Friday, October 21, 2011

A plethora of mods

During the last two weeks during our days off work, we’ve FINALLY completed many of our planned projects. I know — we live in a very small travel trailer, so how much can there be to do? Since this is our home (we’re not just camping now), we want to have as many of the conveniences as in a normal house, so here are our most recent modifications. These pictures are linked to the Picasa album containing a few more photos of some mods.

Closet. We’ve been debating designing closet shelves & organization since last winter, & finally made a decision. Since the space under the closet door is a dead zone, Jeff built a wooden frame to move the closet rod to the lower half of the closet since the bottom of clothes don’t need to be seen or accessed.  Since weight is always an issue, I decided to just MAKE shelves — lightweight and adjustable by macraméing a couple of shelves to hang above the clothes rod on a plethora of curtain hooks around the carpeted wall. I used some nylon string I had a big roll of, measured 3 times the initial front span (24” x 3) three times to create the 6-string front braid. Every inch or so as I braided the three pairs of string, I inserted a loop that would become part of the cargo net style shelf reaching to the back of the closet. Once the braid reached from side to side (hanging on curtain hooks), I tied double knots from one string of adjacent pairs, creating a diamond pattern to the depth of the closet.The knots are hung over the curtain hooks around the edge.  It may all fall down when we hit the road, but for now at least, it’s working great for having clothing at eye level!                                                               

  • Window vents. Jeff finally got the MaxxAir window vents attached to both side windows so now it can rain hard without dripping in thru an open window.                    
  • Plastic bag holder. OK, a very minimal item, but I needed somewhere to store the plastic sacks we collect and use as trash bags (which had hung annoying on the outside closet door hooks. I cut the end off a larger plastic bag, duct taped the side, & taped it to the frig door (I didn’t have any other vertical area to hang it on).
  • Trash container. I repurposed a little rectangular container we already had to hold plastic sacks now for trash. I hooked a small bungee cord on the ends & Jeff screwed in a couple of hooks below the bathroom door mirror to hold the trash can off the floor. Very handy location since the bathroom door opens with the trash container hanging above the pet waterer sitting in the corner.
  • Television mount. Since we sleep back-to-front in our Liberty Casita, we had the television sitting on the DirecTV DVR on a plastic shelf/table next to the frig. With the articulating arm now mounted to the microwave cabinet our 19” flat screen TV, it can swivel around for good viewing from both the bed or standing in the galley.
  • Dual television cable capability: Since we really don’t watch that much TV, it’s annoying (to say the least) to have a storm interrupt one of the programs we’re watching, so we got a little crazy & installed a dual TV connection plate under the upper cabinet for both the satellite and cable TV cords connected at the same time.

    The cable TV cord goes directly to an A-B splitter, and the satellite cord goes to the DVR, then to the splitter. Jeff installed a 2nd external cable jack next to the original jack on the back left upper corner of the Casita.

    Now we can switch between sources easily whenever needed. We also cut a hole thru the side of the microwave cabinet to plug in the power strip cord so we don’t have cords strung along all over.

  • Satellite dish. Another small item. Since we had snow two weeks ago, we found out snow/slush disrupts the satellite signal (duh). So I slid a white trash sack with pull straps at the top (bottom) over the top of the dish to see if it’ll keep the LNB clear during snow/ice storms. Sure was glad it’s sitting on a stump behind the trailer when I was cleaning off the LNB instead of up on top of the trailer like earlier .
  • Moved bathroom light switch. OK, this is probably nothing to many people, but it’s annoyed me from the get-go to have to reach around to the back of the bathroom to turn on the light in the dark. Having already struggled with making the porch light a 3-way, we decided to just relocate the switch from on the light itself to the range hood. If I can remember to turn on the water pump before entering the bathroom, I think I can also remember to turn on the light before entering a dark bathroom. The outside edge of the open bathroom door is right next to the light switch so it works GREAT! We’re both already using the bathroom light more often. Probably gona have to get an LED light for it now. AND. . it was a good opportunity to clean and reorganize both the upper galley cabinets.
  • Plexiglas ‘storm’ window on screen door. Our house had several glass exterior doors, and after the first summer, we took out the full screen panel and left the full glass panel installed all the time. In the summer, it holds in the air conditioning, and in the winter, holds in the heat. If we wanted fresh air, we opened a few strategic windows & turned on the whole-house attic fan. Works the same way in the Casita. The bottom screen already had Plexiglas on it, so we just added more to the top portion. Opening the outside door & letting the morning sun shine thru our storm door now has been wonderful. Boots lays on the floor sunning and can no longer pull on the screen when he wants to go outside [yes, he’s big enough to claw the upper screen]. He’s somehow even managed to JUMP THRU the open slide to get out before I could get the leash hooked on his collar.
  • Stained glass door design: I love the stained glass windows some people have put in their Casitas – so I tried a creative approach to having a design on our door window. Using different colored Sharpies, I created this Frank Lloyd Wright inspired window design. It washes off with a lot of effort if we get tired of it. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely hand-made and unique.
  • Removed MDF chases: In the process of removing all the MDF chases covering the wiring & plumbing under the back of the trailer, galley, & closet floor, I looked in &re-organized ALL storage compartments & gained some extra precious square inches of space. I put insoltube over the now exposed tubes & wiring for protection, except this one cut out piece of MDF now just rests under the outside shower pipes under the galley. Our pots & pans live in this space, so it holds the board in place. Note the cut-off valves Jeff had already installed.

  • We also wrapped insultube around the water hose with a heat tape since it’s below freezing now during the nights.

    We have a few more projects which I’ll report on when we get them completed. I’ll try not to take so long between posts.


    1. Wow! Y'all have been busy! Great mods - thanks for sharing them.

    2. The "stained glass" window looks great.

    3. It is amazing how one can organize such a small space and make it all more convenient.

    4. Great mods for your small space. I too love the window, that is a great creative solution!

    5. Like your stained glass effect too! Nice touch. If your plastic bag holder doesn't hold out another option is making one out of a cloth dish drying towel. Take it inside out and lengthwise and sew straight up the seam, this can be done either by hand or machine. Then make at little casing hem top and bottom leaving room to insert an elastic (sewing kind) and tie it off on the bottom and then take a string and insert it in the top and tie it off. Leave the string longer then you can use it to hang it from something. I hang mine on the shower faucet. Pastic bags get stuffed in from the top and you pull them out from the bottom.

      Kevin and Ruth

    6. I keep my plastic bags in a Kleenex box. It can be hung anywhere, on the wall, on a door, or inside a cabinet, with a Command Hook by poking a small hole in the bottom of the box.

    7. You have some really really good mods! and Penny's Kleenix box is a winner too--- thanks guys!

      Karen and Steve
      (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

    8. Hey you,

      Just checking in to see where you are.

      Love the stained glass art. Makes the home more comfy. FYI- If you want to change it...WD40 works like elbow grease needed.

      Jules in NY


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