Let’s face it, anyone who has enough money, or who don’t mind getting deeper in debt, can turn an old, tired, mobile home into a beautiful place by simply gutting it and installing all new everything. That is not what we did and frankly, that is not who we are. We wanted to enhance and restore as much of what was already there as possible, and to use what we already had in the way of furnishings. This type of renovation takes a lot of planning and a lot of late nights laying in bed and visualizing all the possibilities.
Of course, this type of renovation requires a great deal more creativity, ingenuity, and hard work then the “gut and replace” remodel; and yet, it is so much more rewarding. Why? Primarily because the end result will be a less expensive; one-of-a-kind, living space, like no other, rather than a cookie cutter, model home. It will simply have more character and, I believe, be so much more beautiful, interesting and functional.
STEP ONE – ANALYSIS
The key to a successful mobile home remodel DIY project is analysis. When you take the time to really analyze the space before any work begins you will save time, money, and aggravation.
We began by measuring all the rooms and all the space within each room and taking pictures of just about every angle of every room and every space within each room; printing out those pictures and writing the dimensions onto the black and white print-outs.
Part of the continued analysis was to take measurements of all of our existing furniture in order to determine where it would fit. In a small home, there are very few options and we did not want to finish renovating only to discover that half of our furniture was not going to work—or spending a weekend moving furniture around 359 times until something worked out. A “to scale” floor plan was created for each room with “to scale” furniture pieces. As a result of this analysis, we realized that if we were going to be able to keep and use our three 7 foot high oak bookcases, we would need to close off and panel over windows in the living room.
See 15 Great Mobile Home Remodels here.
STEP TWO – THINK ESSENTIALS
This is where the scaling down takes place. Decide what is absolutely essential and also what you can live without. What do you really need to enjoy a living space? What is practical, functional and comfortable? We have all been in homes where things look wonderful; but, living in the space simply doesn’t work. It’s not functional.
Also, decide what you can salvage and use for something else or somewhere else—shelves, mirrors, curtain rods, hardware, doors, etc.
We had three huge solid oak bookcases and a solid oak desk that we needed to fit into this space. Therefore, after removing the mirror, the window covering and hardware, we also sealed and closed off the windows on the carport side. In small spaces, going up for storage is always the solution and it can add a great deal of interest to a room.
We used our existing clip-on desk lights for lighting above the other window and created a built-in library space on the entire carport side wall. The biggest project in this room was pulling the carpet and hand painting the plywood sub-flooring.
Details of that project can be found here: http://www.hometalk.com/3482198/a-1964-single-wide-make-over-hand-painted-sub-flooring
As I looked around the space, I knew I needed something bold and tall on the other side of the room to balance the space and yet had no room for additional furniture so I decided to use paint! That is where the “Word” theme started and what ultimately set the theme for the home.
Challenges here included a 50-year-old Wedgewood built-in oven that was no longer (safely) functional and the space for it was too small for a new built-in oven to be installed; the range top also had to go, simply because it had died. In addition, there was no room for a kitchen table and the light fixtures were old and the light switches were worn out. But, we could live with everything else: the original cabinets, sink, counter, and vinyl flooring. So, we concentrated on what we needed to add and how to best use the space, functionally.
First, we took apart a solid oak corner desk with hutch and used all the pieces to build a desk and hutch around the existing kitchen window utilizing the different sections of the corner unit. We created a breakfast bar using the glass top from an old Scandinavian coffee table that someone had discarded at the side of a dumpster, by mounting it to the skinny existing split counter and adding two bar stools. We also replaced the range top and the light fixtures and of course a fresh coat of paint.
I remounted the oven top above the cubby holes to retain the retro feel and used the cubby holes for my very functional glass jars. It broke my heart to have to pull that Wedgewood.
The new light fixtures were a splurge. It was tough spending $99 a piece – But it was made easier after we received a gift card for Lowe’s as a housewarming gift and I won another Lowe’s gift card at a luncheon. Are these perfect or what?
This room was the biggest challenge. I hated the color of the sink and the tub and the apricot had to go! The tub was a disaster and the shower didn’t work. I removed all the mirrors (there were three) stripped the trim, primed and painted and then tiled the backsplash and the countertops with glass mosaic tile.
I was able to tie in the sink color with the bamboo matted pictures and the woven baskets. Phew! That was a total relieve since we really could not afford a new sink and bathtub. We were really trying to retain everything that was functional.
We had a black framed mirror that had hung in our apartment that was the perfect size for a “new vanity mirror.
Details of the entire mobile home bathroom renovation can be found here: http://www.hometalk.com/3527587/ma-am-your-escutcheons-are-bent-and-upside-down-i-beg-your-pardon
Let me start out by saying “People who paint over drawer pulls and cabinet hardware should be shot!” Yes, the hardware had been painted over not once—not twice, but three times and there were 29 pieces not to mention the original copper screws. Can you imagine the cost of replacing all this hardware—even at Home Depot?
So, we spent 5 hours stripping the hardware and look what we found underneath all those layers of paint.
The real bonus was the great built-in’s—all solid hardwood and in great condition. The only furniture necessary in this room would be our bed—which is a good thing since the room was only 10’ X11’. Again the key was going up for storage. I used 4 corner units that we already had and mounted them from the ceiling to the wall on both sides of the bed. I also was able to use the little white boxes that were originally mounted on either side of the kitchen window.
Picture frames were used as window coverings and of course, carried the “WORD” theme into the bedroom as well.
We also decided to carry the “Word” theme out into the garden and still have more work to do on the patio. But, all and all, after two months it is finally livable!
Our desire in sharing with the reader is with the hope of inspiring others to enhance what is already there and use what you all ready have—those who want to think creatively about the existing space; and their “stuff” and how to merge the two into something that is uniquely theirs that is affordable, beautiful, and functional.
Now, give up that mansion, find a cute little single wide mobile home, and get busy!
Happy Mobile Home Living!
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