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If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then perhaps even more so when it takes up 75% of your tiny RV home! Let’s chat about all the juicy kitchen details in our RV renovation – specifically our sources and processes for the sink, cabinets, countertops, backsplash and appliances.
* This post is sponsored by BLANCO, where you can find incredible signature SILGRANIT sinks, for any home. Yes, even a tiny home on wheels.
I’m back today to dive deep into the kitchen details of our RV renovation. I received the most questions on this space and I am excited to address them.
I’ve received questions like, “Why did you tear down perfectly good cabinets? Why not just paint? Did you add too much weight? What if your dishes fall down? Was this a budget friendly makeover?”
Yes, all good questions, so let’s dive into them and cover the kitchen details, specifically our design process for our cabinets, countertops, sink, appliances and backsplash.
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RV Custom Built Cabinets and Cupboards
Nowadays, you’ll find many RV makeovers where simply painting the existing cabinets made a huge impact.
And paint always does make a difference and is a great option.
So why in the world did we rip all of them down and build new, you might ask?
There are a couple of reasons for this:
OPEN Floor Plan
The existing lower cabinets were in a L-shape design. I knew it would make a huge difference in space and movement of bodies if we could open it up and keep all the cabinetry against the wall.
There are 6 of us living here, mind you.
We tried to configure a way to preserve them and still open it up, but in the end we would have ended up with weird and frustrating makeshift adjustments. It made complete sense to rip all the cabinets down and start fresh and create the drawers and cupboards we knew would help us store the items we needed.
Removing the cabinets was as much as a design decision as a functional decision. Call me vain if you wish, but the manufactured cabinets look so . . . well . . . RV, even when painted.
Our trailer was outdated, but none-the-less, not many RV’s on the market, even new one’s today, have very modern or appealing cabinetry.
The upper cabinets were hung very low, making it feel very visually heavy. The hardware . . . eh huh.
Just the overall design didn’t do much for me. So I dreamt up these sliding cabinet fronts with a small shelf to display my favorite dishes and make them quick and easy to grab – and my wonderful Mr. TIDBITS made it happen.
The only existing cabinets is this one holding the convection microwave, but we added a squared off wood piece here instead of keeping the original curved piece.
Then we simply replaced the doors on the other cabinet doors on the pantry and around the fridge, so it matched the shaker style trim that we built for the rest of it.
Custom vs Store Bought
I want to clarify why we custom built, rather than buying pieces of cabinets and designing our own layout, especially when these pieces are so readily available at places like IKEA and Home Depot.
In truth, this would have been much easier – or so we thought.
In fact, we did buy pre-made cabinets and planned to do just that, until we realized because of all the pipes, lines and parts we had to work around in this small RV kitchen space, we would have ended up chopping up and going to great extent to make those pre-made cabinets work.
In the end it was cheaper and more practical to design our own. So we returned the cabinets we bought and bought wood from scratch.
We were able to fit in a spot for the garbage and get the exact size we needed everything to be. It’s an added bonus that we now have a very unique and custom kitchen.
Ripping down cabinets left a lot of damage to the walls. It took quite a bit of patching and sanding the damaged spots, but most of it got covered up by the new cabinets and backsplash, so it worked out great.
Definitely keep that in mind when you go to rip things down in an RV.
DIY RV Wood Countertops
Onto the countertops! My favorite part!
White Washed Pine
One of my favorite surfaces and finishes is white washed pine. I just adore the look of the subtle wood grain shining through a white washed finish – and pine does it best in my opinion. It’s almost like a bleached wood look, and pairs so beautifully with white painted surfaces.
I knew right away I wanted this look for our countertop and dining table. Mr TIDBITS created the countertop by fusing pieces of pine together and cutting out the holes for the sink, faucet and range.
Then I used a white pickling gel stain to cover the entire surface. Once dry according to manufacturer directions, I sealed it with many coats of water based, matte polyurethane.
Then Kevin installed onto the cabinets. We also added a backsplash piece to finish off the look.
It dried to a buttery smooth finish and looks so beautiful!
Please note, pine is a very soft wood. I will knick and dent very easily. I am totally ok with this, as I love and embrace imperfections/character, but I am also very careful and gentle in using them. You certainly can’t treat pine countertops the same as you would granite countertops. But I will say, this was a very affordable option for countertops and was my first choice any day for design reasons.
A quick word here about our long dining table. I addressed the reasons for building this instead of having a small dining table in my reveal post, but this long table allows me the ability to move it close to the kitchen when I need more prep surface area. It also fits us all nicely as we eat, and comes in very handy when folding laundry, playing games, working, creating, etc.
The finish on this wood top is the exact same as I did for the kitchen countertops. They look and work seamlessly together.
New RV Sink from BLANCO
If you are not already familiar with BLANCO sinks, I am so excited to introduce you to the sponsor of this post and video and share with you this wonderful, big sink and faucet we installed in our RV kitchen.
