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The Kitchen Box and The Wine Rack

Jon was home early on Friday 7 Dec and we worked on Lara again. We had to paint the kitchen box, glue the velcro to the inside for the clothes pods on Jon’s side and finish the wine rack (some say this is the most important bit!). I’ll have to re-do the glue on my side for the clothes pods as well at some point as it is coming loose on one side.

The painting was just a lot of work, who would have thought that a deep, dark red is sooooo useless in covering anything! It needs 3 (!) layers plus a base coat to actually cover the wood… Base layer and 2 coats are done, so we shoved it in for the weekend anyway. The wine rack was already mostly done, all we needed to do was cut off the section at the front that was too long, re-apply the carpet and add the plastic tubing that will hold the wine. Check out the picture so you get a better idea how we made it.

wine rack for 6 bottles and the red kitchen box in place

wine rack for 6 bottles and the red kitchen box in place

inside the kitchen box

inside the kitchen box

We didn’t have all night though as we also still had to pack for our weekend with Marjolein, John & Sal and Jo to Bundaberg to see the turtles lay eggs on the beach and taste some rum in the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery.

But now we have finished this, all we have to do is make 3 more wooden boxes. One for in front of the wine rack and 2 in the space next to it. As the kitchen box is so heavy we decided to make 2 smaller ones for the area above it.

We went to see Luke this morning to discuss the remaining work he will do for us:

  • 2 shelves in the clothes area for shoes (we think)
  • a bracket to hold the water filter under the bonnet

He doesn’t have time this week, so we agreed we would call him the Monday when we are back from Europe, but he is happy it can all be done.

Lara

Lara

Lara is a white Land Rover Defender 110 from 2006, but she is no standard vehicle. Over the years she has been kitted out with many awesome features. If you think cars are boring this bit is not for you!

But if you want to know how we made sure we had enough space for everything and wouldn’t have to take 5 boxes out every time we wanted to make a cuppa or get our chairs out for dinner, you’re in for a treat!

From the standard Defender 110, we added:

  • long range fuel tank – giving us a total of 120L of diesel.
  • 2 x 50L water tanks – connected to a hand pump and shower on the bull bar
  • dual batteries
  • snorkel with mushroom – the mushroom is for better dust filtering. Hmmm we are now thinking we might not add the mushroom as it also restricts air intake which Lara will need desperately once she gets to the high altitudes on our trip…
  • bull bar with winch and 2 spotties (spot lights)
  • air bags on the rear springs – keeps Lara more level when she is fully loaded
  • air compressor – with the outlet on the rear bumper for easy access
  • bash plate
  • diff guards
  • fuel pump access plate
  • heavy duty spare wheel carrier with spare wheel (doh!) – with rear camping light
  • UHF radio
  • fire extinguisher

On top of the car:

  • full length roof rack (2.9m)
  • roof rack tent (Hannibal) – opens over the rear door
  • aluminium box for on the roof rack at the front – this contains our spare tyre, our inflatable kayak and all our hiking gear, see for more details the actual box
  • awning with optional mozzie tent (mosquito tent for those of you not fluent in the language of Oz)

Inside the car / storage:

  • cargo barrier
  • drawers – behind the passenger and driver’s seat. The fridge sits on top of these.
  • 45L fridge – behind the passenger seat
  • fridge table – folds down (home made)
  • cupboard behind the driver’s seat – see our home made wooden cupboard description (below) for more details on the actual cupboard
  • map holder – attached to the back of the central console
  • 2 cup holders – attached to the central console
  • storage shelf above the fridge and cupboard – accessible from the seats at the front
  • gull wing doors – replacing the standard windows at the back
  • one drawer running the full length of the back – divided into 3 compartments with a table on top
  • two storage pods – extended for this trip to the top of the car. This means access to these pods is then only possible from the gull wing doors. They will be used for storing our clothes
  • rear-window mesh – to hang things on and also for added security
  • storage shelf along the top across the whole width of the car – for 3 food storage boxes
  • shelves in between the 2 storage pods – for easy access to our table and chairs
  • wooden box for all our kitchen equipment – stored under the shelves for the table and chairs

Below are some photos of little modifications we have done whilst on the road to make things a little easier, or simply to stop things flying around:

Our bookshelf on the road, handy at any time and a little elastic ensures they don't keep falling over.

