Our old 17B had a very small working area/counter between the stove and the sink. To prepare meals, you either did it outside or used all available surfaces including the bed.
In comparison to the old trailer, the kitchen counter in the TA is huge, but is still a challenge if two people are trying to prepare a meal at the same time inside. When I had originally seen the demo unit, I had envisioned a second prep counter beside the fridge, but higher than the main one. This second counter also allowed us to minimize the amount of time the fridge is open looking for items or getting items out.
We do not use a microwave while camping, so not getting it left us with lots of space to plan out our vision of these cabinets.
Our old 17B had a very useful drawer, almost 20″ deep, under the fridge and I wanted to do this again, but since I had more space, I could make two drawers. We also wanted a place for bulkier and/or lighter items, so this storage was placed above the counter.
Upper cabinet support.
Counter and drawer support.
Completed counter support with full extension drawer slides. Added ‘oak’ paneling where needed. Most of the framing is 1×2 or 1×1 spruce, screwed and glued.
Completed arrangement of cupboards and prep counter.
Constructed deep drawers under the prep counter and installed them. Drawer cases are made from 3/8 ” baltic birch plywood. The slots in the sides of the drawers makes it easier to see the contents from the sides.
** See below for updated drawers under prep counter
Installed bottom of upper cabinet and added wiring for overhead LED light. For this cabinet, I had ETI install an extra 12 volt drop so I could install the light later.
Added doors to upper cabinet.
The counter height was set at 43.5″, which was a comfortable height to work at. This established the size of the drawers below and the storage cabinet above. So far, the counter has worked out very well (size and height) for it’s intended use, including, preparing snacks, sandwiches, meals, etc. A person can easily work at each counter and not get in each others way.
The counter is 3/4 inch plywood. It is covered with counter matched Formica and has the retro aluminum edge to match the main counter.
After using the trailer for several months, I finally determined how to finish the back of the counter. The counter has been very useful and I wanted some way to use the back of the counter more effectively as it is quite deep.
I picked up a red oak tambour door from Lee Valley. I built a frame for the door and added trim to match.
Then installed it about 2/3 back from the front of the counter. Any other kind of door would be in the way of stuff on the counter or the light.
Garbage and recycling drawer
The idea of a garbage/recycle drawer was borrowed from our house kitchen where we have one for compost, it sits almost at counter height.
Given the limited space in a trailer and little floor space, having a garbage bag under foot is not a pleasant experience. In our old Escape 17B, I had made a drawer to hold the garbage and recycle buckets (photo at right). I had found these plastic buckets with lids and handles at a local plastics supplier.
This trailer deserved the same treatment as the old one. The trailer came with a shallow cupboard underneath the fridge. Investigation revealed that there was 6 inches between the back of the cupboard and the wheel well. This gave me a full 12 inches of space from the front of the cabinet to construct the drawer.
Stock shallow cupboard under fridge, sans door.
Shallow cupboard removed, starting to add drawer supports.
The drawer is simple construction, 2 sides, a top cutout to accommodate 2 buckets and a front with a handle. The drawers are held up with two 12 inch full extension drawer slides. New sides made of 3/8″ plywood were installed to hang the drawer slides from.
Storage drawer under furnace
Very similar to the above drawer, there was space under the furnace which was put to better use.
Finished garbage/recycle drawer.
Completed pantry and counter.
After using the trailer for a couple of years, we found the two large drawers under the counter were not working well. They were either too narrow or too wide or just didn’t fit our collection of dishes, cutting boards, storage containers, etc. Storing the plates vertically does work, so that idea was transferred to the new design.
The two drawers have been replaced with three drawers, one narrow vertical drawers for plates and cutting boards, etc. The other two drawers are for cups, mugs, bowls, etc. In all drawers the contents is arranged so it is easy to retrieve items, little or no digging is required.
The drawers are the same construction as others, 3/8″ Baltic Birch plywood for ends and sides, bottom is 1/8″ luan plywood. The fronts are 3/4″ birch plywood, shaped and veneered with oak. Drawers slides are 22″ full extension.
New drawers supports, slides.
Drawers fronts being finished.
Drawer’s test fitting.