Step #13: Master Alcove

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Since the warm weather has slowly (and I do mean slowly) been approaching, I have been more and more excited to get back out in Liahona and get this conversion finished up. Other than the time it takes, we have no excuse for not getting the construction completed. We have all of the wood we need and the screws and L brackets aren’t too terribly expensive. We have borrowed a miter saw and will be borrowing a finish nail gun and compressor soon. For the next few weeks, I am focusing on the building end of the conversion.

This past week, I have been working on the Master Alcove. I know, it sounds like the name of a rich and stuffy Brit, but it’s just where Mr. C and I will be sleeping and escaping the 6 kids. I have had the plans drawn up for months, but I had a few items that I was unsure on. I finally threw caution to the wind (or rather, resisted procrastination….which is sort of like resisting temptation, and for some -like me- it is more difficult to resist than anything else) and just went for it.

Mr. C suggested beginning at the back of the bus and working forward, as opposed to working from the middle to the back. It was a great idea! I saved myself a few inches because of beginning back there (as you can see from the blue tape) and, as anyone working on a bus conversion knows, every inch counts. 😉

We began by cutting our wood and making sure all of the dimensions we had been planning would work. They did. We decided to use some 4x4s we had lying around, for the four corners of the bed frame and for the opening into the Master Suite (under the bed storage area). Hopefully this will help to create a very sturdy bed frame, where we can have multiple little ones for early-morning snuggle-ins.

Mr. C and I decided to remove the ledge on the side, because it was just getting in the way and not adding any support, this gave us a couple of extra inches (like I said, every inch counts). Unfortunately, while Mr. C was cutting the edge off, with our grinder, he cut himself on his hands…..twice. Ouch. The second time, it was pretty deep, down to the bone of his middle finger on his right hand.


I asked him if he needed to stop, but he said he could continue. We decided to try the sawzall instead. It was so much easier and I felt bad for ever having suggested the grinder. He headed inside after he finished cutting the ledge and let me finish up the construction of the bed frame.

Here you can see where the bottom of the mattress will rest (well, about 5/8 of an inch higher, once the piece of plywood is in place, but you get the picture) and where the bottom of the back upper cabinet will rest. We will have the cabinet come out about 12″, so that I won’t hit my head on it when I am in bed.

We made the opening under the bed frame 20″ high, to accommodate the 6-gallon buckets and Rubbermaid containers we will be storing there. They are both around 18″ tall, with lids, so it should give us plenty of room to maneuver. We are hoping to fit about 6 Rubbermaids and 9 buckets. This is where we will be storing extra bedding, out-of-season clothing, and FOOD. 😉

This is a good view of the entire area….all of the Master Suite. hehehe 🙂


One of the main concerns I had with beginning the Master Alcove, was the fact that the door handle would conflict with the location of the mattress. I am planning on taking off the door handle and having a deadbolt put on instead. I had a locksmith give me a bid last year, but it seemed really expensive, so we are looking for someone else to help us install the lock or buy a tool to do it ourselves. I finally concluded that we would be able to build the frame and put in the upper cabinets, while figuring out what to do with the lock, before we needed to worry about the mattress. Phew!

This is the side I am focusing on this week.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours in the afternoon and cut a wall to go in between the bed frame and the closet area. It isn’t going to be supporting much, more for convenience and privacy, so it is just a sheet of magnificent 5/8″ plywood, screwed into the bed frame and attached to the wall and roof with some L brackets and sheet metal screws.

I remembered (a little too late) that the template we had created, needed to be placed up towards the top of the wood, not the bottom….so there is a 1/2″ gap at the highest part of the wall. But that’s what all of the lovely finish pieces I have collected will be used for, covering up all of my mistakes that are aesthetically displeasing.

I finished up with the beginning of the upper cabinets. I am hoping to get back out there today and get some more accomplished.

Working on the bus has definitely caused me to have to think and rethink things through and figure out the best plan of action. Take the Master Alcove, for instance. The first step was to make sure the area would be the right dimensions for the mattress and the storage containers. Easy. Make sure the upper cabinets line up perfectly with the wall in between the closet and bed. Easy, just put the walls up next. But wait, we can’t put both of the walls up before we put the mattress in because it will be next to impossible to get out, once we have it in place. And it will be a complete PITB to move, once it is in there and it will not be very fun to try building items while crouched down on top of a mattress. Ahhhh….. So, we are putting in part of the wall, then putting up the cabinets on that side of the room. Then putting in the plywood and the mattress (which will be covered in plastic), then continuing the construction of our headboard on the other end, then putting in the other wall….and so on and so forth.
Pura Vida!
Mrs. C (that C would be for Crazy….at least that’s what I’ve been told lately)

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