Hey there! When we last left off on the rv remodel, I had used tile to make a huge impact in the kitchen and a statement in the bedroom. The back bunk room that originally had held three beds and a small dinette needed to be turned into an office. If you’re new here and need to catch up, you can check out the initial posts the rv remodel, rv shiplap, and two kinds of rv tile. Go ahead, I’ll wait….. this post is a little long, and I want to make sure anyone who wants to build for an rv might be able to use it so please forgive me in advance.
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Pretty neat huh? Ok, after the bunks, dinette, and interesting excuse for a “dresser” were removed, There was a blank slate! That “bump in” has an outdoor kitchen underneath. Over it was 1/8″ luan that was obviously not going to be supportive of much so that was replaced with 3/4″ PureBond plywood. You’ve probably heard me talk about PureBond before. It’s formaldehyde free, made in North America and super high quality. My client has some health concerns and this is the perfect product for her- any plywood we used in the remodel was all Pure Bond. I wouldn’t recommend anything else (no, they don’t pay me to tell you that, I really believe in this stuff). The client painted it all to have a fresh start and here is how this part of the project “started”:
Building “furniture”for an rv is really nothing like building for a house. Everything is all about weight and accounting for movement must be accounted for as it bounces down the road. I have been comparing it to a Hollywood movie set… it’s all about the facade. First, I found the studs and screwed a frame for the cabinet to the outside walls. You don’t see my pocket holes here because I turned it around to hide them against the wall.
Making all of these I made heavy use of my fabulous Kreg jig. Pocket holes are a great way to join pieces at a 90º angle and keep strength. It’s really easy to use once you get the hang of it and is so much easier and more secure than using dowels. I love this thing!
Then I laid out the other side wall.
At this point, I realized securing them together was going to be a tight fit in such a cramped space…oops. Due to a very small entry door, putting it all together and then moving it into the room was not at option, so I used the small space I had, unscrewed it from the wall, and brought the whole unit to the floor.
I used my Kreg Tools right angle clamp to hold it in place while I screwed in together (building alone can be tricky- this clamp is fabulous!) Then I added a top support bar and used some hooks with a dowel to fashion a makeshift hanging bar. Storage is a necessity in such a small home so you create it where ever you can and use every square inch of space to its maximum potential. I used the leftover luan pulled off from the bump-in to create a top just to keep out dust. You may notice the ceiling has a bit of a curve to it.. yet one more reason building in an rv is tricky.
The side is Masonite bead board for a decorative touch. I added the drawer units and screwed them to the wall and floor as well.
The doors were very simple. Keeping with the shaker style of the kitchen cabinets two sections of top and bottom with bead board on the bottom and then a decorative metal on top. She was worried about dust so I screwed white masonite (it was white board panels actually) to the backs of the metal inserts. When I was done, the two “dressers” looked like this:
Remember how storage is at a premium? I found wall racks for a pantry and they fit perfectly on the inside of the doors- More storage!
(shhhh… pretend you don’t see that center section… the door storage was added later so those “shelves” will make sense in a few paragraphs)
Since this will be the husband’s office, he needed a cabinet to keep his office supplies. A tall one next to his desk was the decision and that one was built in a similar-ish fashion to the smaller ones. I started by constructing the exterior panel on this one first to make sure it was using the full space on the wall. I screwed that panel to the wall with an “L” bracket/corner brace and secured the side and back pieces to keep everything square-ish and in place. I fashioned a decorative kick plate for the front that mimicked the side design because functional doesn’t have to be boring (and it provided extra support for the bottom shelf).
I used my brad nailer and glue to attach the front and side panels then screwed in supports for the shelving.
This door was built in the same way as the other one.
The section under the dressers offered a tiny bit more storage to claim so I did. I pulled off the luan panel then framed it out with decorative facing boards.
I built simple doors using the Kreg jig, drill, and glue.
Then laid everything out to see how it all fit together.
Then I went to work on that center section. The client had found a picture of reclaimed wood drawers she loved on Pinterest so I went to work trying to recreate it for her. First decision was how deep to make the unit. It was “very” precise… I used the baskets she wanted for storage and looked at where two deep would fall… approximately.
I marked up where everything needed to go. Because you can’t really use a level building in an rv, making sure everything was equal distance from a static point was the best I could do and it was a tight fit.
That 1×2 screwed to the back wall was the rear top shelf support then I built the sides and essentially the shelving supports held everything in place. I added front trim pieces to give it a bit more of a polished look and then went to work on the “drawers”.
I decided drop-down faux drawers would probably give her the most flexibility with storage and I found these hinges at DLawless Hardware and knew they would be perfect! They were a little tricky to install, but using my drill press and following the clear instructions on the site, I was able to get them knocked out in no time.
Here are some photos of the process:
Once the base units were hinged I installed them for a dry fit:
The top shelf was a bit taller so rather than cut a whole other piece of wood, I used what I had and built the height with the reclaimed wood front you can see it here:
We used these neat weathered wood boards at Home Depot for the fronts. They are not super soft, but weren’t really being touched so they were perfect.
The color variation is interesting so everything was laid out to make sure the overall color flow and positioning of the knots were considered.
I glued and nailed them together then I used my cordless circular saw to cut them all flush with the sides of the backing boards.
One that was done I screwed them in place then added the handles.
Boom! TONS of storage for an rv and office.
Well, do you think you can take on an rv remodel?
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I know you’re anxious to see the after. I really am dying to show it to you….. It was a huge undertaking and took nearly 3 months…. but I promise, it’s SO worth it.
The wait is over, rv remodel Finished product!
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RV remodel- rv shiplap - Saved by ScottieDecember 18, 2019 at 6:47 PM
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Gary G e i c kOctober 1, 2021 at 11:28 AM
Good morning, is there any chance of getting a full picture of the complete job. Also do you have any pictures of other designs. We bought a trailer with a bunkhouse exactly like this but the grandchildren don’t come with us anymore. We are looking at some long trips with the wife and myself so more storage space would be great.
ScottieJanuary 1, 2022 at 3:28 PM
Hi Gary! Did you have a look at the link to the finished build? There are several pictures there. (https://byscottie.com/rv-remodel-finished-product/)