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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION- Removing the Couch and Adding 2 Recliners

Oh that Steveio.....

He has had it in his brain to do some more modifications to the motorhome.  He loves to think about stuff to do to it, thus making it more comfortable for when we retire and live in our motorhome full time.

The newest thing to noodle around in his brain was to get rid of the couch and add two recliner chairs.  I said no, we can't afford that right now as heating season is upon us.  Our house is pretty efficient to heat, but the propane bills are not part of our spring, summer and fall household budget.  Gotta think about filling that big ole propane tank soon.

Soooo he still had this in his brain, and we went to a few stores to "just look"   ....    you know how THAT works, right?

When we bought our rig in 2006, it had TWO couches....  It made wonderful seating for when the family came along.  Sadly, the couches are very uncomfortable, but they both jacknife open into two twin/full sized beds.   We liked having the extra bed space for the family if they got rained out of their tents when camping with us.  With grandkids coming along now, it's nice to have a bed for them inside.  Let their parents sleep in the tents.. heh heh.

But... the couches were very worn looking and saggy and faded ugly peachy pink and frosty blue tiger stripes.  I am NOT kidding!  See?

I guess the designers chose Tiger Stripes for a Safari Serengeti?  

At that time, I bought a big bolt of nice blue upholstery fabric in a corduroy with faint imprints of leaves....  and I re-covered those couches!  Hauled out my Grandma's old Singer sewing machine and went to work.  Whew, it was a job and Steveio helped me with it.  We didn't change the cushioning, just covered over the existing fabric.

It sure made a huge difference,
and although they were still uncomfortable, they were all we had.  

Steve got it in his brain a couple years ago to take out ONE couch.  So we did. We drove to GoodWill and had them haul it right out the door as a donation.  Then we drove across the street to Shopko where they had a Euro Chair and Ottoman on sale.   For $90 Steve was happy, but I still had an uncomfortable couch.  But hey, it was working, so I didn't complain. 

(note: see those crinkly fabric windshield curtains? More about that later)

Since then, we bought a nice heavy queen air mattress for when the kids slept over.  We just shove the Euro Chair up front between the pilot and copilot seats.... and that queen mattress sets nicely on the floor between the couch and the wall.  It was VERY comfortable and the kids opt to use that instead of the folded out couch/bed if they stay over.  And now with the couch gone, my passenger seat can rotate around to face the livingroom area to be used for more seating.  (the driver's chair will not turn with the other couch there)

Zoom ahead to this year.  

Now, as I said at the beginning of the blog, Steveio got it in his brain to take out the OTHER couch and the Euro Chair ---  and purchase two recliners instead.   This would leave us a lot more room for things like my table loom, or sock machine, or spinning wheel...  which could be left set up when in use and not stowed away each time.  (that was his reasoning and "bribe" to me) 

We stopped at one store that had some nice recliners, but the price was out of line.  Then we saw some fancy leather recliners, again wayyy too expensive for our budget.  $900 each!  ouch!    After a few more stops, we went out for lunch.  Then we stopped at ONE MORE STORE.... you know how that goes?   

Well, we found some very comfortable Simmons recliners,  on sale of a sale of a sale and top it off, a $40 rebate on each chair too.   Soooo at $129 each, we bit the bullet and he got his danged chairs.


The backs of the chairs slide up and off, like the Lazy-Boy chairs do, for ease of getting in the motorhome door. So they are shipped in two pieces, ready to load up into a vehicle.  But, our little Saturn car was about an inch too short at the door way of the back seat to get in some of the parts, even if we could fit one whole section in the trunk.  We would still be making 2 trips, 40 miles one way, that is 160 miles total to get those chairs!~

Lucky for us, our son Dan has a pickup truck!   And he lives near that store.  We made a quick call, drove over to his house, swapped vehicles and went back to the store for our chairs.  It was pouring rain, but Dan has a nice covered tarp device over his truck bed.  We loaded up the two chairs and headed up to Oconto. 

Once we got to our house, we had to remove the couch from the motorhome first.  It's fairly easy with extending it out flat, setting it up on end, removing the arms, and walking it out the doorway sideways like a mattress, with one of us on each end.  

By removing the last couch, we are not losing much storage space, because we only stored a couple sleeping bags and a folding chair under the couch.  There was a snakey air duct from the furnace that also ran under the couch too.   Easy peasy to detach it and we will just put a nice 20x10 household vent cover over that space left on the wall.

