Travel Trailer Renovation: Stripp’er down

Travel Trailer Renovation: Stripp’er down

by andrewodom on May 2, 2014 · 8 comments


I would venture to say that 98% of all those living in a travel trailer/RV/camper are relatively happy with the decor and design of their home on wheels. And what isn’t to love? Who can resist the faux marbled walls, the sophisticated vineyard style of the curiously high border, the houndstooth and leatherette combo of jackknife sofas and dining banquettes, and the crinkling of the aluminum blinds? Certainly we could not. That is why within 48 hours of purchasing our “new to us” Aruba travel trailer we were busy removing border, wallpaper, and cornice boards!

To this point we had little experience. Sure, we had done a minor renovation to our old Jayco pop-up trailer back in 2012 (which included adding an AC/Heater), studying up on the Janssen clan, and….oh, building a 240 sq.ft. tiny house! We had also watched a bit of HGTV, read a few blog posts, and convinced ourselves we could do the reno just by asking, “how hard could it be?” Turns out, not that hard.

Our first task was to remove the cornice boards. Now traditionally speaking a cornice board is a window treatment ranging from the simple to the extravagant that is designed to mask the upper portion of a shade or curtain and give the illusion of taller ceilings. You can see a fine example of ours in the photo below. Everytime I have seen cornice boards in campers I have felt like they do quite the opposite. They seem to overpower the room (mostly for sheer number of windows) and ultimately make the ceiling feel as if it were closing in on you. And with our Aruba having only 8’2″ ceilings we needed all the height we could get. The boards had to beat it!

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How-To Remove Cornice Boards In Your RV

  1. Remove the draperies. Turns out that the draperies on the sides of each window that act only as decoration and serve no real function are held in place by velcro at the top and little plastic brackets at the bottom. Pull the velcro loose from the top. Allow the draperies to fall down. This will reveal the bottoms where the brackets are. Simply slide the draperies off the brackets. Set the draperies aside.
  2. Take down the aluminum blinds. Most blind sets are held in place only by two metal fastening brackets at the top of the set. This is subsequently why the blinds make the *clank clank* noise whenever your trailer shakes even slightly. The screws are screwed in to the top of the cornice board with small, phillips head screws in a sort of holder box (see photo). Ours has two on each side making for 4 screws total. First you have to open a hinged portion of the holder box and slide the blind set out. At that point you simply unscrew the screws and gently take down the holder boxes. This will now free up your cornice board.
  3. Unscrew the cornice boards. The cornice boards in our Aruba were held in place by two ‘L’ brackets that connected to the wall and then the cornice board. The two longer cornice boards (48″ each) actually had 3 ‘L’ brackets. Unscrew the small phillips head screws from both the wall and the cornice board and then lower the board from the wall. You now have a semi-naked window area.
  4. Remove plastic drapery bracket. The last piece before your windows are FREE are the plastic drapery brackets. These are held in by just a couple of screws each. Unscrew them and drop the plastic pieces to the floor.

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At this point you are left with a naked window waiting for its next dressing. For us we were left with 9 naked windows, 9 cornice boards, 9 aluminum blinds, and a whole lot of hardware we labeled and placed in to plastic baggies.

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Next up? Goodbye border.

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