USS Serenica Landship Housecar NCC 1796-37: The Afters / by Rebecca Tillett

Consider this her much belated, formal introduction.

USS (Star Trek Tribute) Serenica (Firefly/Battlestar Galactica Tribute: Serenity+Galactica mash-up) Landship (Bob's Burger's Tribute), Housecar (name addition by my friend Amanda's daughter, Sophie who calls RVs "housecars") NCC (Star Trek again) 17 (year of her maiden voyage) 96 (year she was built) -37 (feet long)

My last blog post regarding Serenica was June...of 2016. I probably don't need to say here that I absolutely could not have predicted that it would have been 14 more months before we were ready to post the After shots, but I'm going to say it anyway: I had no idea how long this beast would actually take us to complete. Really though, taking something like this on when both parties are working full-time jobs (in addition to going to school part-time, as I was doing up until last December), and especially once we'd learned how precariously these damn things are built, it was actually pretty naive to think how quickly we could knock this out, hilariously ridiculous even, knowing what we know now.

Just to recap the timeline:

November 2015Mike and Becky purchase RV (37' 1996 Firan Raven XL) 
Since it was beginning of winter, all we could do initially was park it in a storage lot, cover it up for protection from the elements, and wait for the cold season to pass.

April 2016—Spring! Pre-Renovation Begins
Uncover RV, start pulling out all the extra crap the previous owners left inside it (blankets, dishes, random supplies, etc.), take before photos, prep for renovation

May 2016Renovation Officially Begins
I think it was this soon in the process that we'd begun questioning just what exactly we'd gotten ourselves into...especially in the process of removing those damn floors.

June 2016Bulk of Renovation is Completed
With the help of family (who we coaxed out to Colorado from Georgia with free plane tickets) we got a bulk of the work done during the two weeks they were here, including the painting of the walls and cabinets, the installation of the new floors, and the installation of the wood-burning stove (which required cutting out the top half of the washer/dryer closet).

July 2016-December 2016Minimal Progress Made/Cover/Seal-Up for Winter
I had to return to school in August for my last semester needed for my B.A.S. degree while Mike continued doing minor work on the RV after work some days before it began getting too dark and cold to do so. I didn't photo-document anything during this time since the progress was minimal and hardly noticeable in photos. We also took the booth and couch cushions to an auto upholsterer to get those reupholstered right before New Year's Eve of 2016. Also worth noting that after 2 years of school, I finally graduated this December! 

January-March 2017Few Things Accomplished/Still Cold
We had actually planned for our maiden voyage in March (somewhere close, just as a test-trip) but not only had we still not gotten our reupholstered cushions back, but there was quite a bit we still hadn't finished, so we reluctantly and disappointedly decided to postpone. We did manage to install new countertops and sinks during this time.

May 2017Mike and Becky Get Married!
...And decide that our postponed maiden voyage will also be our Honeymoon later this summer.

May-August 2017—Completing What's Left (or most of it anyway)
This included completing the trim, the backsplashes, troubleshooting some random electrical issues, installing new batteries, hanging wallpaper in the bedroom, installing decorative/storage elements, and little things like wire covers and cabinet doors, etc.

August 2017Maiden Voyage/Honeymoon
Photos to come soon!


Below, you'll find the before and after shots as Serenica currently stands. I tried to match the exact shots and angles of the before shots for the afters to really show the transformation. Below the photos you'll also see what we spent on all of this, and what remains left to do.

The view from the driver's seat to the passenger seat and door: We removed the bucket seat with a plan to install a fold-up desk right beneath the window, so the passenger seat would actually serve a dual purpose as an office chair as well. We also want to install a computer monitor/screen that will fold down from the bottom of the cabinet above the window. This remains on our to-do list.

This section didn't change at all really, as we decided to leave the carpet in the cockpit.

We installed curtains separating the cockpit from the home which made a huge difference. In fact, right after hanging them I texted Mike and said, "The curtains are a game changer!"

