Back in 2014, we bought our brand-new Cyclone 'man-box-on-wheels' toy hauler. Though I loved its functionality as a toy hauler (because it hauled our two Harley Davidson motorcycles), I had serious reservations regarding the interior design and lack of storage in the kitchen.
Dare I say that this fifth-wheel toy hauler was perfectly designed with guys in mind - guys that didn't cook. You know, the beer, burgers, buns and potato chips kind of guys? With that being said and being the lady of our man-box-on-wheels, I put my foot down. I live in it too and things needed to change if the man-half wanted decent meals put on the table.
We had to come up with custom organization and storage solutions in our RV kitchen and living area, so I logged onto my favorite time-sucker, Pinterest, to get some ideas. Creative RVers have come a long way with RV remodels and renovations, and now, I consider myself to be one of them.
Now, before I continue to share the modifications that we made to our toy hauler, let me be clear when I say that it’s not that toy haulers aren't designed well. In my opinion, toy haulers weren't necessarily manufactured with women or even full-timers in mind. However, after touring the Road Warrior plant last fall, we took notice that we (as customers) and our needs are being taken seriously. I can happily say that Heartland RV is coming out with models more applicable to full-time living and *ahem* yeah, for women in mind - that's exciting!
However, since we weren't buying a new one, we had to make ours work. So, here's what we accomplished:
A New Pantry
While I was appreciative of every inch of cabinet space that was available in our toy hauler, I was a bit put off at the design of a particular cabinet in the galley. As if it wasn't bad enough not having enough kitchen cabinet space to begin with, this one just added to my frustration. It was tall, skinny and deep. In other words, it was useless to us. The dimensions hardly allowed us to store even the smallest appliances such as our toaster or Bullet drink blender.
It was frustrating to store any of our food items in it because they always got buried or pushed to the back – which added to my list of frustrations because the cabinet was deeper than my arm's length! I'd have to take everything out to get to the one thing I needed in the back. Oh, and though it had a single cabinet door, it only had one shelf. I called it our chips and buns cabinet. Unfortunately, we don't eat chips, so how was that supposed to work for us?
Dan, in his urge to 'get this right' (that whole happy wife, happy life thing), brought out his graph paper and mechanical pencil and went to work. He designed a workable kitchen storage unit that was sturdy yet functional. The kit we purchased was made by Rev-a-Shelf; a familiar cabinet upgrade that we also had in our Kentucky sticks and bricks. Below is the schematic and source of the kit:
*Rev-A-Shelf Wood 8" Product Number -RAS-448-BC19-8C (HardwareHut.com)
It's one pull-out unit with FOUR shelves; two being adjustable – needless to say, we had found our solution! As you’ll notice, I made use of every inch by using small baskets for my packets and rectangular containers to hold our flour, sugar, nuts and chia seeds.
I'm happy and Dan's happy because I wasn't nagging him anymore - well, at least for this project.
In our Cyclone 4100, we had two stylish down-rod pendant lights. I loved them. However, the globes were bland, and I wanted to customize them.
We went to one of those big-box-man stores, and bee-lined it to the land of lighting and shiny things. Sadly, nothing spoke to me, and really, Dan was ecstatic because he wasn’t over-the-moon about ripping out perfectly good lighting fixtures not knowing what it was going to entail above. Honestly, there wasn't anything wrong with the light fixtures themselves – just those awful, in my opinion, contractor-grade glass globes.
Then, as we were walking to the end of the lighting aisle, I spotted their display of light globes. You know, the ones sit-in on the shelf where you can put one over a light bulb to see what it looks like lit up? I had found what I was looking for and in the perfect color! It did take a tiny modification in the small hole of the globe where it attaches to the lighting fixture.
Now, you'll also see another feature we installed that we'll lead into our next modification.
Now, before you judge me on this modification, hear me out. Yes, those are glass wine and beer glasses in the photo above. For what it’s worth, I cannot and will not drink even cheap wine or cheap beer in plastic cups.
Dan installed stemware racks above our island on the same fixture as our pendant lights. Now, our toy hauler kitchen looked like a fully functional bar with cool lights and glasses above the bar – I mean countertop. They were lightweight and easy to install. And yes, to answer that question looming in your heads as you're reading this, I packed away those glasses each time we moved.
We Put the ‘F’ in Functional, Furniture Storage
Again, being that our Cyclone had very little kitchen cabinet storage, I had to be quite creative in coming up with a way to store our small stuff - odd cooking tools, supplements and vitamins, napkins, plastic cutlery, etc.
I measured the space under the slide out cabinet that rolled over the countertop for dimensions and logged them into my phone – which would come in handy when I was out shopping since I’d have the measurements with me. I also carried a small sewing measuring tape in my pocketbook. Ultimately, I found exactly what I was looking for at Hobby Lobby. As you see, it fit perfectly - mission accomplished! Anytime we pulled in the slides, we just relocated the cabinet to the garage.
If you have a man-box-on-wheels or toy hauler, you have options of making it more livable. We hope these ideas will spark your own ideas of how you can personalize your own Heartland RV.