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Old 12-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
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Seeking help with a remodel

This is a wordy post about a remodel I'm trying to figure out and undertake. If this is of interest to you, then great, read away. Perhaps you'll have some ideas which will help.

In preparation for my "big adventure" which is going to be a cross country trip in my new-to-me 30' Coachmen Freelander Class C, I'm endeavoring to set the RV up in ways that I hope will suit my style. Perhaps the biggest of the projects I've decided to undertake is replacing the couch with a desk and chair, a recliner if I can work that out.

In the included photo you can see the platform upon which the couch used to rest. That platform is my RV's one slide. So, I cannot remove the platform and must build on top of it. Toward the right side there is a brown box on top of the platform. I haven't opened that up but I'm pretty sure it contains part of the slide mechanism. To the right of the box are wires belonging to the slide.

At first I thought I'd put a desk on the left and a chair on the right. Later I decided it may be better to put the desk on the right. Reasons for my thinking include: the top surface of the platform is 5" from the floor. If I were to put a chair on the right side of the platform I'd probably have to do so on top of a second platform I'd have to build in order to cover the brown box and wiring. This would raise the bottom of the chair to something like 10" from the floor which would be a large step up or down. Plus, there wouldn't be enough headroom to sit in a chair that high as it would be under the cabinets shown. I measured from the top of my head to one of the light fixtures on the underside of the cabinet while I was seated on the couch. It was only 4" or 5". There's no way I could raise a chair 10" and also expect to actually be able to sit in it! There just isn't room to go that high. If I put a chair on the left I can probably do so without raising it any higher than the top of the existing platform. If I can somehow lower the chair, cut off part of its legs, then maybe I'll do that, but I don't think that would be necessary. I also don't know if I have enough room for a recliner. They take up a lot of room when in the reclined position. I may have to settle for a barrel chair. That's the kind commonly seen as standard equipment in new RVs.

The overall width of the platform (left to right) is about 72". From the far left side of the platform to the brown box is about 41". From the wall under the window to the edge of the platform closest to us in the photo is either 28" or 32" depending on how you measure. What I'm talking about is this: where the platform meets the wall there is a plywood box that runs the width of the platform. It is about 4" deep. If you measure above that box to the wall it's 32". If you measure to the base of the box where it rests on the platform it's 4" less, or 28". BTW, those black things spaced every foot or so along where the platform meets the box are the seat-belts which I've rolled up. I can take them out easily enough, and will.

I figure I can build a small box to cover the wires on the right side of the platform. I don't think I can reroute them. (I'll have to look again.) They live inside a plastic conduit about 1 1/2" in diameter. If I built a box over the wiring it may interfere with free movement of my feet under the desk but I think it would be livable.

Originally I'd planned to create a desk on the left from components available individually at Home Depot. An item known as a desk drawer cabinet which is like a file cabinet but has smaller drawers than a file cabinet, drawers like those you'd find on a desk, can be set on one side., say the left Then something known as a desk end panel which is pretty much like a flat board could be set on the right side, and a laminated counter top can be purchased, cut to the desired width and placed on top of the two. A "knee hole" drawer can be attached to the underside of the counter top so you'd have a thin drawer just above the knees, and voila, you have a desk. That would have worked great in the open space on the left side of the slide platform but I'm not sure it will work on the right side because I don't see how I would, or where I would be able to place the desk drawer cabinet. The wires would probably be in the way on the right side and the brown box would be in the way on the left.

I have a TV in the cabover section of my RV so a reclining chair that either faced or could be swiveled to face in that direction would be ideal. Considering the location of the TV it would make more sense to have a chair on the left side of the platform.

So what do you think of my ideas? I'm a complete amateur when it comes to things like this. Any suggestions on things to consider, where to look for competent help (I'm in Berkeley, CA), other remodeling ideas I haven't considered.

Thanks SO much for wading through this lengthy post and more thanks if you have any suggestions.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:24 PM   #2
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I've got nothing for ya... you seem to know exactly what you want to do and a very good idea on how to make it happen. Good luck with the remodel and have fun doing it.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:19 AM   #3
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Without seeing the entire floor plan it's hard to get a perspective on the project. If you have a booth dinette, perhaps removing that for the desk and chair arrangement might work then building a eating area in the slide out?
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falconman View Post
Without seeing the entire floor plan it's hard to get a perspective on the project. If you have a booth dinette, perhaps removing that for the desk and chair arrangement might work then building a eating area in the slide out?
Thanks. That's actually an interesting idea, but I don't think it would work. I do have a dinette but the area isn't nearly big enough for a desk and a chair. The slide platform is longer by probably a foot or two and my dinette area.

