Friday, 9 December 2016

DIY motorhome: interior space #2

Last week I wrote a rather short piece about designing the interior cabinets of Blu. But I realise now I should have written as to how we decided what would go where. 

We started knowing where and how we'd put the bed: with the Mercedes Denning bus build being 2.1metres (almost 7') across it was an easy and immediate choice to put the bed going across the bus and on top of the boot space. H extended the boot (trunk) space to be the depth of the bed width (that's about 1.8m or almost 6').

It's handy to have a big external storage space on a motorhome and you see them increasingly on new builds. Think storage for outdoor furniture, bicycles, tools and H dreams of putting a paramotor in there. 

Back inside, the wheel arches were an unmovable problem that we had to work around. The framework on the bus meant that the toilet, needing an external hatch for the cassette access, needed to go just behind a wheel arch. So the toilet is right beside the bed, with privacy from a partition wall between the bed and the loo, and a sliding door between the private area and the living area.  

Above the toilet we installed our mini front loading laundry machine. It's great! We got it on eBay, from Korea, because we couldn't buy one here. 

Beside the toilet, sharing the same dual wheel arches but on the forward side is the shower. They are separate, not a shower over loo like in many RV's. 

I had wanted an outside kitchen. In Blac we had taken our portable stove outside a lot and Australian RV's often have an external kitchen since our 'great outdoors' is so nice (I mean Australia has plenty of outdoor spaces and very good climate). But we couldn't build an external slide out kitchen for Blu as it wouldn't work with the framework (or at least we couldn't see a good way to do it). So I decided on what seemed like the next best thing, and I think (now that we're using it) it's a better thing: we built the kitchen on the passenger side beside the door with a big hopper window. So, I can cook inside, without having to carry any tools or food out, with the big window open and H can be sitting just outside (or him in cooking, me out), and there's still communication and views and the food/drinks can be passed out the window. It works wonderfully. 

The passenger side space between the kitchen bench and the bed would obviously become cupboard space: pantry, wardrobe and bedside table (night stand). Importantly (and you can see this in the sketch I put in last weeks blog) we set the wardrobe wall from the bedside table to the front of the wardrobe at an angle. This angle, although slight, hasn't much affected our internal wardrobe space but it's given the private area a much more roomy and less box-like feel. 

In front of the shower (drivers side) we built our own fridge-freezer. It's a top loading eutectic fridge, super efficient. More about that another time, but size wise it's a big box, and visually it helps with our spacious look. 

Back to the front of the bus, drivers side, and we needed to put in a dining table and a seat behind it. We rescued the framework of one of the bus's former school bus bench seats for this, but the seat and upholstery wasn't available to us anymore so we had to remake that.  It makes a small seat for 2 bums, which might be handy if we have a visitor or two, and it means H & I can sit across from each other at the table for dining. 

Honestly, I think the dining area is the least finished part of the bus, and it's not just because I need to get some more decorative upholstery on the bench. It's unfortunate that the drivers seat, turned around, is high and the bench seat is low and so the table is too high for the bench but too low for the drivers seat! Maybe one day we'll get a better solution, but for now it works. 

When people come into Blu they compliment us on how spacious it feels. It's great! Although we cooked and ate outside as much as we could in Blac we don't do that anymore. Blu has great views and air from the big windows and we're quite comfortable inside.... as well as having insect screens to help keep Australias famous pests outside. 

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