Before & After: A 1986 Fleetwood Trailer Gets a Cozy, Colorful DIY Makeover
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Before & After: A 1986 Fleetwood Trailer Gets a Cozy, Colorful DIY Makeover

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Though the floor plan remains unchanged, a few simple, cosmetic alterations go a long way in turning a frumpy 1986 RV into a comfortable, beautiful modern home.

In Spring 2018, printmaker Elyse DeLisle and her partner Amanda Goelz saw a 1986 Fleetwood Avion on Craigslist—and they snapped it up the following day at Robbins Camper Sales in Ormond Beach, Florida. Luckily for them, the 240-square-foot trailer was so structurally sound that there wasn’t any need to replace the subflooring or walls.

The original layout had generous storage capacity and suited them just fine—all it needed was a number of well-considered cosmetic alterations. "We kept all of the original wood cabinetry because it was so well made and fitted the space so well," says DeLisle. "Painting was the longest process because we had to remove all of the cabinets and cover sections of the trailer before using a spray gun to paint," she adds.

Before: The Living Area 

DeLisle and Goelz ripped out the old, sand-colored shag carpeting and covered the floors with LifeProof vinyl plank flooring in Oak Wood. 

DeLisle and Goelz ripped out the old, sand-colored shag carpeting and covered the floors with LifeProof vinyl plank flooring in Oak Wood. 

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DeLisle and Goelz reupholstered the existing Flexsteel Jackknife sleeper sofa.

DeLisle and Goelz reupholstered the existing Flexsteel Jackknife sleeper sofa.

After: The Living Area

The AutoEC ceiling lights are from Amazon.

The AutoEC ceiling lights are from Amazon.

Aside from its outdated fabric, the couch in the living area was in great shape. DeLisle and Goelz had it reupholstered with auto interior fabric so that it would last a long time, even with their two cats—Pig and Poe—frequently running across it. 

Before: The Hallway

DeLisle and Goelz working on the interior of their 1986 Fleetwood Avion RV.

DeLisle and Goelz working on the interior of their 1986 Fleetwood Avion RV.

After: The Hallway

The brushed brass drawer pulls are from Amazon.

The brushed brass drawer pulls are from Amazon.

The duo built a small cat door that hides a litter box in one of the existing storage compartments. They also built a false wall to support a mounted TV, installed a foldout desk, and replaced the ceiling fan.

Before: The Kitchen

DeLisle and Goelz repainted the kitchen cabinets.

DeLisle and Goelz repainted the kitchen cabinets.

They also replaced the old cabinet hardware.

They also replaced the old cabinet hardware.

After: The Kitchen

The stainless steel sprayer faucet is from Amazon.

The stainless steel sprayer faucet is from Amazon.

The white ceramic triangle tiles are from Lowes.

The white ceramic triangle tiles are from Lowes.

They painted the ceiling and walls throughout the trailer, repainted the cabinets, fabricated and installed butcher block countertops, laid a tile backsplash, and replaced all the cabinet hardware, lighting, and fans.

Before: The Dining Area

The dinette cushions had frumpy fabric that needed to be changed.

The dinette cushions had frumpy fabric that needed to be changed.

After: The Dining Area

The seats are upholstered in Justina Blakeney Rainforest Jacquard Calypso dinette cushion fabric from Fabric.com.

The seats are upholstered in Justina Blakeney Rainforest Jacquard Calypso dinette cushion fabric from Fabric.com.

In the dining area, they replaced the dinette table with a table top they made themselves, reupholstered the dinette seating, and installed reclaimed wood walls.

Before: The Bedroom

A view of the trailer from the bedroom.

A view of the trailer from the bedroom.

Inside the bedroom.

Inside the bedroom.

After: The Bedroom

The bedroom features a down alternative duvet insert from Target, a throw blanket from Homegoods, and a green velvet lumbar pillow from World Market.

The bedroom features a down alternative duvet insert from Target, a throw blanket from Homegoods, and a green velvet lumbar pillow from World Market.

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The Versailtex blackout curtains are from Amazon.

The Versailtex blackout curtains are from Amazon.

DeLisle and Goelz removed the accordion hallway doors that led into the bedroom, as well as an old nightstand and TV. They replaced the mattress, bedding, and curtains, and installed small shelf units.

Before: The Bathroom

The renovation updated the old wallpaper in the bathroom.

The renovation updated the old wallpaper in the bathroom.

After: The Bathroom

The bathroom walls feature Justina Blakeney Cosmic Desert Wallpaper from Hygge & West.

The bathroom walls feature Justina Blakeney Cosmic Desert Wallpaper from Hygge & West.

The duo painted the bathroom vanity, replaced the toilet and shower hardware, installed new wallpaper, and refinished the bathtub/shower. Before hitting the road, DeLisle and Goelz replaced the tires, the air-conditioning unit, and all the vent fans.

"We’ve been living here since August 2018. We absolutely love being able to see new parts of the country while taking our home with us. We’ve traveled through Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, and seen some pretty unreal landscapes along the way," says DeLisle.

Related Reading: Bold Wallpaper Brings Dreamy Vibes to a Dated Airstream, Dwell's Top 10 Campers and Trailers of 2018

Project Credits:

Interior Design: Elyse DeLisle and Amanda Goelz / @gerryontheroad@delisle.prints