Wait a minute, didn’t we just rip out the dinette and build a bench!? Now we’re going to rip out the bench and put in a mini dinette set!? That’s right folks, another RV project!

Early on, we learned that the original dinette set wasn’t a good fit for us. If you’re interested in our first set of major RV modifications, you can check it out here – Little Rednovation. Now that we’ve had our bench for about 8 months, we learned that it wasn’t the best solution for our needs either. The bench provided a lot of storage but wasn’t conducive for us to eat together, working on our laptops, or having some extra room for food prep. The solution, a mini dinette.

Building the seats

We took all of the hard work that Chris did in the original bench design and cut out the middle to give us two seats and room for a table. This project proved to be a bit easier than originally thought. However, there was a catch. We needed a place to do the renovation and we needed some tools. Neither of these were readily available. Fortunately, we had to fly home for a brief period of time (I needed to renew my driver’s license – an important thing to have on the road) and I had a work event in Florida. So, what better place to fly out of than our old stomping grounds, Denver. We chose to head back to Denver for two reasons: 1) It’s cheap to fly out of. 2) We were thinking about buying a bigger trailer. (Last blog post topic)

Where and how?

Our amazing friend, Stephanie, was gracious enough to let us crash her house in Denver and even stay downstairs while we plowed through construction. Nate was kind enough to let us take over his side of the garage/driveway and park on the street while Little Red was in the driveway plugged in.

Our other fantastic friend, Ben, was nice enough to let us borrow some of his tools. Even though he’s going through a full home remodel of his own, he had a few tools that he could part with for a week or so. They made all of the difference. I was contemplating on using a handsaw or a cheap circular saw for the whole project. He saved my bacon, that’s for sure.

It wouldn’t be Denver if it didn’t snow in May…. it just had to arrive during construction. Even though we had a grueling schedule and things to do, there’s always time for fun!

The seats

Like we said, we used Chris’ original design and chopped out the middle. Of course, it wasn’t that simple and we needed to figure out what size seat we needed, cushions, and how to make everything pretty. We started with a little demo, then framing, filling in the gaps, and finally a little paint. As we write this, the project still isn’t 100% complete. Shea still needs to put in the outlets but the snow and near freezing temperatures aren’t the most appealing at the moment.

Converting the bench to seats

The table and pedestal

This was by far the hardest part of the project. We went back and forth on what to do for the tabletop and how to mount it. Originally, we were going to make a folding table that mounted on the wall and folded down. However, we didn’t have a lot of confidence in the structural integrity of the wall. We just don’t know what’s behind it and if it could bear the weight of a table, our stuff, and us putting pressure on it. Instead we chose to go with a pedestal similar to the ones that came with the trailer. This time around, we went with an expensive adjustable one (Garelick/Eez-In Manual Adjustable Table Base – Polished Finish) – similar to those on a sailboat. There are two main reason for this specific pedestal: 1) It’s adjustable. 2) The base plates are about 9”. This means we have quite a bit of surface area to mount the table top and mount the bottom to the RV floor (stability).

Now that we figured out the pedestal, we needed to figure out the tabletop. Since we couldn’t find one that we liked at a store or one that was in our price range (much less close to the size we needed), we decided to have one made. Sam, Erin’s brother, is pretty talented when it comes to woodworking, we sent him a few designs and he immediately had an idea and the wood to create it with. Since we had to go back to MN anyways, why not fly back with a new tabletop!? Take a look at what he built for us! It’s exactly what we were looking for, handcrafted, and unique.

No more bench!

When it was all said and done, it was a fairly quick project and somewhat inexpensive. The estimated time to complete was about a week and the cost was around $300. If we weren’t able to borrow tools or make a tabletop, the cost would have easily doubled.

Many thanks to Sam, Ben, Stephanie, and Nate!

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