Written by Lee
At the beginning of June, on one of our days exploring around St. Louis, we ended up at a place called Eckert’s for lunch. It’s a “pick your own” farm, with a country store, restaurant, and a greenhouse. While we were waiting for our table for lunch we were browsing around the store and I ended up in the greenhouse and they had a bunch of herbs in little pots, pretty reasonable priced. I decided I wanted to see if it would be possible to have a little herb garden in the rig. I thought it would be nice to have some color and some fresh herbs to use in cooking. Plus, some of them just smell great.
Our rig has a front living room, which is unusual, and it also has a pretty big front window, which is also unusual. That front area gets really hot, and I had just put in a little lightweight curtain rod and curtain to help cut down on the crazy heat since the summer has been so hot. I had actually been thinking about this specific space in the rig for a while.
The TV is on a lift that goes up and down, but we generally leave it up and so the space between the TV and the window is sort of wasted space, and I thought I could put that to good use. That area usually gets lots of sun, because the front cap is sloped backwards quite a bit. It’s also hard to see in the picture, but because of the shape of the front cap, the window is actually sort of boxed in in the front. The white area on the sides is also at the bottom and top, and as you can see, lots of sun. The idea was that we could get rid of some of the knick-knacks, which have been there since we started full timing, and I could some plants in there. We would also get in the habit of putting the TV down when we aren’t actually watching it, and have the view of the plants and the outside world.
So we got rid of most of the stuff, and I picked out some herbs that I thought we could use, and also a few really interesting plants that I just liked. I bought oregano, lemon thyme, sage, mint, chocolate mint, thai basil, parsley, cilantro, lemongrass, and thyme. I also got a few plants that I thought were cool just to look at.
Of course I had to immediately repot all the plants into slightly larger pots with potting soil, and I had to do a fair amount of running around to find inexpensive, lightweight pots. As with many of Lee’s projects what starts as relatively simple gets more complicated, but I don’t mind because he keeps me involved in the process every step of the way. – Trace
Then I went all over the city to a bunch of nurseries and other stores trying to find the right watering can. I didn’t want some cheap plastic thing that I would have to hide in a cabinet, I wanted something that could be left out, that would fit in aesthetically. I found the perfect one at an Ace hardware store, and Ikea had a nice little lantern that holds an LED candle we had that goes perfectly with it. I really like the watering can too because it looks decorative – Trace
So that’s all done, now we’ll see how they grow!
The Sound Bar
After the plants I decided to replace our junky stock “stereo” with a sound bar. We don’t use the radio, we only use the stereo as the sound for our PC to watch TV and movies. Removing the stereo and speakers would allow me to have much better sound, and it would also reclaim valuable wasted space.
As always, I am amazed at how much space is wasted in a rig. As you can see in the picture below, there are two storage compartments on either side of the stereo. We use those compartments to store books. They looks small, but they’re surprisingly large. They’re 30″ wide, 18″deep, and 8″ high, so they’re a whopping 2.5 cubic feet each. That’s around 60 paperbacks per cabinet. Hooray more room for books!!! – Trace
That stereo and speakers were eating up a LOT of space. Way back in March 2017 I had to remove the stereo to do some work on it and I was amazed at how much wasted space was back there. At that we considered getting a sound bar, but didn’t. It doesn’t look like it, but when you consider the stereo AND the speakers, it’s a lot. The height and depth is the same as the other cabinets, but the width is a whopping 40″! So an additional 3.3 cubic feet of space, just going to waste.
I got to work tearing it all apart. Carefully, in case something didn’t work and I had to put it all back together. Have to admit I was a little nervous at this point but spoiler it all turns out ok 🙂 – Trace
I had to get regular 120v power up there, so I just used the holes I had created and followed the same path I used when I installed RGB LED lights into the glass door cabinets way back when we first started.
I also didn’t want to deal with doing the hidden hinges on the new cabinet door, so I just used a “bronze” hinge that matches the rest of the cabinet hardware throughout the rig. This level of detail is what I love about Lee’s projects. He made sure I could open the door no problem and I got to decide if the color was close enough. -Trace
And I was lucky enough that Home Depot had 1/2″ x 8″ poplar stock that was a perfect fit, so I only needed to cut it to length, no ripping required.
The sound bar came with surface mounting brackets, which was nice, and I needed to put holes in the new door to hide the cables, but that was pretty simple.
I also added three gas lifts because the door was far too heavy to hold up with the sound bar.
UPDATE: in the month since all of this happened, the plants have really thrived. The sage, basil and lemon thyme had to be replaced because they didn’t survive the transplant, so I got purple basil, and two new lemon plants. I also got rid of the lemongrass and Trace got a nice jade plant instead. We’ve used some of the herbs, and they look, smell and taste great! I’m super happy with it, especially since Lee does all the watering!- Trace
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