Extreme Makeover:
RV Edition


When we bought the Dolphin, we knew it needed some work. Pink polyester curtains and faux woodgrain isn’t really our style. As we started ripping out the old carpet and upholstery, we realized this was going to be a much bigger project than we anticipated. It was one thing after another – leaky roof, hole in the floor, water damage over the cab. We learned a lot about what to look for in a used RV just a little too late.

This is the picture from Craigslist that brought us up to Olympia to check it out.



This is a photo of the rot over the cab area where the bed is:



After Matt started rebuilding the area:



Painting the cupboards in the driveway:



Filling in the hole in the floor:



Laying down the new laminate floor:



Kitchen counter before:



Kitchen counter after we laid down tile:



Matt cutting the table to fit:



Before and after for the bedroom area:



Before and after for the couch/closet area:



Before and after for the kitchen area:



Here’s a full list of what we did to fix up the Dolphin:


Reseal entire roof with Eternabond

Rip out broken air conditioner on roof

Replace roof vents

Remove bedroom window and reseal

Rip out carpet and install laminate floor

Fill in hole in floor with scrap wood

Rebuild area over cab

Rip out existing dinette and install table and bar stools

New curtains and curtain rods

Paint cupboards white and replace handles

Paint every surface including ceiling

Cover refrigerator door with contact paper to look like stainless steel (it was woodgrain before)

Rip out kitchen countertop and replace with tile

Install plastic panels in bathroom to replace old wood and wallpapered walls.

Caulk bathroom

New futon mattress over cab area

New carpet in cab area

New seat covers in cab area

Reupholster couch

Cut out area in cupboards for microwave

Rip out old generator and install quieter/smaller generator


Now that everything is done, the RV is one of my favorite places. It’s cozy without being cramped, and we have everything we need and nothing we don’t.

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8 Responses

  1. sheila stemler says:

    wow, what a lot of work! I like how the new flooring matches the table so well

    Happy travels to you-until we meet again!

  2. Ivan Fung says:

    Wow guys! Great work! I am from Vancouver BC and I have a 1987 Toyota Dolphin motorhome as well – How long did it take for your guys to do the makeover for the RV?

    • Cassandra says:

      Thanks! It took about 9 months since we were both working and could only do a lot of the work on the weekends. I always love hearing from other Dolphin owners. How did you stumble onto our site?

  3. Ivan Fung says:

    Actually in addition to joining the toyota rv forum http://www.toyotamotorhome.org sometime I search the web to see what other owners did to their motorhome and gave myself some ideas on how to upgrade.

    Anyway have a safe and memorable trip!

  4. I found my way to your blog from a link in one of the yahoo forums. Just wanted to say that I like it and will be back to read more.

  5. A Dolphin owner shared your post on Facebook. We’re Bounder people, but always interested in other RV lives.

  6. Cheng says:

    Thank you for sharing the great work and lovely picture! Can you say more on how to “Reupholster couch”? Did you buy fabric and DIY, or at a furniture store?

  7. Shana says:

    I love your motorhome! I am looking to buy a little Toyota motorhome…yours is very cute!! :)

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