Monday, October 20, 2014

What if: Interior, the bed

Finally! I'm getting around to the good stuff! The interior layout.

An interior overview with roof and front wall out of the way

I'm going to take this in small chunks, one section at a time, spending several posts on the interior before moving on to the systems, but with everything all crammed into such a small space there's quite a bit of overlap so there will probably be some mixing of sections.

The bed:

The key to making the layout workable and comfortable for me is not designing for a crowd that will never be, but for the one that will.  To this end the camper will have a single bed. No, not one bed, though that's true as well, but a bed wide enough for one person but no more.

I can hear the comments now, but for my circumstances a bed for one makes a lot of sense.  For the past 30 years I have never had anyone else wanting to share my camp bed with me, (Go ahead, make all the jokes about it you want; I do; it's either that or cry.) and I don’t see that changing. And it's not like there's a lot of extra space in this camper to be wasting on bed-square-footage that will never get used.

Since 2005 I have spent an estimated 1700 nights sleeping on a 30” wide bed and have never found it to be a hardship. But just to give myself a treat, I’ve designed this bed to be very luxurious 32” wide. I've placed this bed crosswise in the camper, right against the front wall.

So that’s great but a prime challenge with pickup campers is balancing floor space with placement of heavy items, specifically the water tanks and batteries.  With this layout the obvious place to keep these out of the way and the weight where it belongs, forward and low, is on the floor under the bed. But, not having access to the driving compartment from inside the camper, means I also won’t have access to a swiveling passenger seat to use as my bark-o-lounger.

Even with lots of bulky pillows to plump up on like Cleopatra, the bed will make a pretty crappy chair because, due to the shape imposed on the camper shell by the pickup bed, the top of the cushion is 26” off the floor. A normal chair seat is more like 16 to 18” off the floor. This means that sitting on the bed will be like sitting in a high chair with my feet dangling, or on a bar stool without the benefit of the bar to prop my elbows on. (Or so I gather from watching TV. (Never been in a bar Mom!!)) Neither of which is very conducive to sitting down to a leisurely dinner or easing back and reading a book.

I’m usually not a fan of tricky, gimmicky solutions. I’ve used some in the past and a few have worked out quite well, such as the nesting dining table, work table, end tables, office storage & entertainment nook that my wife and I have in our home base and use the crap out of every day, but often, especially in the limited space of an RV, such things end up being too much of a compromise to function very well in any of their iterations and also tend to add a lot of weight for not a lot of gain.

This gimmicky, but highly functional, setup is in our living quarters. Below the TV nook are two drawers that contain our respective computer stations (Laptops) which can be used standing up by simply opening the drawer, or the laptops can be moved to the table. Under that is a 24"x48" dining/work/game table on castors with hinged leaves to make it 48"x48". Below the table are a pair of small file cabinets on castors, one for each of us, that we also use as end tables when watching TV

But I really like having a chair so I did some experimenting and came up with what feels like a workable solution.

By careful placement of batteries and water tank I came up with a space up there against the front wall wide enough to squeeze in a chair, except of course, the bed was still in the way.

I solved that by splitting the mattress into two sections with the break falling somewhere under my ankles where it won’t be noticed when trying to sleep. Now I can tip the larger section of the mattress up out of the way against the front wall. Then by also lifting a hinged section of the mattress support, space for the chair is opened up

I had to split the mattress to make this work because at one end there’s not enough room to tip the mattress all the way up, (More on that in a future post.) but this won’t go to waste as it makes a very handy little place to roll up the bedding and toss the pillow into during the day. 

At night it takes 60 seconds to convert the space to a bed ready for me to crawl into.

Lower the mattress support along with the main section of the mattress, unroll the bedding, which is already hooked over the foot of the bed, and hook it over the head of the mattress, toss in the pillow then finish up by tossing in myself.

When in bed mode the chair, and its accompanying ottoman, tucks neatly away underneath. With the mattress raised the chair is revealed in all its glory.

But more on the chair in the next post.

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