Before the Bunkhouse Remodel
The primary reason for us trading in our 24′ fifth wheel, was to get a larger rig with space to accommodate Rene’s growing jewelry business. We enjoyed our Arctic Fox 245N, and it worked well for us for more the seven years on the road. But as she started to get more orders, and collect more tools and inventory it was clearly running short on storage space, and a place to work. The metal pounding was starting to take a toll on our kitchen table and Rene was constantly seeking out any sturdy surface to stamp her tags, pendants and charms.
“I promise I won’t bug you for a bigger rig for at least two years,” she said. That was about a year ago.
We had agreed to save our money for a larger used fifth wheel we would pay cash for, and started researching Arctic Fox floor plans. Then I found the perfect model, the AF275B had a bunkhouse in back that I could rip out and remodel to make a mobile workshop so Rene wouldn’t have to drag out all her tools every time she needed to fulfill one order.
Unfortunately the one I found was sold. Then Rene found one about a month later, at the same dealer! It was the exact same one I saw, which had fallen out of financing. We quickly made a deal over the phone to trade ours in, happy to live by our commitment to never go into debt for an RV.
Here’s the fifth wheel bunkhouse, before my renovation to turn it into our new mobile Agreda HQ and workshop on wheels…
After My DIY RV Remodeling Project
Once I consulted with the boss to confirm where the workbench would go, I started by removing the beds and tearing apart their frames. Not literally, of course. I carefully dismantled the bed frames and re-used most of the framing and paneling. Here’s some photos of the work in progress…
Note how I kept the trim around the top bed intact, rewired a new DC light fixture, and framed in a new support for the storage lid below. I first focused on completing the storage area. We scored by finding a remnant of wood-grain linoleum at the Habitat For Humanity Restore where I got the trim and other recycled materials to finish the job.
Before I built the workbench, I added an outlet underneath it and a new light fixture above. The closest AC power was an outlet outside the nearby exterior wall, which happened to line right up with the interior wall where the new outlet and fixture would go.
First I cut a hole for the new RV electrical outlet. To run the power, I removed the exterior outlet, drilled into the interior wall, attached the wire to a long rod, and had Rene push it in so I could grab it from inside the new hole. After tapping the new wire into the circuit, and replacing the outdoor outlet, I was ready to connect the new outlet inside.
Before doing that, however, I ran power up to the new lights by drilling a small hole where the fixture would hang, a few feet directly above the new outlet. I then dropped a weight on fishing line through the wall and grabbed it from the new outlet hole. Attaching the electrical cord for the light to the line, allowed me to pull it down to the power source. Once the wiring was all connected and outlet installed, it was time to build the workbench.
We went to the Restore in search of a solid core door for the bench top. Rene found the perfect one! It was an odd little door about 36″ tall, but I only needed 30″. I Made the frame out of 2x4s and doubled up on the front legs to support Rene’s pounding. We also found a nice little scrap of paneling, and some oak trim.
One brace along the side wall was all that was needed to hold the table since the four legs would support the work surface.