 2007 Fleetwood Jamboree 26J on a Ford E450 frame. The interior was, at the time of purchase, the perfect picture of motorhome living – brown. We looked at hundreds of motorhomes and trailers, over several years. None of them suited us in terms of features, prices and age better than Fleetwood 26J. It was literally our only choice.

We never once thought that our final choice would stand as-is. We’d had a VW Vanagon and a Toyota Sunrader RV previously that we had customized the shit out of both of those vehicles. So we knew that we would make significant modifications to whatever we ended up with. But even with a great base to work with, and all of our previous RV upgrade experience, the Fleetwood 26J represented a significantly bigger challenge than any of our past projects in terms of scope, objective and price.

The objective was a portable home that we could comfortably live and work in, drive safely, and easily park and maintain.

The scope was a motorhome and tow-car that could support us for months at a time on the road. The objective was a portable home that we could comfortably live and work in, drive safely, and easily park and maintain. The price was to achieve all this within an initial purchase budget of (less than) 30k dollars. Within that budget had to be a motorhome that could be decorated and modified to be a home that bore the imprint of our tastes and needs.

The initial purchase was so brown and corporate. Through our will and imagination, we sculpted the space to our needs and desires. Hundreds of visits to motorhome lots. Hundreds of trips to the hardware store. Hundreds of trips to the fabric store. Thousands of internet searches. Thousands and thousands of discussions.

We made it. We did it. We did make it. We are doing it.


The day we picked it up. I’m not sure of what we’ve done. Good or ill? We were thrilled, excited, terrified. WHAT HAVE WE DONE!!! Are we really going to do this?

The interior is quite brown.


In the price range we were looking at, the brown interior was a given. Not our preferred color scheme, but we were knew we would be changing that.

The kitchen is no doubt functional, but not functional for us. We need color, warmth and personal value.

The sink and stove could (maybe) stay, but that counter-top had to go.

My first few moments driving a motorhome.


Not too bad, really. Somehow we did it. We had no idea what we were doing, but driving our new home back to Austin was not nearly as traumatic as we had made it out to be in our imaginations.

The Beast was safely parked in its temporary home.


We managed to get the beast to a storage lot in Austin, Texas! Big shout out to Burnet Road Self Storage. They provided a secure home for our new home until we could bring her into dry dock for a refit.

The original bathroom sink.


This was truly unacceptable! EVERYTHING needed to go. We will detail the progress here in a later post – including a new counter-top, sink, faucet, and vanity mirror surround.

The original dinette. Brown and more brown.


Oddly enough, we kept the cushions as is. We recovered the edges, but the dark brown fabric on the cushions actually worked well in our new design idea.

We also kept the original tabletop, because we ran out of time and resources, but did replace the supports with telescoping marine supports. Those supports turned out to be WAY overkill, but more on that later.

The work begins.


I’m smiling because I have no idea how much work is ahead of us. At this point we thought we had do SO MUCH. But the work had barely begun.

Cleaning the original walls.


RV walls are covered in a thin sheet of vinyl. Used RV walls are covered in a thin sheet of vinyl that is covered in a fine sheen of (sweat/grim/god-knows-burning man/what) history. Before any paint can live in this environment, TSP must make its mark. The whole process really sucks, btw.

I wish someone had stopped me.


The beginning: cleaning, sanding, prepping, masking. So much more to go. We were only just beginning. We wanted to do it right. We wanted the job to last. We did this to ourselves.

The masking, so huge, almost done.


Next, two coats of Kilz primer followed by Behr paint, followed by fabric, followed by trimming, followed by more and more work. In order to do this job properly (and in any sort of plausible time-frame) we knew that we had to use a sprayer. That means we had to mask off EVERYTHING to protect from over-spray – including the fabric ceiling.

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