Most projects we start stem from problems or annoyances we experience while living in our RV. Whenever we say ”I hate” or “I wish”, the brainstorm part of our brain comes alive and we focus on how we can fix the issue or make it better.
This week we updated our bedroom closet with a more functional layout and a built-in a nightstand with charging capabilities.
RV closet space is obviously small, but the setup in our RV was inefficient and didn’t maximize clothing storage. The original setup was a single rod across the top. We were initially happy to have a hanging closet and while we hung some clothes and stored some baskets in the bottom, in the end the closet was wasted unusable space.
Another issue was the closet side of the bed had no nightstand. This was super annoying. I didn’t have anywhere to put my glasses, charge my cell phone, or have a drink while laying in bed. There is a nightstand on the opposite side of the bed with an a single outlet, but that's obviously not convenient for me and charging devices back there was a pain.
So we redesigned it. We built 3 big shelves for storage and left a small rod for hanging jackets. We also borrowed some closet space to make a night stand cubby.
This project was easy and cheap, it cost less than $50 in material including all the charging outlets and wiring.
Nightstand Cubby with a Charging Station
5. Level and secure the box.
Put the box back in the hole and level the box by placing legs under the cubby to level it. To secure the cubby, I screwed 3 2.5 inch screws through the cubby and legs and down into the floor of the closet. This box isn’t going anywhere.
New Closet Layout
2. Plan cut list.
We had 3 shelves and a vertical divider and all the shelf supports which came out to ¾ of a 8 x 4 piece of plywood
3. Buy material.
We used a sheet of ½ inch sanded plywood because it was one of the cheapest options and 1 inch drywall screws and 2 inch drywall screws
4. Cut out pieces from your cut list.
We used a table saw to make our cuts but you can easily use a circular saw.
By: Kevin Quiambao
Has one side of your slide completely stopped working? Are you thinking of taking it into a repair shop? Well STOP! We can help you avoid that costly trip and repair it yourself. A broken slide is a pretty common occurrence and depending on the problem, it isn't that hard to fix on your own. As long as you are somewhat handy/mechanical, have a couple of tools, a partner who is as fearless as you are and these instructions you should be set.
From the moment we purchased Wanda, our used 2007 Winnebago Vista, we anticipated a problem with the slide one day. While it did work, every time it went out or in it sounded awful. The sounds of rubbing, scraping and clunking predicted that one day it would cause us a lot of stress on the road. And it sure did, at a very inopportune time. But luckily after some troubleshooting and research we figured out how to fix it.
These directions are specially for those who have a DigiSync Kwikee slide made by Power Gear and are having the following issues:
These were the symptoms we had with our slide. You might be having 1 or more these issues or none, it could be a different problem altogether. After this happened and at a loss for how to fix it, we called Power Gear directly and spoke to their support. They were extremely helpful and knew what the problem was right away, the Acme Nut. This plastic nut keeps the acme screw in place in the slide housing. He asked for my email and sent me instructions on how to remove the nut and replace it and fix the issue. The nut can be found on Amazon, but we found it online from Lichtsinn RV. The part only cost $14 dollars. So we bought 3 spares and upgraded the clevis pins which hold the acme screw in place.
Lichtsinn RV Part Number:
62832-01-702 Acme Nut $14
162832-01-700 Clevis Pin $1.50 x2
Time: It took us about 4 hours, but if we had to do it again we could probably do it in half the time.
Congrats you fixed your own slide and saved yourself a ton of money. This repair probably would have cost you anywhere from $300 to $600 to fix.
If you have any question, feel free to reach out to us and leave us a comment below if this helped you.
By: Kevin Quiambao
How to Make an L Shaped Dinette with a Versatile Table Top, Plenty of Storage, Pull Out Drawer and a Full Size Bed
Wanda's old dinette really didn’t fit our needs and was a waste of space. By re-configuring the layout and maximizing the space, our new dinette meets all our requirements and works much better for us.
The original booth style dinette, which is built into many different RV layouts is designed to accommodate 4 people with storage under the seat and can be converted into a small bed. The drawback to this design is it takes up a lot of room and interferes with the layout of the whole kitchen. The walkway is tight, the seats are tight and there is no usable counter tops. Even after adding a flip up counter top and cover for the stove on the other side of the kitchen, we still did not feel there was enough room.