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, new rugs, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, new rugs, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, new rugs, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, new rugs, backsplash installed, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, new rugs, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, top of washer/dryer closet removed to make room for Bernie, our wood-burning stove, new light installed above the booth table, booth table replaced, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, top of washer/dryer closet removed to make room for Bernie, our wood-burning stove, new light installed above the booth table, booth table replaced, new countertop installed, new sink installed, new faucet installed, etc.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, new countertop installed, new sink and faucet installed, backsplash installed, etc.

Detail of the backsplash; also used the same backsplash, but in champagne color, for the top of Cookie, our cooking stove.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, top of washer/dryer closet removed to make room for Bernie, our wood-burning stove, new light installed above the booth table, booth table replaced, new countertop installed, new sink installed, new faucet installed, etc.

Detail of Bernie, our wood-burning stove; used extra backsplash pieces we had left over for decorative elements behind the stove. We removed the top portion of the washer/dryer closet for this addition. The bottom half of the closet still fits a washer/dryer combo unit (just not a stackable). We had to cut a hole into the roof of Serenica for the chimney flue.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, top of washer/dryer closet removed to make room for Bernie, our wood-burning stove, new countertop installed, new sink installed, new faucet installed, etc.

Detail of the backsplash; also used the same backsplash, but in champagne color, for the top of Cookie, our cooking stove.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, top of washer/dryer closet removed to make room for Bernie, our wood-burning stove, new light installed above the booth table, booth table replaced, etc.

Detail of Bernie, our wood-burning stove; used extra backsplash pieces we had left over for decorative elements behind the stove. We removed the top portion of the washer/dryer closet for this addition. The bottom half of the closet still fits a washer/dryer combo unit (just not a stackable). We had to cut a hole into the roof of Serenica for the chimney flue.

Looking left from the entrance of the door: All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, "decorative" felt elements removed and replaced with metal accents, new hardware on all cabinets, decorative glass replaced with frosted glass, cushions reupholstered, all interior walls painted, new window treatments, top of washer/dryer closet removed to make room for Bernie, our wood-burning stove, new light installed above the booth table, booth table replaced, etc.

Bathroom cabinets sanded and painted, new countertop, new sink and faucet, backsplash installed, new hardware on all cabinets, new mirror which is also a medicine cabinet; the mirror is the door that opens and swings left to reveal shelving behind it (I neglected to get photos of this). We retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again. The shower is original and unchanged.

Bathroom cabinets sanded and painted, new countertop, new sink and faucet, backsplash installed, new hardware on all cabinets, new mirror which is also a medicine cabinet; the mirror is the door that opens and swings left to reveal shelving behind it (I neglected to get photos of this). We retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again. The shower is original and unchanged. Also decided to keep the original mirror to the left and re-hung.

Bathroom cabinets sanded and painted, new countertop, new sink and faucet, backsplash installed, new hardware on all cabinets, new mirror which is also a medicine cabinet. We retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again. The shower is original and unchanged.

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, we retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again, replaced the mirror to the left of the door with framed art.

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, replaced the mirror to the left of the door with framed art (since the name, USS Serenica Landship Housecar NCC 1796-37 has references to Star Trek and Firefly (in addition to Battlestar Galactica and Bob's Burgers) I felt this art I purchased at Denver's ComicCon needed permanent residency in this beast. Now we just need to add some BSG and BB art as tribute!

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, replaced the mirror to the left of the door with framed art (since the name, USS Serenica Landship Housecar NCC 1796-37 has references to Star Trek and Firefly (in addition to Battlestar Galactica and Bob's Burgers) I felt this art I purchased at Denver's ComicCon needed permanent residency in this beast. Now we just need to add some BSG and BB art as tribute!

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, we retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again, replaced the mirror to the left of the door with framed art (since the name, USS Serenica Landship Housecar NCC 1796-37 has references to Star Trek and Firefly (in addition to Battlestar Galactica and Bob's Burgers) I felt this art I purchased at Denver's ComicCon needed permanent residency in this beast. Now we just need to add some BSG and BB art as tribute!

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, new hardware on all cabinets, retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again, left the carpeted pieces in the toilet-room, installed canisters underneath the cabinets for additional and easy-access storage, etc.

