Finally! We have all our remodeling & upgrades finished.
It seems like it’s been a long process, 6 months to be exact. I knew I’d have to make every bit of available space count when we became full timers & going from almost 2500 sq. ft. of living space to a 37′ fifth wheel, well, let’s just say, it isn’t easy.
I started talking to Shelf Genie in April about storage solutions in our RV I had 3 cabinets in or near the galley area that I found to be impractical. I knew how I wanted to utilize these areas but DVR’s designs were flawed.
First, the upper cabinet between the combination oven & the frig. It is conveniently located for the items we use regularly, such as coffee, napkins, salt & pepper, etc., but it was just one big square hole in the wall. The whole upper portion of the cabinet was just empty space. I tried a two-tiered Lazy Susan in it but items kept falling off the top shelf when Suite Pea was in tow. My solution was to add shelving.
Second, the bottom double cabinet between the conventional oven & the refrigerator. I knew the width & depth was ideal for my pots, pans, & small appliances from the moment I saw it. Perfect location too. However, not being as agile as I once was, I didn’t enjoy all of the stooping or standing on my head to move items aside to get to something at the back, especially on the bottom shelf. Solution. Pull out shelf drawers just like I’d had in our stix & brix home.
The third problem cabinet was located to the right of the fireplace. Tall, narrow & deep. Inevitably, I’d be down on the floor on my hands & knees, trying to reach something in the back. Once again the solution was a pull out bin to hold cookie sheets, baking dishes, etc.
I had one other problem with the galley. I enjoy cooking & I love to try out new recipes. I knew this wouldn’t change just because I lived in an RV. My huge selection of herbs & seasonings reflect this. In our stix & brix house I’d kept them conveniently located near the range & for all practicable purposes, I wanted to do likewise in the Suite Pea. After some trial & error I designed a spice rack that worked for me.
When we’d ordered our Suites we had the hall closet plumbed in case we wanted to add a washer & dryer at a later date. There were two reasons why we didn’t add those units at the onset. Number one being that many campgrounds now offer laundry facilities on site & if not, most towns have a laundromat. Number two, we didn’t wanted to concede valuable storage space. Since we are newbies to fulltiming, we really only have a rough idea of what items we will need to accommodate this life style.
How do we best make use of this space then? It came with a small double cabinet up top. Perfect for holding all our laundry needs from the soap & softener to the collapsible clothes baskets. It’s the ideal spot for Moochie’s litter box & the vacuum. But even with those items in place, there was an excessive amount of wasted space. Again, Shelf Genie held the solution. We had them install deep, wide, pull out drawers on one side & a shelf over the litter box in which to set the vacuum & dog food container. These improvements can be removed later should we decide to do so.
On to another pressing need. Our Mobile Suite model offered a desk where the entertainment center is located, although we wanted a desk, DRV’s design we felt was once again impracticable for our needs. If we’d opted for their desk, we would have had to give up the fireplace which we weren’t inclined to do. The fireplace is wonderful for taking the chill off on a cool morning without having to turn on the furnace. We also would not be able to utilize the countertop to display photos of our grandbabies which was important to us. Sure, we could use the dinette table but who wants to be continually moving a laptop, jetpack & printer every time one wants to sit down to a meal or play a game of cards. We did see ready made desk/dinette combos at the Escapees Escapade that could be installed but these too had one big flaw. Unless one had the stature of Twiggy, the allowable work space just wasn’t going to, well, work.
Did you know that Indiana has several areas of Amish societies? One of the largest communities is in the northern portion of the state. And where there are Amish, one can find skilled carpenters. Enter Artistic Dreams of Shipshewana, owned & operated by Freeman Yoder & his son John Mark who craft beautiful pieces of cabinetry & furniture in their barns. I had presented them with a rough draft & measurements of what I wanted for our RV & they in turn, not only met my wishes but exceeded them. A solid, well built unit that matches the interior of our Suite to a tee & we couldn’t be more delighted.
Artistic Dreams also installed a decorative rail above the fireplace so that when we are towing, I can lay my picture frames flat for travel without having to stow them. They even added two more shelves to the bathroom linen closet allowing me better access to the towels, sheets, etc.
Completing the modifications was the installation of a 2nd air conditioner & a Direct TV satellite to our roof.
Come to think of it, there is one more item on our wants & needs list. This is where our son-in-law Dennis comes into play, he will be designing & welding a rack to the back end of Suite Pea in which Don can haul his oversized smoker/grill around the country in. Don enjoys grilling as much as I enjoy cooking, AND, we both enjoy eating.
Here’s looking at you kid……………………………………..