Sanding, Staining, and Satisfied


This summer marks the 2 year anniversary of beginning the bus conversion. A lot has changed over the past couple of years….and yet, most of the time, it feels like I will never get this completed. Over the past 4 weeks, I have really been able to move forward, thanks to some awesome friends and a TON of motivation.

My goal for this next part of the conversion, is to get ALL of the wood removed from our patio by August 15th. That’s a whole lotta wood, folks! I know that there will be some that will end up in a corner of the garage until I can get the plumbing finished up and move forward, but I have been working a lot on completing what I can do in the meantime. This past week I felt extremely creative and needed a way to get all of that creativity out…..but I also knew that I needed to keep working on the bus. Well, the combination of the two, created the following….

These are the doors that I purchased at some point (over a year ago, at least). I picked them up from a lady for $21 (that’s $7 a door! Yippee!).  She was remodeling her kitchen and these were the doors from her pantry and her broom closet. She told me that they originally came from a very old LDS church around here, that was being remodeled. The previous owners of their home were excited to use them, but they weren’t the style that she was looking for. Well, they worked perfectly for me. They were 20″ wide (perfect for RV doors) and about 80″ tall (obviously, they had to be cut down). So, they sat in the garage for a year or two, just waiting to embark on their own adventure towards beauty and function!

The biggest dilemma I had, was trying to figure out how to cut them down, without going into the panels on the top or the bottom, and still have the door hole at an appropriate level. If I turned the door one way, the handle was too far down for an adult, but if I turned it the other way, it seemed like it would be too high up. We ended up, as you can see, taking off 2″ from the top and 7″ from the bottom, then turning them upside down. I made sure that Simon, the shortest member of our family, could reach the handle, with it up an extra 2 inches from where it would normally be. Worked for him! I was surprised to find that the doors were solid, I was certain that they were hollow. I guess they felt so light because they are so tiny compared to regular sized doors? At any rate, it saved me the trouble of trying to figure out how to piece a hollow door back together. 🙂

Once I was done sanding the doors down, I found that I really liked the way that the contrasting woods looked together. I went inside to ask Aaron what he thought about the doors and, before I could even ask, he announced that he LOVED the way the contrasting colors looked with each other. Bingo!

While I was at Home Depot, trying to decide which stain to use on the doors,  I had a creative epiphany, why not incorporate several different colors of stain into each door? This was around the time when my creative juices were just about ready to BURST!!!! I have been trying to decide what color to paint/stain/glaze the doors and cabinets in the bus for so long now. I have changed my mind several times, but recently I looked at a beautiful wooden Claddagh ring that Aaron and I brought back from our visit to Ireland a few years ago and fell in love with all of the different colors of stains used together. I was trying to figure out a way to stain my cupboard doors to look eclectic, and yet not have them look too tacky. I began the process of figuring out which stain to use where….so much fun!

There are quite a few ladies at HD who know me by face and ask how the bus conversion and house sale are going. This particular time, I spent quite a bit of my time testing out the stains. I finally decided upon these 4 colors; Natural, Colonial Maple, Gunstock, and Red Chestnut ( I found an American Walnut hibernating in my garage, as well) . Lucky for me, I was able to return a couple of stains that recently hadn’t worked out for me, so I only ended up purchasing 2 stains. I began staining. I didn’t know what to expect, but figured I could sand the heck out of the first one, should it turn out absolutely hideous.

I ended up loving the results! Anyone who knows me, knows that Color is my middle name.

With the bathroom, Bunk Room, and Master Suite doors now stained, I removed all of the cabinet doors in the bus and sanded them. I was careful to keep some of the original stain on several of them, for contrasting effect. This took me a couple of days, such a tedious effort….but that seems to be the only way to get to the fun part of just about anything worthwhile, doesn’t it?

I tried out a bit of stain on one of the dinette overhead cupboard doors before I wrapped it up for the evening and took my man out on a date.

I definitely like the one on the right more! I spent the next few days staining. I didn’t take many pics, as I was so busy getting my hands covered in stain, but I somehow managed to create 20 new doors, which I absolutely LOVE!

Here is the view of the kitchen before I began staining.

And here is a picture of the kitchen after I was done with staining all of the doors. I likey! 🙂

Here is a picture from after we had our counter tops redone, notice all of the empty spaces?

We made use of the space under the stove, by installing the front furnace.

And, as you can see, I changed a couple of drawers/doors out….

For the longest time now, I kept wondering what on Earth I would put in 4 drawers. We no longer use silverware (we have Regular Splayds and Mini Splayds, and they both sit in a gorgeous container on our kitchen table). I have also cut back on how many chemicals we use in our home and how many towels I need to clean with (now that we are using Norwex for pretty much everything). So, really, all I could think of that I would need space for is my stock pots and cast iron pans…..none of which would fit in 4 drawers. LOL

One morning, I awoke with an idea of removing a couple of the drawers and seeing if I could make a cabinet area for larger items instead. I went outside and removed all of the drawers. As luck would have it, there just happened to already be a nice, sturdy shelf already at the bottom of the 3rd drawer. Now, to see if my largest Stockpot (20 quart) would fit in there, with my 15 and 10 quart pots nestled inside of it…..

Yay! Passed the test….barely.

I removed the slides and all of the other hardware and began looking through my collection of cupboard doors to find one that would work. I found a door that barely fit over the opening, I would just have to drill new holes for the hinges to make it work.

As chance would have it, I was heading down to the Restore (Habitat for Humanity’s store for everyone to donate and purchase household items) to drop off a van-full of items I finally could let go of (knowing that I would definitely not be able to use them for the conversion). I ran into the store, while Aaron was unloading all of our stuff, and found this door….fit absolutely perfect! And only cost me $1. Yay!

I think it looks so lovely, stained and with one of the new handles attached.

The best part? I didn’t even have to drill new holes for the hinges, I just decided to have it pull down to open.

Another area that needed adjusting, was this nifty little drawer to the left….

well, what used to be a drawer. While I was thrilled to be getting a regular sized sink for the bus, I lost the drawer space that I once had there. The only options I had, were to either glue the door face onto the cabinet (lame) or use it to hold sponges, scrubbies, scrapers, etc. I spent a long time (last year) looking around at the hardware stores, trying to find out where I could purchase one of the holders, like the 2 we have in our home. I have found it to be such a convenience for holding all of my dish-cleaning devices. I finally called the Cabinet Specialists (they were the awesome shop in town that one of the owners lent me a bag of their anchors for the construction of several of our cabinet doors) and Kim helped me to find a tray and the hinges I would need. At the time, I didn’t have the money to order them. Then I totally forgot about it….until a few weeks ago.

Look how much better this cupboard looks.

And now there is a function behind this little red door. I am so thrilled to finally have the cabinets looking pretty on the outside. There is still work to be done on the inside, but most of it has to wait for me to finish up the plumbing and gas.

While I was out in the bus, getting in touch with my artsy side, Ryan enjoyed bringing me several eclectic bouquets and telling me silly stories. One day in particular, she shared this treat that she made especially for me. No, it is not a mud pie……

It’s a mud cookie. And, boy was it delicious! Left me feeling completely satisfied….on a creative level. 😉

Pura Vida!


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