DIY Cabinet / Wall Build
My husband and I are both federal government professionals so we have no real experience doing this but we found so much on-line and read everything we could for hours on this forum. It took us 20 weekends from start to finish. However now that it is finished we have more things we want to do and add so it will be the never-ending project. We used pine wood from Lowes for our build. I really like the clean lines for the shaker style cabinet doors. We have them in our house so we kinda dissected them to figure out how to make them. We are not wood workers so everything was new to us. The kitchen cabinets were a "quick and easy" just gluing the center panels on the wood rims. By the time we got to the tall cabinet, we bought a router and routed slats for the center panel to slide in. They look identical to the ones I have in my house. We were so proud! We used inner hinges that are not visible from the outside. They were a bit more complicated than we thought but after one YouTube video we were pros by the third hinge. After multi-sanding we stained it with Minwax Ipswich pine stain because we like a natural look.
The countertop was made from a 6ft butcher block piece sold at Lowes. We just cut it to fit our cabinet. The trick to this was the template, or should I say two templates. After measuring our Dometic cooktop/sink we used cardboard to cut a template After testing that for accuracy, we then laid that on a piece of plywood and cut another template. This allowed us to actually put the Dometic in it and trim it perfectly. We then laid the plywood template on the butcher block countertop to cut. We knew we only had one chance to get this right. It was perfect after justseconds of trimming. After multi sanding again, we used Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner which is a food grade mineral oil. I conditioned it everyday for five days.We did not stain it due to fear of stain not being food grade.
Our favorite trick in this build was the wall covering. We found material that matched almost exactly to the material that SMB used on the Penthouse Pop up. We built walls for the entire back but where we could not build walls, we just covered the bare metal with the same fabric using fabric glue directly to the metal. I saw someone do this on another van build on-line and it ended up being magic. My husband said it saved us days of trying to build awkward walls connectors and it looks so professional and finished. I hope these tips helps anyone taking this on. We are pretty addicted to this 'van-thing" so I am pretty sure there will be another van in our future.