Brian and Donna Mibus found a creative solution for the under-bed space in their RV. After they upgraded to a bigger trailer and no longer needed the room for storage, they modified the space into a cozy little sleeping area for their dogs. Donna kindly shared the following photos and tips on the process and materials they used.
After my husband retired in 2014, we purchased a travel trailer. At the time we had only one dog. He fit nicely on the bed between us at night. Two years ago we rescued two more dogs. We purchased a bigger trailer, however, after a year and a half we realized the trailer was still not large enough for the five of us. Plus, we grew tired of taking along the large metal kennel for the two new dogs to sleep in.
They are kennel trained and actually prefer it at night. We had no place to store the kennel during the day either, so it leaned against the wall next to the bed. We were using every bit of the underbed storage area for other items at that time.
Earlier this month (May) we purchased an even larger trailer. There is so much room! In fact, we found we no longer needed to store items in the underbed storage area. That is when we got the idea to have the two newest dogs sleep there. We had hoped we could simply place the kennel inside and remove the front panel of the storage area, but it was too tall for the space. This is what led to Plan B.
We own two 2’ X 3’ metal kennels, so we disassembled one for the project. My husband used pliers and a screwdriver to open the brackets that hold the 6 panels together. We ended up using only 3 of the panels—the one with the door, and two side panels.
I really wanted to keep the front of the storage area looking pretty, so instead of simply removing the entire front panel we decided to cut out openings, using the framing as our guide. To cut the three openings my husband sat inside and drilled holes into each corner of each opening (see pic).
Then he took a jigsaw and cut the rectangle opening out, sawing from hole to hole. Need to go at this carefully, because the panels are thin and they are not attached to the framing (least, ours wasn’t).
Afterwards, when the 3 openings were cut, I used tiny finishing nails to secure the front panel that was left to the framing pieces.
We used what fasteners we already had in the garage to secure the kennel panels to the wood framing. They are the kind of fasteners that hold wire or cable against the wall.
First he installed the panel with the door, then he slightly overlapped the second panel to it and used fasteners to attach them to the framing. The third panel was installed the same way.
At the two ends we used 2” long straight metal brackets. The panel with the door and a second panel fit as is, but the third panel we had to shorten using a reciprocating saw. My husband used a metal file on the cuts to smooth them.
I painted the framing material nearest the front black to match the black kennel. Then I used outside corner molding I got at Home Depot to cover all the exposed edges.
I painted those a dark brown and glued them in place. I could have used small finishing nails instead of glue, but they are such small pieces I didn’t think it necessary. Plus, by gluing I didn’t have a bunch of holes to putty in.
Here was the front view when the kennel was completed. It just needed a couple of dog beds!
Donna says it was a moderately easy project if you’re already handy with tools. Here were all of the items used:
- Pliers and flathead screwdriver (to take apart the kennel)
- Power screwdriver
- A jigsaw, hand miter saw and box (for the decorative trim)
- A hammer
- Reciprocating saw (to cut the wire kennel panel)
- Various fasteners and screws.
- Outside corner trim molding and some paint (optional)
A special thanks again to Donna and Brian Mibus for sharing the photos and story of their under-bed project! For more tips on traveling with pets, check out this article from RV LIFE.