It seems high end trailers attract high end people who like to customize. This is a lucky thing because that means we can copy great ideas. Case in point, a very clever Altoiste recently modded out his trailer by changing out the standard table pedestal for a slick, rotating “Lagun” table mount system. The main benefits of this mount include having a much wider range of table position options, an easier way to move the table, and the ability to lose the track on the floor. He was so awesome about sharing his enthusiasm, he even went so far as to mass produce installation kits so other Altoistes could do this mod with minimal tools required.
What followed on the Altoistes site was a flurry of activity, as others jumped on board. The frenzy swept through North America and all the way to Altoistes Down Under, where variations began to develop in how clever people approached the technical challenges associated with putting a table mount onto a non weight bearing wall. We stood back and watched with interest as we pondered whether we wanted to join the party, and if so, how we would want to tackle the framing. Richard decided early on that, if we were going to do it, he’d want the structural reinforcement to be invisible, so that only the mount would show. As it happened, another smart Altoiste figured out how to do just that and posted instructions for how to use a frame he dubbed the “Lagun Mount-O-Matic 8000.” This was what Richard used as his guide and the next several weeks were spent tinkering (and purchasing new tools).
As he went super slowly and carefully, I kept busy by figuring out what else was going to need to change if we modded the table. I knew I’d need to relocate the led candles if we were going to have a swiveling table. I also knew we’d need more Chilewich carpet to cover the area taken up by the table track.
And then a new project presented itself when yet another brilliant Alto owner posted pictures of a super clever organizational system he built for the kitchen shelves, using blue coroplast. I admit, the blue caught my eye, but I didn’t want to change up the shelves. However, it got me thinking, and I came upon the idea of using the same material to make travel-safe storage for our coffee cups. We were still using pieces of foam and packing material around the cups and it took up lots of room. It also was a minor pain to put in and take out with every set up. Now we have a super cool custom storage area, and I own a glue gun. The possibilities are endless!
The finished coroplast project opened up more storage space for spices, which in turn opened up more space for the storage of a wider range of oils and sauces. And that all got me thinking about creating a pantry that could support a selection of Blue Apron recipes while on long trips. With the acquisition of just a few specialty items (soy glaze, Gochujang, and Sambal Oelek, for example) I was able to gather about thirty different recipes where the only items I’d need to shop for would be easy to find meats and vegetables. This summer it doesn’t look like we’ll be in Walmart land, but I’m optimistic that I will now have more flexibility in cooking flavorful, fresh meals.
Meanwhile, back with the Lagun, we decided to take a break from camping in the rain this weekend and instead stayed home to finish up projects. Creating the frame had been completed, using 3/4″ aluminum square tubes, nested into a top and bottom section of aluminum C channel. He’d learned how to rivet for this part and we’d had to remove a storage shelf from behind the thin metal “wall” where the frame was going to go. Next, he needed to drill additional holes in the floor and into the heavy duty frame structure at the front of the Alto that forms the support for the dinette seating area.
It was tricky work getting measurements accurate, but he did a great job. He used a section of black, poly cutting board, mounted behind the Lagun bracket, as a spacer to make sure everything clears the lip on the horizontal bar. Once holes were drilled, it was just a matter of screwing, riveting, and bolting things into place. We were fully committed to the project once he had to drill through the thin metal wall.
The last bit of tricky work was getting the Lagun table bracket to work with our existing drawer. This is something we added ourselves and we really do like it for pens and pencils, paper tablets, and whatnot. It turns out the drawer just clears the bracket. We can’t realize the full 360º range of swiveling motion because the drawer gets in the way, but I don’t think that will actually matter.
With everything installed, we put the table on the mount and tried it out. In a word: AWESOME. This really does make a huge difference in how that space is used, and we haven’t even tried it with the roof up yet. It makes it a hundred times easier for me to get in and out of my area and it allows us to raise the table height without being limited by the proximity of the front wall. It also means we can push the table out of the way. That whole space feels much bigger now. Once we were convinced this had all been a good idea, I went ahead and removed the track from the floor and cut a piece of Chilewich to fill the gap. The storage shelf went back with just a few little notches cut out to clear the vertical square tubes.
One last project came up when I took “after” pictures. With the track out of the way, we can put the espresso machine battery wherever we want. Thing is, the last time I messed with its appearance, I had covered the plastic shoe box that houses the battery with metallic, adhesive backed, craft paper. It was ok as long as it was sort of hidden. But now… ok new project.
A few hours later on a rainy Sunday and our espresso machine battery box now has a custom cozy. I can still move it and use it as an ottoman, like when I’m typing reports.
All in all, this has been a highly productive, and equally satisfying weekend. With one more weekend left before our next summer trip, things are looking good. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and I believe I will Bissel the upholstery.
We are hugely thankful to Phil Silvester (don’t worry, your install kit is being passed on since we didn’t end up needing to use it), Alan Davies, and David Hruby. Y’all are impressively clever humans!