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RV Update- Part 3: Kitchen

  • The advantage of purchasing a three-year-old fifth wheel was that everything worked, far beyond the initial break-in period when most mishaps occur.  However, the older floor plans were not really set up for full-time living, so each room needed upgrades, modifications and updates.  I've already posted about updating our master bedroom andour entryway, and this post is all about our kitchen. 

    ​I've numbered several items on the attached photos so you can see what I'm describing.  Our kitchen is now 100% better than when we purchased our 5th wheel.
    1.  Vinyl Plank Flooring
    We waited until we were on the road full-time, but we finally replaced our awful carpeting in the living room and extended the vinyl flooring throughout the kitchen.  You can read more about it on my blog post, "RV Renovation Project- Vinyl Flooring."

    2.  Island
    We purchased this 5th wheel knowing we would need to add a portable island in the kitchen and we did that almost immediately.  This provided much-needed storage and counter space and we immediately saw its advantages.  Because we had to find one we could assemble inside (ready-built islands would not fit in the door), the unit came apart after a few outings.  I used pine boards, extra screws and industrial caster wheels to firm the island up, and it seems to be holding up quite well.  We move it and strap it into the dining room slide on travel days.

    3.  Induction Stove Top and Island Counter Top
    Like many RV owners, we grew to dislike our propane stove immensely.  Of the three burners, only one came with variable heat control, the others had settings of  HIGH and OFF.  Nadyne tried and liked an induction burner and we bought a dual-burner unit, but it was awkward using it on the then-current stove or the island.  The answer was to build it into a frame and counter on the island and now it is a permanent fixture in the kitchen.

    4.  Metal Storage Boxes
    These were purchased at Hobby Lobby, which has a nice selection of metal containers and boxes.

    5.   Rolling Cart
    Adding more storage in the kitchen is always difficult and we decided to utilize the space under the extended counter of the island with a plastic rolling cart we found on

    6.  Wire Vegetable Bin
    A nice add-on to the kitchen island, this bin was found at Hobby Lobby.

    7.  Ice Cream Maker
    Nadyne and I often crave premium ice cream but Haagen Dazs was eating into our budget.  The first ice cream machine we tried required us to freeze the product and bowl for hours before letting the process make ice cream.  A friend had made us ice cream with an appliance that had its own freezing mechanism and we immediately went looking for such a device, settling on one from Gourmia.  It's awesome!

    8.  Pin-up Board
    We have three in the kitchen and entry way areas.
    9.  Backsplash
    We were sceptical that a plastic stick-on backsplash would look good but hated the awful wallpaper border so much that we installed it anyway.  Surprisingly, the results were very attractive and the backsplash has held up well.

    10.  Kitchen Knife Set
    This unit was purchased at Walmart for our kitchen in our house and it was moved to the RV when we went full-time.  The set includes a wood and plexiglass knife holder, a set of six kitchen knives and 4 hard plastic cutting boards.  It was meant to sit on a counter but i decided to save that space by attaching it to the wall.

    11.  Dinnerware and Paper Towel Caddies
    To save space in the cabinets we moved our primary dishes and silverware into a caddy that, along with the paper towel caddy, could be carried outdoors to a picnic table or other eating area.

    12.  Dish Strainer

    To save time for travel set up and break down and to keep more counter space available after washing dishes, which you have to often when your sink is RV-sized, we found a metal fold-up rack at Ikea.

    13.  Counter Top Extension
    We purchased a standard cutting board and applied water-proofing before installing it on fold-up hinges.  This is folded down to allow the slide to come in and adds important counter space when parked.

    14.  Kitchen Faucet
    The factory-installed kitchen faucet was plated plastic and did not have an extended head.  This new Dura model was purchased at Lowes is metal and does have an extended water head for better cleaning options.

    15.  Sink Caddy
    With movement and vibration the norm on travel days, this wire shelving helps stabilize some of the accoutrements of the sink area, allowing much more to stay out of the set up and tear down process.

    16.  Clock
    This is an inexpensive battery-operated clock that has lasted for 5 years so far.

    17.  Pull-Down Tray
    Utilizing wasted under-cabinet space, this metal tray pulls down and out and is filled with open dog-treat bags and a few rolls of doggy poop bags.

    18.  Ice Maker
    An absolute necessity, we bought a counter-top ice maker pretty early on in our RV life.  This one is an RCA model and is our second unit since we began traveling.

    19.  Battery LED Lights
    These are from Ikea and add some needed light to the stove area.

    20.  Storage Basket and Tray
    To utilize empty space over the tall cabinets, we could have placed decor, plants or storage trays and we chose the latter.  To accommodate the taller paper towel rolls on the left cabinet, we added a tension bar.

    21.  Wire Utensil Bins
    Like other metal or wire bins we installed, these we purchased from Hobby Lobby.

    22.  BBQ Grill Utensils and Hooks
    BBQ utensils were too heavy for Command hooks so I attached a wooden 4-hook key holder to the side of the rolling cart and they are now out of the way and taking no drawer space.

    23.  Spice Racks
    You would think the RV would have come with spice racks, but none were to be found.

    24.  Keurig Coffee Maker
    I don't drink coffee but Nadyne loves it.  Our Keurig 2.0 was a nice appliance but took up far too much counter space, so we went looking through the Keurig product line and found a similar model with a small footprint by comparison.

    25.  Wire Bread Basket
    'Nuff said.

    26.  Wooden Counter Top
    When we removed our built-in stove (see #27), an opening was left that we filled with a piece of pine taylored for the spot and stained dark to be compatible with the surrounding cabinets.  This wooden counter is removable.

    27.  Convection/Toaster/Air Fryer Oven
    The oven and stove that came with the rig had been causing continuing issues, culminating with the oven pilot not working.  With Nadyne already frustrated with the stove burner limitations and the cost of a new combination oven/stove appliance in the thousands of dollars, we decided to replace the stove unit with a small convection/toaster oven that included an air fryer.  We had a small eir fryer that we loved using and had been missing our toaster oven, so this really wasn't a difficult choice. I had to make sure propane line was properly stopped and stowed, and we tied the unit down with metal strips.  

    28.  Oven Shelf and Cubby
    With the size of the new oven (see #27) so much smaller than the original, we added a shelf to sit it on, leaving a nice storage space beneath.

    29.  Pull-out Wire Drawer
    At the floor below the stove was a storage space and drop-down cabinet door that was very difficult to use.  Nearly every time we needed to pull or put away something in that area, we had to almost lay down on the floor to reach in the back of the space where everything migrated to.  This was resolved with a wire drawer we purchased at The Container Store.  We use this spot for storing all of our dog food and meds, plus other canine odds and ends.

    30.  Floor AC Outlet
    The one drawback with adding a portable island in the middle of the kitchen floor was the difficulty in getting power to any appliances we wanted to use on the island.  This was resolved by having an RV shop install a dedicated circuit (with GFI) in the floor where the island would sit.  This cost nearly $1,000 but it was done by professionals and the outlet has been used almost every outing since.  Now that we're full-time, it has been essential.

    31.  Power Strip
    Rather than having multiple cords running to our dual outlet in the floor, I installed a power strip that makes plugging in very simple.

    32.  Towel Rod
    We lost our towel holder with the removal of the stove (see #27) in which we utilized the oven door handle,  so we found an inexpensive drawer attachment that holds kitchen towels.

    33.  Decor and Shelving
    Some of this came from our house, including the four French chefs.  We have left plenty of room to add knick-knacks and souvenirs from our travels.

    34.  Wireless Doorbell
    I may have mentioned this on the Entryway blog post, but I thought some would ask about it, since it's so prevalent in one of the photos.