Features of the New L Shaped Dinette
Seating for 4 or More
How to Make an L Shapped Dinette with Versatile Table, Pull Out Storage, Converts to a Full Size Bed
Step 1: Remove/Demo the Old Dinette
Step 2: Measure Dimension
We wanted to use the existing footprint of the old dinette. On average bench has a height of 18 inches and a depth of approximately 17 1/2 inches. Depth should not exceed 20 inches for comfort. We made the backrest as tall as the bottom of the window. We didn’t want to obstruct the window.
Step 4: Make a Cut List
I use MaxCut to make my cutlist. This is also a free application you can download. You simply type in the dimension from your sketchup plan and it automatically lays everything out and provides you with cutting diagrams and an estimated cost.
Step 5: Purchase Lumber, Screws, Drawer Slides, Piano Hinges and Stain/Paint
Go to Home Depot or Lowes and bring your cut list. The cut list will tell you how much material you will need to complete your design. For our design we use ¾ inch birch plywood. It is a little heavy but I wanted to ensure that it would last forever.
Step 7: Finish and Paint Lumber
After a quick sand around the edges, finish the each piece in paint or stain. We stained ours and gave it a distressed rustic look. We first applied gray stain and layered in white stain over it. After we got the desired look we wanted, we applied two coats of matte poly.
Step 8: Lay floor (If necessary)
Since we ripped all the carpet out of our RV (Wanda), we needed to install our new flooring before assembling the dinette.
Step 9: Move electric (if necessary)
The original electric box was on the back wall. Since we were going to cover that location we needed to move it to a more convenient spot. If you are moving it, you might want to update the outlet to one that has USB outlets on it. You can also add another outlet if needed.
Step 10: Assemble and screw down Dinette
Assemble the back pieces together first. This way the screws are not seen. Then screw the long back piece to the wall and then both pieces to the floor. Continue to attach the rest of the walls to each other first then screw them to the floor. Next attach the seat pieces. I used a piano hinge for the seat so they can flip open. For the doggie door I used flush opening hinges and added a cabinet pull to easily open the door. For the pull out shelf, I made wooden brackets to mount on the drawer slides so the shelf can clear the doors.
I used combination butt joinery and pocket holes joinery . I made sure you couldn't see any screws when putting it together.
Step 11: Order Cushions
For the cushions the best/cheapest/fastest place we found to get them done was through Esty. Our cushions are 3 inches thick and have zippers so we can wash them easily. We also used Sunbrella material so they can stand up to camp life.
Step 12: Install Lagun bracket
Our L shaped dinette was planned around this bracket. The Lagun Bracket provides so much flexibility. Install the wall bracket first and then attach the table to the bracket arms. We didn’t center the bracket because we wanted to be able to flip the table around to the couch as well. Find a location that will benefit you the most. For the most stability, make sure most of your weight is centered towards the center of your table.
Note: Our table is actually a piece of wall art that was hanging in our original house. We re-purposed it to use as our table. The wood is warped and very heavy. Our table tilts because of this. We are definitely maxing out the capabilities of the bracket. If you use a the same ¾ plywood from the benches as your tabletop, you shouldn't experience this problem and you can use the same piece to complete the bed. We carry a separate piece to complete the bed. We just really like the look of our tabletop so we deal with the tilt and carry the extra piece of wood in a bay underneath.
By: Kevin Quiambao
Do you have old school CRT TV or a spot where one used to be in your RV? These cabinets which housed the monster sized TVs are no longer useful with today's flat screen TVs and waste a lot of space. There are ways to modernize the housing by installing plywood and mounting a TV outside the cabinet (what the past owner of Wanda did) but the problem is, the TV placement isn’t great for watching TV and the cabinet blocks the view out the front windows. Our solution was to move the TV in front of the couch for better viewing and make additional usable storage space by turning the TV cabinet into an open shelf.
Step 1: Remove the Old TV, Label all the wires that run into TV and reroute them to the new TV location
The new location was 10 feet away from the existing location. We extended the coaxial cables to reach the new location.
Step 2: Carefully Remove the Old Trim, Leather and Carpeting.
You will be reusing these pieces later on.
Step 3: Using a Reciprocating Saw Cut Out The Metal Bracket That Held The Existing TV
The bracket is welded in so the only way to remove it was to use a saw and cut it out. I only cut out the portions of the bracket that would obstruct with the new cabinet. I left the rest in for some additional support for the new cabinet.
