Grace and Eric Koelma wanted to travel the world.
Their son was young enough to where they could do so.
But they did want a home base so their son could have some stability.
A singular place that Leo could call home instead of bouncing around to different short-term housing accommodations
So, they decided to travel around Canada and the U.S. in an RV.
“Looking at a van that size was helpful because we realized we wanted more of a tiny home on wheels than a weekend-style camper,” Grace told Dwell.com.
They ended up going with a 1991 Ford Econoline RV for $8,500.
The RV was in great working condition.
However, it was a little tired and dull looking on the inside. So they decided they would ask friends to help them spruce it up.
They found a few things they weren’t expecting along the way, such as black mold.
They also had significant water damage.
They had to rebuild part of the support system for structural integrity. They might not have found this had they not decided to renovate it.
After the big problems were taken care of, the Kolema’s focused on design.
They gave their cabinets a new look with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.
They also installed some pine panels on the walls and ceiling to give the space a cozier home feel.
They also found a used kitchen countertop which they used for the kitchen counters and dining room table.
They also switched out their shower and did some additional plumbing work.
“The plumbing alone took about 10 or 11 trips to hardware stores, going back for missing parts, or returning wrong ones,” Eric, who completed all of the RV’s new plumbing, said.
The couple also added some vinyl flooring, LED lighting, and new shelving.
Most homes have a play space for the children, so the Kolema’s wanted to make sure Leo had his very own play space.
“It was one of the most simple projects to build, but the most satisfying to complete because of the look on Leo’s face when he first climbed inside and saw all his toys in HIS space,” Eric said.
The new upgrades cost them $8,000.
The renovation took about three months to complete.
They admit not going the thrifty route with their renovation but say that it was definitely worth it.
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“This was no means a super strict budget, and you could definitely do it for cheaper, but we wanted to—for the most part—use quality materials that would be durable since we were planning to live in the trailer full time for two years, with an active toddler,” says Grace.
Spending around $10,000 is a lot less than they’d spend on two years worth of rent.
In addition, it has allowed them to travel, work remotely, and expose their son to different cultures than they would have experienced in their homeland of Australia.
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