Monday, December 19, 2011

What Are We Going to Do With All of Our "Stuff"?

The fall/winter of 2010 was a busy time in regard to outfitting Swing Set for extended cruising and living aboard. One major decision we had to make was whether or not to convert our second stateroom into an office/chartroom/storage area. Swing Set had a standard two stateroom layout at delivery. The second stateroom was equipped with two twin size bunks that would convert into a king size with a filler, a nightstand, and a small settee and hanging locker with a phone booth sized stand up area. While having overnight guests aboard is always a consideration while we are enjoying our boat on the weekends, having room to conduct personal business at a desk and having storage room for the tools and parts we thought we would require for full time living aboard seemed to be more of a necessity. We had enlarged the settee in the salon already which would sleep one person very comfortably, and really, lots of times guests would opt to sleep on a pallet placed on the salon floor due to better air movement, although there was always the risk of stepping on a head or leg when the early rising Captain stirs in the mornings.
 Once we decide to remove the second stateroom, we had to decide how to go about outfitting our "Chart Room" as we began to call it. I had considered "stick building" the furniture, which would have given us some weight savings, but ultimately I decided to have cabinets custom built with the result being a more sturdy installation.
 After spending a great deal of time getting measurements, lots and lots of measurements, I settled on a local cabinet manufacturer to build the cabinets. We picked a style that matched the decor and color of the interior that already existed on Swing Set, although the galley and salon cabinets are a Formica finish, the oak trim accents were copied, as well as the cabinet hardware. We contracted for an extra gallery pantry, an overhead cabinet for the Chart Room bulkhead, two base "parts cabinets" and a desk with a cabinet to fit a printer and a hanging file drawer and more drawers for the miscellaneous things that seem to just show up.
 Everything was made with solid oak and oak veneers over plywood, no particle board was used.
 We have already demolished most of the interior of the second stateroom which needed to be, but we had no idea how much out of square the room was, nor how uneven the cabin sole was. It was a bit unnerving to attack thousands of dollars of new cabinetry with a jigsaw, but that's exactly what I had to do to get a proper fit.

I won't show photos of every step, but this gives you an idea of the process. One thing we had to consider was that the door to this room was only 18" wide, so the design had to take this into consideration. The desk was made in three parts and assembled once placed inside the room. To the left of the desk, which is toward the stern, a space was left for a large toolbox, and more spare parts. A space was found in the bow, under the master bunk, for our spare props which had been under one of the bunks in the second stateroom.

 A custom door and frame was made to fit athwartships connecting the desk with the cabinets on the port side of the "room". I did by best to leave a lot of the basic cabinets in tact, not only for cost savings, but for aesthetic integrity. I wanted a factory look and I think I got it.

 I don't have a wide angled lens like a boating magazine would use, giving a false impression of a vast space where there isn't one, but here ya go, almost done. We decided to use an ottoman for the desk chair, as we can stow it in the knee space of the desk when we aren't using it, and the ottoman even has a compartment for more storage as there never seems to be enough of it.

 Here is another view. We kept the small settee intact, as well as the hanging locker with mirror door above it. Our desktop computer will fit nicely on the desk. There is an opening port above the desk and a Bora 12 volt fan was installed to help keep a breeze going.
 The result of this project was a cozy area that looks like a factory installation, and it provides a separate place for conducting "household" business aboard a boat and a place where I can continue to write this blog once we move aboard.

1 comment:

  1. Great job with the cabinets! Thanks for sharing the photos & your ideas for maximizing storage space! We have a similar boat (Meridian sedan bridge) & also hope to retire on the water one day! ;-)
    Sylvana & Jeff Hae