Ok. We have made it to our construction destination – now it’s time to break everything down. These are our goals in breakdown:
- Take a good look at the metal frame that is supposed to exist and make sure it is in good condition. We plan to stabilize/repair/or replace what we need to.
- Start from scratch so we can build what we want. Ripping the walls and ceiling off will give us a better idea of the space we have to work with.
- Finalize our floorplan based on what we find and what we want.
Our needs for living in Winnie long-term are as follows:
- Have space to live and not feel like we are living in 176sqft of space.
- Have room for Daniel to work.
- Have homeschool room.
- Have a usable, workable kitchen that will support our love of baking and visiting.
- Have room for Xan to play and mom to craft.
BIG goals considering our space! However, we think we can do it. It took us about two days to get the RV empty. I have a large tent that I purchased last Fall. We set that up and discovered in the manual that the tent has an interior that is 200sqft. That is more space than our RV has! Needless to say, everything we had to move easily fit into the tent. I posted pictures of that earlier.
We started breakdown about four days ago and it’s going well. The frame is MUCH less substantial than we were expecting. Kinda scary when you REALLY see what is between you and the rest of the world. Not much. However, I am supremely impressed by Winnebago’s wallpaper. What is that stuff? While the luan wood broke easily, that wallpaper held on so tightly I am convinced it was part of the construction design to keep everything held together. Thus far we have one whole wall removed and the back is unattached. The filon on the back wall extends onto the roof so although the back is unattached, it’s still dangling there until we disconnect the roof. We have been doing this as a family affair and I am so proud of Xan. He knows how to use a power screwdriver like a pro, uses his own hammer (it’s real) to help break down the walls and is our pro screw picker-upper (we are using this cool long magnet thing on a pole). I tell him often, we couldn’t do this without his help and input.
We each stated what we really wanted in the rig.
- Xan wants a gypsy pull down bed, and he wants Internet antennae on the roof. He says they will make us look like a robot transformer.
- Daniel wants some private office space so he can close himself off if he needs to and he wants a real kitchen where he has the counterspace needed to really cook!
- Paula (me) really wants to add tile to our design in the bathroom and a bathtub, no matter how small. (I think this has more to do with the fact that Xander has some cool Playmobile and Octonaut bath toys that I just can’t bear to give away.)
For Xan’s bed, we have found the space and can reinforce the wall to make sure his gypsy pull down bunk bed is as he wants. I mapped out the painted interior of the bed and gave him a few designs on how we can paint it (gypsy beds are always very decorated) so he is pretty stoked.
We decided to add an additional 3′ onto the back of our RV. Our Minnie is a rare, diesel 28′. We have heard so many people say that it can’t possibly be a diesel and that Winnebago didn’t make a 28′ rig. Well, they did and we have one. But – it gave us the idea. Since most of the longer Minnie Winnie’s are 31′ – why not just extend ours? Voila! Daniel will have a hidden room at the back of the RV 3’L x 7 3/4″ W where we have extended the rig. In the back, there will be a floor to ceiling cabinet to help stabilize the RV. There will be two other floor to ceiling items that will form a triangle in the RV to provide equal support to the frame as a whole. His desk will be behind the wall of the shower. We will add a small opening window to the space so he has some airflow and natural light. This fulfills his major need to be able to work separate from the family. We have designed our kitchen to have a nice work space by the stove and convection over, with the refrigerator near-by and a place for his spices. It will be an ‘L’ shape with an extendable counter on one side and he wants a double sink where before we had a single. We will use the traditional RV design where we have a cover for the sinks to turn the space into workable counter space.
The bathroom and my vision. In a small space, every opportunity to be alone is a treasure. The bathroom is one of those places where you can satisfy a bodily function AND get some alone time. In our old bathroom, it was so small, it was hard to use, impossible to relax in and dark. YUCK! In our remodel, we will have a real bathroom. How are we planning to do this? We are rotating the toilet so it sits at an angle on a raised platform (think squatty potty). We have to have the platform to get over the wheel well. Before, only the toilet was raised so high your legs would dangle cutting off circulation to your feet and was very uncomfortable. You were not encouraged to linger. The solution, a nice rounded platform to support the height of the angled toilet and our knees will no longer be hitting the door as we sit, and our legs won’t be dangling anymore. Our knees will be at the appropriate height for comfort. There will be a nice sized small vanity where I can put bathroom things. Our hand hammered copper sink will go there. This was something from the original time we remodeled. Then, the shower/tub. Originally I was thinking a walk in shower where we tile the floor and a wee bit up the wall. They frown on tile in a rig because they don’t think the tile will adhere to the wall with all the driving vibrations and bumps. However, I am seeing tile on counter-tops on newer models so we are going for it! We will tile the floor of the walk in shower and treat the heck out of the walls to ensure they remain waterproof in as many ways as we can find.
I have been brainstorming different ways to get a tub of any shape in there until I did the math. Originally I was thinking we could extend the height of the shower rim to something a bit bigger. Maybe 8″ to 12″ high? This wouldn’t be a soaking tub but would be enough for a kid to play, to wash a dog or rinse something out. Weight is always a concern. The volume of our walk in shower if we go to the full foot in height for a rim would be 12 cubic feet which works out to about 89 gallons of water. That’s 742 lbs. And that’s just the water. Not the weight of the tile, person, supports, etc., etc., etc.. Hummm… Nope! No tub for us! I HAVE found another person who tiled their shower and kept the weight down by using alternative materials. I was very excited to find that! So I can have my tiled shower, just no tub.
