Monday, January 16, 2012

Camper progress (very very pic heavy...)

I'm having a sick day in bed, not much voice left, swimming in snotty tissues and feeling rather miserable, so I thought I'd take the opportunity while I'm stuck here anyway to look out pics of the camper and update my blog on the progress.

We're not as far as I'd hoped to be by now, but that's ok. We made the decision early November to call it quits for the Winter, for a variety of reasons; health (and surprise early pregnancy!), cold weather, financial restrictions and I needed the shop time to work on the kids' Christmas presents. Plus the landlord asked us to park her here

which is a fair distance from the garage where all our tools are, so it will be easier to do all the running back and forth once the warmer weather sets in.

But it's been really hard, to look out the window and see Caledonia shining in the sun, waiting to be tended to and worked on. I'm itching to git 'er done. I'd love to have her ready to take camping before the baby gets here.

For now, I'll look at pictures of progress and plan the next stages and dream lovingly.

So, since I introduced her to the blog in early November, we've done a fair bit of work on her.

PHASE 1 - trim up the outside

We thought it was important to start with fixing up a couple of the more unslightly parts on the outside, so it wouldn't be an eyesore for the neighbors or landlord. So we washed her down, smoothed off some of the corroded parts and sprayed a couple coats of rustoleum to get them looking nice and clean and new.

Here was before

Here's after



And we took off these nasty wheel arch cover thingies (don't know what they're called)

and replaced them with new (to us) purdy ones.

And we patched up a few holes and added sealant around the windows etc. Here's Rene's attempt at filling a hole.

Rene slapped a couple coats of sealant on the roof (I made it sound much easier than it actually was!)

PHASE 2 - Everybody loves demolition

Demolition is fun. A great way to get out some of that built up angst. We went at our bonny Caledonia with a crowbar and a hammer and stripped her down to her studs. Much of this had already been done, but we wanted to rip out the cabinets and some other parts which had been previously left intact.



We had hoped to not have to redo the loft area, but there were definitely some soft spots, so down it all came.



What a fine mess.

PHASE 3 - Rebuild from the stud

There was some rotted out wood which needed replaced, or some of it which was questionable needed treated and/or reinforced. We also had to add some extra studs strategically placed, because we plan to eventually hang some hammocks on the walls.

And we went to work building a wall to support our kitchen unit. The existing wall was too flimsy. We decided not to do away with it entirely, but to build on in front of it.

Yes, my husband worked often with the baby on his back. He is amazing! I can't wear the baby very much anymore, as it causes me a couple days of muscle/joint pain to recover. That's where my superhero comes in.

Once the studs were in place, we were able to start placing the wall panels, which made a big difference to the appearance. OK, I know this is totally patchy, but it was the cheapest way to do it and make use of every scrap. It'll look good eventually, I promise. Rene pretty much rocked this part solo.

We really could use a couple of saw horses though, 'cause this gets tedious after the 12th time or so...

Kitchen wall.

We had lots of helpers with the painting

Even naked ones

PHASE 4 - Bathroom

This fake wood laminate and 1970s wallpaper in the bathroom was just not doin' it for me.

The bathroom had no floor, so we started by building that.

In hindsight I know it was foolish, but I wanted to put our floor tiles down right away, so it would feel pretty to me.

Then it was time to paint this baby. I used a primer which is suitable for laminate surfaces. It's not much more expensive than a regular primer. And for course, I cleaned and lightly sanded the surfaces first.
When the first layer goes on, it looks streaky and terrible. But as the layers pile on, it improves greatly.

Lookin' gooooood. Here's where I start getting pee-my-pants excited. It's starting to look more like my dream. I'm coming alive.

Pardon the bosom. It's a small space and hard to take photos. for the scary part....tackling the surface. I researched how to do this but hadn't ever practiced. I used acrylic paints in grays and one tan, and I dabbed them on in layers. First layer looked so stupid I worried a lot.

Looks pretty bad. But I like how it developed.

One, two, skip a few, ninetynine, a hundred. (I got tired of taking pics)

I've got to paint the sink, which will make it look neater. I'm looking for the most cost effective way to do that. Epoxy is expensive. But I'm loving how the countertop turned out. I will do the same in the kitchen.

PHASE 5 - Furniture

This is the most exciting, fun stage of all (for me, anyway). I made the plans for the pieces in google sketchup, but then deviated from most of them. I didn't plan the bed in any detailed manner, I pretty much just played it by ear. Rene planned and made the wheel arch covers, but the rest of the furniture has pretty much been my project.

We are still in the middle of this phase currently. At stopping point we are maybe half way through this phase.

A storage shelf

Rene's wheel arch frame

Beginnings of a kitchen unit

My favorite part - the main bed....(it's solid! I plan to put beanbags on it during the day as a lounge/hang out area. Fun little stage for the kids too)

It also functions as lift top storage and a container for the water tank.

Look at me, making a pretty face.

Obnoxious bench. It's large, and adds a lot of weight, but is multi-purpose and anticipated to be very much the center of activity and focus of our time in the camper. I'll show off all it's functionality when Caledonia is ready and done.

Peeking in from the window

Kids sitting on it

Beginnings of a second kitchen workspace/storage

This is going to be my favorite piece when it's done. Can you guess what it is?

And some upper kitchen cabinets. Currently functioning as tool cupboard.

I know we've a ways to go...but she's sure coming along, don't you think?

Ally approves

So that's pretty much where we've left off. Things still to complete include: finishing furniture, install/fix plumbing, fix electrics, fix brakes, make blinds and fixings, decorate interior, decorate exterior (which I'm also pee-my-pants excited about).
As she stands, if we could simply get her brakes working (we're taking her to a professional for that part) we could take her camping as is; if we plug in externally at an rv site. She'd be a glorified tent, pretty much. But we'd love to make her even better and I know we can. We can get her all purdy and lit up and cozy. It will be a work in progress for years I'm certain. But it's a labor of love, and that's an understatement.

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