Browsing "Dishwasher"
Mar 23, 2010 -

Renovating: Lessons and Thoughts


The house I owned taught me a lot about how to NOT renovate your home. I don’t think I did a single

thing right with that place! I’ve been applying these lessons in tackling Miranda’s makeover:

1) The Structure Comes First

Before you do any cosmetic work whatsoever, including changing floor coverings, make sure your structure is sound. Address leaks, dry rot, mould, or anything else that needs attention.

2) Don’t Start a Project If You Don’t Have the Money to See It Through

Before starting on a project, I figure out what I’m going to need and then price everything, right down to the nails. Then I add 25% for contingency.

3) Don’t Rip Anything Apart Unless You Are Ready to Replace It Immediately

One of the things that slowed me down in doing the floors was having to stop to take things apart. It probably made people wonder why I didn’t gut everything last fall when I wasn’t busy. I didn’t want to do so until I knew for sure I would be able to complete the projects for which I was gutting. Living in a half-demolished house is one thing, traveling in a half-demolished RV is another!

4) Don’t Mix Up Renovating and Decorating, and Renovate First

Some folks will surely disagree with me on this one, but I consider a renovating project done even if it’s not painted or the hardware’s not on it. The makeover was planned in two stages. The first was making all the changes I needed to the layout. The second was to personalize the space and make it pretty. Imagine how much easier it is going to be to paint when all my projects are done and my stuff put away in its forever home.

5) Have a Vision and the Courage to See It Through

I lived in Miranda for a full year before I started to renovate her. That was more than enough time to think about what I wanted to change and how I was going to do it. Even when things were at their most chaotic, I knew exactly where I was going and this vision helped me weather many a crisis. It also kept me from listening to people who don’t live here and who aren’t me who had negative thoughts about my new floor plan and/or the fact that I was going to ‘rip apart’ a beautiful RV.


It’s pretty obvious by now that I like using ‘found’ materials in my renovations. It’s not just about the money, although that’s a nice perk. I like scrounging because 1) my reusing things makes up for what I throw away and 2) it inspires me. I think it was watching all that MacGyver during my formative years that taught me to love having a problem to solve and seeing what I have around me that I could use as a solution. Sometimes, the monetary savings are substantial and enable me to treat myself to nicer hardware or the like and sometimes making a silk purse out of the proverbial sow’s ear is reward enough.

The renovations have thus far cost me only cost me about $500 and the only super costly thing I’m missing is the trim. By the time I’m done, I’ll have spent less than $1,000, probably closer to $700, and this includes the new Allure throughout. Sure, I could have spent money on carpenters and solid oak panels and whatnot, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying. I especially like that I reused a lot of the materials from the bed bases and dinette benches and that Miranda is still Miranda, just a new form of herself. She is definitely no longer the RV I bought! Some would say I ‘ruined’ her, but I feel that I am simply making her even more perfect for ME.

Standing in the kitchen this evening making dinner–chopping veggies on the new counter, adding dishes to the dishwasher as I worked, grabbing things from the over fridge cabinet instead of having to walk the furthest overhead pantry cabinet–I really got a sense of how my life in this RV is going to change, of how I am going to start developing routines that will hold whether I am stopped for a few months or on the road for a few weeks, of how I am finally making a home here instead of living in someone else’s space. I’ve been living in this RV for a year and a half now and I feel as good about my purchase as I did back in August of 2008. Miranda isn’t perfect by far (dual pane windows and enclosed tanks would be awesome!), but she is without a doubt the best RV I could have bought within my budget. I could have had my pick of anything in North America and I am still convinced that Miranda would have been my final choice. I am renovating with a ten year ownership plan in mind and I am certain that when the time comes for me to move to a new RV, I will mourn my beloved Royal Classic.

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Appliances, Buying Miranda, Cooking, Decorating, Dishwasher, Finances, Homemaking, Maintenance & Repair, Personal, Renovating, Technical    3 Comments
Mar 23, 2010 -

Yet Another ‘I Changed My Mind About the Dishwasher!’ Post

But it’s in!!!!