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, new hardware on all cabinets, retained the original floors and just cleaned the grout to make them appear new again, left the carpeted pieces in the toilet-room, installed canisters underneath the cabinets for additional and easy-access storage, hung old 1800s-era framed maps of Philadelphia and New Mexico we picked up at Powell's Books in Portland several years back (saved them for this very purpose!)

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, installed canisters underneath the cabinets for additional and easy-access storage, hung old 1800s-era framed maps of Philadelphia and New Mexico we picked up at Powell's Books in Portland several years back (saved them for this very purpose!)

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, new hardware on all cabinets, all interior walls painted, new mattress, new window treatments, metal storage accents installed. The square window was made for an old tube-tv; we plan to install a small flat-screen there mounted with a long wall-arm mount that extends out.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, new hardware on all cabinets, all interior walls painted, new mattress, new window treatments, metal storage accents installed. The square window was made for an old tube-tv; we plan to install a small flat-screen there mounted with a long wall-arm mount that extends out.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, new hardware on all cabinets, all interior walls painted, new mattress, new window treatments, metal storage accents installed. The wallpaper behind the mattress, Picture of Organized Nature as Extending Over the Earth was a map created in 1828 in London by C. Smith and Son. I downloaded the public domain image and set it up in Photoshop to fit this space, then used Murals Your Way to print as custom wallpaper.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, new hardware on all cabinets, all interior walls painted, new mattress, new window treatments, new light fixtures over bed. The wallpaper behind the mattress, Picture of Organized Nature as Extending Over the Earth was a map created in 1828 in London by C. Smith and Son. I downloaded the public domain image and set it up in Photoshop to fit this space, then used Murals Your Way to print as custom wallpaper.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, new hardware on all cabinets, all interior walls painted, new mattress, new window treatments, new light fixtures over bed. The wallpaper behind the mattress, Picture of Organized Nature as Extending Over the Earth was a map created in 1828 in London by C. Smith and Son. I downloaded the public domain image and set it up in Photoshop to fit this space, then used Murals Your Way to print as custom wallpaper.

All cabinets sanded and painted or stained, new hardware on all cabinets, all interior walls painted, new mattress, new window treatments, new light fixtures over bed. The wallpaper behind the mattress, Picture of Organized Nature as Extending Over the Earth was a map created in 1828 in London by C. Smith and Son. I downloaded the public domain image and set it up in Photoshop to fit this space, then used Murals Your Way to print as custom wallpaper.

Bathroom cabinets/walls sanded and painted, new hardware on all cabinets, new flooring, left the carpeted pieces in the toilet-room, installed canisters underneath the cabinets for additional and easy-access storage, hung old 1800s-era framed maps of Philadelphia and New Mexico we picked up at Powell's Books in Portland several years back, installed art and wallpaper behind bed, etc.

Detail of kitchen cabinets, before/after

Detail of booth light fixture, before/after

Detail of kitchen counters and cooking stove

What remains:
Install fold-up desk behind passenger seat
Install fold-down computer screen
Install new stereo
Deep clean plastic vents and vinyl awnings
Install locking safe
Install washer/dryer
Install solar panels
Etc.

Costs breakdown:
RV purchase price: $12,500
Tools and Supplies: $2,483
(worth noting: we owned zero tools before beginning this project which really helped to bloat this amount.)
New Elements to Replace Old: $3,021
(this includes the sinks and faucets, the flooring, the countertops, the lighting, the mattress, the window treatments, the hardware, the wood-burning stove, the backsplashes, etc.)
Decorative elements: $1,003
(includes bedding, towels, pillows, pillow covers, rugs, dishes, art, clock, storage elements, silverware, cooking pots and pans, etc.)
Total: $19,007

If we include cost of insurance we've spent on it thus far ($1,740) and the cost of storing it up to this point ($2,530), the grand total is $23, 277. I also want to note that zero loans were taken for this project. We've gotten by purely on savings.
 

Finally, the only regret I have on this is that we haven't at all tracked the time we've spent on this renovation. I know it's somewhere in the hundreds of hours but I don't have an exact number unfortunately. It's far more than enough to likely prevent us from ever tackling another project like this anytime soon. Hopefully this post helps to show why we're so proud of this accomplishment!