Although our 2014 Bay Hill 385 BH Fifth Wheel RV is brand new; we knew of a whole bunch of changes we were going to do to make the RV what we really wanted. We had a long list of specific must haves, which I’ll cover over time in this blog under the “Modifications” category. The first and biggest change in my mind was a reconfiguration of the living room seating arrangement. I’m not sure what the designers over at Evergreen RV were thinking with this 80’s throwback futuristic seating configuration. Styling aside, the functionality of that space was horrible. In 3 inside seats you were forced to turn kitty cornered to sit comfortably in that seat. Then the triangle thing in the middle was monstrously overwhelming and completely overpowered the table when it came to asthetics.
As you can see in the picture above our RV came with a Dinette for 4 in the leather seating scenario, and also this table for two on the right. There were also two stools which you can see at least one of behind the sink. So technically there are 11 seats in this space. Quite a waste of space for a family of 4 if you ask me. The dinette for two was one of the deal makers when purchasing the RV because when I first saw it, I thought… Oh awesome, I can rip that right out of there and put my office desk system. I know, not your typical purchasing requirements but it was 1 of the key factors we were looking for in a new Fifth Wheel. After tons of measurements, sketches, ideas… we decided to take the couch that was in the girls bunk room and use that as our main couch in the living room. As you can see from the photo above it sits below the right bunk. A side note, both bunks did not come with railings for the beds. So for our two little girls that was EXTREMELY dangerous at that height, so I custom made two wooden railing setups and installed them as you see there. After taking the couch out of the room…. that left a MASSIVE open space which I later built a complete custom cabinet system to fit into. (more on that in the future) So with sledgehammer in hand; (and a screwgun in the other) I took all the components of the dinette and seating system out. One of my pet peeves was the kitchen table and the narrow size it was. I also hated that our kitchen countertops are nice quality Corian and the table was formica. Such a scrimp if you ask me. The above photo is all the elements that I ripped out.
In the photo above you see the new kitchen table setup complete with whoopie cushion.
And here is the couch in position on the right. I learned that all of the RV furniture was actually built INSIDE the RV. The Couch you see here can ONLY fit through the doors if it is in sofa bed configuration (extended out) and the side arms are completely unscrewed and removed. (Approx 5 screws per side hold the sides onto the back and bottom.) I ripped most of the leather off the pieces I was throwing away to reuse it in the future. I loved the baseball stitching so I wanted to add some continuity to the furniture I was adding back in. I cut some squares out of some larger salvaged pieces of leather and reupholstered the otherwise ugly dinette chair fabric.
In the photo above I used the back original left seat and bottom cushion, but threw out the corner / back piece. The new piece I salvaged from the front foot kick piece of the original couch pieces. I upholstered it as well with more salvaged leather to show off the baseball stitching.
The table itself is approx 4 inches wider and 5 inches longer than the previous table. I made it with a sheet of furniture grade maple plywood, trimmed with solid maple facing; stained it to match and put 5 coats of polyurethane on it. I reused the “detachable” leg system but know flimsy it is, I also put a cleat board under the table against the wall and screwed the table to the cleat. So the table is now secure at 3 contact points. Last addition was I unscrewed the chair straps of the original dinette location and reattached them to the couch itself. So when driving I have the chairs strapped to the couch.
In the end, we gained 220 square inches of sturdy and secure tabletop space, gained 3 square feet of floor space in the area of the walk path in front of the table/couch, and added a the full size sleeper couch in the living room so we can have guests sleep over on it with ample room to move. With the chairs being removable we also can utilize the floor area there for whatever we might need it for; crafts, projects, dance parties, etc… And don’t forget the whoopie cushion.