Kitchen counter

The counter is large, especially compared to the 17B, but I knew I would be changing it.  I had a few goals, no plastic screw covers on the backsplash, round sink, curved counter and drawers similar to our old 17B.  Reace did a good job of preparing the counter so I could adapt it to my design.



This is what the counter looked like when I got it, the stove was connected and the waste drain and water lines were in place for the stock sink.



Determining the shape of the counter took a bit of time.  I placed a cardboard shape on the counter while I worked on other things.  This gave me a good idea how much space is needed in the hallway especially if one is at the pantry/prep counter and another is at the main counter.  The hardest part was finding a reasonable priced round sink, eventually ended up with a one from Ikea (good and bad).

SAM_5263    SAM_5265

SAM_5273     SAM_5270

After I found a shape that was pleasing and would work with the sink,  I added framing where needed to support the front edge and trim.  I only modified the front corner and one upright of the original counter framing.

SAM_5284    SAM_5280

After all the framing was complete, I attached an oak panel to the front of the counter and trimmed it out.



The oak trim cut and steam bent to fit the various curves of the counter, then finished and attached with a pin nailer.



Next step was to figure out a way to hold the back splash in place without screws or glue.  While our trailer was being built, I had noticed that a wood strip was glassed into the wall of the trailer to hold the screws for the stock backsplash.  I was able to find some aluminum tile edging with an extra rib in it that could hold the top of the backsplash.  This aluminum edging was screwed in to the glassed in strip of wood and along the wall at the end of the counter.

SAM_5296    SAM_5301    SAM_5299

After making the top using 3/4 inch plywood with Formica attached and 1/2 inch plywood for the backsplash, the pieces were dry fitted together to make sure everything fits.  The bottom of the backsplash is held in place by a rabbet cut into the back and side of the counter top.  When the pieces are assembled, the backsplash is slid in first, then the countertop is slid in to secure the backsplash.


SAM_5304    SAM_5303

Aluminum edging (used for tile edging) is used to secure the top edge of the backsplash and the rabbet in edge of countertop is used to secure the bottom edge of the backsplash.



Before the countertop was finally installed, all the drawers supports and slides were made and installed.


SAM_5328     SAM_5312

Countertop is secured with metal brackets and screws from underneath.  The faucet was found at the ReStore store.



The counter has 4 drawers, 3 pull-out bins below and one cupboard under the sink.  The pull-out bin worked well in the old trailer, the more weight they held, the better they stay closed.  The bins are hinged at the bottom front edge.


Bins ready to be installed.


SAM_5321     SAM_5333

Installing bins, drawers and door.


SAM_5338     SAM_5337

Finished drawers, lots of storage.

Retro aluminum was trim added to the counter edge.  The trim is very easy to manipulate.  I bent the trim to match the countertop’s shape and attached it with double sided automotive trim tape.


The good part was Ikea sink was the right size, right price, not too deep so it would work for this application.  The bad part is the Ikea mounting system, it is useless and very lightweight.  My only choice was to attach the sink with caulking, I just hope I never have to remove it.


New cooktop

After several months of using the trailer, I had the opportunity to upgrade the cooktop.  I installed a 2 burner Dickinson Marine unit.  I wanted a better burner that could be hot when needed, but could also simmer over a larger area than the stock cooktop.  The cooktop also has electronic ignition, no more barbecue starters.

SAM_5738    SAM_5740

Although the unit is longer than the stock cooktop, therefore taking up more counter space, I think the reduction of counter space is offset by the extra counter we have by the fridge.

Installation was fairly easy with the right skills.  The Dickinson stove is bigger, see blue tape in the photo above and the propane inlet is in a different position than the stock one.  A new propane line was required.

SAM_5746    SAM_5760    SAM_5744

The installed unit is flush with the counter top and comes with a built in cutting board.


New cookware

A few months a go we purchased a small set of Magma nesting cookware.  Nice stuff, but I do not think much of the bungee cord way of holding it together.  No instructions on how to attach it and once on, it comes off too easily with any kind of vibration or touching it in the wrong place.  I also want to secure the cookware so it doesn’t move about while traveling.

SAM_6173     SAM_6188

I added a thin slide out drawer/shelf with full extension drawer sliders in the cupboard under the sink.  I then added a couple of chocks that fit the base of the cookware.  Then to secure it in place, I replace that bungee thingy, I made a sling of polyester fabric that covers the top (like a hat) and is attached with Velcro on either side.  The Velcro straps pass though a metal loops which are attached to the drawer.


New towel rail

Where to hang towels is a problem in trailers due to lack of space.  In our house we have towel rails in the kitchen that follow the front edge of the counter, so I used the same idea in the trailer.  The only challenge was the rail need to bend to follow the counters.  This meant that the rail could not be round as it is difficult to follow the curve, so 1/4″ x 3/4″ aluminum bar was used.  I made four brackets that bolt to the rail and screw to the underside of the counter.

SAM_6600    SAM_6606SAM_6614SAM_6616



6 thoughts on “Kitchen counter

  1. Wow! You have done a very nice job. Your ideas are great .
    It would be great if some or all of your ideas are part of the 2017 updates.
    Has Reece had a discussion with you?
    Your a talent.
    (We are looking for a 21 now,it may be that we order a 2017)


  2. Great work Chris. Was it difficult obtaining factory oak look veneered plywood and sheets ? It looks like yours matches ETIs quite well. The back splash attachment is clever. Why ETI shows those screw caps I will never know. Reminds me of Scamp rivet covers every where. Also, I assume Reace modified the cabinet carcass in that the door openings all line up as they should. I asked about getting that but turned down. Standard factory openings are not aligned and use varying door sizes on the 21 as well as TA 5. Looks like an after thought. Excellent work Chris.


  3. Matching the red oak photo finish was easy. I took some of the red oak veneer and the ETI finished plywood down to the local building centre and they added a tint to the satin poly finish I would use. Stain and finish in one step (3 coats). It does match very closely. I understand why ETI uses the screw caps, ease of install, quick to build, light, etc. What I did was not easy especially installing against a fiberglass wall with vinyl/foam on it. I got the counter as a 1×2 frame with a stove in it, so I adjusted the framing to fit my design. I think a couple of years ago ETI had to standardize on the number of drawer and door sizes to keep costs under control.
    This was our second Escape with the same ETI supplied stove. We alway liked the extra space behind the stove, so turning it was not an option for us. If we had turned it, I could not have upgraded the stove to the marine stove, it would of forced me to make a new counter.


  4. Such great work. Rather inspiring. There is one problem… you are giving my good wife too many ideas and now she thinks I can do it too :). I do however have a practical question. Do you have the “name/code” of the formica you used. We both rather like it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s