Saturday, March 29, 2014

Scoopy’s Renovations

When we liberated Scoopy from the shop, our itemized bill was 7 pages long and jokingly referred to as "the nightmare". Ours was certainly not the largest repair and reno job Auburn-Kent Valley RV Center has ever done, but our job included of a bunch of little stuff along with the more significant things.

“The Nightmare”

A good portion of the upgrades happened in areas we rarely see. In fact, when you walk into Scoopy, with a couple of exceptions, you'd be hard pressed to see much of a difference in the before and after. One significant “unseen” item is the repair of the automatic levelers. On this trip, for the first time ever since we’ve owned her, Scoopy leveled herself!  While we’re kind of excited about that, Laurie and Odel had them repaired several times and they always failed eventually. We’re not holding our breath that this fix is final, but we’re going to enjoy while it lasts.

One of those inside exceptions is our amazing residential refrigerator. It's a gorgeous stainless steel Samsung French door model that replaced our four-door Norcold. It is a popular model in RVs because it fits perfectly in the existing space and doesn't protrude into the hallway. The doors open nearly flush, so there's no chance of obstructions with cabinetry. More importantly, the depth of the fridge is perfect.

As I mulled over all of these dimensions, there was something nagging at me. I knew the Norcold was just over 36" wide and the new Samsung was 33" wide. It bothered me that 3.5" of space would be wasted. I didn't say anything for a long time but I continued to obsess over this loss. Finally, I mentioned it to Jeff, fully prepared for him to tell me "that's the way it is." But he didn't. Instead, we started brainstorming all the things we might do with that space. We settled on a full-length spice rack.

During one trip out to visit Scoopy, Jeff had the basic idea in place, but one thing I realized was that little containers of spices would get lost if I wasn't able to see through the shelves. So I told him I thought the front should be acrylic. He did one better. He fashioned them out of polycarbonate, which is scratch-resistant and more durable than acrylic. 

We also took into consideration any heat that the fridge might put off, but Jeff determined that the heat vents at the front, and the side stays cool. Perfect!

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Our new fridge                                                          Super spiffy spice rack reveal!

When we arrived to take Scoopy out for a 3-day weekend, I brought along a crate full of spices to load up into my glorious new rack. That plan was very nearly thwarted soon after we arrived. Steven sat the crate down right inside by Scoopy's door, on top of the straps of his camera bag. When he picked up said camera bag, the crate full of spices shot down the stairs, went right out the front door and the entire contents crashed to the ground. He cursed loudly, so I knew it was bad. I was so in shock, I couldn't even look at the mess of broken glass and spices scattered on the ground. I screamed, "OMG! Did you break my Sunny Paris?? Did my Sunny Oaxaca survive?" Those are my two favorite and I was heartbroken to think they were scattered in a puddle of glass and rain.

The remains of the big spice disaster after salvage. The white stuff is Cream of Wheat.

One by one Steven picked up the survivors and dried them off. Turns out, it looked much worse than it was. In the end, I lost only two things and I didn't really care about either one. YAY!

Jeff did an amazing job building my spice rack. One other thing I love about it is that when it's closed, you would not even know it's there. You would walk right past it and not notice it. He also put three latches in the rear, so when closed, it stays closed. I love it!!

The little knob to the right is the only giveaway that there is hidden treasure!

I'll let the pictures do the talking with regard to other improvements we made. Tomorrow, Scoopy goes back to the shop, there are a few more things left to be done, such as our Oxygenics showerhead and probably a new water pump. But the end is near, and we could not be happier! Scoopy is very nearly ready to once again hit the road full time. We think she's pretty excited about that!

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Lots of extra storage!                        Two new adjustable shelves double the space for dishes.

More space to store our wine amongst other things. Hmmm, seems like we are almost out of wine!

Our new bright LED bulbs above the kitchen will be a great help when our sight begins to fail.

Because it rained constantly during our three-day shakedown, we had loads of time to check out each and every repair and upgrade. We are very happy with the results and know that Scoopy is as ready as we are to hit the road fulltime.


  1. nice little hidden renos you had done! love the spice rack idea.!!

  2. Your reno looks great. I know you will love the fridge, it is what we have. Here is a tip. use spring loaded cafe curtain rods to keep stuff on each shelf stable on travel days. Also works in the medicine cabinet and they are really cheap.

    1. Good tips about keeping everything stable. Thank you!

  3. Here is a neat way to lock a French Door fridge while traveling - . I found it when investigating residential fridges. We ended up with a 36" wide Whirlpool side-by-side, it was slightly shorter than the Samsung.

    1. Bil, you're right - it IS an ingenious idea! Those doors definitely do not want to stay closed when we're zipping around a corner. We put a small bungee cord on and it worked, but I like this idea way better. I think with that U-shaped thing in there, those doors are never coming open! Thanks for the tip!

    2. Also look a Gear Ties instead of bungees, for keeping other things from opening. You can get them from Home Depot or Amazon. They are like giant twist ties, in colors and multiple sizes.

  4. Lookin' good guys. And not all renovations need to be seen to be appreciated. Anything that makes life in an RV smoother is a good thing.

    For keeping things stable we also use spring loaded bars but buy the ones at camping stores (ie Camping World etc) or even the RV section in Walmart. They seem to be sized just right for cabinets and such. Was one of the first things we bought after the liquor cabinet fiasco. They work awesome.