More camper changes- modification ideas for any RV

We have been working on the camper regularly.  Each day brings about a new change, a new detail, a new feature.  Here are some photos and information about what we have done.

The camper (2005 Northstar Arrow 8.5) had some dated valances above the windows.  These seem like extra weight and dust gatherers (wood and fabric).  So I removed them and filled the holes with caulk.

valances-before

You can see the valance above the window that Zeb is looking out.  These boxes were above 4 of 6 windows.

overbed-area-before

There was also a color-coordinated wood and fabric piece over the bed area.  It held speakers.  We removed the stereo and replaced that with a piece that can hold magnets.

overbed-painted-white

Area above bed is now painted white and able to hold magnetic items- clock, nightlight, trinkets.

window-valances-drawers

Removing the valance allowed space for two custom made drawers to be installed.  These slide out easily and latch securely.

drawers-under-cabinets

Here is another view of those drawers we mounted under the cabinets.  I ordered them off of Etsy and had them made to the size I wanted.

drawers-under-cabinets2

This is what at the drawers look like when open.  They are designed to tilt down for easy access.  They are made of REAL wood- notice the knot?

We also removed the microwave and range hood.  Although both items may be handy when camped in an RV park- we plan to spend most of our time boon docking or unplugged.  So the microwave and range hood will just draw precious battery juice!  Both are gone.

microwave-before

It came with a nice, large microwave. We didn’t need it. Fortunately one of our kids wanted it!

microdoor-and-drawer-underneath

A door was made for the microwave opening and a large storage drawer was installed where the range hood was located.  More storage!

microwave-cabinet-door

The former microwave area is now a storage cabinet.  The yellow bird handle is from Iceland.  The metal post is a magnetic door catch which will hold the door open (latches to ceiling) and also hold a dishtowel!

The refrigerator in this camper was HUGE!! This unit was about 5 cubic feet and offered a fridge and freezer compartment.  It ran on battery, gas or electric.  While we loved the quality of the unit, we didn’t love the efficiency rating of those types.  The front opening refrigerators are known to draw quite a bit of power.  And each time you open the door, the cold literally “falls out”, requiring the fridge to run the compressor again.  We opted for a smaller chest refrigerator by Engel.  We purchased it at a great price through AT Overland. It will serve as a step to the bed, extended counter space (with a cutting board on top) and a more efficient cooling unit for our food.  The removal of the refrigerator also gives us a large storage area for other items while moving the weight of the fridge forward over the wheels.  Basically this modification is a win-win for us in many ways.

fridge-before

This was the huge, original refrigerator.

fridge-closet-door

We had this wood door made to cover the opening

fridge-cabinet-new-door

Here is the door after it was stained.  Beautiful wood!

before-after-tiled-fridge-closet

This is a before and after of tiling the former refrigerator area.  We had already filled the holes and added wood to “finish” the walls of this closet.

closet-shelves

The final step in the former refrigerator closet is some lightweight wood shelving.  These were sold as shoe shelves- but fit perfectly! This will become a clothes closet.

After installing the new door, we realized that the light fixture was in the way.  So we removed the old style light fixture and added a bright, LED fixture that was flush-mount. It gives off great light and really finishes up the entryway nicely.

img_0521

New light fixture in entryway.  New closet on left, bathroom on right.  Good thing there is an exit sign over the door!

When we picked up the camper in Oregon, we spent our first night in it.  That quickly illustrated the need for a new mattress and bed frame system.  The new bed frame is a basic IKEA unit. That raises the bed up off the wood platform so that it will not have condensation and mildew. (a common issue with beds on wood platforms)  The raised frame also allows for storage of the table, cutting board and other items underneath the bed. The irony of this bed is that Mike and I have not shared a queen sized bed in over 12 years- even in our last 3 homes the bed was a full size.  Such luxury!  I am sure Mango will appreciate the extra legroom at night, hahahahaha.

first-night-in-the-new-camper

Our first night in the new camper.  That quickly illustrated the need for a new mattress.

new-mattress

The new queen sized mattress is in place.  Underneath is a basic IKEA bed frame to keep it from condensation and allow storage.

When the new frame and mattress went in, we discovered that the closet door would not open properly.  It was partially blocked by the plush, new mattress.  So we modified the door to allow it to open without wrestling with the mattress and bedspread.

closet-door-over-bed

Closet door still allows full access without bedspread being in the way.

overbed area1.JPG

Mango is curled up on the mattress while Geneva works inside the camper.

These are just a few of the modifications we have done thus far.  Watch for the next post by signing up to “follow” this blog.  We do not use your email address, you will not receive spam, you will be notified of our next post.

Up next- more changes on the camper interior, exterior and functions.  Thanks for reading our blog

4 responses to “More camper changes- modification ideas for any RV

  1. Solar is a great thing and I would love to have it on my camper. Just a thought about securing a generator for information…Torklift Lock and Load. I have one and love it. Sure, anyone can steal something eventually if they really want to but slowing the theft process down, making it harder is what anything is about.
    A/C, do you have a Fantastic fan in one of the roof vents? They work great for when temps are not too hot. We just finally added A/C last summer. The camper was prepped for an A/C but did not have one. After the summers 114F days, I was ready. It was unusually hot for a longer time.
    Safe travels and I look forward to seeing what else you are up to.

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  2. TC- Thanks for writing in. I love it when folks respond.

    You ask a valid question about the air conditioner, and the answer is simply- location, location, location! We are planning to drive the Pan-American Highway. Along that route there are many HOT places. When the temps are uncomfortable, we will rent a space to plug in and run the AC vs renting a hotel room with AC. That one makes the weight worth the trade off. Having AC in the sleeping area and driving cabin was one of the reasons we went to this unit. The VW Vanagon had no AC and we spent some rough nights in Baja and the Southern USA!! This is one luxury I will not be without ever again. (I know: never say never!)

    We have discussed having a generator to lengthen our boon docking and support the AC. However, for our needs the generator is additional weight and a theft risk when outside unattended. An upcoming post will share our solar modifications which will power all but that AC. But then there is that AC……

    The microwave is an easy loss- I love cooking anyway and don’t make leftovers to be stored and reheated (see fridge size). The fridge, although smaller than the original, is larger than what I had for the past 3 years while full-timing! I have learned to manage the meals with a smaller space- this one feels enormous.

    So you are right-on when you state, these “will work for what you want to do”! It is so wonderful to see all the different ways that folks modify and organize their campers. I am constantly scanning for new tips as we complete our build and get ready to go on the road again. We are still looking for rear deck/bumper solutions! Keep watching.

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  3. Seems like the changes you are making will work well for what you want to do. However, I have a question, It was stated about the weight concern of some of the items that were removed and the no need to have powered units since you will be boon docking a lot. I wonder why you still have the a/c unit then? The a/c unit is by far the heaviest item still left. Do not get me wrong, it is just a question.
    While for me, I would never remove all those items and we do boon dock also…but for me, that is what the generator is for. To run the a/c if needed or the microwave or any other units. Again, please do not get what I am saying as bad in anyway. I just wonder why the choice of keeping the a/c unit?
    I look forward to seeing another trip report out enjoying the camper soon. Happy camping!

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