A quick and inexpensive way to separate a motorhome’s walk-through bath from the rest of the coach.
By Craig Guest, F274321
It has been said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, here is another motorhome modification that came about because of need. Most of the credit should go to my lovely wife, Jennifer.
Our 2000 Allegro Bay 36IB has a walk-through bathroom, as do many motorhomes in the 36-foot size range. Though this type of floor plan provides efficient use of space, it creates an inconvenience while the bathroom is in use. Since the bedroom is located in the rear of the coach, it is impossible to get to it without encroaching on a bathroom occupant’s privacy. This presents no great problem on most camping trips, which involve my wife, our son, and me. However, things become a bit more cramped when additional family or friends come along with us.
The shower, sink, and toilet in our coach are located to one side of the bath area with a narrow hallway passing between them and the washer-dryer, linen closet, and wardrobe on the other side. Though accommodations are tight, there is enough room to use the bath area and allow other people to pass back and forth in the adjacent hallway. The real issue is privacy.
The solution to this problem now seems so obvious: separate the hallway and bath area with some type of barrier that would leave the hallway unobstructed. In fact, I am surprised that this is not at least offered by the coach manufacturer as an option. Anyway, here is our solution.
I began by looking for one of those accordion-type folding doors to divide the two areas when needed. A quick glance in my handy camping supply catalog revealed the perfect solution, or so I thought. One look at the generic folding dividers in the catalog and Jennifer said, “No way!” I have to say the interior of our Allegro Bay is decorated very tastefully and quickly agreed with her that this solution was not the best one. Jennifer then informed me that she could easily make a curtain to provide a divider for the area that would look better and cost less. Sounds good.
We started by shopping for materials for the project at our local discount department store. Jennifer decided that it was more cost-effective to purchase bed sheets for the material that she would need rather than buying material by the yard. Bed sheets come in a wide variety of colors and quality levels, so it was relatively easy to find what we needed to match our motorhome’s interior color scheme. Blue is the dominant color in our coach, so blue sheets it was. We even found the correct shade.
We then began looking for a rod on which to hang our curtain. The shower rods were right near the aisle where we found the sheets. We decided to use a shower rod and not a curtain rod, because of our particular installation requirements, but either could be used. Since we were not sure whether we were going to like the installation once it was up, we chose an expanding rod. This rod is designed to adjust to a variety of lengths by simply twisting the two pieces together and wedging the rod between two walls. No holes need be drilled to fasten it, at least not in the typical residential bathroom.
We finally had everything that we needed to get on with the project, or so I thought. I was informed by my wife that we needed curtain hooks. “You mean you don’t just sew a loop in the top of the curtain and slide the rod through?” I asked. After being corrected and shown the proper curtain hooks, I decided that it was best that I keep quiet and give an opinion only when asked. I was clearly in over my head when it came to proper curtain etiquette. Fortunately, just about everything we needed was located in one department, and the whole selection process took only about half an hour. Jennifer even found matching tassels to hang on the little seashell curtain hooks that she picked out.
When we arrived back home, we agreed on a curtain height, and both of us got to work. Jennifer sewed and I mounted the rod. I decided that the compression/expanding-type rod that we bought probably would not remain up very long once our coach was in motion. As sturdy as motorhome walls look, they do shift and move to some degree as the vehicle bounces and bumps its way down the road. To keep the rod in place, I removed the end caps and fastened them to the walls with small sheet-metal screws at a predetermined location. One at each end is all you need, and should the rod ever be removed, the hole left is hardly noticeable.
Jennifer made the curtain by cutting and then sewing two flat sheets together for extra thickness. She put buttonholes at the top to put the curtain hooks through, similar to what would be on a standard shower curtain. The fancy border and piping at the top is actually the border that came on the sheet. This would have been much more labor-intensive if we had purchased the material by the yard.
When Jennifer finished with the curtain, we placed the curtain hooks in the curtain and then hung it on the rod. We both agreed that this looked much better than an accordion-type door. I was glad she talked me out of that idea quickly. It was also less expensive. She even made a tieback to give the curtain a more appealing look when not in use.
Once we were satisfied with the job, I installed some snaps on the tieback and both ends of the curtain to keep the ends in place when closed and pulled back against one wall when opened. The snaps make it easy and quick to take the curtain down for laundering. In lieu of snaps, hook-and-loop fasteners would also work.
This simple installation took three hours to complete and cost approximately $30. It gives the bath area of our coach a more finished appearance and is functional, too.
2 “” flat bed sheets
1 “” curtain rod
1 “” set of shower curtain hooks
1 “” set of decorative tassels (optional)
2 “” #6 x 1/2” pan head sheet metal screws (to fasten rod end caps)
1 “” snap or hook-and-loop fastening kit to keep curtain ends in place