Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lady Wendolyn.. Jill of all trades.. Camper modifications

** Note** If you are looking for the before and after decorating photos of my glamorous trailer makeover, please click on the blog post called "Lady Wendolyn goes Glamping".. located on the right hand column of this page.

Lady Wendolyn.. Jill of all trades...
This post contains before and after photos of a countertop extension project, and some shelving.

I grew up in a family where my parents did a lot of remodelling to homes, and by involving us as children in these projects they conveyed to us that we had the ability to change and improve things that we didn't like.

 This was an incredible gift which allows me to try things without worrying too much about failure..,
My mom in fact used to say "Well, a blind man would be glad to see it", when she finished a reno project that had a few imperfections.

So when we recently purchased our new travel trailer, in addition to decorating it, I decided to modify a few things in the interior. What follows are some photos of my recent projects. The first some shelving I added to our bedroom closet and the second is a counter top extension for our little kitchen.

My Closet Shelving Project.
 So this was a really easy project.

Here is the closet that I am adding the shelves to. The first thing I needed to do was remove the closet bar.. Sorry Jayco I don't wear that many dresses when I am camping.

The next thing I did was make marks an equal
distance from the base of the closet, all around.
I made two rows because I am adding two rows of shelves.

Then I cut my trim wood to size, and pre-drilled and installed the screws.
I used one and a half inch deck screws for this project.

The closet is really small and awkward and so pre-drilling etc. makes everything easier.

 I like adding a layer of panel adhesive which really helps to hold the wood to the walls without having to use too many screws.

Here is a picture of the closet with the side trim pieces in. It may look crooked.. but its just the camera angle. 

And here is the finished product....
I even found shelving wood at home depot that matched the cabinets.. !

Now onto something more complicated..
The countertop extension ...

                                               My countertop extension project..

Ok.. so the first thing to know about adding a countertop extension in a Jayco trailer.. is that there are some obstacles you will have to overcome.

The biggest issue is the "plastic lip" on the existing countertop. (Pictured on the left.. ) You are looking at the underside of the counter which shows the 1/4 inch plastic lip. You can not attach anything to it because it is plastic and flimsy.

The second obstacle that I had to overcome was that the countertop extension piece that I had ordered from the local countertop place was 1/4 of an inch thicker than the counter that I am attaching to.

So all of these factors had to be considered...
 and I solved both these problems by doing a bit of math, and then cutting and routering a custom piece of wood that would even out the size of the two countertops and also beef up the area with the flimsy plastic lip...

Here is what the custom piece looks like. It is 5/8 of an inch by 1 inch.. and I had the lumber store router out a 1/4 inch edge.

The next step was to pre-drill the holes for the piano hinge that I planned to use. I didn't want to have to work upside down once the piece of wood was attached under the counter edge.

Then I added some panel adhesive 
to the wood piece and clamped it in place along the counter edge.


Here is a picture of the clamped wood from the bottom.  You can see how the routered out section now covers up the plastic lip. The finished piece sits about 1/4 longer than the countertop which will allow me to attach the piano hinge at an even level to
the bottom of both counters. 
So well that was drying, I pulled out the bottom drawers from our counter
and beefed up the inside, on the right hand side of the unit, with a piece of wood, so that I would have 
a wood 3/4 inch thick backing to screw my support bracket into later in the project.

This is the piece of wood I used with panel adhesive on it.

 I braced it in place with a scrap of wood so that
it could dry without slipping down.

 I then took the piano hinge, and marked and predrilled the holes on the small counter extension piece that I was going to attach.

  I was now ready to remove the C-clamps and screw the piano hinge to edge of our counter. I used a ratchet adapted with a screw gun bit because the space was too tight for my drill.

 Here is a close up of how it now looks under the edge of the counter with the piano hinge attached, and the wood "bridging" the plastic lip problem.

At this point I had a couple of helpers hold the counter top extension in place and I screwed the piano hinge to the bottom of the extension. Boy am I glad I pre-drilled everything.. it made it so much easier.

Now.. it sorta looks done.. but it needs something to hold it up!

So the next thing I did was find the placement for the bracket I had chosen . (I bought this one for $2.49 at IKEA, and stained it to match the cabinets.) Once I had figured out the placement, I screwed a piece of piano hinge into place where it needed to sit, The screws are going right into the backing board that attached inside the cabinet earlier.

So the piano hinge gets attached to the bracket on one side
and to the cupboard on the other side.

Here you are seeing it in the position where the 
bracket will sit when the counter is in the down (hanging position) It simply folds flat against the cabinet.

The final thing I did was to attach an adjustable 
screw foot to my bracket  because even with a level block of wood in place, the counter seemed to slope a bit, and so the adjustable screw foot allows me to set it perfectly level with the other counter.

And here is the finished product.... 

Like I said.. My parents convinced me that I can 
figure out anything if I just put my mind to it..

And they were right!  I am very happy with and proud of the finished project!


  1. Well Done! See we CAN do anything we set our minds to. We are imaginative, smart and very capable. YOU GO GIRL.

  2. I am almost done with my extension counter. I looked for such a long time to find ideas and NOW, I found you. I am putting mine on the opposite wall (beefing up the inside of the bathroom linen closet) and extending the shelf with brackets so that it can fold down. We laminated it ourselves and will be putting oak trim on the sides. We're trying to figure out the piano hinge now so that it hides the ugliness when not in use and up along the wall when in use. Thanks for sharing!