The Frankenstein Cabinets


The Frankenstein Cabinets

This past week, I worked on the Master Suite Closets. This is the area where most of our clothing will be stored. I began by putting up the wall, which is directly across from the other wall. Both of these walls will eventually be the anchors for the door casing and door that will be in between the Master Suite and Bunk Room.

Jamin and I made some supports to go in between the studs and put them all in. It went so much faster than the other wall did, as we now knew what we were doing. Once I had the wall up, I made sure that I thoroughly siliconed around the file cabinets and attached them to each other and the wall and floor. They aren’t moving. 😉

I began making the frame for the wardrobe, which is where Mr. C and I will keep our Sunday shoes and hang our clothes that we don’t want wrinkled. Funny: I screwed the front frame on and then went to move away. There was this awful squeak. Really awful. So, thinking that I must have somehow overlooked this pre-existing calamity, I began attacking the poor floor with screws. I was so frustrated, as the sound never would get better. Seriously, thirty screws later and the sound hadn’t even changed. Finally, as a last resort, I removed the piece across the front. I would screw underneath it (there was literally nowhere else I could screw in the floor), and if that didn’t work, I would have to concede. I stepped on the squeaky area and, miracle of miracles, the squeak had disappeared….it had been the piece of wood rubbing up against the metal filing cabinets the entire time. I cut off a sliver of wood, reattached it to the floor and the squeak was gone. Needless to say, I was pretty upset about the waste of time. But I did learn a valuable lesson from this experience: sometimes the issue is not as obvious as the solution. 😉
Once I got the bottom frame up, I began working on putting up some of our cheap plywood for the walls. We will eventually be lining both closet areas with an aromatic cedar wood, but we don’t have the money right now. It will cost between $50-$75 to do the entire area. So, this won’t be happening for a while. I wanted to have a nice solid area that we can attach the cedar to, that wouldn’t effect (break) the windows that are behind this area, so the plywood fit this purpose quite nicely. Just had to make sure that we only screwed in above and below the window area.
I was so happy to be able to use pieces of plywood, instead of one solid piece. It is so much easier to cut several pieces to fit into an area. Once we have the walls covered with cedar, we’ll cut a piece of wood for the bottom, which will rest on top of the edges. That way, we can always remove the bottom, in case we need access to the gas line. 😉

I took one of the pieces that I had cut from one of the other walls we put up, to make this small area of wall.
I began framing in the top cabinet, making sure to use lots of silicone all along the way, to cut down on any future squeaks. I also decided that it would be best to not have any screw tips coming into the drawers that will be holding clothing (talk about snags), so I used a couple of pieces of oak and screwed up through them and into this bottom piece, to avoid screw tips in the cabinets.

I couldn’t figure out how to put a wall up against this cabinet, without having to screw into the side of the filing cabinet. Finally, I decided to make a few braces that attached to the front and back of the frame, which were out about 1/2″ from the cabinet. I used these braces to attach the wall to. It worked out well. Man! Sitting in that teeny closet in the middle of a 96 degree day was anything, but comfortable. So happy to be done with this part.

I finished the frame for the upper cabinet and Ethan and I spent around 1/2 hr removing the key lock from the left filing cabinet, which we didn’t have a key to. I can’t complain though, since we purchased these recycled cabinets for around $10 each. It was fun to figure out ways to drill/hammer/and squeeze the lock out. Ethan sure loved it! If you asked why we had to remove the lock, in the first place….it was all so that I could attach a beautiful piece of trim to the top of the cabinets. Yeah, it was all about the aesthetics.
I put a 2×4 across the wall, with plenty of silicone. I haven’t yet decided what I am going to be using this for. I know that it sounds strange, but I had a feeling to put it in there, and I am learning that sometimes my ideas that make no sense right now, make perfect sense down the road. I have had several ideas that ended up saving me time, money, and effort….and who doesn’t want to save any of those, right? It might be for storing items I don’t want the little ones into. I may build a little cupboard into it, eventually. For now, it’s just a 2×4.
I attached (with plenty of silicone) a piece of masonite to the top of the cabinets, to give the area a nice, smooth, solid surface. Then I put some plywood up along the back for the cedar. I also cut out a piece for the wall in between the two areas. I attached the face for both areas and put the doors on. Voila!

I can’t wait to get all of that cedar in here….red cedar is one of my most favorite scents in the world. The smell of cedar always reminds me of childhood trips up to Yellowstone National Park. We went every summer, at least once, and my parents always gave us $5 for a souvenir. Most years, I would buy a little cedar chest. By the time I moved out, I had around a dozen cedar chests. I gave a lot of them away as gifts to friends of mine. To this day, every time I smell cedar, it takes me back to Yellowstone. Besides the smell, it is also great for keeping bugs and mold away….which is a must in a clothing closet.

Once I completed the area, I cut a small piece of trim to go over the top of the filing cabinets (where we removed the lock) and glued it on. I haven’t decided how these will look when I am done with the conversion. Right now they kind of have a Frankenstein-feel about them. Some of the parts came from free wood we gathered online and other pieces we bought for dirt cheap. I kind of like to look at the different ecclectic pieces and remind myself that we have completed this entire conversion for less than $6k so far (and that includes the trip out and back to pick up Liahona). With all that we have done, I have to say that the price is perfect.

It may not be factory-made and it may take a lot more time to create than it would to just purchase an already-made RV, but it will fit our needs better than any other RV we could have spent 100’s of thousands of dollars on. We just have to be very creative with the resources that we have available to us. And, if there is one thing I am good at being, it is resourceful….so when I look at the Frankenstein cabinets, I just have to smile. 😀

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