BLANCO has many varieties of sinks types, styles and colors, but they are mostly known for their signature material called SILGRANIT.
The SILGRANIT sinks are so durable! They are stain, heat, and scratch resistant, and they come in so many beautiful colors (their new concrete color is to die for!).
I’ll leave a link below and you can read more about BLANCO sinks. I opted for the white one, (obviously), and choose a large drop in sink – which I was so worried I would regret, if I am being honest.
I wondered if I would want more countertop space or more sink space.
The good news is, I haven’t regretted the large sink for a second! I adore the made to fit cutting board, which proves more valuable than extra countertop space.
I also love that I can hide a tub of dirty dishes under the cutting board until I’m ready to hand wash – ya – no dishwasher in this tiny house folks.
This big, deep sink comes in handy for foot baths, and is actually bigger than the bathtub in our bathroom.
My littlest guy thinks he needs to try bathing in here, and we just might get there this Summer as he is no doubt to be a mess frequently playing on our 25 acres.
I love the BLANCO faucet that beautifully matches the sink and has the pull out spray nozzle as well.
You might be wondering, do you need an RV specific sink for an RV? Absolutely not, it just needs to fit your countertop measurements and depth, and you are good to hook it up – as difficult as that may be in a tiny space.
My new philosophy with sinks – go big or go home – even when living tiny.
While we did choose to keep the original fridge, the RV really stood in need of a new microwave and range. The others did not look great and worried me for safety reasons.
I reached out to a company called Dyers Online to help me source some great appliances for a great price. RV’s have pretty specific needs when it comes to appliances, so I was glad to have their help and expertise figuring all that out, and so much more.
I love that my microwave doubles as a convection oven. We can quickly broil cheese toast for the kids or heat up leftovers, all in one appliance.
This range and oven is very beautiful. This is my first time ever using a gas range, and I am 100% sold!
We’ve always had electric and I stand amazed at how well the gas range works with my cast iron cookware and how fast it heats up. I understand now why everyone swears by gas ranges.
To be honest, the oven still scares me a bit. Kevin has lit it up a few times and tells me there is nothing to worry about. It’s just so unusual to me, so it makes me nervous.
If you have any tips for using an RV Gas oven, I’d love to hear! But it cooks mini pizzas and veggies wonderfully – this much we know for sure!
As for the fridge and freezer – its so small and has been a major adjustment to try and figure out what I can fit in there for a family of 6.
But I am up for the challenge and am quickly figuring out how to make this all work for us.
Lots of questions about our backsplash!
I’ll link to it in my RV shop page, but it is a white Faux marble Hexagon peel and stick backsplash. It feels plasticky, not hard like marble – but looks great and works great for RV’s.
Kevin assured me real tile would have been a nightmare to cut around all the tricky curves and spots, and would have likely added too much weight.
The peel and stick is as easy as it sounds. You peel off the paper backing and adhere the very sticky tiles onto the wall. It gets a bit tricky lining them up but is doable for anyone.
We did worry about how close the plastic would be to the range top burners, and had agreed to only use the middle one. But when we had a pro come and inspect, he assured us it was just fine.
You may get some yellowing on your tiles if too close or using too big of a pot to where the flames extend too far. So with a little caution, the peel and stick is a great option.
Finally, I’ll wrap up by addressing a couple more questions.
What about weight?
After asking several pros, you do need to be mindful of weight when renovating – especially if you are very mobile and move your RV around alot.
It will impact your fuel mileage and towing capacity. We are planning to sell this in the end, so we tried to be very mindful of this even though we will not be moving with it.
We didn’t go as far as weighing what we took out versus what we brought in, but by simply using a bit of common sense and opting for lighter weight items such as peel and stick and SILGRANIT sinks, we feel we did a good job and keeping too much-added weight to a minimum.
Won’t those dishes fall down when you move?
Well, of course, they would! That’s why I packed them in a basket in my van when we moved the RV. But I do adore the charm and convenience of some open shelving
Was this a budget-friendly makeover?
In total transparency, I would say no. A budget-friendly RV makeover to me would be a bit of paint and reupholstering. We did far more than that.
We bought this RV for a steal and did a massive amount of work on it to make it feel like a home for us during this period.
I haven’t run the numbers, but I would estimate we added in around $8000 if I include sponsored product.
But it was worth it to have a place that feels good, fresh, open, and we believe the amount we will be able to sell it at and the amount we will save on rent will prove this to be a wise decision.
I wanted to be very upfront about this so anyone hoping to get this look will understand it was much more than a surface makeover budget project – though I am never against those as well!
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit today. Hang tight, and I’ll be back with more inspiration for do-it-yourself living.
Be sure to visit BLANCO on Instagram for more sink inspiration!
Discover more about our RV adventures in the following posts: