I like taking a problem and coming up with a solution so extreme that I end up happy I had the problem in the first place. Taking showers in the RV is acceptable at best, and on cool winter days is a bit of a chore. I solved that problem by joining a spa in San Francisco, where every day I now take a shower, sit in the steam room while eating an apple, sit in the hot pool, and then take another shower. I may actually be one of the cleanest people in San Francisco.
Another problem I had was that my RV was hard to clean. The whole thing was carpeted, including the kitchen area, which added an element of danger to cooking. One slip up and my rug catches a permanent splotch of goulash.
I thought about putting down linoleum floors, but I wasn't crazy about the idea of my home on wheels looking like a middle school cafeteria. I whipped out my tape measure and measured the actual exposed floor space. Thirty-two square feet. That's so little that I may as well get any flooring I like.
My father, always willing to help with my crazy projects, and certainly a lot more qualified to do them than I am, offered to help me renovate the RV over Thanksgiving break. We chose hand scraped maple wood for the floors and a two-color marble mosaic for the entryway. We also took the microwave out, refinished the refrigerator area, and made a few other upgrades.
The hardest part was removing the old floor. Once we took a knife to the carpet we'd crossed the point of no return, but I soon had my doubts. The carpet was glued to the foam sub-layer and the foam was glued to the metal and wood floor. It was so hard to cut that we eventually used a grinding tool to cut it into strips, and then I'd rip it up with all of my strength. It took hours to do.
Things moved quickly after the several hour demolition process. Here are some photos of the finished work:
(Front of the RV with Aeron chair, wood floors, and wool rug)
(Marble foyer area. It's very easy to clean and can get wet, which makes it perfect for rainy days)
(Newly mounted fridge. The brass thing is a quick disconnect for the propane powered heater/fireplace I have)
(This is the removable panel that can be removed to reveal the infrequently used shower. Notice the perfect seam between the panel and the front area.)
(A view from outside. You can see the microwave-free kitchen and teacups that hang from hooks. Just to be hilarious I want to cover the translucent plastic dome with real gold leaf. Does anyone know how to apply it to plastic?)
(Close up of where the microwave was. The magnet is strong enough to hold my knives, spatula, and lighter even on tough bumps. You can also see the stainless steel which covers up the wiring that was behind the microwave. We moved the light up there to make it easier to cook.)
(One last picture from the front, showing where I sit and write a lot of these posts.)
The whole cost of the project was just a few hundred dollars, plus four days of my time and most of my dad's time. A small price to pay to transform my RV into a veritable rolling palace.
You'll have to excuse the terrible picture, but I also put a new solar panel on a couple weeks ago. I bought it an hour outside of San Francisco and put it next to my bed in the RV. It was so big that I was annoyed at the prospect of it sitting in the RV for a week or two, so I stopped at a Home Depot and put it on in the parking lot. I got some weird looks, but now I have 360 watts of power generation.
I love doing weird projects that push the envelope a bit. There's something fun about doing things that no one else has done-- and that no reasonable person would likely do.
For good measure, here's a picture of my dad and me:
i love ur rv, may i ask if u wore selling it what is the price of a rv like ur? with all the upgrades and stuff! or how much dose a rv like ur cost and then how much would we have to pay to make it good like urs?
and then per day/month how much do u have to pay to keep ur rv running. ie water fee? parking if any and other stuff
Tynan, as near as I can tell the problem with the shower is two-fold:
1) Setting it at the faucet, then having it run constantly until you turn it off, then having to adjust the water temp again before you can rinse, wastes a lot of water. I'm planning on putting a trigger based sprayer that won't need the faucet shut down in between sprays, I'll probably do it simple (replace the existing faucet with something that has the sprayer attached directly to the outlet, or has a "sticky" valve switch that doesn't pop back out.
2) The shower dumps to the black tank, not the gray like most RV showers. I'm going to either re-route it, or have my welder put together a 20 gallon tank to replace both the black and gray tanks (only the kitchen sink dumps to the gray tank as it stands). Between them you could take showers for a week. Nowhere near as luxurious as your spa, but usable on the road. Truck stops and campgrounds aren't anywhere near as luxurious.
I like the hardwood floors, I think I'm going to have to do something like that. You're right, with so little actual floor, it wouldn't cost much to use really premium material.
@Michael I never thought about that. Yikes.
@Gruntie I just don't like microwaved food (no disrespect intended). I'm not totally comfortable with my food being heated up by radiation. Also, microwaves draw a lot of power.
I personally love Do-it-yourself projects like this, and the hardwood floors look great in the RV you have, and the marble by the door is a great idea. Best of luck with the new power source.
I'm shopping for an rv that looks like the Rialta,but is a Little larger and doesn't have the issues the Rialta has had in the past. I just retired from teaching and sold my house. Now I want to by an rv large enough to take along a mom or friend, but don't want to pay over $20.00. Any suggestion.
do you know how heavy the roof top air conditioner is. I'm thinking of removing it to save weight and I likely won't use it. Is it in any way connected to the cab AC.
Love your posts
When my daughter was little (1, 2, and 3) we lived in a 20-ft travel trailer. My husband was in mining and we had to move a lot. Did I mention the two dogs and a cat, and the step-son in summer? It was a fun time. I really like the floor you put in, has the marble cracked at all?
LOL, I totally need to add this to my bucket list and travel europe for a year with my GF.
This can save lots of bucks because you don't pay for hotels every night...
Also you can park along the beaches or lakes and wake up in the morning feeling like a billionaire, without having billions, LOL
Great idea !
Whatever it is, I've had an itch to go check it out. I've been there a few times before but didn't explore much and certainly didn't see it through the eyes of a resident. So this time I'm heading that way in the RV.
This Thursday I'll head West from Austin, and hopefully drive 20 hours straight to Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas and have a few friends there, so it's hard to pass up an opportunity to visit. After Las Vegas I'll go to LA. I might stay for a few days, for a month, or something in between. I haven't decided yet.
Then from Los Angeles I'll go to San Francisco. I have a ton of friends there, some from middle school back in Boston, some from Austin, and a few from the old pick up days. I'm also hoping to make friends with some of the people involved in the tech community there. I've heard that parking won't be easy, but my friends have a couple ideas on places that might work.
Last Friday, I spent all morning on the farm planting butternut, spaghetti, and cha cha squashes. For five hours I sat in the dirt, dug a small hole, and plopped in two seeds alongside Jake. We planted and scooted. Planted and scooted.
After a while, he looked up and told me, "You know, I could do this forever."
I knew what he meant. I looked up, saw the bright green trees towering over us.
"What do you dream of doing?" he asked.
This. And I imagine a desk facing a window. The room itself is part of a renovated barn or schoolhouse or something. Outside are trees and water. A pond. No, a creek. I have a cup of tea next to my computer and I've spent the morning writing. In the afternoons, I work in my vegetable garden. Then, I come inside, shower, and cook dinner with fresh basil and leeks.