Project how-to: change old SMB TV drawer to usable space
Like many SMBers who have vans built before the age of flat TV screens, my 98 SMB had a special pull-out drawer in one of the cabinets designed to fit a small 13" tube TV. When I bought the van the TV was long gone, leaving me with a big, ugly, useless open space in the middle of my cabinet.
The pictures below show how I retrofitted the space to include a regular full drawer, a shelf, and a cabinet door. It was a pretty easy mod, and didn't require much in materials. Here's what I did:
1. Removed the TV drawer from the cabinet, leaving the one part of the drawer slides mounted to the cabinet.
2. Built a new drawer body out of 1x pine wood (can't recall exactly what I ripped it down to, might have been a standard 1x3 or 1x4. Moved the drawer front from the SMB TV drawer to the front of my new drawer body and secured by screws from the backside of the new drawer.
3. Moved over the drawer slide pieces from the old TV drawer, using measurements from the old drawer to make sure they were properly situated. Installed two cabinet/drawer latches on the new drawer.
4. Mounted two small strips of wood on the sides of the cabinet, above the drawer, to support a shelf directly above the drawer. The shelf acts as the floor of the new cabinet. I kept it removable in case I needed to get behind the drawer or whatever.
5. Cut a piece of 3/4" oak plywood to fit inside the cabinet as the shelf. (Doesn't need to be oak or 3/4", but that's what I had and it matches my oak-grain SMB cabinets.)
6. Cut another piece of 3/4" oak plywood to serve as the door for the previously open TV area. Stained to match my "oak" SMB cabinets. Bought and installed an RV cabinet latch to keep the door closed.
The finished project looks almost indistinguishable from the OE SMB cabinetry, and adds a much-needed drawer and additional storage space.