We bought Harvey knowing that it would be a lot of work to get him into shape for living full-time. One of the first things we needed to change was the miniature dinette set. It was small even for Tricia, and I wasn't even able to get my knees under the table. We needed to make better use of the space, but my budget was tight. What to do?
Forward view of Harvey from the for sale ad - the now-vanquished dinette is on the lower right.
While Tricia brightened up the inside with some fresh paint, I started the demolition work. This wasn't as much fun as you'd think because I wanted to re-use all the lightweight, fire-treated wood from the dinette. A good old claw hammer, cordless drill, and pliers are your friend.
The wheel-well (lower left) cuts into the floorspace, so our build options were limited.
Below, you can see the rough 24"x48" frame I built for the window seat. It's strong enough to bear my weight already, but I added one more brace on the aisle side to be safe. I wanted to keep the center area as open as possible for storage.
I was able to complete the frame using only fasteners and screws I recovered from the dinette.
The next step was to cover the frame. I was able to cover the sides with the dinette's plywood facings, but there wasn't a sturdy enough piece for the top. Fortunately, my parents donated some scrap plywood that was the perfect size. The hinges from the old benches weren't strong enough, so I picked up a piano hinge from Home Depot to make it easier to open.
Tricia testing out the fit of the window seat. Just right!
At this point, I had a hinged wooden chest. Tricia painted it and my mom used her seamstress abilities to make a cushion cover for the old dinette's foam. It was a pain to cut the foam and get it into the cover, but it was a lot cheaper than buying custom foam!
Here's the completed window seat!
We've been slowly adding things as we go, from an under-cabinet basket to chalkboard paint on the cupboards-anything to use our space more efficiently. I still have a lot of small projects and cable management to do, but Harvey's becoming more practical every day!