Our bookshelf on the road, handy at any time and a little elastic ensures they don’t keep falling over.

A simple seat bag with many pockets houses the suncream, mozzie spray, creme and hand wash. Very useful as we use them a lot.

A simple seat bag with many pockets houses the suncream, mozzie spray, creme and hand wash. Very useful as we use them a lot.

The miracles a little piece of string can perform. This way we can use 2 hands to get things out of the fridge if we need to.

The miracles a little piece of string can perform. This way we can use 2 hands to get things out of the fridge if we need to.

Both our hats are hanging up with the use of some more elastic string. They used to fly around in the car on bumpy roads.

Both our hats are hanging up with the use of some more elastic string. They used to fly around in the car on bumpy roads.

Our home made wooden cupboard

We wanted more easily accessible storage space behind the driver’s seat and decided we could save ourselves some dollars by making it ourselves. Not sure in the long run if it did save us money, but it was definitely an interesting learning process.

It started with the idea of building a shell around existing IKEA drawers we already have. They’re the wooden boxes which have 3 drawers in them, and we have two of them. Those drawers fit A4 sized paper and as we’re expecting to have quite a bit of paperwork and maps etc to carry, we thought it would be a good idea to use those drawers for that.

To make use of the entire 65cm (ish) we had between the door and the fridge we placed them behind each other. With a wooden shell around that, we could then measure the space we had left underneath it. We came to the conclusion we had enough space to fit a toolbox with some spares for Lara (like engine oil) in the bottom area and then we still had space to make a drawer in between the top and bottom section.

We made a door on the bottom section (we used 2 (!) magnets – might be a bit too much for such a small door) and added another ‘gutter’ section to the back of the whole cupboard. This is where the inverter will live and the area in front of it is to put the actual batteries and other things we’ll be charging using the inverter. How clever is that?!

We also bought some carpet and lined the insides of the drawers, the space around the drawers and the tool box so things wouldn’t rattle too much on shitty roads…

This is what it looks like in progress and finished from the front and looking back from the passenger’s seat.

our home made cupboard - measuring

our home made cupboard – measuring

our home made cupboard - sawing

our home made cupboard – sawing

our home made cupboard - glueing carpet

our home made cupboard – gluing carpet

our home made cupboard - adding the inverter gutter

our home made cupboard – adding the inverter gutter

our home made cupboard - finished and in the car

our home made cupboard – finished and in the car

Pimp Lara

She is already pretty well kitted out for the trip, but we still have a wish list of things we would like to add. Some things are to make life easier on the road, others are just ‘nice-to-have’.

steel gull wing doorsWe are going to add some gull wing doors to her ($545). Have a look here. They will make it much easier to access those boxes we have on the side on the back and we will each have the exclusive use of one of them for our clothes. Pack as much or as little as you like 🙂

They also come in a glass or aluminium version (slightly cheaper at $445), but I think we will stick to the steel version from above so we can hang things on the inside as well. And it is probably more secure too.

Downside of the gull wing doors is that we will have to lock them separately to the rest of the car. Minor inconvenience compared to the ease of access we will get.

jack holder at the back of the carThe jack will also get its own specific spot, on the outside at the back. This makes it easily accessible, but also out of the way and it will save up some space inside.

I hope this will fit with our jack, the compressor outlet and the non-standard door hinge we have fitted.

We are also going to fit a safe in the car, but I am not telling you where it goes – big secret 🙂

Other things we still need to do:

  • fix the tweeter
  • fix the cup holder
  • sort out the filling and draining of the water tanks
  • sort out a water filter for the water tanks
  • add fridge lid-holder
  • try to add sort of slide out table in front of fridge
  • make a table that fits the solar panel slot in the back
  • add cloth bag system to store our clothes
  • add drying line inside the car

I have also spotted something I haven’t seen before here, as well as the rear window mesh guard. It’s called tree fenders and they sit just under the windows at the back. If they would be strong enough to stand on and to lash things onto that would be interesting…

Also think we still need to consider a full length roof rack and maybe a bonnet top strengthener (same mesh as we have next to it).

This post might also be added to as time goes on, hopefully we will also be able to tick things off as we get closer to the D-date!