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Reader DIY: Splitting an Island Bed

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After reading a letter in one of the back issues of Caravan and Outdoor Life magazine, by a gentleman who was lamenting the lack of the option between an island bed and two single beds, we decided that this offered the solution to our problems. The island bed was too small, and we had found it uncomfortable, because my husband and I are not tiny people. Even with the aircon on, it was just too hot and inconvenient!

We chose to remove the island bed and replace it with two single beds. No more squeezing around the island to make it up or to get to the cupboards and overhead storage space. We also chose to remove the L-shaped kitchen basin to create space. The L-shaped basin cupboard was always just in the way, and, as I never cook in the caravan, it was never used for anything. We decided to leave the gas stove in place, just in case of bad weather.

The geyser is now housed inside the single-bed bunk. The beds are 76cm wide, just slightly narrower than a standard single bed. We could have made the beds full size, but then the Porta Potti would not have fitted inside the cupboard.

Expenditure for extra plywood and supplies was minimal, as my husband recycled/repurposed most of the wood from the island bed and L-shaped kitchen unit which had been removed.

We chose to keep the island-bed mattress and to re-purpose it into the two single mattresses. The cost of having the island-bed mattress (which was new at the time) chopped in half and then adding to the two halves to make them slightly bigger, before re-covering them, was R900. The wood, screws and other supplies, including the plug base, came to R2 500.

We also made a bedside cupboard that has been placed between the beds. This cupboard has a shelf inside for extra storage, and houses the Porta Potti when not in use. The labour was completely free, since my hubby is an excellent cabinet maker!

Next on our to-do list is new highdensity foam for the dinette seats and new Novilon on the floor.

By Ann Nortje

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