Renovations, what to do first

We get our water system looked at in about a week and a half, and the engine checked out then as well. We’ve got new tires and had an oil change, so we should be good for awhile.

However, there are things we want or need to change.

I didn’t think about it, but Tiffany brought up doing something about the dinette. Its large and takes up a lot of space, and while its covered in stuff needing to be put away at the moment, once it is clean, I don’t know how often we will use it. We plan on cooking outdoors as much as possible and assuming we are at a campground with tables, we’ll eat outside too.

So what should we do with it? We will likely take it out, but what to replace it with and what to do with the stuff underneath? Unlike many motorhomes, ours does not have a holding tank under the dinette or couch, it is in back under the bed. What is under the dinette though?

On the rear side, there is storage for the batteries which is sealed off inside and has a vented slide on the outside to gain access to them. The front side has a bunch of random crap under it. All of it is open from doors on the hallway side, which is not at all convenient. The openings are small and the storage is almost useless.

What we do need is storage, proper storage. We are going to be upgrading to solar at some point and will need more batteries than the little compartment can hold. We’ll also need space for the charge controller, inverter, and lots of cable.

Both of us also have a lot of work we do on our computers. While the driver’s side captain’s chair is convenient since I can rest my laptop on the steering wheel, the copilot chair is far from ideal.

I think we should put a desk there, maybe one that folds down so it doesn’t take up too much space, and has storage underneath for batteries (I want gel or AGM since they don’t require venting), as well as storage along the sides for things like food or supplies we need. This would really open up the kitchen area, give us a more useful space, and give us more storage. It would also give us a decent place to put the cat’s litter box, since right now it is out in the open and we frequently trip over it.



Project number two is the bed. The storage underneath is a horrible waste of space. We basically have the length and width of a twin bed for storage that isn’t being used at all. So tear that out! Not really, we’ll have to plan better, but I think we can make something work.

The fresh water tank is underneath the driver’s side twin bed, on top of which is a platform going across both beds for our queen. Bad layout, not at all efficient. I have to draw something out and make it more efficient, give us space for long term storage for winter clothes and such, and make it easily accessible. We don’t need the platform that once held the bed over the water tank, but obviously can’t move the water tank. Its too big, tied into everything, and there is nowhere else to put it.

So instead, I’m thinking of tearing out the passenger side bed, tearing out the bed over the water tank, and rebuilding it to meet our needs. We’ve gotten used to having the foot end of the twin bed next to us as a makeshift nightstand. The water pump and a bunch of plumbing is under there, so that will probably evolve into something else. The bed will still probably sit perpendicular to the RV, also not a problem. I think we can get cabinets though at the height of the water tank, and build a self-contained platform that has storage along the front for clothes and stuff, with a lid that can come up so we can store less needed things behind the cabinets. We probably don’t even need to hinge it, but need to find some way to get the mattress out of the way so we can get to it. If it fits in like a jigsaw puzzle, it shouldn’t move once the mattress is on top.

Then there is the cosmetic stuff. We want to paint the interior of the RV and get rid of the ugly brown panelling that covers most of the walls, along with the dated 1980’s wallpaper. It looks old and its annoying. An eyesore really. So we can paint all of that. Most of the surfaces can be just painted over. I think changing out the cabinet pulls and hardware will go a long way to making it look better and feel more like home. There was some water damage on the roof in the front (it was fixed and doesn’t leak now), so that would require a good sanding and painting over, but for the most part, it should be an easy job. We’ll just have to park somewhere that we can do that kind of work, especially since we are living in it.

We also want to get some peel and stick tile for the backsplash behind the stove and sink, and maybe find something we can do the bathroom completely in. They are pretty cheap and it would make a large difference in the appearance.

Finally: Solar. I’ve been pricing it out, going through what it would take to do it all and how long it would take to save up money for it, and it looks like we won’t be able to afford a full solar set up until next year, probably winter 2018. I am thinking 900 watts of solar panels would be enough for us, but we would need enough battery storage to hold it all. I haven’t set up a budget for it yet, I’m just trying to figure out how to make it and build it right now, but its going to be in the thousands of dollars. I may buy it piece by piece, a little each month until we have everything waiting for us somewhere and can go install it all at once. That would be the best way to go about doing it and if we spend $200 or $300 a month, we won’t be breaking the bank and in a few months we will have all the parts. It just requires having someone there to help me put it all together, run all the cable, and turn it on.

Solar panels and systems are coming down in price, so its much cheaper now than it was even a few years ago. We’d like to boondock as much as possible and not worry about charging the batteries by running the generator, so if we can do this soon enough, we’ll be set. I’ve researched the hell out of this, so I have a pretty good idea of what we need and how to do it, but the cost is the limiting factor right now.

Other than that, we are getting pretty comfortable living in the RV. Once we have running water, things will be even better. Once we have water, then we will know we can survive fine and everything else is minor issues that can be dealt with as they come up.

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