The Dinettes


When I was putting together the floor plans for the bus, I wanted to have enough table space for our entire family to sit together inside the bus. I also wanted to have enough beds in the back that we wouldn’t have to use the dinettes as beds, unless we had guests. I sacrificed having more floor space or an area to grow a herb garden, but I knew that with trying to travel and educate several children, we would want to have plenty of places to sit and write (and we are a family of writers, so this will definitely be something we need).

I had been debating on what to paint/stain/etc. the dinettes since we first put the dinettes into the bus, two years ago. Recently, I was visiting my mom and admiring (for the millionth time) the green that I painted her office walls, when I had an epiphany. I would definitely be incorporating this lovely shade of green into our new home somehow. I have always loved the way this green looks, especially next to all of the different shades of stained wood she has in there. I also knew that there needed to be beadboard on the walls….I LOVE beadboard, especially when it is distressed or antiqued. And I knew that I would need to have a delicious shade of red for staining the wood. With all of this in mind, I began to finish up the dinettes….

Here is what they looked like, right after we first installed them. And, here is a post of that process.

A lot has changed since we first put the dinettes in the bus, two years ago. In this picture, you can see the table that we used as a template for the 2 tables we will be using.  And the old countertops, sink, handles, etc…..all changed.

I still can’t believe how much anxiety I had over how to adjust the bench that encloses the water heater (10 gallon water heater, baby!). It just happened to be 1/4″ too high to fit under the board that went on top. I finally glued 4 pieces of some 1/4″ masonite around the edge and called it good.

Then I proceeded to cut new faces for all of the kickboards….

and glue and clamp them overnight (I hadn’t gotten the nail gun yet….what a blessing that has been to have around).

Then I stained all of the areas that I knew would still be showing….with my gunstock. I love that shade!

Once all of the stained areas had a couple of coats, and a top coat of polyurethane, I began cutting and attaching the beadboard, which, by the way, cost me a total of $2 for this 4×8 sheet….because it had a little water damage to one corner. Bargain shopping….Yay!

I glued and nailed it to the wall, happy that these nails work so well with steel.

I also cut 4 pieces of the inside of each bench…..all from that same sheet of beadboard.

I found the closest green I could find to the color of my mom’s office (we ended up using corn husk green by Behr) and covered the beadboard with it. I ended up going just a little brighter than the shade in mom’s office…..

…only because I had plans to mute it a little with some glaze….did I mention that I love the way antiqued beadboard looks. I am totally in love with these walls!

Here is the view from the front of the bus, with the walls and inside walls painted and glazed. Notice the back of the dinettes from the front of the bus? I can’t wait to show you that part of the bus….in another post.

Maybe they don’t look as stunning to you, as they do to me, but I can visualize them with the beautiful wood flooring we have ready to install and the tables and the cushions (recovered with a beautiful chocolate naugahyde) and the colorful, patchwork batik curtains I made many moons ago…..

If you could see my vision, you might be as tickled as I am, every time I walk up into the bus.

Or when I look at them, as I am walking out of the bus….I am pretty happy, either way.

I debated on covering the bottom of the walls before putting in the floors.  Not that we are planning on having to get in to the electrical, but it would be nice, just in case. I finally decided that it wouldn’t matter if I covered the streetside bottom (there aren’t any wires running along the floor of that side). For the curbside, I could use the piece of the flooring that I keep in the bus, to adjust the cover up high enough to fit the floors underneath later.

I used some of the wood I have been keeping around. The top boards were some of the free wood I got a while back and these two pieces of plywood, were ones I cut out of the fronts of some of my upper cabinets. See! I knew they would come in handy at some point. 😉

I showed Jamin how to measure and mark the top board every inch, from the top of the side rail to the floor, to make a perfect (or near-perfect) panel to fit over the wheel wells. Isn’t Jamin dashing?

He read off all of the measurements and I marked them…then I had him play dot to dot and create my cut line.

We used some liquid nails to glue the top piece on and attached it to the bottom with the nail gun. Voila!

Then it was Ethan’s turn to learn. He had already had quite a bit of practice in creating a template (with the Media Cabinet….which I will post later this week), but I hadn’t shown him this way of getting an accurate cut. I had him do all of the measuring.

I read off the measurements to him and had him mark the wood, then connect the dots. His side turned out wonderfully, as well. Hopefully some of these skills that I am teaching my kids will come in handy some day! Even if it is just in helping my kids to think out of the box or to come up with different solutions. 😉

And this is the end result. Originally, I was planning on building a box around the wheel wells, but I kind of like the way they look. I am going to paint them (the same color they are now), right before we put the flooring down.

I pulled out some of the cushions that I have been storing, along with the tables, just to see what it would look like. Someday, I will enjoy looking over, while washing dishes or preparing a gourmet dinner and seeing something similar to this. But for now, the dinettes are as complete as they can be.

Pura Vida!


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