Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

No matter how hard we try to plan out the entire construction there are some features that can’t be finalized until you sequentially reach them. 

Sometimes overall plans change.  Sometimes a feature just turns out a different size and that has a ripple effect.

Our bed, for example, was built with a platform height of 23 inches.  High enough to allow plastic tub storage underneath yet low enough to let you sit in the bed without hitting your head on the ceiling.  Then we added about 8 inches of foam for the mattress.  As we did all this we knew we would need a stool to comfortably get into bed.  Now that our bench seating was part of the bed design our feet dangled in midair when we were sitting.

It was time for a solution.

Having had a dream one night of how to construct a cool drawer (because what else are you going to dream about?) that would slide out from under the bed allowing us to step up on it, I went to the garage ready to build a prototype out of rough plywood we had salvaged from a dumpster in the neighborhood. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose which is important since wood prices have risen astronomically during COVID.  When I explained my dream/plan to Jenni she said “yeah, like what I described to you yesterday.”  (note to self, add LISTEN MORE to that list you’re always making.)  As I wrangled plywood pieces into a ‘somewhat square’ box, Jenni pulled out an old wooden bookcase we had been storing in our garage since her mother passed away.  She measured it and, with a sparkle in her eyes, proclaimed it to be the perfect size for the drawer we needed.


I’m a big fan of using someone else’s square corners so I chucked all my cuttings to the side and embraced the recycling of this bookcase.  Throughout this build we have looked for ways to use existing lumber (aka stacks taking up space in the garage) as well as creative uses of other furnishings.  Our ship lap ceiling was cut from plywood that was used as part of a headboard 14 years ago.  The tongue and groove on one wall was leftovers from our sunroom ceiling.  The countertops were once an early 80s entertainment center Jenni’s father made.  Those outside our family may never be able to fully appreciate the memories that have been sawed, sanded, and nailed to fit in this van.


When we had the bookcase, laying on its back, cut to the right length and ready to serve as our chest of drawers as well as a footrest we had to devise a top that our feet could truly rest on while we were seated.  Enter a pair of cabinet doors discarded from a classroom in our church during a recent remodel.  Two zips of the saw, a few hinges, some paint, and we were done!


A couple weeks later that carpet remnant we had held on to since 2010 (just in case the cats destroyed the upstairs carpet) became an attractive, soft insulation in the cargo area of Wanda.

I’m starting to feel that itch for another adventure!


1 comment

  • Well done!


Leave a comment