Transforming a twenty-two-year-old RV into a modern and functional living environment

Photos by District 86 Co 

Prescott Woman Magazine interviewed Sarah Rainwater, business owner, mother, and transformer of small spaces.

PWM: What is the year, make, model of the RV you transformed?

Sarah: “Shelia” Is a 2000 Newmar Dutch Star 38-foot Class A Motorhome.

PWM: When you purchased it what were your goals?

Sarah: When we purchased it, our plan was to gut it completely and rebuild it better! After our initial trip to first look at it, it was apparent that there wasn’t going to be much that was salvageable in its original 22-year-old state. We realized right then and there it was going to be a hefty project, but I was all for it! My husband, Travis, on the other hand, was a little more skeptical. He is a “realist” while I am a “dreamer.” He wanted to step back and think about it. I convinced him to try and start it (it had been sitting for a few years). It started right up and the rest is history! We drove it home that night and I started tearing out the inside the next day. I have been following other remodel RVs for a while now and always had it on my bucket list to take one on. My goal was to completely revamp it and build something my family could take and out and enjoy. I feel that we accomplished that.

PWM: How long did it take to complete the transformation?

Sarah: 3 months!

PWM: What are some of the biggest changes/highlights?

Sarah: We tore out a lot of the existing cabinetry which opened the whole space. We also added a lot of creative storage to make up for what we took out. A few of my other favorite parts are the countertops which I painted and then sealed with epoxy to look like marble, and the bathroom shower. The new shower is residential and really makes you feel like you are in a home rather than an RV.

PWM: What was the largest challenge during the process?

Sarah: Speaking of the shower! This was the biggest challenge. There is not a lot of space under the flooring, so we had to get creative to make it functional with the change to a residential shower.

PWM: You also transformed a horse trailer previously, correct? Tell us about that.

Sarah: I did! That was my first overhaul. My mom has had the same RV/horse trailer since 2004. Over the years It had gotten dated. I surprised her by completely redoing it. I learned a lot in this small project. You can see the before and after of it on my Instagram @simplysarahrainwater.

PWM: What makes you want to transform these small spaces to make them feel more like home?

Sarah: A few years ago, I started seeing others take on RV transformations, and the modern changes truly inspired me. If I am going to go away on a trip, I want to feel like I am away on a spa retreat, not in a depressing brown box (brown tile, brown carpet, brown walls).

PWM: What are your goals with the RV now?

Sarah: Our plans are to use and enjoy it! We discreetly have it listed for sale but are not pushing the matter. I think we want to take it to Disneyland this summer; my boys would love that.

PWM: Do you have advice for others that would like to get started on an RV transformation of their own?

Sarah: I would do your research first and follow a few people who do it online. I feel that buying an RV to redo is much more feasible for some than purchasing real estate. RVs are made differently than homes which can make them both easier and harder to tear into. I would just be ready to do all the hard work and adapt as challenges arise because they will!

Follow @simplysarahrainwater on Instagram for more inspiration on her transformations, as well as Young Living oils, businesses, and cookie-making adventures.