Bitchin’ Kitchen- Mobile Home Kitchen Makeover Part 1

We have been remodeling our mobile home kitchen and finally finished in December after a month of weekends working on it. In the coming posts, we’ll detail our project for you from start to finish.  We’re happy it’s done, happy it’s no longer something we’re just talking about, and happy that we did it ourselves.  In this post, we’ll talk a bit about what was wrong with our old kitchen, and some of the things we did to make it tolerable until we committed to completing this project.

Original Mobile Home KitchenSo!  Our old kitchen- where do I begin?  It had your standard double wide flowery vinyl-covered gypsum wall board.  It was an exhibit of epic proportions of cheesy cheap cupboards- and tons of them.  Double wides are infamous for built in furniture!  The only home that a built-in entertainment-center-bookcase-gun rack comes standard in the living room!  Our kitchen was no exception.  Nearly three walls of cabinets, all of which were sagging dreadfully from 15 years of holding our copious collections of junk.

Original Mobile Home Dining Area

At about the 10 year mark, we decided that we were going to plan our kitchen remodel, but that it was too expensive a prospect to go at it with our full plan just yet.  When we do it right, we want new flooring, new walls (resurfaced), new appliances, molding, cabinets, counter-tops.  If it’s going to be in the kitchen, it’s going to be new!  So, at that point, we did a “patch-job” on the kitchen to get us by until we had time to do it right.  Our kitchen cabinets were painted, new snap and lock laminate flooring, new windows and trim (part of a larger whole-home replacement project), and the counter-tops were resurfaced in a cheap, labor intensive, DIY way.  This whole project (not including the windows) was less than $800 to complete.  We were satisfied with the results and it was enough to get us by without wanting to rip the cupboards off the wall each time we opened them.

Painted Faux Granite Counter-topWe did a great patch job on the counter tops that I highly recommend if you don’t have the money to invest in new cupboards and counters.  A technique we found on the internet is similar to the method used in this Ginni Granite Paints video.  This product wasn’t available that we knew of at the time we did this project.  We purchased quarts of paint, beginning with a slate black, and adding a dove grey, and finally a white.

Faux Granite Painted Counter-tops

We used the dabbing technique with sponges and then coated it with a water based poly coat.  You must use water based poly because it is safe for food preparation.  We applied 6 coats of poly to the counters with a sanding between each coat.  All in all, it took 9 coats of products (paint and poly) and about 8 days of work/kitchen disruption.  In the end, I was thrilled with it.  Keep in mind, this was 8 years ago, money was tight, and we were so sick of our laminate counter tops that I could have painted them with zebra stripes and thought it was trés  chic!  I have noticed that Lowe’s now sells kits for this for over $200.  I did this with three quarts of paint and a quart of poly, a sea sponge, a paint brush, and steel wool.  It is NOT worth over $200 in my book.  These counter-tops lasted us for about 7 years and were still in great shape when we tore the old kitchen out.  I have no doubt that they would have lasted for many more years.

First Kitchen RemodelAt the left is a rather messy pic of our first kitchen touch up with the cabinets painted white and minty paint and decals on the walls.  This picture was taken during the beginnings of our demo of that kitchen in preparation for our major kitchen remodel that we had been planning for for a few years.  While at the time of this demolition, I was completely ready to rip every cabinet off the walls (as I was every time I opened one for the year before we tore them out), this touch up lasted us for many years and made us happy until we were prepared to do a thorough remodel.

I loathe mobile home cabinets and the cheapo way they throw the plumbing in, allow for open spaces under the cabinets for rodents to get in, and how they crumble with any exposure to water, which is completely idiotic in a kitchen, no? I also have a hate-hate relationship with popcorn ceilings, but that’s another post altogether.

I apologize that I don’t have a more inspiring picture of this stage of our kitchen’s life, but the $800 I mentioned as the price for this touch up stage did include the laminate flooring for a 20′ x 15′ area, paint and hardware for the cabinets (not cheap when you have three walls of cabinets!), and paint and supplies for the counters and walls, and plantation blinds for two giant windows.  I give you this post to prepare you for the next post about our full kitchen remodel.  This is meant to show you that even a little bit can mean a lot when you want to touch up your spaces, and if you just can’t afford the fabulous makeover you would really like, making due by making little changes for a while is a great way to buy yourself some time.

There was even a period of time when I put a futon, an area rug, and a coffee table in our dining area because our family NEVER sat at a table to eat and felt more comfortable hanging out in a more casual space.  There are no hard fast rules for remodeling.  It’s your home.  Make it feel good to be there.  Redefine your spaces the way YOU want to enjoy them.

Next time, I’ll share with you our complete mobile home kitchen transformation.  It’s a space that I don’t yet call complete as I have not gotten a new refrigerator to match my beautiful stove, and the ceiling hasn’t decided what it wants us to do with it yet, but it is a beautiful space, a space that I LOVE to cook in, and love to share meals with our family in.  Hell, I even love to just stand in it and look at how beautiful it is.  Most of all, it looks NOTHING like a mobile home kitchen.