If I can find a floor plan for my unit maybe I'll upload that too.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:53 AM   #5
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You need to start looking for a comfortable chair that will fit on the 28" part of the platform first. You can then proceed once you know you can find one that will fit.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:01 AM   #6
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Photoruss,

Why not build the desk with the seating postion facing the booth and sit your chair on the laminate flooring. Maybe install a file cabinet or other storage on the right side where that brown box and wiring is. That way you could use a regular office chair, possibly on wheels. When you are traveling, just secure the chair to the front of the desk somehow. Just a thought.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PhotoRuss View Post
Thanks. That's actually an interesting idea, but I don't think it would work. I do have a dinette but the area isn't nearly big enough for a desk and a chair. The slide platform is longer by probably a foot or two than my dinette area.

If I can find a floor plan for my unit maybe I'll upload that too.

Thanks again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by falconman View Post
Without seeing the entire floor plan it's hard to get a perspective on the project. If you have a booth dinette, perhaps removing that for the desk and chair arrangement might work then building a eating area in the slide out?
OK, here's the floor plan for my RV. Turns out I was wrong about the couch being a lot wider than the dinette is wide, but it's still wider. Also, I don't quite see what I would be gaining by moving the dinette or eating area from one side of the coach to the other. It seems to me that a desk and chair, at least a recliner, would need more room than the dinette so it would make more sense to install them on top of the slide and leave the dinette where it is. Am I missing something?

I'm also uploading a diagram of the slide platform. Of course, post #1 of the thread includes a photo of the platform but this diagram provides some measurements absent in that photo. On the right I've labeled a proposed box "box with wires". This would cover the wires for the slide shown in the photo in post #1.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:45 PM   #8
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You need to start looking for a comfortable chair that will fit on the 28" part of the platform first. You can then proceed once you know you can find one that will fit.
Thank you for that. That's been my thinking too. I have been looking for chairs. Yesterday I went to San Francisco to two stores. A month or so ago I went to a Lazyboy dealer. I have my eye on a chair made by Coaster. I'm attaching a photo but in case anybody is interested in more info about it I'm including the URL to the manufacturer's page.
Coaster Recliners Casual Leatherette Swivel Recliner - Coaster Fine Furniture
I've only seen it online and in the catalogs at the furniture store. Turns out, one place that told me they had Coaster brand chairs in stock flat-out lied to me.

It's difficult to envision how or if a chair will fit without having it inside the RV, even with measurements. It's also important, I realize, that the chair comes apart so I can get it through my small RV doorway. If I can't I'd have to bolt it to the roof and that would create a whole other set of problems! LOL. I'd also want to try one out to see how comfortable it is or is not. I had a Lazyboy chair for years that I loved dearly. I parted with it in favor of a Lazyboy love seat to accommodate my then sweetie. She's gone but I still have the love seat, and it's just not as comfortable as the chair was.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:12 AM   #9
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Here is a sketch I came up with- You have shelving against the wall that goes all the way up.
The bottom right side of cabinet is a pull-out door with 1 or two other shelves- it pulls out into the open area. You can put a printer or anything else there. You can see my pull-out printer shelf on our new Entertainment Center in this photo- this is what I mean:



Okay- back to the sketch-The left side is open (on the side facing the chair- it is a solid piece of wood looking at it from the front side) so that it leaves you access to the box- which does look like it is part of the slide mechanism. You will want to always have access to this area if needed.
The purple line is a pull-out shelf - like you would find as a bread cutting board in a kitchen. (You can use this for your keyboard or mouse while in your chair.)

I hope this gives you some ideas. I look forward to seeing what you end up with. Good Luck.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damon Diva View Post
Here is a sketch I came up with- You have shelving against the wall that goes all the way up.
The bottom right side of cabinet is a pull-out door with 1 or two other shelves- it pulls out into the open area. You can put a printer or anything else there. You can see my pull-out printer shelf on our new Entertainment Center in this photo- this is what I mean:



Okay- back to the sketch-The left side is open (on the side facing the chair- it is a solid piece of wood looking at it from the front side) so that it leaves you access to the box- which does look like it is part of the slide mechanism. You will want to always have access to this area if needed.
The purple line is a pull-out shelf - like you would find as a bread cutting board in a kitchen. (You can use this for your keyboard or mouse while in your chair.)

I hope this gives you some ideas. I look forward to seeing what you end up with. Good Luck.

OK, great ideas and a wonderful sketch. You have talent!