Here is a rough – not perfectly to scale floorplan. We need to go out and measure everything again so I can start the different view plans and we can put in the electrical and plumping details. Under the master bed we are building a lazy susan dresser thing where our clothes will go. The cabinet you see in the back is a floor to ceiling as is the pantry you see by the door and there will be a cabinet thing on top of the bookcases.
Looks like we will be able to get almost all of our ‘WANTS’ in this remodel. We have started breaking her down. We have the back wall disconnected and dangling by the skin. One whole side is off and we are almost ready to pull off the other. We have discovered how little of a frame there is which is a bit disconcerting and have plans to beef it up a bit. Check out the pictures and let us know your thoughts.
Here is a quick video of Daniel driving Winnie to bed. She has a nice covered shelter that she goes into. Night Winnie! More pictures to come and everything is down. Woo-Hoo!
This has been a couple of incredibly hard weeks for us. With engine troubles, extreme weather, and exhaustion it brings to light the question, “Who ARE We?” They say that the truest sense of the person comes out at times of extreme stress and challenge.
I hope not.
I would love to say that we rose to each challenge with a hardy spirit, and loving support of each other – but that really wouldn’t be the case. In many things Daniel and I are united at a molecular lever. Pretty much any that affects Xanman and his immediate safety, we are bonded. But lately pretty much everything else has shown we are two very different people who think in very different ways and who respond to stress completely differently. I tend to get more precise, thinking that if I simply make sure there can be no misunderstanding, it will somehow make everything OK. Daniel starts becoming over-literal and starts reading between the lines to answer what he thinks I am really asking instead of what I asked. As you can see, this could cause some problems.
We are living in our home in very trying circumstances. It’s not done. Imagine if you will that you started a kitchen and a bathroom remodel at the same time. It’s all broken apart but you have to live in it…no running water. No sink. No stove. No bathroom. No privacy. Not only do you have to live in it but you have to figure out how to thrive in it and be ready to break down whatever you have setup so that you can move again without your shit breaking.
That’s what we are living in.
I keep organizing hoping that it will somehow help and make things more manageable. Thinking that it will lessen the amount we have to shift every time we need to move the rig. Well that’s great until Daniel decides he need to move whatever item someplace else for some reason only he knows. Does it make sense in the moment – probably. Like when we were being brushed by a tornado in Kansas and the hail whipping into the rig punched holes in our ceiling. Rain pouring through meant anything directly underneath and beside was getting wet. EVERYTHING moved then, but when that crisis is over; what then? Can’t things go back to where they were? Does everything need to be a debate or conversation?
Someone asked me near the beginning of this journey how I was feeling. I answered at that time, “Excited! Hopeful!” and “Needy.” She flagged me on the ‘needy’ response and I struggled with how to answer. There is much on this rig that I do not currently have the skills to fix. I am not savvy in electronics, nor in plumbing. I can wack a hammer with the best of them but what about when hammers are too much and more finesse is required? Like an intimate understanding of exactly where the frame members are and how they are connected. Daniel knows that – I don’t. This isn’t a regular house where you can find the studs every 16″ or something. I am utterly dependent on him for the literal day-to-day integrity of our home. I need to see Daniel close-by. I need to see him addressing things I cannot. I need to see things being fixed – not patched – fixed so I can trust that they will work and that our home won’t fall apart. In this way, I am very needy right now. I am sure Daniel is stressed beyond imagining; this is a lot to place on one persons shoulders. I am doing what I can – organizing. Making some type of a home for us instead of living in a pile of stuff. Bringing order. Managing finances and route. I lead when we drive so he doesn’t have to worry about navigation. I try to make sure the rig is clean (a nearly impossible task with 2 dogs and a 7 year old and a husband who doesn’t seem to care what critters are attracted by the cooking mess he has left outside. ***NOTE TO SELF: NEVER go camping with husband to grizzly country or we are most assuredly dinner!).
If that same friend were to ask me how I am doing right now, my answers would be very different. This could be that we haven’t really gotten any sleep since our lovely brush with the tornado so are sleep deprived. This could be that we are both just at our breaking point in trying to make an almost impossible situation work. It could be a combination of both plus whatever other baggage we have decided to bring to the front now, who knows.
We know we can live in the RV fulltime. We have done it before. We know we can work it out – our stubborn determination will not allow anything else. We know it won’t be easy but then that seems to be our way. “Take something impossible and make it work.” should be our motto…perhaps we should add, “And don’t kill each other in the process!”
We are very fortunate in that neither one of us is a mean person. When we fight, there are no rants about past faults or name-calling…usually. I think I did call him a name this last time when I was so mad pretty much every word out of my mouth was the f-bomb. I guess I should qualify that we are not trying to hurt each other. We are just super frustrated and angry.
A recent post on FB seems to be helping. I know, right?! Something on FB helping! It is a list of suggestions to help you organize and focus your thoughts/life/work – whatever. Here ya go!
DO ONE THING AT A TIME!
So much to share on another night. I need to finish writing about our time in NE and then our time in Kansas (which has forever earned its place in tornado alley as far as I am concerned)! We are currently in Texas hanging out with our grown-up kids. Did I mention that we have a 29 and a 26 year old and that we are grandparents in addition to having out 7 year old? LOL! Surprise!
In Peace and Hope and Love…