‘Til next time,

The McGees





  1. Wow. My family and I live in a 1996 small double wide that we're having to fix up thanks to water damage, and just crummy construction. So far I've replaced some 3/8th drywall and insulation then painted one room. Replaced most of the carpet with the luxury vinyl planks, and tile (in bathrooms), and we're about to replace some counters, and sink in kitchen plus more of the vinyl planks in kitchen and living room. I'm seeing this and I want to do more. We live in NM and deal with both heat and cold in turns. With 2 young boys in the house it makes it interesting to do the work lol. My husband and I switch off. I'll work and he'll chase the boys then he'll work and I'll chase the boys. I think I'm going to be looking at more of your ideas for making this place more of a home. Thank you for the ideas, and pics of what you did in yours.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting, Suzy! Water damage is just the worst. My mother-in-law had a water heater burst while she was out of state. We had just checked on things a day or so before it happened and found that it happened a day or so later. We don't know really how long water was running into the house. We had to replace the bottoms of the walls in the hall and three rooms, the floor in a walk-in closet, carpeting in three rooms, a complete bathroom remodel and of course, rebuilding the water heater closet. It was a nightmare.

      It sounds like you've been busy with your place! I know it's a challenge to work on projects when you have kids at home and routines to keep. Pre-planning can really be your friend in this case. The more you can plan and predict before you get started, the more pitfalls you can avoid once you begin working on a project. Good luck to you as you move through your to-do list! I'm glad you've found some inspiration here.

      happy remodeling!
      The McGees

  2. I have a mobile home that needs a lot of work done to it. I think I have to take the floors up that's how much work I have to do. is it worth re-doing a mobile home from the frame up or should I just buy another one? Also do you think it can be done under 15,000?

    • Hi Brianne. Thanks for visiting and commenting!
      I couldn't say for sure without seeing your home what needs to be done with it. However, let me give you a list of everything we completed for 15,000$ 7 yrs ago:
      1. We tore out the master bath from the subfloor up. Put in new walls, ceiling, exhaust, sink, tub/shower/fixtures/floor/toilet/
      2. Put up high quality linen wallpaper in our bedroom/ put wainscot up, replaced the floor with laminate faux wood, tore out a wall between walk in closet and bedroom, created a whole organizational closet space open to the room.
      3. Replaced the whole great room floor with laminate, put wainscot up
      4. Put high quality linen wallpaper and wainscot and new floor in a second bedroom
      5. Bought all new windows for the house and build new frames/sills inside the house
      6. Bought all new venting tubes for the heating system and ends of ductwork replacement for same
      7. New water heater and holding tank/plumbing
      8. Built a closet in the livingroom out of "found" space we found in the wall.
      9. Built all new wood skirting with frames that are buried in the ground so no critters can dig under the house.
      10. Bought a pellet stove and a winter's worth of pellets

      Now, I will admit, as you can see on this blog, we did all the work ourselves, including the window install. It was a lot, and we were a bit younger and energetic then :-), but it can be done. We were creative about when we would buy materials and used coupons whenever we could for Lowes or HD.

      I wish you luck with your projects. Just take it a piece at a time. Think everything through beforehand very carefully to determine how you will be inconvenienced throughout the projects and how you will store your supplies and time out your work. We really pushed ourselves and got all of the work listed above done in about 4 months working every weekend. But you could pace out your projects better than that to give yourself some rest in between. If you have questions or need more inspiration, please feel free to come back and let us know! We're happy to share.
      All the best,
      The McGees

  3. Thank you for sharing your mobile home makeover! I laughed and thought it to be helpful.

  4. is this RV or a palace? :-) really awesome.

  5. Counter top area is looking very nice. You can go for fridge with black color combination. It will suit with your kitchen or you can go with white one. Both will look perfect with your kitchen.

    • Thank you for commenting. After several years since the kitchen remodel, we still have not purchased a new refrigerator! I would love a black one to match the stove, but I'm pretty frugal so buying one for the sake of buying one is a little hard for me to do when the one we have works so well and is energy efficient. Perhaps someday I will get sick of the mismatched appliances and move forward on getting a black refrigerator. Thank you again for your comment. I love my kitchen!

  6. Pingback: Bitchin’ Kitchen- Mobile Home Kitchen Makeover Part 2 | My Mobile Home Makeover

  7. Sure thing LJ! We have learned one really important lesson about things in mobile homes…REPLACE THEM with quality products as quickly as possible. Plumbing is a big one because mobile homes are so susceptible to water damage because the materials they are made out of are ruined by water so easily. Wall board, flooring, cabinetry under sinks, etc…they are all made of pretty low quality materials in older homes (pre-2000?) so minimally installing shut off valves under all sinks and in shower fixture plumbing was a big one in our experience.

    Another great tip I received about keeping cabinetry safe from water damage (especially once we replaced the vanities in the bathroom and the kitchen cabinetry) is to line the bottom interiors of the cabinets with sticky square flooring. Find something you like that looks nice and line the bottoms with it. It will look good, save them from wear and tear of pulling things in and out of them, and will keep water from making contact with the cabinetry.

    We will be doing some work on our skirting in the late Spring hopefully, so subscribe to our feed or Facebook page to keep up to date on the work we're doing. And as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We're happy to share what we know.

    Good luck with your new home! It's a great thing to reuse a home that is already built and can be made into anything you want…all you need is your imagination!

  8. Thank you for this! I purchased a 15 yr old mfg. home in December. I am, however, pretty clueless about many of their idiosyncrasies, like skirting, venting, plumbing and plenty more. I appreciate your pics and links.

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