Snoopy’s First Owner Mod

Modifications to travel trailers is pretty common fare. Snoopy got some upgrades at Little House Customs after the pickup in Texas, but those were done by experts who knew how. I’m now going to try my hand at a mod that will help to optimize storage space.

Empty Casita closet.

The closet on a Casita is one corner of the travel trailer. On older Casita’s the air conditioner is in the bottom of the closet. Snoopy is a 2017 model and the air conditioner is on the roof. The closet opening is 46 3/4″ x 13″. At the deepest point it’s 27 1/2″; The opening begins 14″ off the floor.

Bottom of the Casita Closet.

Besides the size, the closet has a number of other challenges. The bottom of the closet is not flat; along the back there is a cover over some electrical connections that is hinged on the floor and lays at an angle against the back wall.

Another challenge was the curved, carpeted walls. In a traditional installation, the shelves would be cut to fit and attached to the walls. This would not work here. There was not a way to anchor shelves along the sides of the closet because the walls were the backside of the fiberglass exterior and interior walls.

While in the planning stage, I reviewed numerous blogs and articles about putting shelves in the Casita closet and I found a number of solutions. Each had pros and cons but in the end, I went my own way.

For hardware, I looked at the all the usual places: Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. In the end, I found my solution at The Container Store.

Goals for this mod:

  • Storage containers should be well anchored to withstand transport.
  • Keep a small amount of the closet rod open for hanging jackets,
  • Leave a space for tall items (e.g. the awning crank and bracket).

 

X-Narrow 10-Runner Frame from the Container Store

After considerable study, I decided to use an elfa drawer frame from The Container Store as the basic building block for the closet shelves. They are available in several sizes but the largest I was going to be able to accommodate was the x-narrow 10-runner frame. The dimensions are 10″ x 21″ x 41″. This would allow the drawer frame to be pushed back to the back of the closet and leave room in the front for the basket that was already mounted on the door.

Some of the other advantages to using this frame: the frame accommodates baskets of different sizes, the feet on the frame could be used to provide stability to the installation, and it was available in white and silver. I chose white.

The next step was to design the pedestal that would raise the frame to the the right height, anchor it and square it up. I chose poplar for the basic construction.

Rough pedestal mockup.

Construction was partly trial and error. I wanted the legs of the frame to fit into the pedestal. I started with a box shape that fit tightly around the legs of the frame. I then added the legs and the braces. With all the braces in place the pedestal was very sturdy. 

I wanted the pedestal to be open so the space below the frame would be usable and I wanted to be able to see what is there. I also wanted some slats across the top that wedge the pedestal between the front and back walls. Finally I anchored the pedestal to the floor of the Casita with “L” brackets. 

Looking down on the pedestal with the frame in place. The slats wedge the pedestal between the front and back walls.

I then placed the frame on the pedestal and fitted the feet in the slots in the pedestal. I secured the frame to the pedestal with wire ties. The wire ties secured the frame to the pedestal and to water pipes that ran along the closet wall. It is very sturdy.

Completed installation!

The baskets have advantages: they are available in a variety of sizes, they slide out for easy access to the contents and there are brakes on the rails to keep the baskets from being pushed too far to the rear or pulled out too far.

As it comes from the factory, the closet is not very usable. I think this modification optimizes the space and makes that space more usable.

Additional details including measurements.

 

 

21 Responses to “Snoopy’s First Owner Mod”

  1. Robbie says:

    Love it, very functional. Great use of space. I like your pictures, too.

  2. Edard Summey says:

    Square pegs in round holes. Piece of cake. Excellent presentation; very good written and visual detail. So now you have the prototype; when do you start production?

  3. Tony A says:

    Very nice solution. Where did you get your bins?

  4. David M Sparks says:

    Good job, love DIY, very important to have pics and details.

  5. Fiona says:

    Any chance of getting some measurements for the wooden frame? While I realise all the closets are a little different it would give me a starting point.
    Love this closet mod, best one I have seen for my needs.
    Thanks.

    • charris says:

      Fiona, I will get the dimensions for you in a couple of days when I go back to the storage unit. As you say, each closet probably varies a little. When I found the frame and drawers at The Container Store and verified that the unit would fit, I bought it and built the frame around it. There was a lot of measuring and revising as I went along. For example, there was a wood strip along the floor in the front; therefore the legs in the front were positioned back to clear this.

  6. Sandra Fielder says:

    I would also like the measurements for the stand. I bought the rack and bins from Container Store this weekend.

  7. charris says:

    I have added additional construction details in a link at the bottom of the post.

  8. Sandra Fielder says:

    Thank u sooo much for the additional measurements for the base. Can’t wait to install it!!!

  9. I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

  10. paintball says:

    Hurrah, that’s what I was exploring for, what a material!
    present here at this webpage, thanks admin of this site.

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  12. jeanbean says:

    Great mod. We just picked up our Casita yesterday. Mod #1 will be to add shelving to the storage closet. Love your idea! After a season of using it, would you change your design or overall approach?

    • charris says:

      I have had no second thoughts about the shelves as documented. This year Snoopy (the Casita) and I logged over 8000 miles and the shelves carried a lot of my gear. Preserving the tall space was also a benefit. I used a similar design to do a makeover on my closet at home.

  13. Dasher says:

    30% off all things Elfa until 2/28/18

    Thank you for your great explanation. This was shared on Casita Life and I am glad it was. Travelling as a solo old lady with little to no skill with anything but basic tools this looks like something I can attempt and expect useful results.

    • charris says:

      Dasher, the little pedestal is pretty simple but the measurements may vary for different models of the Casita. If you want to take the easy way out, I suggest you take the Casita, the frame from the Container Store and the plans to a cabinet shop. It’s such a small job, it should be cheap.

      I’m glad you like the explanation and for letting me know it was up on Casita Life. I think there is a good ROI on this project.

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