1988 Dolphin - Out with the Dinette - In with an Office Space, well Maybe!!! Part 1

After I retire, I knew I was still going to want to work, but work online in a creative capacity. So, creating some type of craft/office space to take my office mobile, was a priority.

The Dinette space is 6ft in length, looks out a big window, has cabinets above it, so this was our initial choice for creating a double duty space.

The Plan:

Create a space to do double duty. Expand the aisle space to make it roomier for two people to be in the kitchen area at the same time. Expand to now have 2 kitchen work islands. Cabinets underneath for more kitchen storage, cabinets for office space, an Island style table to eat on and look out the window, and a hideaway table for crafting/office work, all in 6ft of space.

Here's a before photo of the Dinette area looking towards the front:

and looking towards the back bedroom

You can see how far it comes out, making a small aisle, in fact it extended 4" past the wall.

The process:

First we removed the existing benches and table. Then my husband removed the vinyl floor and carpeting and cleaned and prepped the floor since we would need to lay the new flooring before building the new office/kitchen combo area.

The space where the booth was:

Looking toward the front now with the passenger and club chair removed as well (more on that later). The old carpeting got pulled out. With these items out, we really loved how it opened up the space and immediately starting thinking that maybe we would adjust our plans for the space, but for now we continued with the floor prep work.

The jackknife sofa removed and the fabric/padding covering the front side of the couch removed (more on that later as well)

And the entry way wiring. The electric steps, lights, etc. were initially built into the wall on the back of the dinette bench as you walked into the coach.

Older coaches are really well made. Tons and Tons of staples everywhere under the carpeting. The vinyl flooring had been down since 1988 and my husband had a fun time removing that, NOT! A heat gun and heavy duty scrapping did the job though, but it was a time consuming process for such a small space.

With the space cleared out, the walls in this area (the bathroom) could now be painted.

With the space being small we were able to buy quality pieces, but also cheaper prices because the sizes we needed could be found in remnants. So while my husband starting working on the floors, I switched to the outside and began working on the office/island combo station.

To create this new space, we started with a stock cabinet from Menards, we picked a larger bathroom vanity for 2 reasons. We wanted as much storage space we could get in that space, but also planned to remove the false front drawer at the top. Typically a counter with sinks gets put onto these, so the front door is just decorative, but our plan is to get two tables in the same 6ft of space by hiding one and sliding it in into the cabinet when not in use.

Here is the stock cabinet we picked up for $260.00 at Menards. We removed the fake front for the photo so you can see where the 2nd table will be.  And this is why I purchased a 3rd RustOleum cabinet refinisher kit at the start because I knew I would be doing future things that needed to match the other cabinets. Now that we temporarily put it in the space, we could see we had a good amount of spare space and decided we would fill the far right extra space (over the wheel hump) with stainless steel wire drawers from Menards, again giving us as much storage space as possible.

Working back outside, the first thing that had to be done was to shorten the cabinet at the kick-foot area. Between the cabinet height and the counter top, we needed to make sure it would still land just under the window frame. You can see just a couple of inches needed to be taken off.

Next, it was time to sand and paint everything to match the other cabinets, this includes wood strips that my husband would use to frame the excess space where the wire baskets would go.

With the flooring and carpeting now installed, I added the hardware (from the original purchase) onto the new cabinet and we moved it inside to be mounted down. You can see the generous space now available for the dogs to easily lay down in.

Now in the larger view, you can see the far right side now, where he built a frame and put sliding mounting brackets in, in order for two large wire baskets to fill up the excess space. You can also see that the electrical elements at the entry are also now mounted to the side of the cabinet.  The cabinet counter top was another freebie score. While remodeling our kitchen, the store delivered our cut pieces, but they made a mistake and cut one of the lengths too short. They cut and delivered another new piece for the kitchen, then told us we could just keep the other one. I'll add a photo of a closer up view of the counter top pattern. We planned on changing from the blue bird blue, and this fit in perfect with the chocolate/olive theme, so you gotta love that. (Once we cut this island piece, there was still enough left over to replace the bedroom end table too! So all we now had to do, to make the other island in the kitchen and the bathroom match was order a 4 x 8 sheet of matching laminate to make those two spaces match.)

The plan for the very bottom right where the wheel hump is, is to finish that off with a box frame front and solid top and side, then a door will be added in front. We purchased a set of dog bowls and they fit in that lower space perfectly. So, we'll be able to open the door and roll out the dog bowl tray when needed, but safely store it there while moving and still make that ackward space usable.

Let's see a side by side, unfortunately my before is not the same angle, but you can see it's a nice improvement of the space and we love the extra floor space between the two islands now. You can also see there is still an original row of top cabinets above this, the whole length.

While this area is not complete yet, here's where we are at for this stage of the change.

Part 1: The Floors

$40 - New Linoleum for the kitchen and hallway

$150 - high quality carpeting for both the lounge area and the bedroom

Free - Padding (our neighbors just put in new carpeting and asked if we wanted the extra padding - SCORE)

$30 - Misc. Glue for flooring, carpet staples, Metal transition edge between flooring and carpeting.

Total New Flooring for the entire coach - $220

Part 2: The kitchen Island

$260 for the cabinet

$80 for the baskets, brackets, screws, etc.

$75 for the RustOleum Refnisher kit (but I only used a 1/3 of it here (more to come on what I did with the rest)

The hardware was covered already from the initial purchase

Free - the Counter top

Total for the extra kitchen work space and storage - $415

Still to be done on this part: the 2nd hiding table. Right now the front is back on, and it drops open as needed. I will document that as we do it. And finishing off the dog bowls storage area.

Once we got this far, floors done, main 2nd island in, here's where we again started re-looking at the space and what we originally were going to do.

We really loved this new island and the openness of the two chairs gone. I was now rethinking putting my work space in the same space as the kitchen island, and thinking I was now going to make my office area in that front space, where my captain chair and the side chair was. We knew we didn't want to bring both chairs back in, so we now put this section on hold to give me time to think about my office space and how I wanted to re-do it, but in this "different space".

With this on hold, I moved to fabrics and recovering the existing furniture.

Up Next: Fabrics & Furniture Recovering

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