Something I realize I have not been clear about: I've mentioned a chair, a reclining chair, but what I have failed to mention is that this would not be a chair for use with the desk. I'm not sure such a chair would be comfortable for sitting at a desk. It may not have a seating position that is upright enough for desk work. Also, you may not be able to get close enough to the desk with this kind of chair. I don't know… Maybe with your design idea if the pullout shelf was deep enough so that it could be pulled way out over your lap it could be done.

In my minds eye I had originally envisioned that there would be a second chair for use with the desk, one that would not be installed on the platform. This chair would be placed on the floor and face toward the window. My knees would slide under the desk top right where you've written the words "pullout drawer with shelving" in your sketch. The recliner would be separate, not used for desk work, and be to the left of the desk in your drawing.

If I understand you, it seems that you envision the reclining chair doubling as the desk chair and being to the left of the desk on top of the slide platform. Is that right? It's an approach I had not considered and it's worth thinking about.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:03 AM   #11
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Photoruss,

Why not build the desk with the seating postion facing the booth and sit your chair on the laminate flooring. Maybe install a file cabinet or other storage on the right side where that brown box and wiring is. That way you could use a regular office chair, possibly on wheels. When you are traveling, just secure the chair to the front of the desk somehow. Just a thought.
I tried but I really couldn't understand all of what you meant, exactly. I don't know what you meant by "the booth". Also, I think I was not clear that my original idea included two chairs. I'd mentioned a recliner, but failed to say I saw a second chair for use with the desk, and this one would be placed as you suggest on the laminate flooring and secured to the desk when traveling, perhaps with a bungee cord.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:54 AM   #12
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I have a 89 elandan and the chair area may be a good thought. It is 80 x 32 . You can change the size of the desk to fit your 75". Possible if you want to make the platform level first , it looks like it is a small step right now so adding to make level may be a doable step to ease design thoughts. Both my chairs recline, swivel and slide back and forward.
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:01 AM   #13
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Sorry missed pic to load. It shows the table in and out. If you are wanting for computer also is it laptop or desktop. Relocate the desktop somewhere else and run cables for mouse/keyboard or Bluetooth. I am going to remove and rebuild the table unit that will allow a flatscreen to drop down in behind and I will be installing my desk top in one of the upper cabinets.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:07 PM   #14
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I have a 89 elandan and the chair area may be a good thought. It is 80 x 32 . You can change the size of the desk to fit your 75". Possible if you want to make the platform level first , it looks like it is a small step right now so adding to make level may be a doable step to ease design thoughts. Both my chairs recline, swivel and slide back and forward.
I'd prepared a reply on my iPhone only to have it lost when clicking Send... aargh... So, once again:

I'm not sure exactly what you meant when you said change the size of my desk to fit my 75". I don't have a desk. I want to install one. If I had one, change it how?

As to leveling the platform, as I figure that would require placing a piece of plywood over the existing structure, over the brown box and wires. Did you have a different idea in mind? If I built a new platform from the right side to just beyond the brown box on the platform, just above the level where the wires go into the box at the back of the platform, the top surface would be about 10" off the floor. That would be a BIG step up and down. The top of the existing platform is 5" from the floor although it doesn't look that way in the photo I included in my OP. It's another 4" up from there to the top of the wires. Add 1/2 for a new plywood floor and we're at 9 1/2", then top that off with some linoleum and we're pretty darn near 10". I'm including another photo which better gives an idea of the existing platform height. Building any higher would also be so high that anyone sitting in a chair beneath the cabinets would be bunking his/her head. I wrote about this in my OP.

If I built a new partial platform that covered just the right side of the existing platform and put a desk there I might be able to sit at it comfortably using an office chair of sorts that rests on the existing laminate floor. It may need to adjust to a very high setting because I'd be resting my feet under the desk, 10" off the floor. Headroom over a desk would not be an issue. The overhead cabinets would be at the back of the desk and I'd be sitting more in the center of the room where there is plenty of head room. The left side of the platform could remain as is and my recliner or barrel chair could go there. I'd much prefer a recliner if I can fit one that's comfortable. A swivel recliner. A swivel, rocking recliner if such a beast exists. I could swivel it diagonally toward the front right of the cabover where my TV is. It could swivel to face the desk chair so I could talk to somebody sitting there, or toward the dinette. That's my thinking. I need to come up with a better diagram. I'll work on that.

I appreciate your thoughts. I especially like the telescoping desk idea which you show in your next post. I'm not sure how that would work for me but it might. Did that come with your rig? Did you buy it later? Have it built?
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