Croft’s reaction to that was “did you check out the functions of the dishwasher where it is placed before you made it permanent?” I had to laugh because I have been testing the dishwasher in numerous positions on top of the counter. My initial idea has ended up working out just fine, only I couldn’t centre the dishwasher on the counter because of hose length.

I thought to secure the dishwasher with angle brackets and then slide it in between them, then realised that the front needed to be secured, too! The obvious answer to that was to mount the brackets to pieces of wood into which I would screw a frontal piece when the dishwasher was in. Great, there would go a few hours while I ripped plywood into suitable lengths. First, though, I went through my own scrap pile to see if I might have something better than plywood and lo and behold, I had the perfect thing, salvaged from the front of the dinette seats!

It’s definitely time for pictures. 🙂

I am very happy that I was able to orientate the dishwasher this way. It’s the best position for loading an unloading and leaves me with a lot more counter space for prep work.

The installation feels very secure; we’ll see if it passes the road test. 🙂

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Appliances, Dishwasher, Homemaking, Personal, Renovating, Technical    6 Comments
Mar 20, 2010 -

Trim and Doors Required

My fit of pique must have effected a cosmic change because the rain held off!!! It’s about to come down though.

I went to Home Depot this afternoon to get the angle brackets as well as door hinges and fasteners. I’m pretty sure I’ll return 90% of what I bought, but I didn’t want to have to go out tomorrow. Today’s visit took well over an hour because a Home Depot clerk and I started to talk about custom RV design and got into a hot debate about slides vs. no slides.

I got a pleasant surprise in regards to the angle brackets. I’ve always bought them in packs of 2 for about a dollar. I needed at least 40 to finish the dishwasher cabinet, duct tunnel, and bookcase installation, so I figured that I’d have to shell out at least $20 plus tax for all my brackets. But the Home Depot guy made some ‘contractor’ supplies materialise for me and I got a pack of 100 brackets for $6.95 plus tax!

It was three when I got back home and the hardest part of the job started. I find that no matter how many times I measure, I never get things 100% right. I had to go back and forth to the workshop to trim a panel or another. At least, my problems were too much height, which is much easier to remedy than not enough of it! I finally got everything level, although the dinette top isn’t as flush with the kitchen counter as it was when it was temporarily installed. It’s a matter of millimetres and probably not something the casual observer would notice so I decided to pick my battles.

The installation was a real puzzle as I had to figure out what to screw down first without blocking my access to something else I had to screw down. The sliders for the drawer were a nightmare to put in place and I wound up having to install the shelf above it with the angle brackets on the top side.

Once everything was assembled and secured, I added the counter and screwed that in nice and tight. The whole thing feels satisfactorily sturdy and secure for transport. It might not be very pretty, but it’s exactly what I wanted and once the doors and trim are on most of my lack of carpentry skills will be hidden behind stuff.

I discovered what a moot point looks like when I went to install the dishwasher as I had planned. It won’t fit that way; the hoses are too short! I’m going to have to orientate it the way that it was when it was under the counter. That somewhat changes my plans for the securing of it and may be the biggest cause of delays tomorrow. The other thing I still need to figure out is how to make the kitchen side of the cabinet look neat since it projects out beyond the width of the counter. You can see what I mean in the first picture. A solution will come when I start to work on the problem; it always works out that way.

I’ve decided to make my own doors after all since they will be quite small and I already have the materials for them. Tomorrow’s projects will be to finish the dishwasher cabinet then start on building the ductwork tunnel, and securing the bookcase. I believe this is a realistic target for tomorrow. Monday I will go back to Home Depot to return whatever I hardware I wound up not using and to pick up the lumber for the secret ladder project. There’s lots to do, but I am 100% on target so far and feeling pretty accomplished!

There’s a pizza with my name on it in the oven (not made by my hand, of course!) and I need to put in several hours at my contract tonight, so I’m calling it a day.

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