We never use that built-in RV propane furnace; it's a big energy waster, uses up a lot of the battery power to run the fan, and doesn't heat very well to the back of the rig either.  That is the unit that comes in most RV's.  We use an Olympian Wave 8 catalytic heater instead that doesn't wear down our batteries overnight, and heats our rig up nicely.

We will leave the ductwork in place if we do want to use the big furnace, but we shortened up the duct so it's behind the grid we are putting up.  That furnace does heat our basement compartments if in a freezing situation, we would have to kick it on from time to time to keep the tanks from freezing.  But we would rather be spending time in warmer climates than fight with freezing tanks, right?

Here is the living area now without any furniture in it!  Embarrassed to say I guess I gotta steamclean that carpet, eh? We take our shoes off all the time, but the dogs go in and out, tracking in dirt and leaves.  On the next nice day, I will haul out the steamcleaner and tackle that job.

The pic below is my playing with the panoramic feature on my Galaxy Tablet... heh heh...  ain't that how they do it in those fancy motorhome brochures to make them appear even more roomier and wider?

We carried in the chairs and set them up, 
right before the start of the big Packers vs Bears football game.  

They can be put both on the driver's side... or both on the passenger's side....  

I think I liked them both on the driver's side the best.

Or they can be put one on each side if we wish.  Kinda nice to have flexibility----
and they can be mounted down right through the floor once we decide where we want them.

 It was raining outside, so we decided to sit right down in our chairs and watch the game! 
Steve brought out a cute little table he had built a while back for in the house.  
It will now be an extra side table in our rig. 

Now we can turn the driver's chair around, like the passenger chair does, 
to add to the livingroom area seating.   
See the powered windshield shade setup instead of the wrinkly curtain of last year?

We enjoyed trying out the comfortable chairs, watching the Packers trounce on Da Bears, and watching the rain pour down outside.   When the game was done, the rain was done too!   

We loaded up the old couch into the back of the pickup truck and hauled that down to Dan's too.  He wants it for extra seating down in the basement bar/rec room of their house.

I wonder what Steveio is going to change next?????


  1. Extreme makeover, RV Style. Looks great with the new chairs! With all the changes you've made, pretty soon the manufacturer won't recognize their own product. ;c)

    They should have hired y'all at the start to build their motorhomes right!

  2. Steveio is not only handy, and mechanically minded, but he comes up with some pretty good ideas too! :)

  3. What a space enhancing, updating and groovy mod! I kinda like the option of being able to move the recliners around so you can have them either against the wall on the side or bring them out to the center of the room like in the photo. Very nice! I'd love to ditch our couch and get a proper desk setup for my laptop. Probably will have to wait until the couch is worn out, though . . . Good for you!

  4. Karen, that looks very cozy! I can't believe u didn't have a home woven runner down the center of ur room? 

  5. Nice, very nice! we redid our living area this Spring and are delighted with the results, if everyone knew how much they could gain by getting rid of the couch, they would all be doing it!
    Super nice job!

  6. I LOVE reading your posts! You do a great job of story telling (even when its all fact!) ;)

  7. Can't believe the price you got, I have been wanting to replace at least one if not both the rockers in the rear of our fiver with recliners. Wish I could find a price like that and they look sharp too. Don't know what to do now, I had the generator on the top of the priority list, but they are in short supply now.Steveo did a great job again. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  8. The only two things I do not like about our Alfa is the couch and the ugly carpet. I'm surprised how easy it looked to remove your couch. Something to think about for next year if we ever get out of the driveway!

  9. Nice mod; funny the way us guys shop until we find what we want to buy and then proceed to change it!


    Not sure I want to give up snuggling my wife on the couch though.....

  10. Love your new recliners!! They look really comfortable and gives you so much more room. Great price too!! :-)

  11. Your motor home looks so homey and comfy!! Steve has some pretty terrific ideas!

  12. We Did nearly the same thing--but due to space limitations we put in a reclining loveseat--both sides recline separately. It's soooo much more comfortable than that awful sofa sleeper that was in there. Enjoy your recliners!!!

  13. Great post, Karen! I really appreciate the detail and steps you went thru. Kinda makes me itchy to ditch the couch in ours too;-) Ted uses the recliner so the cat and I share the couch:-~ It's just not comfy for watching TV - angle is all wrong... hmmm... I think I see another recliner in our future!
    98 Serengeti

  14. It looks so cozy. I love the look of the powered shades...one thing I would love to have. Guess I better go back and read that post!


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