RV Renovation


Mike and Katie Gerkin bought their 2008 Palomino Sabre fifth-wheel knowing they were going to renovate it to fit the young family’s needs. Mike is a traveling nurse while Katie stays in the RV with the children and works as a freelance writer. The family follows Mike’s job and explores in the time between contracts.

The couple brought their fifth-wheel home in February 2019 and renovated the RV in their spare time. By August, with their house newly listed, they were ready to hit the road. “It was a lot of work, and we thoroughly enjoyed most of the process.” Katie said. “There were times where we would get frustrated and give up, then come back with a clear head and usually got whatever we were struggling with completed.”

Before renovating the RV, Katie looked to Instagram and Pinterest for ideas. “I love natural wood and wanted to incorporate as much as possible without adding too much weight. Having two young kids, my husband and I were both worried about using white paint on the walls, so we went with grey. My style is to keep things simple and clean with some added textures.”

The couple had a decent amount of experience going into the project. Katie’s dad is a handy-man so she learned from him growing up and found a love for painting and sanding. Mike loves woodworking and building. Together they did learn a few things as they went about renovating the RV. “The biggest hurdle we hit was that no wall in the RV is straight, so we had to learn how to correct it with the items we hand built.”

Mike & Katie made butcher block countertops throughout the RV as well as butcher block style trim on their slides. They also rearranged the kitchen layout and removed cabinets to suit their needs. “We removed the shower glass doors and built out a wooden step-in wall to go with a curtain.”

They painted, added vinyl plank peel and stick flooring, and built bunk beds for their kids. They’ve even changed some things post renovation as well. “We had originally built a daybed but recently changed it to a couch.”

And then there’s the newest detail that caught my eye, sharpie shiplap. “We love projects, and as long as we stay conscientious of how much weight we add, we will keep finding projects along the way.”

As with any renovation project, there’s bound to be a few problems that arise. “We bought a projector screen and new speakers for our bedroom. We knew exactly what we wanted to do and went about drilling holes to wire everything from cabinet to plug. We didn’t take into account the fact that there would be wires running underneath the cabinet for the slide out.

“The first attempt at drilling was stopped quickly once a wire was discovered. We moved to the other side of the cabinet because surely that would be safe since the wire was on the other side. Except there was a wire there too! We caught it before we had any serious damage, but it is a very scary thing to hit wires and we were two for two!”

Follow Mike & Katie Gerkin on Instagram @rvsandtrees and at rvsandtrees.com

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