Once we had our bed/ dinette built, all our insulation in place and the ceiling paneling in, it was time to start building a storage cabinet. This cabinet will be overhead to the kitchen galley and also house the solar controller, battery monitor, stereo head unit and various switches.
Before I started on the cabinet itself, I installed 1×3 wood supports in the walls and ceiling with screws and rivnuts where the cabinet would attach.
Ok, time to start building this cabinet right? Nope! We have to get that wall covered first. The wall panel was attached with a couple screws and rivnuts along the top. The cabinet would hold the rest of the panel tight. This cabinet will basically be a shelf with two sides and a couple doors on the front. That’s how I had to look at it when building it. It isn’t built and then installed. It is built in the van. The shelf was attached to the van’s metal wall in 3 spots using angle braces from Lowes.A slight bend was required to get that angle just right.
The B pillar trim had to be slightly clearanced using an air saw.
The cabinet sides were mocked up with cardboard templates.
The templates were transferred to the side panels. For the cabinet sides and doors, I used Ikea drawer fronts and then cut them to the size and shape needed. The cuts were made on the edges that you don’t see when installed.
The sides were attached from the inside using L brackets from Lowes. I didn’t want any external screws showing.
A 1×4 support was attached to the ceiling for support. More L brackets were installed for the front face panel.
Before I got ahead of myself, both raw wood panels were pulled back down and painted with semi-gloss house paint. I wanted to make sure everything fit properly before getting too far with finish work.
While I waited for the paint to dry, I made a cardboard template and cut out the front control panel holes.
The doors and front panels were installed after an hour or two of “damn it”. It was very difficult getting everything to align properly. The tops of the doors had to be trimmed down a bit more because the hinges didn’t swing them at the angle I thought they would, therefore they were rubbing the ceiling. I was a little bummed they didn’t align perfectly with the left side panel, but in the end, it didn’t matter much.
The ratchet style latches keep the door shut and hold them just slightly out enough so they don’t rattle.
We used flush mounted cabinet door pulls to keep it clean and so nothing snagged on them.
The control panel has our Renogy solar controller and Victron 712 battery monitor. Below them are our switches for the waterpump and future rack lights in addition to a dimmer for the LED lights mounted under the cabinet. The square bezel rocker switches are mounted in a Penn-Elcom D2101K metal dish that keeps them set back into the panel nicely.
The PMX-0 Rockford Fosgate Ultra-Compact Media Receiver is mounted to the right for our tunes. It’s small and simple with Bluetooth & AUX input only. We pair or plug in our laptop or our phones for music. A pass-thru AUX jack is mounted under the cabinet for quick and easy plug-in access.
The inside of the cabinet is upholstered with the same material as our walls to give it a finished look as well as keeping things from banging against the wood. The bottom is speaker box carpet, which works awesome for softening drawers and cabinets. I mounted our remote inverter ON/OFF switch and a solar disconnect switch inside the cabinet wall.
Underneath the cabinet is three dimmable warm LED lights. They offer the perfect lighting for just before bed and give off ample light in the kitchen when needed.
The cabinet has been offroad trail tested and passed with flying colors. The doors stay shut and nothing rattles around. It is plenty solid and continues the clean and simple look we were going for.
- White Veddinge Ikea Drawer Fronts
- Structural corner braces
- Olympic Home Paint- Semi-gloss White
- Soft close cabinet hinges
- 22.5 lb gas struts
- Ratchet Touch Latches
- Stainless Pull Handles
- Victron 712 battery monitor
- LED Dimmer Switch
- square bezel rocker switches
- Penn-Elcom D2101K metal dish
- PMX-0 Rockford Fosgate Ultra-Compact Media Receiver
- pass-thru AUX jack
- Inverter ON/OFF switch
- solar disconnect switch
- Warm LED lights