RV Remodel: Adding Another Office To Our Travel Trailer
We work on the road selling on on Amazon FBA and teaching others how to do so for free. We also have many side businesses that require us to have adequate office space. Back in 2013 before we went full time on the road, we had removed the triple bunks to create Alan a fantastic office space. To see that build click here.
For the next year and a half, I had been sitting in my office chair at the end of our booth table and using that as an office. It was not working well. My chair was constantly in the way of moving around the trailer. We never used the booth for sitting in as it was always piled full of inventory and my random necessary junk. Plus, it was really uncomfortable.
Last winter while staying in the Everglades of all places, we finally decided to pull out our booths and jack knife sofa to create an office space for me and a better more comfortable living room area. For our living room we had been using the jack knife sofa in bed mode and piling tons of pillows behind us so we could stretch out and watch our laptop TV. The sofa began to wear out and we were soon sitting on metal bars. Remodel was a necessity.
We started with removing the booths. It was a straightforward process. We kept unscrewing screws until it was all removed.
Once we finished removing the booths, We unscrewed the table from the floor. Initially we were going to use the whole table as a desk surface. Even rotated against the wall we found the table too large to really work in our space as a desk.
So we went to the hardware store and bought a few sheets of cheap presanded plywood. We decided on a proper size for my desk. We went with 48 x 20. That made for a desk that was fairly long for all of my work stuff but skinny enough that I could sit completely in our slide out and leave the path for walking clear.
We removed the top of the old table and discarded it. We reused the table mounts and screwed the plywood on top. Tip: be careful of how long your screws are in conjunction with your plywood. We accidentally poked the tips of the screws through the desk a tiny bit. We ended up buying a few washers as spacers and using those to keep our screws from poking through the desk. It was minor so we were able to sand down the holes and you can not see them now.
At that point we needed a “backrest” for our laptop TV watching area, and shelving to create space to store our Amazon inventory. Alan specked out exactly the size and purpose for each shelf. The bottom shelf was the right height to store about 20 gallon jugs of water. The upper two shelves were fitted to our bins we use for storing our merchandise.
We had Home Depot cut our ply wood for us. They did an OK job, but left one of our shelves about an inch shorter than it needed to be. Alan being ever resourceful, went in and bought the saw for our Black and Decker Matrix System. It’s a multi tool with drill, multiple styles of saws, air pressure inflator, sander, impact driver, and more. All of the attachments fit on the same base and the battery life is great! Its very compact and super handy for DIY Rvers. We use ours alot!
He cut an inch off an extra piece of plywood and screwed the pieces together creating the length we needed for the shelf to fit. I was skeptical, but the shelf is very sturdy.
We fit the shelf in next to my new desk and at the end of the jack knife sofa. We decided to leave our remodel at this stage for a few months until we hit our parents home in Virginia a few months later.
Once at the parents house, we decided the awful jack knife and dog smelly carpets needed to go. Again the jack knife came out with a few screws being removed. To remove the carpeting we just unscrewed the desk from the floor and took the desk and shelf into the house so they were out of the way. We got out a carpet knife and cut as close to walls as possible. Our carpet went under the walls in some spots. We used a combo of a carpet knife and brute strength to rip those carpets out. After fully removing the carpets, we had to go around with pliers and a hammer. We pulled the staples we could and hammered in the staples that wouldn’t budge.
So now we were on the lookout for cheap carpeting. Alan’s father had some leftover industrial indoor outdoor carpet that fit the living room half of the slide. We also managed to cut a few nice rugs for in front of our door out of the leftovers. The carpeting wasn’t long enough for the whole slide floor though. We found huge incredibly inexpensive rolls of indoor outdoor carpeting at our local Ollie’s. WE bought a 5 x 8 rug for 16.99! It was not as high quality as the professional grade stuff dad had given us, but its holding up really nicely. Tip: If you have pets that shed this type of carpet is a breeze to clean. We now can use a Bissell Natural Sweep non electric sweeper to keep the carpets clean and free of the massive piles of shedding our husky bassett mix puts down for us daily. This thing works really well on the floors and the indoor outdoor carpeting.
In retrospect I am extremely glad we did the carpet in two sections. Remember those water jugs Alan cut the shelf specifically for. They tended to move around while travelling even when the shelf was full. The weight of the jugs ended up crushing a few gallons and caused them to leak. We just moved the shelf and rolled back the two pieces to let the floor dry. We will be trying these much sturdier seven gallon water jugs next.
As far as how we set up our new living room, we planned on getting two comfy glider chairs to put in the slide. We watch tv and eat on our trusty rolling cart pictured below. We don’t use it in that spot but at least you get to see it. We tried many gliders and didn’t find any in our budget and that were comfortable enough. Thankfully Alan’s parents had one they never used and gifted us with it. For now I roll my office chair over from my desk and sit in it. Eventually I will find the perfect chair for me.
All during this process we were applying coats of paint to our desk and shelf indoors. As well as staining a few doors we made to cover where our microwave and TV had been. They made really nice cabinet spaces. We use laptops for our TV viewing and never used the microwave so we got rid of it.
For the cabinet where the TV used to be we had to remove the sliding TV mount tray. It was again a few screws to remove and done. Then we measured the size for the doors and cut them out of some thick plywood we had. We did the same process for the cabinet door where the microwave used to be. Alan screwed in a shelf in the microwave cabinet and I now can store all of my kitchen gadgets in my kitchen.
We stained the doors the same color as Alan’s desk. The first coat was rather light. Of course the second coat left the doors a bit too dark, but that is fine by me. We have picked out nice handles for the doors but have yet to install them. They are simple enough to open without handles for now. To hold the doors closed while traveling we installed a combination of magnetic catches and the roller style catches. The doors hold really securely with these.
Our indoor vent cover were rusted and the unflattering brown paint was flaked and gross. We took a metal grill brush to them and knocked off the loose rust and paint. Then we covered them with a few coats of Black Semi Gloss Rustoleum to match our black kitchen appliances. This is one of my favorite parts of the remodel. It makes a huge difference in how our camper looks.
The finished remodel of my office portion looks like this. I have yet to get a straightened photo of my living room. I blame that on the dog.