Thursday, December 20, 2012

Honey, let's eat on the floor for a few days

As it is with most RV remodel/modifications, it begins with a thought. A 'What if' or 'What do you think about this', and then the ball just picks up speed from there.

For this go around (admitting that it won't be the last), my wife brought up the idea of an L shaped dinette to replace the booth that came with the rig. The goal was to make it so that all 6 of us could sit at the table together. The booth was set up so that just the 4 kids fit. 

We first looked for something that was already made, checking local furniture stores, consignment shops, and even the thrift stores. We did not find anything. Not, we didn't find anything close. We just didn't find anything. So, time for a custom build.

Since it had been more that 2 days since I had last worked, I heard 'PROJECT' and took off with the idea. I soon had my sketch book out, drawing angles, taking measurements, creating a cut list, and making a material list.

This is the point that my wife chuckles on the outside, saying 'You're cute', but inside she is saying 'Yes!' and patting herself on the back.

After a preliminary run to the hardware store to confirm some materials were available and finishing up the plans, I was off. I do find it humorous that we didn't get back home until 3:30 with the first load of material, but I jumped right in until it was too dark to work.
The booth that came in the RV...
...quickly turned into this.
I jumped right back into the project the next morning, politely waiting a half hour after quiet hours was over so as not to disturb any neighbors. Soon I had the base put together and brought it inside for a dry fit.

It wasn't long before I had all of the wood cut and assembled, so it was time to stain and polyurethane.
Assembly and staining outside.
My timetable was thrown off some because of the humidity affecting drying times, so I had to move things inside once it got too dark and the temperature dropped some.
Let it sit overnight to fully cure and dry.
The next morning was final assembly and trimming out. To save a few inches, I only built a back on the portion against the couch. The wall can be leaned on, and we can use some cushions if someone needs better support. The kids are the ones sitting back there, but they sit forward and not against the wall.

My goal was to try to have a zero weight change. I didn't pull out a scale or anything, but after lifting each of the old benches and then the new ones, I came within a pound. We do have more storage under each bench than before, and it is easier to access thanks to a hinged lid instead of having to take the cushions and base off to get below. For the time, we are reusing the table that came with the RV. It is a close fit, but I wouldn't mind having something that is made for the space and matches the new furniture.

Stephanie found a few folding chairs and pillows from World Market to put on the finishing touches.
Finished product.
We now have a space where all 6 of us fit. We tried it out for dinner, and it fits perfectly.


  1. Love it! We are also a family of 6 and I think this is brilliant! Maybe a mod we'll do when it warms up here.

  2. That looks awesome! We have the large U-shape dinette in our's the one reason I chose our floor plan. It's so nice to be able to sit together.

  3. Love the new eating arrangement! You did a great job. I laughed out loud at the title for this entry!! :-)

  4. Cool. I was wanting to do the same thing but make it a computer / office workspace. Course I don't have 6. Just me plus one :P

  5. Hi, I am Stephanie Fearnow's sister-in-law, Brena Fearnow, and she directed my husband and me to your blog. We are gearing up to set out on our own RV adventure here in August as my husband is going to school in Ohio for pipe welding and will travel like crazy once he finishes. We have two little boys, a 25 month old and 4 month old. I have been reading through your blog and must say kuddos to you guys! We just started getting into canning and such and I was hoping to find a way to continue..after reading your blog on how you gave that all up I feel kind of disappointed. There were so many things I had not taken in to consideration, like groceries and diapers. Well now that you've been on the road for a while, do you have any tips or things you would have done differently from the get go?

    1. Hi Brena,
      How exciting to be in the preparation stage! Please do not be discouraged about continuing with canning and such. If that's a priority for your family, you can certainly do it while on the just takes a bit more work and you cannot stock up large scale due to space and weight concerns. In fact, I'm considering retrieving some of my canning supplies from storage later this year to can a small batch of jam, salsa and applesauce this year when the fruits are in season.
      Diapers were less of an issue for us as our youngest potty trained herself 2 months into going full-time, but we totally could still cloth diaper on the road, if we needed/wanted to. I kept a half dozen g-diapers for that reason and we've friends who are full-timers that cloth diaper their children.
      There are a few things that we would have done differently from the start. That's a great question, and rather than make this reply too long, I'll work on a blog post in the next day or so to cover those. :)

  6. Hahaha I had a feeling that would be what you would do when I asked that. Alright, thanks so much, I'll stay tuned!

  7. This is great. We are a family of siz as well and we've been contemplating different alternatives to the too small dinette. I think I like this one a lot. I'll have to show it to hubby and see what he thinks!

  8. This was nicely done! Inspiring. Alida w6