Step 4: Frame In The New Cabinet with MDF to create a box
Carefully measure and cut out each side of the cabinet.
Step 5: Use the Old Trim, Leather and Carpeting to Finish the Box
I reused the wood for face trim, glued down the carpet on the bottom and wrapped leather around scrap wood and screwed it in underneath the box for continuous coverage to match the existing dash.
Step 6: Sand and Paint
Step 7: (Optional) Make a Cabinet Door
We opted to skip this as we liked the feel of the open shelf, but you can certainly close it in if you prefer.
Does your RV still have an old school tv? Let Us know how you removed it in the comments below?
When renovating Wanda, a problem that came up was where to put Piper the cat's litter box. We debated for weeks where we should put it because there didn't seem to be a great place for it that wasn't in the way or inconvenient for scooping away the waste and changing the litter. Our final design and what we now refer to as Piper's poop palace, was a smart and creative way to use otherwise unused space, is out of site and easy to clean.
Step 1 - Establish a location for the litter box
The space we decided to use was under the “nightstand” by the bed. This location allowed us to use part of the biggest bay on our Winnebago Vista 30B, which has some deep storage that is hard to reach from outside. It was an easy place for us to sacrifice some storage and its out of sight but still easy to access.
Step 2 - Plan out Your Design.
We designed a bathroom that would hold a small litter box with some extra space along the side. We used the existing two walls and added two more, a back piece and side piece, to enclose the litter box. On the side wall we added a vent for air circulation. As far as access, we created two entrances; one for the cat and the other for us to remove the litter box for cleaning/changing. For the cat, we used a PetSafe Extreme Weather Energy Efficent Pet Door (Small) and for us we added a cabinet door that hinges open from the bottom.
Step 3 - Cut an Opening for the Main Access Door.
We wanted to make this opening as big as possible so we could easily take the box in and out. With a permanent marker, we marked a template for our cut. Using a drill and ½ inch drill bit, we drilled out starter holes in each of the corners. We then used a combination of Ryobi Reciprocating Saws and Dewalt Oscillating Multi-tool to cut out the hole. We then used sandpaper to smooth the opening.
Step 4 - Creating the Enclosure for the Litter Box
Using the litter box as a guide, measure the lengths you need for the other two walls. We used two pieces of 1/2 inch plywood. The back piece is 16 inches wide by 20 inches tall and side piece is 18 inches wide by 20 inches tall. On the sidewall, we cut an additional hole for an AC vent to create some air circulation. You can do this by again pre-drilling holes in the corners and then using a jigsaw to cut our the square. Make sure to make the opening smaller than your vent cover.
Step 5 - Cut Plywood to Make a Door and Hole for the Pet door
For a basic door, cut a piece of plywood that is an inch bigger than your cut out on all 4 sides. Our door measure at 13.5 inches wides by 15.5 inches tall. Now using the template that comes with the PetSafe Extreme Weather Energy Efficent Pet Door (Small) , use the same method as above (pre-drill corners and then use the saw) to cut out the door hole.
Step 6 - Prime and Paint the Walls and Door
Prime and/or paint the inside of the walls for some protection against mold and mildew.
Step 7 - Assemble the Walls
After the paint dried, we assembled the walls. First, we screwed in the vent plate into the side wall. We then pre-drilled the edge of the walls were they butt together, used wood glue and screwed in ½ screws. To add more rigidity, we used corner brackets to screw the box enclosure into the floor and existing walls. See picture for exact locations.
Step 8 - Install the Pet Door and then the Main Access Door
Using the directions, from the PetSafe Extreme Weather Energy Efficent Pet Door (Small) assemble the pet door. Once that is complete, install the hinges, door knob, and door latch. After all the hardware is in place, you can now install the door and enclose the room.
Step 9 - Cat Test
Congrats, you are all done and your cat should appreciate their new bathroom. Introduce your cat to their Private En Suite Bathroom. Below are some tips to help aid them into using it.
Tips- Introducing your cat to their new bathroom
- Tape the pet door open for the first couple of days so they can easily find their bathroom and not fear the flapping door.
- Bury some of the waste from the cats prior litter box in the new box, they will recognize it as theirs and it should encourage them to start using the new box.
By Kevin Quiambao
Disclosure: This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links, which means we may receive a commission if you click the link and purchase something we recommend. Clicking these links doesn't cost you any extra money but it does help support our adventures and this website. Thank you for your support!