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A Photo Gallery, Kitchen Curtain & a DIY Table

January 30, 2012

It was a busy weekend.  We finished up the flooring project by adding a stain to the quarter-round trim and doing a little caulking.  In the bathroom, there are two narrow spaces on either side of the shower.  The manufacturer had built wood chases off the floor to hide piping to the shower and to the toilet.  One of them can be seen on the left side of the photo above.  These little spots were covered with carpet that had become pretty grossly dirty over the years.  Now, those little spaces are boxed in with the flooring material, making them much cleaner (and cleanable).  Nell proved to be more adept at marking and cutting templates for the flooring behind the toilet.  And the floor in the bathroom now is much cleaner and neater.

No self-respecting fulltime RVer would be without a photo gallery of kids and grandkids.  We weren’t happy with the cork squares we had installed in a 24”x24” space on the dining area wall.  The adhesive squares that came with the cork stuck to the wall okay, but not real well to the cork. And, the cork was thin, which meant the pushpins we use were going into the wall.  A photo gallery is important to us, but what we had was a bit messy.  We had thought about framing the space in some way to give it a more finished look anyway, so we took the cork down and started over.  We found this nice frame at Hobby Lobby for 50% off, grabbed a sheet of foamcore board and some colorful fabric that looks like burlap.  Before we checked out, we got the framing guy to remove and toss the glass and trim the foamcore to fit.  The cost for that service was minimal, but it helps to catch the framer when they’re not real busy.   We weren’t too excited about having to dispose of an 18”x24” piece of glass at the RV Park, so this was a real convenience.  At home, we stretched the red fabric over the foamcore board, then installed this into the frame and hung it.  This and all our other wall art is hung using the Command Strip removable hangers.

The upholstered RV window surround has been removed.  To anyone thinking about removing those, be advised that the mini-blind is attached.  The whole thing has to be removed together.  Ours was attached with over a dozen screws.  We installed a simple curtain rod and kitchen curtain from Walmart.  Nell still needs to shorten the curtain by a few inches.  We’ll spackle and cover the screw holes when we paint.  For now, they’re hidden by the curtain. Window treatments will be an ongoing project for a while, but we’ll probably move along with it, because we can’t paint the walls until all the upholstered window surrounds are gone.

We’ve spent considerable time searching in furniture stores, thrift shops and antique places, trying to find a table that met our size and construction requirements.  The space between the love seat and the driver’s chair is a deep, narrow spot, perfect for Hemi’s crate.  He doesn’t spend a lot of time in the crate, but it’s an important spot that he goes to when the coach is in motion.  It’s not real attractive, so we wanted to hide it while still keeping it readily accessible.  A blog reader pointed us to a place that sells coffee table crates.  They’re really nice wood tables with a mission-style look, but aside from being a little pricier than we wanted, their standard sizes didn’t fit our space.  We gave up on finding something already made, so we made another trip to Home Depot.

Keep in mind, I am definitely not a handyman.  We didn’t even keep many tools.  So far, we’ve acquired a miter box and saw, a battery-powered screwdriver, and a bag to keep the new tools in.  For some reason, I kept my power drill, and used it this weekend.

Of course, it took the obligatory three trips to Home Depot, but we ended up with a 20×30 sheet of ¾” paint-grade plywood, an 8 foot length of 2×2 wood, a length of 1×2 wood, hardware to attach the legs, a strip of edging trim, and a few finishing odds and ends.  We got the plywood cut to the 14”x36” piece we needed.  (We’re already thinking about how we can use the leftover wood.)

Making this table was a challenge for duffers like us, and we did have a few false starts and made a f.ew mistakes as we progressed.  But patience was the order of the day, and between the two of us, an occasional stop-and-think moment produced solutions to a few “oops” situations.

We originally got pre-made, turned wood legs, ready to screw into the hardware.  Got them home and they were too long (No, we didn’t take the dimensions with us.  Why would we do that?).  We could have bought another set of shorter legs, but Nell’s frugality kicked in, and we went to the lumber section. Instead of turned, pre-cut legs at $10 each, we took home an 8 foot length of 2×2, cut into four 20” pieces with a short leftover piece.  Total cost: $1.57.  Yes, we need to do a little sanding, but that’s okay.

We got four “hanger bolts” that are a big screw at one end and a threaded bolt on the other.  The power drill came in handy here, and I did a test on the extra piece of 2×2 before jumping in on the good wood.  We attached the leg hardware on the underside of our tabletop, and then inserted the hanger bolts into the 2×2 lengths to make table legs, and screwed the legs into the tabletop.  One of the reasons we could never find a table already made was that anything that was close to the right size had support pieces attached near the bottoms of the legs.  We needed something more like a four legged Parsons table, with no bottom supports for Hemi to step over to get to his crate.  On our table, the screw-in legs were a little out of square, so we used 1×2 strips at each end near the top of the legs to tie them together.  We have plenty of 1×2 left over, and can use it to add support if we need it.

The edge of the plywood looked too unfinished, so we added a decorative wood trim with mitered corners.  Aside from adding a finished touch, the trim also hides the hardware where the legs are attached.  As you might expect, this is not a perfectly made piece of furniture, but for a couple of rookies, it came out pretty decent.  Now I’ll spend some time filling little gaps and nail holes and doing some sanding.  Then we’ll use a stain that closely matches the existing cabinets, and finish that off with a clear semi-gloss protective coat of Minwax Poycrylic.  We chose the Polycrylic because we can clean up with water.  I may whack the surfaces with a set of keys in a few places to give it a little age and character.

We ended the weekend feeling pretty good about our accomplishments.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2012 7:25 pm

    Nice table

  2. February 3, 2012 10:37 pm

    I read your home page on gouache the how’s and why you use it. Very informative. I wanted to ask if I could post your link on my new blog. I was a traditional watercolorist but last year switched to gouache and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being a traditional watercolorist again. I found gouache works so well for plein air.

    I love, love the fact you and your wife took off in an RV! My husband and I dream of doing this often. I’ve got to go back and read more of your adventures on the road. Aloha

    • February 4, 2012 1:28 pm

      Raleigh, feel free to link me in your blog. We’re not on the road yet, but we’re very, very close. Thanks for all the nice comments.

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